Tea Party Table Setting

Tea Party Table Setting – How To Set Your Table For An Afternoon Tea Party

tea party table setting

It is fun planning and placing your afternoon tea party table setting. All table settings are basically the same, knife, blade towards the plate on the right and forks on the left etc.

If You Would Like To Watch A Short Movie About Table Settings Click Here. It was Made in 1946 But Still Applies Today

Remember, this is a simple, elegant gathering, and although there is a lot to remember, there is no need to break the bank doing this. Tea party table settings should be eye catching and complement the delicious food you have prepared, I think an afternoon tea table looks far better if things don’t match!

Below there is a checklist with everything on it that you will need. It will also work for a themed party too, although there may be a few extras for a Bridal Shower or Birthday Party table setting.

First, of course, you need a sturdy table. Hopefully your guests have RSVP’d, so you know how many will be coming. Always allow a little extra space for an unexpected guest. Extra room at the table will of course be needed for a wheelchair.

tea party table setting

Let your guests seat themselves, you do not need place cards.

It does not matter at all if your table is bashed up! You are going to cover it anyway. If you are using a ‘good’ polished table indoors, and you have table pads great! Always remember that teapot bottoms will leave heat marks on your table! Do not panic if you have a table cloth that doesn’t fit. Cover the entire table with a clean white bedsheet, folding and fitting it to the table with safety pins if necessary. It should hang over the sides perhaps six to eight inches so your guests can get their knees under comfortably. If in doubt, slide a chair in and sit down yourself. Caterers do it every day.

Tea Party Table Setting

Use your table cloth cross ways, or you could purchase a good quality paper table cloth than can be recycled when you have finished with it. Remember when you buy one to keep your theme colors in mind, white is always best if in doubt, and pastel colors would be second choice. If you are having a themed tea party, decide which color will contrast best with your fine china.

Your centerpiece will be a very fancy cake. To make it tempting and visible, put it on a footed cake stand center stage. Again, Organize.com have a nice selection of ceramic and glass footed cake stands.

Other serving plates can be raised by putting an upturned bowl beneath them – just make sure they won’t tip over. Silver plate trays add a touch of elegance, just put some fancy paper doilies between the tray and the cakes or sandwiches.

So we have the table covered and the cake stand in the center.

Tiered cake/sandwich plates are completely out of vogue at the moment but do save a lot of space. If you do not have one, two or three (depending on how large your party will be), I will provide a resource later for finding them.

If you do not have a table pad under the tablecloth, remember to put a trivet or thick stand under the teapots.

Your local thrift stores are usually bursting with unwanted china, it’s a good place to look.

Please, never, ever, use paper or disposable cups, plates and forks!

Here are some beautiful teapots and tea sets for your Tea Party Table Setting that may be useful or make a great gift for that special person.

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Tea Party Table Setting

But None of My China Matches!!

And we all thought that shabby chic was some kind of new fad!

Rubbish. I grew up in England post World War II. None of our china matched. It was usually white with some kind of flowers on it. Perfect. Mix it all together, don’t stress. Just try to keep it all porcelain or all stoneware, so it has the same ‘feel’.

Don’t stress!

Every guest will need 2 small plates, side plates or salad plates are fine, a cake fork or a salad fork for eating cake, a cup, saucer and teaspoon and a water glass. Footed water glasses look the best, but if you don’t have them, again, don’t stress. Large linen napkins give a feel of posh-ness, but remember you will have to wash, starch and press them afterwards. Go with the large, good quality paper ones otherwise.

One small sugar bowl and a cream pitcher or jug is adequate for four guests. The ‘cream’ pitcher is of course for milk for those who like milk in their tea.

Honey is delicious in some teas, if your party is outside, try to provide a covered honey pot, the bugs love honey too!

Small cakes and sandwiches will be handed around, but you will need a cake server to get the centerpiece cake safely to your guest. Cut the cake before you put it on the table. Cut it into SMALL slices, not great big door stops!

You will also need one or two slop bowls. These are for emptying the dregs from the bottoms of cups. Sounds horrible, but if you have a dozen guests you would be bobbing up and down like a yo-yo giving guests clean cups.

If your party is outside, just direct your guest to throw the dregs onto the grass! It’s all bio-degradable! Don’t worry, the aristocracy do it.

Tell your guests it’s the butler’s day off!!

Go Here for A Checklist Of Things You Will Need

Tea Party Table Setting

tea party table setting

Ah! The Tea!

Have you decided what kind of tea to serve?

Remember, the more types of tea you serve, the more teapots you will need. And the more that is consumed, the more water you will have to boil. If you are out in the garden the whistling tea kettle is indispensable.

But I have twenty people coming! Are tea urns used for brewing or infusing tea?

No. Tea urns were designed to heat larger quantities of water. Their function was the same as a tea kettle only large-scale. Ideally, one would dispense the hot water from the urn into the teapot. “Bring the pot to the kettle, not the kettle to the pot.” (It’s safer)

Oh gosh…I don’t know what type of tea to serve.

Ask on your invitation. Do you prefer green tea, black tea or iced tea?

If this is a first Afternoon Tea Party for any of your guests, they may not know an Oolong from a Pu-ehr, so make it simple, and use good quality, fresh tea.

If your parties catch on, and other people return the favor, then you can get snobby with the tea types.

You will need sweetners – sugar, honey and possibly Splenda&#153 for your diabetic guests. Two plates of thinly sliced lemon for tea and water. And a big pitcher of iced water.

Tea Party Table Setting

Make Them Comfortable!

Finally, make sure the chairs you provide are comfortable, offer a cushion if needed.

Your bathroom will work overtime after a lot of tea-drinking, so make sure there is sufficient soap, towels and paper. It seems obvious, but I have been to a few parties where that thought never entered the host’s mind!

Tea Party Table Setting

Consider Your Pets Too…

Tea Party Table Setting
Cats will either run for cover or sit and happily observe your party.

But if you have a dog or dogs – how will they behave?

I’m sorry, I cannot stand having a pair of eyes watching every bite of food I take, and your guests might be tempted to throw Fifi a piece of chocolate cake.


Dogs and chocolate do not mix, besides they should never be eating cakes and sandwiches, IT’S BAD FOR THEM!

If your dog is a lunatic or barks at the sight of a stranger, it’s best to exclude him from the afternoon.

Make it up to him later. Let him take you for a long walk! It’ll do you both good.

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