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How To host a High Tea at Home

Whether you have a special occasion coming up or it’s your turn to host an afternoon with the girls (and/or boys), there’s nothing more delightful than hosting a traditional High Tea at home.

So we’ve put together our own guide to hosting a successful high tea that your guests will just love because, no matter the occasion or budget, you can create a High Tea your guests will remember forever.

The basic home high tea setup consists of:

  • Teapot
  • Milk jug and sugar bowl
  • Pretty cups and saucers
  • Teaspoons
  • Plates
  • Cake plate and slice/server
  • Table and chairs

But with a little planning and a sprinkle of imagination, your High Tea will be a stylish, elegant occasion that will totally delight your lucky guests.

It’s always worth spending a little time planning your High Tea beforehand to make it really special. There are four things to consider before you start.

1. Budget

How much are you setting aside to spend on your High Tea? We’d all love to order a complete Royal Dalton tea set for the day but for most of us that’s simply not practical. And it’s really not necessary. You might be surprised how little it can cost to host a spectacular High Tea. Plus, it’s more fun to get creative! So, set yourself a budget. You’ll find some great ideas here that will impress your guests without breaking the bank.

2. Time to plan

Is your High Tea scheduled for this weekend or do you have a few weeks to get things ready? If you only have a few days, take that into account when planning your preparations. Don’t plan things you won’t realistically have time to do. After all, you don’t want to be stressed on the day – you want to enjoy your High Tea too!

3. location

Where will you hold your High Tea? Indoors or outdoors? Give some thought to the weather, for example, and how many people will attend. Is there enough space for everyone, plus a table and chairs? If you don’t have room at home, you don’t have to hire a room – what about holding your High Tea in a park or on a beach?

Related: Best picnic spots on the Sunshine Coast

4. The occasion itself

You could host a beautiful High Tea to celebrate almost anything including:

  • Mothers’ Day
  • A birthday
  • Bridal shower
  • Anniversary
  • Melbourne Cup
  • Baby shower/ Gender reveal
  • Vintage day with the girls
  • Spring picnics
  • Christmas

There doesn’t have to be a special reason though – you can host a High Tea just for fun or to brighten someone’s day.

How To host a High Tea at Home

5 steps to hosting a fabulous High Tea.

Ok, you’ve done all the boring things: settled on a budget, made a schedule and considered the occasion. Now it’s time to set the scene. This is where the fun starts!

  1.  Invitations:

    Nothing makes guests feel more special than receiving a beautiful handwritten invitation. If your budget allows or you have strict time constraints, you could invest in some lovely stationary and even hire a calligrapher. If not, write them yourself or print them using a pretty font. Post or hand-deliver your invitations. If you don’t have time or are eco-conscious, try one of the online invitation services available these days like Evite or Greenvelope.

  2.  Decor:

    Want to get really creative? Why not give your High Tea a theme? This could be carried right through from your invitations to the decorations. You could even use some appropriate props or ask people to dress up?

Our suggestions: These are just a few of the ways you can set the scene for your High Tea. You can probably come up with your own to add to this list.

Colour scheme: think pink or blue for a baby shower and white for a traditional bridal shower, for example.

Crockery: Matching delicate floral cups, saucers and teapots are traditional but why not hunt out some modern bold colours. Or have fun searching through garage sales and thrift shops to assemble your own mix and match set to fit your colour scheme? (You will need a set per person of cup, saucer and plate.) These days you can even rent a complete set online! “The High Tea Mistress” in Melbourne is one such company but you could hunt around for one closer to you.

Bunting: pretty bunting helps frame your scene where shop bought or make it yourself in pastels or modern brights.

Flowers: carry a colour theme. If your budget doesn’t allow for fresh flowers or the ones you want are out of season, consider paper flowers, they are just as pretty and won’t wilt on a hot day. Some flowers also have meanings such as yellow roses for friendship, chrysanthemums for Mothers’ Day and daffodils for birth, new beginnings and good luck.

Balloons: we all know how happy balloons make us feel. Plus, they help to frame your scene, can match your colour theme and are another inexpensive alternative to fresh flowers.

Photographs: Celebrating a special birthday or anniversary? Perhaps photographs would be a nice touch and a talking point.

Music: How about some background music? Not too loud of course and appropriate to the occasion.

3. The table.

Your table is the centre of attention and it’s where you can really add to a theme. To the basic kit of crockery and cutlery, you can add touches like: Napkins (linen or paper) Cake stand and/or a tiered stand. Don’t have one? Placemats/coasters. These even be pretty lace doilies or even vinyl records!

Name cards. How about cookies or pretty macarons as place cards? Bake or buy them and ice them with guests’ names or initials. Gifts/favours. Pretty little bags of lollies, macarons to take home or munch with tea.

Table cloth/covering. Crisp white is traditional but consider hunting down some inexpensive fabric
in pretty florals, stripes or vintage designs. Glasses. If you are serving soft drinks or iced tea you might like to offer them in a pretty glass with

Sugar: Sugar cubes in a pretty bowl are an elegant touch rather than the usual loose sugar. Sugar tongs make the occasion even more special.

4. Arrival Drinks

For an informal High Tea set up a table with a fresh, pot of tea so guests can help themselves as they arrive. If you want a more formal High Tea, greet your guests as they arrive and serve them with a welcome drink. Of course, we recommend our own range of elegant teas such as Earl Grey, French Earl Grey, or Darjeeling to give your guests a touch of luxury. But you could also offer one of our fruit teas, or perhaps a refreshing ginger beer, elegant pink lemonade, classic pimms or even a luxurious glass of champagne.

5. Food

Today there really are no hard and fast rules about the food you can serve at High Tea. Perennial favourites are scones (plain or fruit) with lashings of jam and cream, cake and sandwiches (avoid soggy sandwiches by preparing the fillings in advance). Perhaps the only exception to the no rules rule is that sandwiches should always be served without crusts.

Apart from that, the choices are up to you. Even the cakes can be petit fours, slices or served as a single show stopper the centrepiece on the table. As a guide, food should be small enough to be eaten with the fingers and in one or perhaps two bites – otherwise, things can get a bit messy.

So, High Tea today can include:

  • Pastries
  • Biscuits
  • Teacakes
  • Macarons
  • Scones
  • fondant fancies
  • Ribbon Sandwiches 
  • Mini quiches

No time to bake? Then we would be honoured to help you celebrate with one of our sumptuous hampers. Each hamper is bursting with specially-selected Aimee Provence favourites to help you make your delicious High Tea at home memorable and just that bit easier. That said, a range of
recipe books can be found at your local book shop. Or, you can quickly search online for High Tea recipes.

We are always delighted to offer you and your loved ones a warm welcome at our elegant High Tea Parlour whenever you want a special treat. But, with a little planning and some imagination, you can host a gorgeous, delicious High Tea of your very own. We are honoured to share your
High Tea journey with you and hope this guide helps you make your occasion perfect.

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