An Afternoon Tea Party

how to host an afternoon tea party

Ever since I experienced my first British-style afternoon tea a few years ago, I’ve been kind of obsessed with this delicious food ritual. I guess my love for afternoon tea isn’t that surprising since it combines some of my favorite things in life: cute bite-sized food, old world glamour, and scones! And don’t even get me started on the selection of tea and cakes…YUM.

So when my friend Hollie told me at the beginning of the year that she’d never been to a ‘proper’ afternoon tea before, I obviously jumped at the chance to throw one in her honor. The perfect opportunity presented itself when she came back from her honeymoon last month and we invited a few other girlfriends to join in on the fun.

afternoon tea

I joined forces with two other awesome local businesses for this party. Florist extraordinare Gillian Pollard (whom you might remember from this post) made the gorgeous flower arangements and her sister Nicole from Pretty Party Pieces lent me the beautiful china. (ps. how are those two for #sistergoals?)

Here are all the pretty details from our afternoon tea party:

Setting The Scene

a tea party

Even though the party was taking place at the beginning of Winter, I still had irrational high hopes for a mild, sunny day. Of course, I woke up to heavy rain and thundery skies instead. Damn you, party gods! My guests were good sports though and still turned up in garden party attire. We just cranked up the central heating and quickly forgot about the weather!

guest holding teacup

I wanted the decor to have a slight vintage feel so I chose a ‘soft pinks and white’ color palette. The pretty china and flower bouquets already provided me with a great starting point so I didn’t have to do much to complete my tablescape.

flower arrangement

I covered the table with white tablecloth and used a lace table runner (as well as other lace details) to reflect the vintage theme.

tea set

The champagne glasses doubled up as place cards and I wrapped green ribbon around each steam to evoke the shape of a flower.

tea party favors

I also thought it would be nice for the girls to take home some tea after the party so I made these little favors for them. I made a quick trip at my local craft store and gathered a few supplies. I filled small favor boxes with rose & fruit tisane and then stuck some lace around them with double-sided tape. Finally, I tied some fabric roses to the lace. The favors only took me 20 mins to make and the girls loved them!


The Food

food selection

Now for the most exciting part – the food! I’ll be honest – for a moment there – I was tempted to completely deviate from the traditional fare. However, since I’d promised Hollie a ‘proper’ english afternoon tea, I thought I’d better stick to the classics!

I used two three-tiered cake stands and filled each tier as follows:

  • The bottom tier contained 3 types of finger sandwiches: smoked salmon with cream cheese & dill, egg salad, and cucumber.
  •  The second tier featured scones, cream, and jam.
  •  The third tier was filled with various mini cakes and macarons I bought from a local bakery (I know macarons aren’t a typical English dessert but most places I’ve been to serve them as part of their afternoon tea and besides – they’re too pretty to pass up ;).

smoked salmon tea sandwiches

afternoon tea food selection

In addition to the food above, I also made a classic Victoria sandwich cake. It was very indulgent but worth every calorie!

victoria sandwich cake

Most of the recipes I used were found on the BBC Good Food website. Since it’s an British site, they have a wide array of afternoon tea recipes available.

The Drinks

No afternoon tea would be complete without a selection of yummy teas. I went a bit over-the-top and offered my guests 5 different types of tea:

  • An Autumn-inspired tea (a green tea mixed with rose buds, dried fruits, and mini meringues)
  • English breakfast tea
  • Darjeeling tea
  • Earl Grey tea
  • Hibiscus & ginseng tea

The favorite was probably the hibiscus tea as it looked really pretty and tasted amazing.

I could have offered tea alone but since I love champagne so much, I decided to pop open some bubbly as well. Technically, this turned our afternoon tea into a ‘champagne afternoon tea’ but let’s not get too technical here ;).

Finally, I set up a separate bar area in case the girls wanted to make mimosas. We also had lemonade and ice tea as our non-alcoholic options.

All and all, it was the perfect afternoon and I can’t wait to throw another tea party soon. Perhaps the weather will agree with me next time and we’ll be able to enjoy our food outside! I guess a girl can dream, right? ;)

A big thank you to Gillian Pollard and Pretty Party Pieces for collaborating with me on this post ! If you’re thinking about hosting your own tea party in Melbourne, I can highly recommend their hiring and floral services.

Next, I’ll be sharing pics from my ‘Christmas In July’ party. Stay tuned! xx