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wikiHow to Have a Tea Party

Tea parties have been around for well over 3,000 years. People on all parts of the earth have tea parties every day. So sit down, pour yourself a cup of tea, and let's gossip about tea-parties. (This article relates to British tea-parties.)


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    Choose your time. Traditionally, a tea party is held anytime in the afternoon, either noon (11:30 AM to 12:30 PM) or afternoon (3:00 PM to 4:00 PM). Really, anytime is good for a tea party. A small family tea party is even okay late at night after dinner.
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    Invite your guests. You can send handwritten invitations 2 weeks in advance, simply call them on the phone, or send an email to your guests. Try to keep the guest list to around 8 people. Tea parties are supposed to be cozy, so the tea party host can easily mingle with each of her special guests.
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    Obtain tea party supplies. You will need a teapot, cups and saucers in order to serve tea to your guests. Buy a tea strainer and use a small dish to collect used tea leaves. You can also serve a pitcher of milk, lemon slices, honey and sugar. Make sure you have enough small plates, napkins and utensils if you are serving food.
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    Buy tea. There are many different kinds of tea that you can serve, but don't feel like you have to serve more than 2 or 3 varieties. Some varieties include: black tea, white tea, green tea, oolong tea and blended teas. You can ask your guests what they would prefer before they arrive or you can just buy whatever you think they might like.
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    Serve some food. Look up some tea sandwich, scone and pastry recipes online or in your favorite recipe book. You want to serve something light, like cucumber sandwiches, but you also want to serve something sweet, like cranberry scones or fruitcake. Tea party food tends to be more sweet than savory, so follow that rule in order to be the perfect tea party host.
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    Set the tea table. Cover a large table with a white linen tablecloth. Place the tea at one end of the table and make sure to leave plenty of room for yourself. As the host, you will be serving the guests their tea. Place the lemon, milk, honey and sugar next to the tea, and the rest of the food at the other end of the table. It is normal at tea parties for the guests to serve the food themselves.
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    Dress the part. Wear a nice dress similar to what you would wear to church or to a casual wedding. Tea parties are casual affairs, but don't be afraid to get a bit dressier than you would for a normal gathering with friends.
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    Begin boiling the water and setting out the food about 10 minutes before guest are scheduled to arrive. Take this time to put the tea inside the empty teapot.
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    When the kettle is whistling, pour the water into the teapot and take the teapot to the table.
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    Bring guests to the table and chat, sip tea and eat the delicious food you've prepared.


  • Typical foods include sandwiches, crumpets, biscuits, cookies, fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, quiches, baked potatoes, nuts, broiled carrots, and anything that is considered "Light Fare".
  • Decorations typically include fresh flowers in a decorative vase, doilies, and other things that you think would be appropriate for a tea party.
  • Try to make sure your guests feel comfortable!
  • Choose a variety of teas, such as orange rind, lemon, green, chamomile, peppermint, berry, peach, or other fruit teas. It makes the party more enjoyable.
  • A tea party can also be very simple. If at night, with the family only, serve tea in a tiny tray or plate with cookies or crackers at the side.
  • If you want to theme the tea party with another culture, consider doing a little preliminary research on what types of teas and snacks are offered
  • If you don't like tea, coffee or lemonade can act as substitutions.
  • Most tea parties are small, usually no more than four people. Do not have large ones as a beginner.
  • Try not to make the tea party outside if it is very cold or extremely hot, otherwise, this could cause the guests to feel uncomfortable.
  • Be sure to invite people who are comfortable with each other to avoid awkward situations.
  • If you choose to gossip, make sure everyone knows that it is just the spirit of the tea party and that they can change the subject at anytime.
  • It is good to have different drinks besides tea in case your guest do not like tea like strawberry lemonade.


  • Check with your guests about food allergies and prepare alternatives before the party date. To be safe, prepare cookies or sandwiches without nuts and if possible offer some without dairy products.
  • If there will be more then one kid coming, you may want to set up a small kids table with stuff to colour and cups that will not break.
  • Be careful if you allow gossip, you could hurt someone‚Äôs feelings.
  • If your guests bring along their children be careful to move anything breakable such as fine china out of harm's way, and serve the children's tea or hot cocoa at a cooler temperature than usual (130 degrees maximum). Make sure there are some toys or paper and markers so the kids have other stuff to do if they do not want to sit at the table.

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Categories: Tea Traditions and Rituals | Theme Parties