Afternoon Tea Party Styling & Decor
HOORAY! Magazine recently invited us to a high tea on the lawns of Lindesay House in Sydney. With the film of the day just released, we thought we’d use it as a springboard to consider what it takes to throw a high tea, and style the perfect afternoon tea party decor. Good company, a fun element (in this case a flashback to childhood with an Easter egg hunt) and a delicious high tea are great ingredients to start with! Add in a gorgeous table centerpiece design, beautiful floral displays, and plenty of individual style, and you might just have the perfect high tea event. Be sure to check out the full spread in issue 11 of HOORAY!
Setting The Scene
Long tables have a way of instantly conjuring up a celebration so start by extending your table for a magical, Alice In Wonderland feel. It’s not just what frock you’re going to wear that needs attention when planing your afternoon tea – dressing your table is just as important! Whether it’s a length of pretty floral material, a rustic jute roll, or even brown Kraft paper rolls, it’s amazing what a difference a table cloth or table runner can make. Once you’ve decided on dinnerware and cutlery, make it more special by adding some lace trim doilies, then turn your attention to glass vases and flowers. This is where you can add some bespoke charm to your party decor. Mix and match different sized pieces for a laid-back bohemian or country feel – small bud vases with a single stem, cut-glass vases with roses, or different heights of cylinder vases with wild flowers all on the same table look beautiful. You can even combine your arrangements with some quaint teacup planters or terracotta pots. Add in some glass domes as a nod to afternoon teas biggest fans – the Victorians, and you’ll have a table centerpiece design that’s part bohemian, part garden tea party.
Drinks & Nibbles
Whether you’re choosing to have a traditional tea or a grown-up affair with bubbles and cocktails, having a drinks table where guests can choose themselves is a great idea. A separate drinks table allows guests to interact, and takes the pressure off you as the host. If it’s a tea station, offer a wide variety – English Breakfast, Earl or Lady Grey, Ceylon and something herbal. Remove all your tea bags from the packaging and display them in individual candy jars with labels on them. If the weather is warm, consider offering cold and crisp drinks – Pimms, bubbles and some exciting non-alcoholic options (iced tea is perfect of course) should keep all your guests happy. Pay as much attention to the styling of this area as your main table’s party decor. When it comes to food, dainty wins every time, and presentation is key. Small finger sandwiches (crusts off), savoury quiches and tiny pies, all served on tiered cake displays will look irresistible. Switch to sweet treats in style with fluffy pastries, mini cup cakes, macarons and the obligatory (they really are) scones, conserves and cream.
Saying Goodbye In Style
Giving your guests a gift in a gift basket or hamper is a lot of fun, but even a small gift can be a very memorable surprise. And if you’ve been busily baking for the afternoon teas, now’s the time to think ahead and make some extra cookies as a good bye present. Just pop them in gift paper bags or party bags tied up with ribbon, so your guess have a little present to take away.
We’ve rounded up a selection of products that would work perfectly for afternoon tea decor, with a country meets vintage feel.
- Jute lace roll
- Cake stands
- Party supplies
- Glass candlestick
- Rose garland
- Tin basket with liner
- Topiary decor
- Ceramic jug
- Tiered cupcake display
- Metal cloche with bird detail
- Wooden letters
- Willow baskets
High tea is the perfect way to catch up with friends, and it lends itself to all sorts of celebrations. We’ll leave the last word on this to Henry James who said “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Happy afternoon tea planning!
Catch the film of the day from the talented team at The Story Of Us here.
Hosts HOORAY! Magazine + West Elm | Event Venue Lindesay House | Video The Story Of Us | Catering Gastronomy | Event Styling White Rabbit Projects | Floral Styling The Flower Era | Hire Items Vintage Patina + West Elm | Photography Hannah Blackmore Photography + At Dusk Photography | Invitations Blushing Confetti | Calligraphy Written by Hand | Goodie Bags HOORAY!, Custom Icing, West Elm & Koch (Us)!