Quick Recipes and Easy

High Tea, Low Tea, and Other Tea Party Themes

If you are plotting to host an afternoon tea, the array of tea party themes is endless. Just as in the mid 19th century in England, tea and tea parties have become all the rage in the U.S. High tea originated from the practice of working families eating their evening meal upon a high table, rather than a low table. Low tea referred more to an afternoon tea-time where tea was served on a lower table, such as a coffee table.

Regardless of the theme, it is most vital to set a gracious table. Food should be presented buffet style and should be a generous mix of sweet and savory goodies. Tea parties are usually scheduled between mid and late afternoon, so heavy entrees are not necessary.

Tea party themes can be related to the décor or to a special event such as a child’s birthday bridal shower or special retirement. Tea party themes can also be plotted for a holiday such as Christmas, Easter, or Mother’s Day. For a memorable afternoon tea party, invite mothers and daughters and tell them to bring their favorite teacup and saucer. Inevitably, the conversation will turn to special memories of tea times they have shared in the past. Or, celebrate Mother’s Day with a “Tea for Two” using your finest china and best quality tea such as English Breakfast of Earl Grey. Focus on soft, elegant décor with fresh linens, flowers, bone china tea cups, teapots, and accent plates, and most of all, like and silent conversation. This will be a special day to remember for any mother.

Another well loved thought is to host a cupcake tea party. Each guest brings their favorite flavor and all of the guests share their recipes. Be sure to provide some savory treats to accent the sweets. Plot an “American Doll Tea” or “Dolly and Me Tea”. If the tea party is for children, have them bring a favorite doll to show. These are fantastic conversation pieces, especially for children.

On a dreary afternoon, bring everyone to life with an indoor tea time “picnic”. This can be thrown together quickly with a shabby chic approach to elegance. Simply use mismatched tea ware, linens, and a simple menu of grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, eggs benedict, and fruit salad served in compotes. If possible, add a vase of fresh flowers to the table and your rainy day picnic tea will turn the grayest of days into a day of smiles.

And so it goes with afternoon tea themes. Whatever theme you choose, the thought is to treasure the memories long after the tea is gone. So keep your teapots and tea cups full of tea, your trays full of delectable treats, and above all, be a gracious hostess.

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