“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” -Henry James, author.
A tea party is primarily a British tradition that has now become popular in many countries of the world. If you are about to host a tea party, you are at an advantage, since you can control the cost, the venue, the decor, and the menu. There are no hard and fast rules to throwing one, but certain suggestions could make your life as a host easier. There are certain norms involved in such a gathering, which have been followed since ages, and bending those rules is frowned upon. For example, the tea is obviously a must, and so are scones and sandwiches. In addition to that, ensure all tea cups are accompanied by saucers. To finish it off, it is essential that you provide individual tables with a seating arrangement of maximum four guests. A buffet, where you demand your friends to juggle plates, cups and saucers, is an absolute no-no! For the rest of the part, go out and experiment, enjoy yourself, and give your guest a day to remember and cherish.
Tea Party Food:
It is true that having a tea party at home with a large group of friends can be quite taxing, and you have to look into various aspects, including the decor, games and food. However, keeping the occasion in mind, it is significant that we consider the choice of tea, our utmost priority. Keep a range of teas to suit the varied palates of your invitees. The tea you choose to serve should complement the food you put on the table. The bolder the flavors of your food are, the stronger should be the tea. Choose from Assam, Earl Grey, Chamomile, Darjeeling or English breakfast, including a few or all, but ensure that a herbal tea is also served for those who are caffeine-intolerant. In case you are expecting children, opt for a fruit juice, and if you want to be a bit more daring, you could whip up a cocktail that uses tea as its base.
Are you a first timer who wants to know how to brew the perfect cup of tea? Click on the following link:
One of the must-eats at a tea party, scones may be savory or sweet, depending on your choice. It would be a good idea to either include a savory one, since there are more sweet treats that follow. Though these are quite easy to make, you could prepare for it the night before and freeze them up, defrosting them and finishing up half an hour before. The best choices for this particular item on the menu are raspberry scones and cheddar mustard scones. Serve them with spreads like Devonshire cream or a simple jam, and people are going to love you for your hospitality.
For the recipes of the two popular tea scone, refer to the links below:
Tea sandwiches are popularly called “finger sandwiches”, and are a versatile choice for a delectable snack. You could go for the classic combination of egg salad and bread, or go all creative with your choice of filling. Be it salmon, ham, beef or chicken for the non-vegetarians or a cheese and tomato for the others, all finger sandwiches are a rage.
For the evergreen egg salad tea sandwich recipe, click on the link below:
Munching on a biscuit with the first cup of tea in the morning has been an age-old ritual in many customs. Why not bring the same tradition to your tea party table? Give it your own twist with a wide variety of cookies and macaroons. Not only will your guest love biting into a delicious, crunchy, chewy cookie, they will also be transported into a nostalgic world of their own. Go crazy with chocolate chip, biscotti, short bread or any cookie you choose.
To learn how to make a classic French macaroon, here’s a recipe:
5. Cakes (Of Any Kind)
A dessert is not just meant to be enjoyed after meals; it also goes beautifully with your favorite cuppa. The sweet treats that are highly sought-after at a party of this kind are cupcakes, pastries, petit fours and tea cakes. Even though you could go easy on the flavors with an easy vanilla sponge cake, it would do no harm if you chose the most luxurious of flavors. The richer it tastes, the better it suits a cup of refreshing, hot tea.
For some ideas on tea cakes, here’s a link:
Games To Conduct At A Tea Party:
The usual Housie and Bingo are all time favorites for any kind of party. However, you could stand out from the crowd by organizing games that are based around your theme–tea! Explore your creativity and make up your own games. Your guest will adore you for taking out precious time to plan, and being so thoughtful about their entertainment. In case you need that extra push, here are a few simple but fun suggestions.
1. Teabag Toss & Sugar Cube Drop
Keep a few empty, open tea pots on a table and give each guest the same number of teabags. Ask them to aim and toss them into the pots from a distance. Whoever clinches the challenge, wins a prize. You could do the same with sugar cubes. To make it more difficult, replace the teapots with tea cups.
2. Tea Leaf Pictionary
To play this interesting take on Pictionary, all you need is some cheap tea leaves and two teams. Give a handful to each participant, and let them use the leaves to depict their words while their teammates play the guessing game.
3. Tea Bag Treasure Hunt
Play a treasure hunt with tea bags. Prepare clues and let the guests search for tea bags in small teams.
Check if your guests know their tea! Blindfold them, and in each turn let them smell the tea and identify what kind it is.
If you run out of ideas, you can always fall back on the old favorites. People always enjoy the Smile Game, Musical Chairs, Passing the Parcel, Bingo and Housie.
Smart Tips To Keep In Mind When Organizing A Tea Party
It is always helpful when you prepare a checklist of all the things you need to buy and keep at hand, while you are in the planning process. As you progress, keep crossing them off your list. It is also a good idea to ask someone you know who is experienced in throwing tea parties. Zero in on a theme, and everything, starting from flowers on the table to the table linen you choose should stick to your the appropriate color. However, to help you get started all on your own; here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Have a clear idea about the guests you would like to invite. Be exact, since you neither want to fall short of food, nor do you want any wastage.
2. Set your table right according all the food and drink you would like to serve. Ensure you are sure about the decor scheme you want to follow. Do your laundry a few days in advance, so you have the tablecloth, the placemats, and napkins ready. They need not be identical, but try making them look harmonious. Provide separate tables for small groups of friends. If you want, you could place name cards on each table.
3. Keep your pretty collection of teapots, tea cups and saucers ready. If you are extremely particular about matching them all, opt for buying your china from a thrift store, so you can spend more on providing the best food to your guests.
4. Ensure all the tea and food served is hot. The sugar, milk and lime should be kept ready for the guests to add according to individual preferences.
5. Experiment with how you serve your food, or even what you serve. It is always a good idea to include a fresh seasonal fruit or vegetable in the menu. Also, keep your budget in mind; there are a lot of cheaper, yet tastier options available that people will not mind relishing. It is also a good idea to make your own tea mixes and offer to the guests. Don’t be afraid to flaunt your original ideas.
6. Finally, keep it simple, for yourself and for those who you invite. A tea party, whether formal or informal, is best enjoyed when it’s not too fussy and allows people to breathe and let their hair down.