This guide was inspired by our recent article, The History of Tea Parties. Tea parties have been popular for hundreds of years and are a fun way to celebrate things like graduations, engagements, bridal showers, baby showers, retirements, new relationships, or just spending time with friends and family. In the spirit of summertime, today’s article is going to specifically focus on how to host the best summer tea party!
I tested all of these tips and tricks out first hand recently for a family baby shower. Feel free to take the advice in this article with a pinch of salt - or sugar perhaps - and adjust anything to your preference. While some components are rooted in tradition, others are just for fun.
The most important part of any tea party is, of course, the tea. Hackberry Tea offers a wide selection of teas that can cater to anyone’s preference. Since this guide is specifically for summer tea parties, I recommend having a selection of refreshing iced teas. For help brewing iced tea, check out our brew guide.
At the tea party I recently helped out with, I tried to pick a selection of teas that would appeal to everyone. I narrowed it down to six of my favorite Hackberry teas that I enjoy iced, which included Calm Mango Beach, Strawberry Fields, White Coconut Cream, Citrus Mojito, Ginger Peach, and English Breakfast. We made about one liter of each tea and served them in pitchers alongside homemade lemonade. We also kept loose leaf stock of each of the teas on deck with hot water, in case anyone wanted to enjoy their drink hot, in which case we would steep it fresh for them in just a few minutes. In addition to stocking up on tea itself, you want to make sure you have all of the brewing and serving equipment necessary. Since Hackberry’s tea is looseleaf, don’t forget to grab filter bags or a steeper!
Whether it's formal afternoon tea or a family gathering, all tea parties need food. We spent all morning preparing a selection of small tea sandwiches, pastries, cookies, and snacks for our party. The small pastries and sandwiches were served on tiered trays. The traditional way to organize this is to put savory snacks on the bottom tiers and sweet treats on the top. Some of our savory selection included egg salad and chicken salad puffs, quiche bites, cucumber and tomato bites, and tea sandwiches. Our sweet selection included muffins, lemon bars, brownies, cookies, and chocolates. Next to the trays we had charcuterie boards stuffed with cheeses, nuts, berries, veggies and meats. Additionally, we served sugar cookies from a local bakery, yogurt parfaits, bread rolls, and cupcakes.
Regardless of what you decide to serve, I strongly suggest small finger foods that are easy to pass around and share. This emanates the traditional afternoon tea experience and allows your guests to try a bit of everything! To accompany these small treats, you can use regular silverware, toothpicks, or decorative skewers.
Since their founding in England, tea parties have been notorious for their beautiful setups. Fine china and teaware have become a collector’s item, but they are also pretty easy to get your hands on. Many thrift stores and antique shops sell traditional tea sets, but you can also buy them new online or in home stores. We sourced our tableware from a family friend who has accumulated an impressive collection of elegant and unique dishes.
In addition to the dishes themselves, we decked our tables with plain white tablecloths and chair covers adorned with doilies and serving trays. We decorated the rest of the room with extra tea pots, flowers, and greenery - creating a delicate and delightful environment. The possibilities are endless when it comes to decor and setup, and much of it depends on your budget and personal preferences.
To match our setting, we encouraged guests to dress up and provided them with fascinators that we bought online. You could also play into this idea with gloves, faux pearls, ribbons, or bows. If your tea party is for a special event like ours was, feel free to play some games with your guests as well to enhance your time together.
We hope you have found some inspiration from this article and have a wonderful time hosting a summer tea party of your own! If you do host a tea party with our tea, make sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram so we can see them @hackberryteaaz.
Thank you to the Evermore Tea Society for supplying the dishes and accessories needed for a proper tea party. If you live in Wisconsin and are in need of supplies for your next tea get-together, make sure to check out their Instagram page for helpful information and rental opportunities. Their Instagram page is @evermoreteasociety.
Written by Kourtney Camm