When you hear the words tea party, you may think of a little girl surrounded by her best stuffed animal buddies sitting at a table about two feet above the floor. She serves “tea” from a little plastic tea kettle to each guest asking them about how their day is going in her best fake British accent. Tea parties can be a fun way to build imagination in children, but it can also be a great social event for adults.

When was the last time you got together with your best girlfriends for a little afternoon tea? No kids, no countless hours in the kitchen involved, no boyfriends or husbands. Just good girlfriends, maybe some macaroons, and, of course, an assortment of your favorite teas.

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How to Organize Your First Authentic Tea Party
Image Credit: Dennis Wong

Dress to impress
The concept of afternoon tea is very British said to start with Anna, 7th Duchess of Bradford. She often asked her servants to send her sweet finger treats and tea in the afternoon. She eventually decided to turn them into a social event by inviting a few of her friends. The ladies wore long gowns and gloves alongside a beautiful table dressed in crisp, white cloths, fine china, and beautiful silverware.

Fine China
The most important piece of an authentic tea party is the fine china, silverware, and table settings. These items can set the mood. You can opt for pure white, or go for an English garden motif. Either option can be a winner. If you are lucky enough to have inherited this from your grandparents, consider yourself lucky. If not, you can always rent them or do a hunt at neighborhood garage sales and thrift stores. With second-hand stores, you can always let the owners know what you are looking for and they can contact you if something they think you may like arrives.

Preparation
You can dress your table with fresh flowers like lilies, gladiolas, or the more traditional rose. Choose the flowers that suit your taste and the theme of your event. Print beautiful name cards from your local print shop with an English garden motif. Your guests of honor will think you went through hours of preparation!

Food
An authentic tea party should have a great menu. Buy four or five varieties of tea that will be sure to suit the various tastes of your guests. You can go for classic flavors like Early Grey or Green Tea. Don’t forget to include decaffeinated herbal varieties like hibiscus or mint for those who don’t care for caffeine. You can serve finger snacks like tea sandwiches made with tuna and cucumbers. Sweets like macaroons and chocolate fudge may be a big hit. If your guests are looking for something more than just a little finger food, then some light salads may be ideal. Try a fruit salad with a variety of colorful melons. Sprinkle with a bit of lime juice and chopped fresh mint to serve. A tomato and feta salad may be a hit as well. While these items may not be considered authentically British, they do add a bit of flair to the table.

The final part of your first authentic tea party is to enjoy yourself. A good host should make a tea party look easy to coordinate. You shouldn’t be frazzled from handling small details that didn’t go exactly as you planned. If all else fails, the conversation and camaraderie with good friends is what will leave a lasting impression.
Ashely
About the Author:

Ashely is a recent college graduate with a degree in writing. She has an interest in writing about food and restaurants. To see more check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.

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Rizwan Ahmad

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