What better way to express the appreciation of a hot cup of tea (and all rituals that come with it) than either hum to the Britain’s national anthem or quote Muriel Barbery, who in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, so exquisitely explains the importance of this almost magical drink by saying: “When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” 

There is no doubt about it – a cup of tea can restore you to normality, to relaxation and joy – that is, if you are drinking your favorite kind.

In the past century, tea parties were a rather common reason to gather friends and family and enjoy the day happily, lightened up. Unfortunately, modern generations have replaced tranquil tea parties with alcoholic get-togethers, and disgraced the former beauty of tea-drinking. Whoever’s been to a tea-party knows that they are something so special that the beauty of their tradition overwhelms and brings about an aura of comfort and belonging (yes, to the Royal Family – we had the same thought!).

It is somewhat comforting, though, that tea-parties have been regaining popularity due to people embracing actively healthy life choices and trying to invoke the class and style of social gatherings prompted by casual tea-drinking and chic appetizers.

For all of you who are mentally planning your next tea-party, we are laying out a few key tricks that may as well do the work.

Charming Environment

A garden filled with greenery, a lux balcony, your all-cream master dining room with a fireplace, by-the-pool platform or your gorgeous backyard are the perfect setting for a jaw-dropping tea-party.  There is a particular magic invoked when tea is served to friends in a lovely space; something enchanting happens and friends and neighbors that haven’t been usually spending much time together – instantly bond. There is laughter, women’s voices ring and all of a sudden – there’s a lot of happiness around.

Stylish Centerpiece

Delicate confections, your favorite china, tea sandwiches and a variety of teas glossing in the dappled sunlight immediately renew affections of the gathered parties. A stunning centerpiece picked out straight from the garden is a statement of class and style in itself.

The Etiquette

Tea parties are different from any other “party” gathering; everyone acts appropriately and respectfully, minding their behavior, culture, tone of voice and humor. A tea party encourages gathering invitees of desirable and cultured background who aren’t prone to scandals or challenging behavior. This is particularly true of high tea parties where absolute hedonism is appreciated and exercised through a series of details like hired professional party catering, charming decorations, a variety of teas most of the invitees have never tried before, sweets that compliment teas’ tastes and the atmosphere that’s spectacular.

Serve Finger-Food

A tea party can’t be authentic without mini cookies, small sandwiches, and tiny tarts—sweeten the pot. They also minimize the need for dishes.

A Variety of Tastes and Flavors

Since it’s a tea party, it is up to you to challenge your guests’ tastes by preparing a variety of teas to serve. The most common are Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and Green Tea. However, you should push the envelope and serve some mint tea or fruit-flavored to add variety. Make sure sugar and milk are set on the table, next to the set of honeys and sweet creams that complement your tea selection and keep your party interesting.

Vintage Teacups and Antique Teaspoons

To add a little drama to your tea party, mix your teacups and teapots. Combine finds from antiques or thrift shops and discount stores. Borrow a few pieces from your grandmother’s collection or grab your mother’s silver tea cutlery. Present mismatched teaspoons in a vintage sugar bowl.

Photo “Afternoon tea” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “Marty the Adventurer” and is being posted unaltered (source)

Originally posted in September 2016 by Emma Lawson