How To Set A Table For A Tea Party

How To Set A Table For A Tea Party in 7 Steps (Updated)

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

If you want to take your tea party to the next level, you’re in luck.

After hosting countless gatherings, I’ve figured out setting the table in a few simple steps.

So, if you’re curious about how to set a table for a tea party, I’ll help you create a cozy space that will impress your guests. Keep reading.

7 Steps In Setting A Table For Tea Party

table set for tea party

1. Gathering Necessary Items

Gather all the essential items to create an inviting atmosphere for your tea party. 

These include elegant tablecloths, delicate plates, dainty cups and saucers, polished cutlery, soft napkins, and a charming teapot [1]. 

These elements ensure you’re well-prepared for a delightful tea gathering that exudes sophistication and warmth.

2. Choosing The Table & Tablecloth

When hosting a larger tea party, opt for a spacious table that comfortably accommodates your guests. Elevate the aesthetics by draping a captivating tablecloth over it. 

The tablecloth should match the theme or mood of your tea party, whether it’s vintage-inspired, modern chic, or something in between. 

3. Placing Plates, Cups, & Saucers

Center the plates in the middle of the table. Place the cups and saucers in front of each plate, aligning them neatly. 

4. Arranging Cutlery

Position the cutlery gracefully on either side of the plate. The knife should be on the right side, with the spoon and fork on the left. 

5. Napkin & Teapot Placement

Lay a folded napkin on the left side of each plate, adding a touch of refinement to the setting. In the center of the table, position the teapot as the centerpiece.

6. Delightful Accompaniments

Elevate the tea experience by offering a variety of accompaniments. Present sugar, cream, and slices of lemon on a small plate conveniently within reach. 

Place a tray of delectable pastries and cookies on the table to satisfy cravings. 

7. Serving The Tea

The finale involves pouring hot water from the teapot into each cup. This should be done gracefully, ensuring every guest receives freshly brewed tea.

Check out these easy steps to make your plastic tablecloths look nice here.

What Are The Three Most Common Foods At A Tea Party?

Three of the most common foods at tea parties are scones, sandwiches, and cakes. Scones are typically a tea party staple and come in various flavors and styles. 

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” 

Lin Yutang, Chinese Inventor

They are usually small, round pastries that can be served with various jams and butter. 

Secondly, sandwiches are another common food at a tea party, and it is a thinly sliced bread with different fillings, such as eggs and cheese. 

Lastly, cakes are a popular addition to a tea party. It comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors, from classic pound cakes to more modern and creative cakes.

But how can you decorate a birthday table?

What Is Served Initially At A Tea Party?

At a traditional tea party, guests are served first sandwiches. 

The sandwiches are usually made with various fillings such as cucumber [2], egg and cress, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and chicken and ham. 

After the sandwiches are served, the scones, tea bread, and several other pastries will be served. 

The scones can be plain or flavored with dried fruits and nuts. Pastries often consist of tarts, éclairs, and cream puffs. 

Sweet treats such as shortbread, meringues, and macaroons often accompany the savory items. 

Some tea parties may also serve bite-sized tarts or pies. The tea party host may also offer a selection of jams, preserves, honey, and lemon.

What Time Does A Tea Party Begin?

A tea party typically begins around 4 pm. This is because tea parties are traditionally served in the afternoon, known as ‘afternoon tea.’ 

It allows guests to socialize and enjoy a light snack before dinner. However, the time for a tea party can be adjusted to earlier in the day, depending on the host’s preference. 

Read: How Should You Dress For A Tea Party?

What’s The Distinction Between Afternoon Tea & High Tea?

Even though the concepts of afternoon tea and high tea are similar, there are important distinctions between the two classic British meals. 

Afternoon tea is a light snack and usually takes around 4 pm. It usually consists of tea, sandwiches, cakes, and pastries. 

On the other side, high tea is a more substantial meal than regular tea, traditionally served between the hours of 5 and 7 in the evening. 

“Tea parties are where conversations steep, and the table is the compass guiding these journeys.”

Howkapow Gift Site

It usually consists of tea, hot dishes, meat pies, potatoes, and other savory dishes. 

Additionally, afternoon tea is served on a low table or in an armchair, whereas high tea is served at a dining table. 

Finally, afternoon tea is more formal, while high tea is more casual and relaxed.

What Should You Avoid Doing At A Tea Party?

tea set

If you’re planning on attending a tea party, remember that being loud and disruptive is not appreciated. 

Tea parties are usually meant to be quiet, relaxing events, and any loud behavior can ruin the experience for the other guests. 

It is also important to remember not to bring in food or drinks from outside, as the tea party is usually catered. 

Another important thing to remember when attending a tea party is not to bring gifts. 

Tea parties are usually social gatherings, so bringing a gift can be seen as an attempt to show off or flaunt wealth. 

Finally, be mindful of the food and drinks provided at the tea party. Try to limit yourself to only a few servings so everyone can enjoy the treats. 

What Often Occurs At A Tea Party?

At a tea party, guests usually sit in a circle and converse. Tea party games can range from charades to Pictionary to trivia quizzes, depending on the host’s preferences. 

If the tea party is more formal, there may be a dress code, and guests may be served tea in teacups with saucers. 

Food may range from finger sandwiches and scones to cakes and pastries. Most tea parties end with a toast or words of appreciation for the host or hosts.

Also Read: Top 10 Beauty & The Beast Party Table Decorations


How many sandwiches should each person have for afternoon tea?

Each person can have at least three to four sandwiches for afternoon tea. Plus, it is recommended to have a variety of sandwiches to accommodate everyone’s tastes.

Why do people pour milk into their tea?

People pour milk into their tea to add a creamy texture and sweetness to the beverage. 

Adding milk to tea is also a popular way to cool down a hot cup of tea and make it more enjoyable to drink.

What snacks go well with tea?

Crumpets, scones, and shortbread are all classic accompaniments to tea. 

Key Takeaways

Setting the perfect table for a tea party doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Just remember to keep it simple and classic, use quality materials and accessories, and ensure all your guests are comfortable. 

A little bit of preparation and effort might make your tea party the talk of the town.


Kimberlee Johnson
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