It’s tea time: 4 ideas for your next tea party

While children learn to love tea parties from an early age, this sort of fun isn’t limited to a single age group. From work functions to baby showers, a tea party can serve as a festivity for people of all ages. In fact, taking time to enjoy a hot cup of tea is a tradition that has existed for centuries. From the very first tea brewing in ancient China to the early origins of tea parties in 1800s England—the history of tea is vast, diverse, and incredibly interesting.

This is exactly why the practice of tea parties still exists in 2021. Aside from the delicious tea itself, tea parties are also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate, spend time with loved ones, and change up your daily routine. 

The tea won’t stay hot for long, so—without further ado—let’s get started. Read on for four tea party ideas for kids and adults.

When should you have a tea party: 4 tea party ideas

Left: Mother holding a baby in her arms and smelling their head in front of a yellow wall | Right: “Baby Doodle” by Hello!Lucky for Paperless Post

Baby Doodle” by Hello!Lucky for Paperless Post

 

Here’s the thing: there’s really no wrong time to have a tea party. Whether you’re celebrating something major or simply looking for a new weekend activity, a tea party is a great excuse to spend time with friends, eat some snacks, and feel a little fancy.

With that in mind, there are some occasions that make the perfect excuse for a tea party. 

1. Bridal shower tea party

If there’s anything more sophisticated than a tea party, it’s a bridal tea party. 

Throwing a tea party bridal shower is an elegant way to celebrate any soon-to-be bride. Incorporate pastel colors, lace details, and delicate dishware for decor that complements the occasion. Have guests gather around a circular table to sip drinks, nibble on finger sandwiches, and watch the bride open her gifts.

2. Baby shower tea party

Unlike a bridal shower or bachelorette party, a baby shower is a bit more limited when it comes to themes and locations. While the mom-to-be won’t be hitting up her favorite bar or making a reservation at the new sushi place downtown, she can celebrate in style with a tea party-themed baby shower.

For a baby shower tea party, remember to add decaf tea and pregnancy-friendly snacks to the menu so your guest of honor won’t feel restricted. Your tea party can also incorporate classic baby shower games—like guessing the baby’s name or due date. 

A tea party offers the right balance of fun and celebration, without tiring out a third-trimester mom. Keep the event stylish yet relaxed, and make sure there’s plenty of tea party food to go around!

3. Sip & see tea party

Speaking of babies, the celebration doesn’t stop once you leave the hospital. Friends and family will be eager to see the beautiful baby after they’re born, and what better way to show off your new addition to the family than with a tea party sip & see?

Traditional tea parties were quiet, intimate gatherings—the perfect environment to ease a new baby into. Most tea parties also take place in the daytime, which is less likely to disrupt the baby’s sleep schedule. 

We recommend throwing your sip & see from the comfort of home for a number of reasons. You’ll avoid having to pack a diaper bag full of newborn essentials—something you won’t want to worry about during your tea party. Additionally, a newborn may have trouble acclimating to a new environment, especially when surrounded by unfamiliar faces. 

Staying home will simplify things and keep your baby comfortable. Finally, throwing a sip & see at home will also give you the chance to show off the new nursery. 

Send out your sip & see details with a colorful teacup-inspired invite.

4. Children’s birthday party

Now that we’ve tossed around some tea party ideas for adults, it’s time to talk about the kids. Children love tea parties after all, and birthdays are the ideal time to throw them. 

A tea party birthday can take place at home, at the park, or even at a restaurant (if you’re dealing with a smaller group or slightly older kids). Whichever location you decide on, it’s important to add a few fun elements along the way. Some creative ideas for planning a children’s tea party birthday include:

— Choose a kid-friendly tea party theme, such as Alice in Wonderland or American Girl Dolls.

— Pick out funky dishware and cups—preferably plastic for younger children.

— Order a cake (bonus points if it’s shaped like a teapot!).

— Send out glamorous online invitations that coincide with the theme.

 

A tea party theme is a great idea for a one-year-old’s birthday, as well. While a rambunctious toddler probably won’t be able to sit still for this type of event, a one-year-old will be much more relaxed. The guests at a one-year-old’s birthday party will most likely consist of adults, as well—thus creating the perfect crowd for this type of event.

When inviting the other little ones, don’t forget to send a fun, memorable tea party invite.

Where should you host a tea party?

Left: “Three Petals - Mint” by kate spade new york for Paperless Post | Right: Backyard with a dinner party set up with folding chairs, table settings, and string lights

Three Petals – Mint” by kate spade new york for Paperless Post

 

After you’ve determined when to have your tea party, it’s time to figure out where it’s going to take place.

Tea parties aren’t required to follow any specific rules, particularly when it comes to the setting. Anywhere with the space and amenities for drinking and snacking will typically be suitable for this event, depending on the logistics. 

With that in mind, there are three common options that most people consider for the location of a tea party:

 

At home

Throwing a tea party at home is going to give you the most freedom. This is because you’ll have little-to-no restrictions on a number of factors, including:

— The guests – Other venues may have limitations on party size—particularly if you haven’t made a reservation well in advance. When you host your party at home, however, you’ll have more flexibility with the number of guests you’re inviting. 

— The food – Whether you order takeout or whip them up yourself, the tea party menu you serve is entirely up to you when you host a tea party at home. This means you can put a twist on any traditional tea party food, particularly if you have children or picky eaters attending.

— Decorations – The best part about hosting a tea party at home is coming up with your own decor. For an authentic theme, take inspiration from iconic high tea locations—such as the Connaught Hotel or Fortnum and Mason in London. Crisp white linens, bold accent colors, and tiered tea stands will lend to this classic look.

 

Outside

Alternatively, an outdoor venue can also make a wonderful place for a tea party—if the weather is permitting. While setting up for an outdoor tea party may require a bit more effort, it’s by no means impossible. For a private event, you’ll be responsible for setting up tables and chairs, while public parks provide ample seating with picnic tables.

Some advantages of hosting an outdoor tea party include:

— Space – If you’re planning a larger gathering, an outdoor location will give you plenty of space for everyone to mingle comfortably. Whether you choose a private outdoor setting (like your backyard) or a public park, you won’t have to worry about excluding anyone from the guest list.

— Perfect for spring or summer – An outdoor tea party—or garden tea party—is a fantastic way to ring in the warmer months of spring and summer. Add seasonal fresh flowers, brightly colored decor, and refreshing iced tea for a seasonal twist on tea party classics.

 

At a restaurant or hotel

The final option you have when planning a tea party is a restaurant or hotel. While there are plenty of traditional tea rooms found in larger cities, those in more rural areas may have a tough time finding an appropriate venue. 

With this in mind, there are certain benefits that come with hosting a tea party in a hotel or restaurant. While the prices for a tea room may be a bit higher than hosting at home, choosing this venue will cut down on planning, decorating, and cooking. This makes it easy for busy individuals to plan without any added stress. If you’re hosting a larger party, it’s important to call the venue ahead of time to make sure they have the accommodations. 

Some popular tea rooms in major U.S. cities include:

Bergdorf Goodman (New York City)

The Russian Tea Room (New York City)

Rose & Blanc Tea Room (Los Angeles)

Getty Villa’s Tea by the Sea (Los Angeles)

The Commons Club (Chicago)

The American Girl Place (Chicago)

Samovar (San Francisco)

The Steeping Room (Austin)

Serenity Garden Tea House (West Palm Beach)

The Four Seasons Bristol Lounge (Boston)

The Gryphon Tea Room (Atlanta)

It’s important to keep the specifics in mind when choosing a location for your tea party. If you have a strict budget, a larger guest list, or young children, you may want to consider a less formal setting. Smaller groups of adults, however, may enjoy the traditional tea party experience that a tea room can offer.

What do you do at a tea party?

“Tea Garden” by Happy Menocal for Paperless Post

Tea Garden” by Happy Menocal for Paperless Post

 

Besides the best part—drinking delicious tea—there are plenty of fun things to do at a tea party. Not only is this type of event an excuse to eat and drink, but it also provides opportunities to meet new people and celebrate. 

Depending on the size of your party, the appropriate activities for your tea party may vary. Consider some of these ideas when planning your schedule:

 

— Small groups – A small tea party will offer a more intimate feeling. Have your guests gather around a single, circular table. This will allow for conversations to be had while you enjoy your food and beverages. Use this time to tell stories, play a tea party game, or exchange gifts.

 

— Larger event – For larger gatherings, you may need a bit more action to keep things moving along. Place tea stands, pitchers, and cocktail napkins on multiple tables throughout the space in order to prevent crowding around a single area. Play ice breaker games or music to keep guests entertained throughout the day. A theme can also add some pizzazz to a larger tea party—particularly when it comes to attire. Floral prints, large sun hats, and long gloves are just a few staples that guests can sport for this classy gathering. 

What time should a tea party start?

Right: Young girl drinking tea out of a tea cup with a blue background | Right: “Teacups” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post

Teacups” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post

 

A tea party is almost always a daytime event. Traditionally, tea time occurs in the late afternoon—between 3:00 and 5:00 pm. If you’re planning more of a luncheon-type party, consider starting a bit earlier, between noon and 2:00 pm. 

How long should tea parties last?

Ideally, your tea party should last around two to three hours, but this variable will ultimately depend on the type of crowd you’ve invited. Children may want to stay a bit longer, but an event that’s too long can lead to a tantrum or two. 

Adult guests may have busy schedules, which can make a longer event more difficult to plan. If you’re using a hotel or restaurant as your location, keep in mind that some tea rooms have time limits for their tables. In general, anywhere between two and four hours is a good rule of thumb to follow when planning a tea party. 

What Kind of Food Do You Serve at a Tea Party?

Photo of a cake covered in strawberries, macarons, and other treats

The final item on our list is perhaps the most important aspect of a good tea party: the food and drinks. While every host can adjust their menu as they see fit, feel free to follow this traditional afternoon tea party menu to get a better idea of what to serve:

— Hot and iced tea, along with milk, cream, honey, and any flavorings of your choice

— Champagne, mimosas, or fruit-based cocktails (if you plan to serve alcohol)

— Finger foods on a traditional tea tray, separated into three courses:

1. Savory treats and sandwiches, like cucumber, egg salad, and lox

2. Scones and jam

3. Desserts, such as macarons, petit fours, or mini cake

— Other foods on the side, including muffins and fresh fruit

Keep in mind that the foods and beverages at your tea party should be easy to eat, without the need for large dishware or utensils. A tea party is not a sit-down meal, but rather a time to snack, sip, and mingle.

In-person tea party: virtual invitations

While many tea party traditions can’t be replaced, others are in need of a little revising. One of the best ways to modernize this historic get-together? Virtual invitations.

At Paperless Post, we bring the elegance of physical invitations to the modern world. Our virtual cards and invitations come in hundreds of different styles, colors, and even offer customizable options. We even have a selection of tea party invitations specifically for tea parties.

Take your tea party to the next level and send your invitations the virtual way—with Paperless Post.

 

 

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