There’s no better way to celebrate spring than with an afternoon tea with friends. And we mean a proper afternoon tea—finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and dainty desserts. While teatime is steeped in tradition (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun), there’s also plenty of room to play and make it your own. Here are a few tips on how to make your spring tea party exceptional.
Take your inspiration from nature and design your tea party setting with plenty of color and florals. Dress the table with delicate fabrics. If the weather is nice enough, you can even head to your favorite park and have a tea picnic. It takes a little planning but placing some pretty blankets or vintage tablecloths on the grass, surrounded by blooms will create a laidback vibe that contrasts beautifully with fine china and finger sandwiches. If you’re keeping the party inside, be sure to incorporate plenty of fresh cut seasonal flowers like daffodils, tulips, and lilacs.
Next, consider the place settings. If you’ve inherited Grandma’s china, this is the time to use it. If not, you can create your own eclectic set by mixing and matching cups and saucers from a thrift store. A tiered stand is a must. You can usually find one of these at a thrift store, too. Or, if you’re feeling the DIY call, use vintage plates, cups, and saucers to make your own. You can customize the look any way you want by using different styles of plates and using candle holders instead of cups. Just remember, once your stand is ready, start with savory snacks like finger sandwiches on the bottom tier, scones in the middle and the sweetest treats on top.
Which brings us to the food. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the countless recipes out there. Unless you’re a true Martha, we suggest picking a few that really inspire you and purchasing some of the others. Hosting should be fun! We’re excited about these beautiful finger sandwiches made with thinly sliced strawberries, cucumbers or radishes, and edible flowers. While they look stunning, they’re surprisingly easy to make. You can even take it one step farther by using cookie cutters to make the sandwiches into assorted shapes.
We also love this recipe for savory strawberry tea sandwiches. Strawberries and fresh basil combine for a unique taste that looks lovely on the plate. If you spend all your time on the finger sandwiches, we think it’s totally acceptable to head to your favorite bakery for the desserts.
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the actual tea. There are many types to choose from. If you can, it’s nice to serve a few options. Earl Grey is probably the most classic black tea with a citrusy bergamot flavor that pairs perfectly with sweets. Assam, Ceylon, and Darjeeling are also popular black teas. Many guests will appreciate caffeine-free herbal teas like classic chamomile or spearmint. You can also opt for lavender or rose-infused tea if you want to offer something fun and unique.
As the host, consider brushing up on proper etiquette. While most American guests probably won’t notice which way you stir or how you hold your cup, it’s fun to dig into the traditions and rules of a proper tea. And you never know who you might impress with your knowledge.