How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

As Mother’s Day approaches and wedding season is near, the spring flowers are blooming and the grass is becoming green. A tea party, then, is never far from my mind. A beautiful excuse to dust off the china teacups, make some finger foods, and gather with close friends for an afternoon.




The question then is how to throw an easy afternoon tea party? First of all. Who better to glean ideas from than the British? From the BBC, we’ve gathered some easy and simple ideas on how to throw your own easy afternoon tea party.

At the foot of this post are some more inspirational tea party ideas you won’t want to miss.

RELATED: Easy Make Ahead Tea Sandwiches

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Enjoying afternoon tea while perched on a gilded hotel armchair is a fine British tradition, but hardly sustainable as a regular pursuit. Throwing your own afternoon tea party means you can stick to your own budget, plus you can select your favourite finger food. We have some suggestions for throwing a soiree in style.

The basic kit

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

If you own a tiered cake stand, dust it off and use it as the centerpiece of your table. Otherwise, use your best crockery and make it a little more special with lace-like doilies, folded napkins and name place signs.

If you want to go all out, charity shops are a good source for reasonable floral Chinaware – don’t worry if the patterns are mismatched. Don’t forget your teapot, teacups, cutlery and cake slices for serving.

Setting the scene

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Extend your table and throw on a table cloth – if you don’t have one handy, fabric shops sell cheap spotted, floral and striped material by the metre. String up some bunting or, if you’re feeling ambitious, bake up some edible bunting biscuits.

While you’re at it, you could make some place-name cookies and ice them with your guests’ names. Pop them in paper bags so your guests have a little present to take away – or just snaffle them as an entrée.

Coconut & cinnamon place-name cookies
Edible name place biscuits

Arrival drinks

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Make sure the sugar and milk is set on the table ready to pour your guests a cuppa as they sit down. Try to provide a variety of tea – Earl Grey, peppermint, camomile, fruit, herbal and, of course, English Breakfast.

Iced tea makes for a more refreshing tipple in warmer weather, and adding a touch of Pimm’s will really break the ice. You could also crack open the fizz and serve up a sloe gin royale or orange juice-based mimosa – all the better if you have time for a nap before dinnertime.

The spread

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

There aren’t any rules when it comes to the food, but a standard afternoon tea comprises a layer of sandwiches, a layer of cakes and a layer of scones or teacakes. However, you could also throw in pastries, petits fours or biscuits.

Don’t wear yourself out by taking on too many ambitious bites, but if you feel like a challenge make sure you get your timings right.

Sandwiches:

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

These require minimal effort, but get ahead by preparing your fillings in advance and assembling just before proceedings begin to avoid the dreaded soggy sarnie.

Selection of summer sandwiches
Carrot & raisin sandwiches
Salmon club sandwich
Best-ever crab sandwiches
Smoked salmon & avocado open sandwich on rye bread

Scones

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Scones are best eaten on the day and don’t take long to whip up but if you want to get ahead, freeze a batch and defrost them in a low oven. Serve warm with lashings of jam – decant a pot of homemade preserve into a pretty bowl.

Scones: 

Classic scones with jam and clotted cream
Lemon drizzle scones
Walnut scones
Cherry scones


MORE 31DAILY SCONE RECIPES →


How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.comJam:

Strawberry jam
Jumbleberry jam
Rhubarb & ginger jam
Cinnamon-scented plum jam
Fragrant strawberry conserve
 
 

Teacakes and buns

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com
These should be served split and buttered – try glazing with some apricot jam to give them a professional finish.
Keep it simple:
A little effort:

Biscuits

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com
Shortbreads, cookies, ginger nuts… take inspiration from your childhood biscuit tin. These recipes all take less than an hour, so you can make them in the morning.

Sugared flower shortbreads
Carrot cake cookies
Ginger cookie sandwiches with lemon mascarpone
Coconut nice
Strawberry & cream roly polys

Pâtisserie

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Just the mere mention of Parisian-standard pastry is enough to send shivers down the spine of your average home cook. If you’re willing to take them on, prepare the pastry or biscuits the night before.

Raspberry millefeuilles
Mini eclairs
Chinon apple tarts
Salted caramel & popcorn crumble choux buns
Creme brulee tartlets


 MORE 31DAILY Pâtisserie IDEAS →


Cakes

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Individual portions are the key here, so avoid making a large cake and bake up something dinky.

Coffee & walnut flapjacks
Blood orange & poppy drizzle muffins
Little pistachio cakes
Coconut chai traybake
Strawberry & polenta cupcakes

Showstoppers

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Pull out all the stops and serve up something really special.

Blood orange & dark chocolate madeleines
Star anise meringues with mango coulis
Apple rose tart
Raspberry, lemon and frangipane tart
Iced vanilla & caramel profiteroles


MORE 31DAILY TEA PARTY IDEAS →


Spring Tea Inspirations

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Vintage Tea Cups

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com

Finger Foods

How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com




How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party | 31Daily.com
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Written by 

Stephanie Wilson is an author, blogger, publisher, and former television news writer and producer. She lives in the Puget Sound area with her family.

4 thoughts on “How to Throw an Easy Afternoon Tea Party

  1. Danita

    I loved this article, and will be approaching my daughter to help me host a tea like this for our friends. Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. I’m so glad it was helpful! I love to give and attend tea parties and am always looking for ideas and recipes for the next one. Have fun with yours!

  2. Valerie

    Thank you so much Stephanie for the help on putting together a tea party. I will be using this help soon.

    1. You’re welcome! There’s nothing I love more than a tea party. Have fun!

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