How to throw an afternoon tea party at home, tips, and ideas

Hosting an afternoon tea party from home is a fun way to spend time and host friends or family. We’re here to make it a little easier for you! Here are our tips and ideas for throwing an afternoon tea party at home.

Are you going to set a theme? Will you go sophisticated and elegant or rustic and traditional? What type of food will you serve, and will you supply favours? There is much to consider when planning the perfect afternoon tea from home. We’re here to help make it easier for you and spark new ideas. Ready to make your party a success? Here’s how to throw an afternoon tea party at home, our tips, and ideas.

Choose a theme

The first thing you can do is choose a theme. A theme will help you immediately determine your guests’ dress code, decorations, and menu. Various popular tea party themes include vintage, garden, and Mad Hatter. Tea parties are also a fantastic way to celebrate special occasions like bridal showers, baby showers, Mother’s Day, or birthdays. You can even have seasonal or holiday-themed tea parties such as Christmas, Easter, or Halloween.

An alice in wonderland themed tea party at home.
We love an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party!

We also love the idea of a kid’s afternoon tea party. To keep the party treats in line with the theme, serve up some adorable teddy bear-shaped cookies and refreshing fruit skewers. These cute and tasty snacks will surely be a hit with the kids, and they’ll love showing off their creative side as they decorate their own cookies. It’s a great way to encourage creativity and imagination in your little ones.

A theme we love, the Mad Hatter’s tea party

Who wouldn’t want to join Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party? Immerse yourself in the enchanting realm beyond the looking glass with a whimsical tea party inspired by Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. To set the mood, adorn your space with quirky signs, mix-and-match teacups and saucers, and a game of croquet on the lawn. Incorporate a motif of playing cards, deliberately halted clocks, stunning centrepieces of roses, strategic placement of skeleton keys, and a sprinkling of lawn flamingos to transport your guests to the magical world of this beloved tale. 

Alice in wonderland cake stand,makes it easy to throw an afternoon tea party at home.

Alice in Wonderland cupcake stand centrepiece

We love this Alice in Wonderland Style cake stand; it makes a lovely centrepiece for a fun tea party. It’s perfect for holding cupcakes, pastries, canapés, or any party food. It’s easy to assemble and looks great.

Set the table

Once you’ve chosen your theme, it’s time to set the table. Ensure you have enough teacups, saucers, and teapots for all your guests. You can add a touch of elegance with a tablecloth, place settings, and floral arrangements. You can pick up lovely pieces from local charity shops or online.

Fresh flowers are simple and beautiful and a great idea at a tea party at home.
Fresh flowers are simple and beautiful.

Decorating according to your theme can be a lot of fun because you get to be creative! You can even use unique napkins or make personalised table settings. If you want to keep it simple, a flower tied with a ribbon on a napkin is a simple yet easy way to make the table look elegant.

An arrangement of fresh flowers or a small faux floral is a lovely soft touch to the table. If you’re arranging fresh flowers, we recommend a statement vase so that it also doubles as a centrepiece. Just keep it low to the table. That way, you’ll still be able to view your guests over top of it.

Shabby chic tea cups for a tea party at home.

London Boutique set of 4 tea cup and saucers

We love these shabby chic teacups and saucers by London Boutique. You can also purchase matching plates and a cake stand alongside them. They are a lovely addition to any tea party.

Plan your menu

At any tea party, the tea itself is the crucial bit! You have many options regarding what to serve, including classic black and green tea and herbal and fruit blends. You can easily order a variety of teas online or pick some up at your local grocery store. Remember to include at least one decaf option for your guests. Milk, sugar, and lemon should be readily available for those who like to add them to their tea. Consider serving iced tea or a tea-based cocktail to mix things up. Prosecco is a great addition to make things fancy! And, of course, always have a pitcher of water or soft drinks on hand for guests who prefer something other than tea.

You can't go wrong with dainty, tasty cakes. Easy to make at home.
You can’t go wrong with dainty, tasty cakes.

When it comes to treats, it’s essential to have a mix of savoury and sweet items. Finger sandwiches, scones, and petit fours are all great options. You can tailor your menu to fit your guests’ dietary restrictions or the party’s theme. Try serving scones or a similar pastry as a first course for a traditional afternoon tea. If you don’t have scones, you can always use a store-bought pastry or bake some biscuits. Consider serving a small salad instead if you prefer. For the main course, serve tea sandwiches and small desserts on a tiered tray. Check with your guests throughout the meal to see if they need a tea refill. You can make the desserts yourself or pick up mini cakes, cookies, or macarons.

Pukka tea chest is perfect for an afternoon tea party.

Tea Discovery Chest, a selection of organic teas and herbal teas

This tea discovery chest comes in a bamboo gift box which can double up as a lovely feature for a tea party, where guests can choose from an assortment of herbal tea. It’s a reasonable price for 42 sachets of 6 delicious flavours.

Finally, offer games or entertainment!

We love a game at a tea party.
We love a game at a tea party.

While planned activities like games aren’t necessary for a successful tea party, they can add extra fun and make the day even more memorable. Why not try a classic game of charades or Pictionary? These games are always a hit and will get everyone laughing and having a great time. Another fun option is a tea-tasting competition. Have guests sample different types of tea and try to guess the flavour or origin. You could even have a prize for the winner! Consider setting up a DIY tea station for a laid-back option where guests can mix and match their tea blends. And, of course, no tea party is complete without some delicious treats. Consider having a dessert bar or a cookie decorating station for guests to enjoy.

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the company of your guests. We hope this article has helped you to plan your tea party. Thank you for reading; enjoy party planning!