Inspired Idea: Throw a Victorian-Era Tea Party

Transport attendees to the elegance of another era

With a wide variety of (generally inexpensive) brews, finger foods and lazy, informal afternoon conversation, tea parties are ridiculously simple by nature––which lets you focus your energies on lush, jaw-dropping décor first.

Despite a food- and drink-free table, this display from The Shelbourne Dublin is everything the quintessential Victorian tea party should be: extravagant, elegant and bursting with spring flowers and greenery. From paintings to carpets and flowers, don’t be afraid to double up on the decorations. After you’ve planned a stunning setup, you’re just three simple steps from a tea party that awes in any era.

1. Choose Your Brew

Offer guests a wide variety of teas, blending the familiar with the more unexpected. Black, Earl Grey, green and herbal teas are standard, but more exotic brews—trending varieties include genmaicha, rooibos, white tea and kombucha—will get attendees talking and have added health benefits, too.

2. Have Add-Ins Handy

Don’t forget to stock side tables with plenty of sugar cubes, milk, honey, artificial sweeteners, and stirring spoons and straws. For a grown-up kick, try spiking your tea with your favorite spirits.

3. Keep Finger Food Simple

With so much focus on the décor and the tea itself, keep finger foods simple but tasty—biscotti cookies, small sandwiches and cheese trays are classic, yet easy-to-make, options. 

With sugar, honey and cookies sweetening the deal, consider erring on the healthy side for sandwiches—this salmon and cucumber sandwich recipe packs in the protein and veggies.