Host a chic afternoon tea party

Host a chic afternoon tea party

Do something different next time you’re entertaining, with these gorgeous ideas for a girlie daytime get-together


The elegant afternoon tea party was invented by a friend of Queen Victoria’s called Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford. She wanted to take a light refreshment to see her through from luncheon to late supper. She found that tea with cakes and sandwiches satisfied her hunger without spoiling her appetite for dinner. She started inviting friends to join her and a whole new social occasion was born.

Five tea party ideas to try

For a change from a night out, why not invite the girls over for afternoon tea? Create a theme to give your get-together added sparkle, from the cakes you serve to the plates you serve them on.

1. Romantic high tea
Hold a classical and feminine tea party using antique-style teacups and collectable vases with spring flowers in them (you can pick both of these up in secondhand shops) for next to nothing. Set off with delicately decorated cakes and fine pastries.

2. Alice in Wonderland Tea Party
For a playful summertime tea on the lawn, combine florals and polka dots in bright colours when laying the table. Mix and match are the keywords here. Use writing icing to create riddles on cupcakes or make biscuits the shape of Top Hats and long-eared March Hares.

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3. Invite the Earl and Lady
Earl and Lady Grey teas are a chic choice yet more unusual in flavour than your average breakfast leaf. Create a very different yet equally chic setting in which to savour their flavours. Lay out a crisp grey linen table cloth, polish up your silver tea set (beg or borrow one from a relative if you don’t have one), and pick blossoms from the garden to scatter on the table to reflect the fragrant infusions.

4. Tea in the forest
Opt for rustic, earthy crockery and organic decorations such as moss, tree trunk slices, bark, fungi and dried pods. Then serve green tea or herbal infusions, and sandwiches with fresh flavours – the classic slender cucumber or watercress sandwiches (crusts cut off, of course!), for example.

5. Disco tea
For a fun birthday tea, add edible glitter dust to icing on lemon drizzle cake and swirling patterns with pink butter icing and Smarties on fairy cakes. Go for retro sandwich fillings like peanut butter, and use sequins as confetti on a bright table cloth, then play a few classic dancefloor hits as you all sip and swap the latest news.

Recipes for afternoon tea

Check out our chic afternoon tea recipes For tasty cake recipes (including our super easy three-minute mug cake) check out our recipe finder.

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