Ladies of all ages, from two to one hundred and two, enjoy the elegance of having a cup of tea. Inviting one to a dozen friends for tea is standard, although if you have the room and intent the event to be more informal, by all means invite more. Drinking the tea, enjoying the delicacies and exchanging conversation will be all the activity necessary.
Ladies love to get formal invitations, and hosting a tea is the perfect time to give one. Look for elegant ivory stationery with calligraphy style type on it. Your invited guests will sense how special they are by receiving such a beautiful invitation. Be sure to indicate on the invitation if the tea will be a dressy occasion.
Hosting a tea party is not difficult, especially if you are the type who has silk flowers, linens, china, silver and teapots. If you do not own these items, you probably know someone who does and would be willing to lend them to you. Usually the event is confined to a dining room or living room, so you will not need to decorate the entire house. White twinkle lights and candles will immediately add the ambiance that you want to create, as well very soft classical music playing in the background. If the event will be held in the living room, you will want a table to use a “tea table”. If you are hosting the tea in the dining room, the center of the table will hold the teas and treats.
You do not necessarily need to serve the tea in matching teacups; however all of your teacups should be glass or fine china. (Coffee mugs are not proper etiquette) Each place setting should include a teacup, saucer, teaspoon, and a matching plate for teacakes and other treats.
There are two primary ways to serve tea in the 21st Century. Many teas now come in individually labeled bags, particularly herbal and green teas. These can be set out in small silver or crystal bowls for your guests to select from. Teas that are not individually bagged can also be set out in small bowls; however you will need to label them for your guests. Teapots of hot water can be placed at various locations on the table. If you’d prefer and have enough tea pots, brew a variety of teas and set them on the table. Identify each type for the guest (or label the teapot).
Dainty sandwiches made of the traditional cucumber or cream cheese can be served on small squares of bread (located in the deli section of most food stores). Tiny tea cakes and cookies can be baked at home or purchased at a bakery or specialty store. Display these delicacies on plates lined with doilies, for a high visual impact. Scattering fine chocolates amongst the baked goods adds appeal. The adage of “you eat with your eyes first” holds true at a tea party, and those you have invited will appreciate your eye for detail.