Nothing brings friends together like chatting over a good cup of tea. Whether it’s for a bridal shower or birthday celebration, here are 11 tips for throwing your own high tea.
Enjoying a posh high tea in an antique hotel armchair is lovely, but unfortunately it’s not something we can afford to do too often. Luckily throwing your own tea party means that you can keep things within budget, plus you get to choose all your favourite treats to snack on. Here’s how to get things done.
Lay the table. Putting your table together is almost as important as the tea itself. Start with a white or lace tablecloth (Crochet-trim tablecloth, R369, Makro). It’s the classic choice and won’t clash with the rest of your décor.
Choose your seating style. Do you want everyone to have a seat around the table or are you going to stack plates buffet-style and let everyone help themselves before heading into the lounge?
Mix and match. If you’re a tea addict then you’ve probably accumulated a variety of different teacups and teapots over the years. Eclectic tableware is in so now is the time to show off your collection. It also means that you don’t have to commit to one single set – you can pick up different teacups from here and there! Some of our favourites available at the moment include the Bluebells cup ’n saucer (R199.95, Boardmans) and Message in a teacup (R199, Typo). Mix polka dots (Teacup and saucer, R349, Superbalist) with florals to create a whimsical and fun table (Madonna rose cup and saucer, R249.95, Boardmans).
Tip me over and pour me out! You definitely don’t want to be pouring water out of a kettle so make sure you have at least two traditional teapots for your table. We love the pink rose teapot for something fun and whimsical, and the clear glass tea infuser for something more chic (R629.95 and R269.96, Boardmans).
Three cheers for a three-tiered cake stand! Nothing says high tea quite like displaying tarts and cakes on a pretty cake stand (R499, Home Etc.). Collect an array of them in different shapes and sizes for a layered effect.
Add fresh flowers. Pick a few daisies from your garden or grab a bunch of roses at the shops and divide them into small vases to place along your table.
Check your teatime tools. If you’re serving anything soft and sticky then make sure you have some cake forks and cocktail serviettes to keep things tidy. Dust off your teaspoons and find a dainty milk jug and sugar pot (Royal azalea sugar pot, R175, Boardmans) to put on the table. You’ll need cups and saucers as well as cake plates (R99, Home Etc.) for the eats – don’t expect your guests to put their snacks on their saucers!
Be creative. If you have more teacups than guests, then think outside the box and use your cups to hold flowers, candles or sugar cubes. Decorate your table with old books and clocks and add a fun touch by using scrabble tiles to spell out cute teatime messages or use them to label your treats.
Satisfy your sweet tooth. Serve favourites like freshly made scones smothered in strawberry jam and cream along with vanilla cupcakes, biscotti and chocolate-covered strawberries. And don’t be afraid to combine homemade with store-bought sweets.
Throw in something savoury. It’s a tea party not a cocktail party, but not everyone can handle a plate full of sweet treats. Finger sandwiches are easy to make and affordable. Cut off the crusts, cut into little triangles and fill with egg mayo, salmon and cream cheese or cucumber.
The pièce de résistance – the tea. You don’t have to have tea leaves and a strainer, but make sure you have different flavour tea bags for your guests to choose from. Earl Grey and SA favourite rooibos, are great choices if you want to brew a pot or two in advance, but for something new and exciting, try a cup of Twinings Indian Chai Tea (R88.99, Pick n Pay) or some Dilmah Jasmine Tea (R36.49, Pick n Pay). If it’s a very hot day you can also offer one or two flavours of iced tea.
FANCY A CUPPA?
It’s easy to throw a fancy tea party and you can find everything you need in the RCS shopping network. There are over 23 000 stores to browse so you’re guaranteed to find the perfect teapot or cake stand in no time.
* Prices were correct at time of publication, but are subject to change.