Tips for Hosting a Tea Party

My girlfriends and make it a point to get together for tea at least once a year. Normally it takes place around Christmas when everyone is in town, but this year we decided to shake up tradition by having an iced tea party. Over the years we've gathered some tips for hosting tea parties both time and budget friendly.

1. Make what you can ahead of time: The nice thing about an iced tea party is that both the iced tea and lemonade can be made ahead of time. For traditional, tea parties some desserts can be made ahead of time. If you're doing chicken salad or egg salad sandwiches you can make them ahead of time and simply put them together on tea day.
2. Borrow before buying: Teapots, teacups, platters, tableclothes. . . chances are a friend or two has these items for you to use. Unless you host tea parties frequently, it's better to borrow. Three of us in my friend group have tea party essentials. The other six usually relax and enjoy a good time.

3. Keep decorations to a minimum: Fresh flowers and a simple tablecloth keep the table quiet and pretty. The teapots and tea cups usually have personalities that you should play up. With all of the goodies on the table, anything more may look cluttery.

Provide a variety of sandwiches (try to have a vegetarian option): Someone always has a dietary restriction. Unless they're cutting out gluten, there is usually a tea sandwich that will work for them. For our friend group we always try to have a vegetarian option.
Offer a tea alternative: Just because your friend is ditching caffeine or isn't a fan of tea (they're out there) doesn't mean isn't up for the party. Sometimes an herbal tea does the trick, but if not lemonade or a fancy flavored water will keep them party-perfect.

Any tea partiers out there? What tips do you swear by?

S. Roderick

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