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Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

If you’re wondering how to host a high tea, this is the post for you! While high teas are a quintessentially British affair, we’re here to show you how to infuse a touch of American flair into this elegant tradition.

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

Setting the Scene: Creating the Perfect Ambiance

Close your eyes and picture it—a scene straight out of a Jane Austen novel, where lace tablecloths flutter gently in the breeze and delicate teacups clink against lovely matching saucers. You really can transform your space into a haven of sophistication, with classic decor touches that make your guests feel as if they’ve stepped back in time, to an afternoon with the queen.

Imagine vintage teapots adorned with delicate floral patterns, fresh flower arrangements bursting with color, and softly flickering candles casting a warm glow over the room. With every detail well thought out, from the polished silverware to the crisp linen napkins, your high tea gathering is sure to be an unforgettable affair. The photo below is from a recent tea party I attended (a bridal shower for a friend’s daughter).

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

These were the ideas I had in mind when I set out to host a tea party for several ladies in the inner city. I work with a ministry that offers an annual Mother’s Day event and knew that this year’s event–which I titled “Queen for a Day” had to be special. So, I put my imagination to work and came up with a plan to make it something the ladies wouldn’t forget. I knew it wouldn’t be quite as perfect as the bridal shower, but the point was to use what we had and create the best possible experience.

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

We chose to use royal colors: gold, white, and red. I found a set of plates, napkins, silverware, and cups on Amazon and we were off to the races! I also located the perfect inexpensive tablecloths that tied everything together.

Tea Selection: Elevating Your High Tea Experience

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

Ah, the cornerstone of any high tea—the tea itself! Not sure where to start? It’s always great to include the classics. Choose from an array of beloved British blends that have stood the test of time, from the fragrant bergamot-infused Earl Grey to the robust and full-bodied English Breakfast.

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not shake things up with an American twist? Delight your guests with Mint Julep Green Tea, reminiscent of the classic Southern cocktail, or Apple Cider Spice, a cozy and comforting blend perfect for chilly autumn afternoons. We opted for a punch made of cran-raspberry and Sprite. It was delicious!

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

If you’re serving teas, remember to provide simple brewing instructions to ensure each cup is brewed to perfection, adding an extra touch of sophistication to your gathering.

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

Savories and Sweets: Indulging in Culinary Delights

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

Now, let’s turn our attention to the pièce de résistance—the delectable spread of savories and sweets that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. This is where I wanted to shine. As a baker, I thought it would be fun to add a lot different options, like I did for my friend’s daughter’s shower.

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

This time, however, I wasn’t just baking: I was cooking! So I decided to channel my inner culinary artist and prepare an array of finger foods fit for royalty. We started with delicate tea sandwiches filled with creamy chicken salad, meats, cheeses, and so on. We decided to make individual containers (plastic cups) filled with delicious broccoli salad, pasta salad, fruit, and chopped veggies. The guests loved getting their own ready-to-go containers of foods.

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

Next, I tantalized my guests’ palates with freshly baked scones served with lashings of delicious homemade lemon curd, my personal favorite.

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

And let’s not forget the sweet treats—fluffy Victoria sponge cakes adorned with whipped cream and fresh berries in my case, in cupcake form). You might also consider offering dainty petit fours in a rainbow of colors, and decadent chocolate truffles that melt in your mouth. With each bite, your guests will be transported to culinary heaven, indulging in a feast fit for royalty.

Let’s Talk Recipes

If you’re hosting a tea party and need recipes, we’ve got you covered. Here are some personal favorites!

Strawberry Lemon Cream Scones: I made this recipe for our event but substituted raspberries in place of strawberries. They were a huge hit! I served them with lemon curd.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing: These are always a hit at a tea party. I use almond extract and the ladies love their little almond cookies. Yum!

Almond Tea Cakes: These are so fun and tasty! If you love almonds, this one’s going to be an easy favorite!

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes: These are perfect for your dainty event!

Puff Pastry Pecan Pie Bites: These are quick and easy to grab on the go, which makes them perfect for a tea party!

Golden Girls Cheesecake Cookies: These are a fan favorite. My friends and family members love these and they are perfect for a tea party.

Luscious Lemon Bars: Lemon lovers, unite! This bar is going to make you swoon. . .I promise!

There are dozens of other recipes on this site, perfect for a tea party. Just refer to my High Tea category in the drop-down menu.

Dressing the Part: Embracing Elegance with Style

No high tea gathering would be complete without the perfect attire! If you’re hosting a tea party, encourage your guests to embrace their inner fashionistas and don their finest attire, paying homage to the timeless elegance of high society.

For the ladies, think floral sundresses paired with wide-brimmed hats adorned with silk ribbons and feathers, or elegant tea-length dresses accessorized with pearl necklaces and lace gloves.

Gentlemen, don’t be afraid to channel your inner dandy with tailored suits in classic tweed or pinstripe patterns, complete with polished brogues and a stylish pocket square.

And let’s not forget the pièce de résistance—the hats! From chic fascinators adorned with silk flowers to traditional top hats and bowlers, the possibilities are endless. So dust off your finest threads, polish your shoes, and prepare to step into a world of timeless elegance and sophistication.

Entertainment and Activities: Adding a Dash of Fun

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

As the tea flows and the conversation sparkles, keep the festivities going with a variety of entertainment and activities that are sure to delight guests of all ages. Set up a DIY craft station where guests can create their own fascinators or decorate teacups with colorful designs, adding a personal touch to the proceedings. (We often offer a craft at our inner city events and the ladies always love them, especially if they’re baking-related. Decorating cookies and cupcakes is a favorite pastime!)

Alternatively, you might opt for tea-themed games or quizzes to keep everyone entertained, from tea trivia to guess the tea blend. For a touch of whimsy, why not host a hat parade where guests can show off their finest headwear and compete for prizes? With laughter and camaraderie in the air, your high tea gathering is sure to be a roaring success!

We played a fun game where the ladies got points for various items found in their purses. (It was a blast!) One of my favorite parts was the backdrop we provided, as well as a crown. Our theme, after all, was Queen for a Day!

Hosting a High Tea: Bringing British Elegance Stateside

Conclusion: Cheers to a Memorable High Tea Affair

And there you have it, dear friends—a crash course in hosting a high tea extravaganza with an American twist! From elegant decor to tantalizing treats, dressing to impress to keeping the entertainment flowing, every aspect of your gathering is sure to be a hit.

So gather your nearest and dearest, brew a pot of your finest tea, and prepare to indulge in a high tea experience like no other. Here’s to the timeless tradition of high tea, where elegance meets indulgence and every sip is a journey into blissful sophistication. Cheers, darlings!


That’s it for this post, friends! Let me know your thoughts on these fun high tea ideas! And remember, tea parties are supposed to be fanciful and fun!

Before you go, why not pin some photos?


About the Baker

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

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