33 Delightful Tea Party Ideas for a Charming Afternoon 2024

Published on Jun 22nd 2024
tea party ideas

Simple and elegant tea party ideas can turn a regular afternoon into a delightful gathering of friends. The concept of afternoon tea has been around for centuries.

It’s believed to have started with The seventh Dutchess of Bedford, who wanted to enjoy a small afternoon snack before the evening meal at 8 o’clock, according to Swan London.

The Dutchess would have tea, bread, butter and cake at 4 pm and soon began inviting her friends to enjoy the meal with her. Soon, afternoon tea spread into the noble upper class before spreading to the masses.

Now, afternoons teas and tea parties are often hosted by high-end hotels and tea houses or as a party on special occasions. They’re also common for young kids to play pretend.

However, you don’t need to wait to have a special occasion or go to an upscale hotel to have a tea party with your friends. With a few tea party ideas, you can host your own.

So, how do you throw a simple tea party? It’s quite simple to transform your dining room, living room or backyard into an elegant and fun event for your friends. We’ve rounded up 33 tea party ideas you can get inspired by.

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Tea Party Decoration Ideas

1. Seasonal Centerpiece

What should be included in a tea party? One great place to start is with the décor and tablescape. While many people think of tea parties as a spring or summer event, you can have a tea party all year long.

Seasonal centerpieces make great tea party ideas to dress up your party. Choose flowers that are in season for the bouquet. In the fall, you can add gourds or accent with paper snowflakes in the winter.

centerpiece flowers tea party ideas
via Canva

2. Teabag Name Cards

Use a teabag for a cheeky and creative decoration. This fun tea party idea will delight guests as they find their place at the table and sit down. You can create custom decals or use letter stickers to add each guest’s name onto a teabag.

Or, you can order custom teabags if you don’t want to DIY. These name cards can also double as party favors that guests can take home with them.

3. Stack Colorful Plates

A pretty table setting is one of the best tea party ideas. Many people may use china or fancy plates, however, it’s not always necessary. You can find pretty and sturdy party plates. Consider mixing and matching colors and patterns to create dynamic place settings.

4. Layer Your Linens

Layering your linens is an easy way to decorate your event. Choose a color scheme, then mix and match those colors with a tablecloth, table running and cloth napkins.

This can add texture that makes the table more visually interesting. You can also use it to highlight certain details like a tea party cake or a selection of teas.

5. Accent With Taper Candles 

Along with flowers on the table, you can also accent with taper candles. Choose candles within your color scheme to place around your table.

This can give a modern touch to high tea party ideas for adults. Plus, lighting them can create cozy and intimate accent lighting for your event.

tapered candles in brown bags
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Tea Party Menu Ideas

6. Classic Finger Sandwiches

Finger sandwiches are the quintessential tea party foods. While it’s not necessary to have finger sandwiches to make it a tea party, they’re often a hit.

There are a variety of flavors you can choose from, but a classic is cucumber with dill cream cheese. If you’re looking for tea party ideas that feel more traditional, finger sandwiches are the go-to choice.

7. Glazed Bundt Cakes

Mini bundt cakes make sweet tea party food ideas that are sure to delight guests. They’re also versatile, allowing you to choose a variety of flavors that fit the season and theme of your party.

Adding a sweet glaze can help elevate the cake as well. These will be a hit for dessert at the end of the party.

8. Refreshing Crostini

If you’re looking for high tea party ideas for adults, refreshing crostini will certainly hit the spot. Crisp bread topped with fresh tomatoes, onions and cheese is easy to make on the day of your party. A variety of finger food ideas will have your party guests’ mouths watering.

9. Madeleines

Madeleines are an airy, bite-sized dessert that makes the perfect tea party cake. Traditionally, they’re a buttery vanilla-lemon cake, but they can also be dipped in chocolate or icing, topped with powdered sugar or come in different flavors.

They’re the perfect tea party idea because you can have a variety of them to serve guests.

orange madeleines tea party ideas for menu
via Canva

10. Lemon Bars

Sweet and tart lemon bars are one of the most delicious tea party ideas. These are especially great in the spring and summer to add a refreshing dessert to the menu. Their bright color also makes them a pretty treat to display, doubling as décor.

11. Savory Sausage Rolls

If you’re looking for savory tea party food ideas, sausage rolls are a popular option. These can have spicy or traditional sausage wrapped in a puff pastry.

You can also whip up a couple of sauces to pair with the sausage rolls. A good selection of party food can ensure the event’s success.

12. Sweet and Savory Scones

Another common tea party idea when it comes to food is scones. Scones come in a variety of flavors, from fruity sweet options to mouthwatering savory ones.

You can have a variety of scones that guests can have throughout the meal. They also make a great companion to tea.

RELATED: 29 Best Tea Party Foods for an Elegant Afternoon in 2024

Tea Party Outfit Ideas

13. Vintage and Antique

Lean into the traditional side of tea parties and set a vintage and antique dress code. Guests can come in old-timey clothes and styles, which can feel like an elevated costume party. Pair this dress code with vintage tea party ideas like an old teapot or vintage china set.

women dressed in vintage tea party attire
via Canva

14. Pretty Pastels

Many people associate pastels with tea parties in the first place. So, if you’re looking for tea party ideas for ladies, consider a dress code of pastels.

This theme works especially well in the spring when pastels are often on-trend. When your guests arrive, you’ll see a rainbow of colors around your table.

15. Creative Florals

In the spring or summer, you can have a garden-themed tea party with a dress code of creative florals. With these tea party outfit ideas, guests can have a little fun with the items they choose to wear as long as they come in florals. It can be floral print or floral accessories that add a bright pop to the look and party.

16. Whimsical Dress Code

Host a tea party with a whimsical dress code. With this, you’ll often see guests have different tea party outfit ideas, but that’s what can make it fun.

Whimsical theme party ideas can feel like a fairytale, with flowers and vines as part of the décor and bright colors in the decorations. There are plenty of tea party ideas that will make this event come to life.

17. Fancy Flowy Dresses

Have everyone dress up with this tea party idea for ladies. Pretty, flowy dresses can have a garden or fairy-like feel to them. It can be fun for guests to dress up and wear a dress they don’t usually get to wear.  

floral dresses tea party ideas
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Simple Tea Party Ideas at Home

18. Teacup Candles

This can be a fun DIY that can create a unique piece of décor for your tea party. Find a couple of sturdy ceramic teacups and candlemaking supplies.

Add the wick to the bottom of the teacup and pour melted wax inside. Once it cools, it makes a cool piece of décor that doubles as a Mad Hatter tea party idea.

19. Make Your Own Tea Blend

Of course, you’ll want to have tea at your tea party. However, if you want to make it even more memorable, consider making your own tea blend.

Using a tea base, you can add ingredients, spices and herbs to create a custom tea for your guests to enjoy. Do this easy tea party idea at home for a unique touch.

20. Paper Flowers Décor

Real flowers can be expensive, so if you’re looking for a simple and inexpensive way to decorate for a tea party, consider paper flowers.

You can DIY this tea party idea or buy pre-made paper flowers that you can install quickly. These go well with summer party themes to add color and texture to the event.

21. Decorate With Tiered Dessert Stands

If you don’t want to use a lot of décor, use your dessert as the decoration. Find a couple of dessert stands and fill them with the sweet treats and display them around the party.

Use stands of different heights to create visual interest. This is also a great tea party birthday idea to display the cake.

tiered cake stand with desserts for tea party decor
via Canva

22. Use Fresh Herbs on Place Settings 

Simple tea party ideas at home can have a big impact on the décor. You can use fresh herbs at each place setting to add some color and texture to the table.

Consider using sprigs of sage, lavender or rosemary placed delicately on the cloth napkin or on a plate. They can also add a subtle, pleasant scent to the tablescape.

Outdoor Tea Party Ideas

23. Use Glass Cake Domes

You spend a lot of time and money to have beautiful desserts for your tea party. The last thing you want is for bugs to get on the desserts and ruin them.

Glass cake domes are an essential outdoor tea party idea that will protect all your sweet treats while allowing you to still display them before they’re eaten.

24. Make It Comfy With Pillows

Add some indoor comfort to your outdoor tea party by adding comfortable pillows. Look for large, plushy pillows for this tea party idea and place them on the ground or chairs around the table.

This will allow your guests to linger and be comfortable while enjoying the tea and treats.

25. String Lanterns Overhead

If you’re hosting a tea party outside or looking for adult birthday party ideas, consider stringing lanterns overhead. This tea party idea will add some textured décor to your backyard, which can aid in the atmosphere of your tea party.

If you and your guests want to linger into the evening, these lanterns can add a soft glow to the party.

string lanterns hanging in trees
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26. Hang Floating Flowers

This pretty outdoor tea party idea will turn your backyard or patio into a whimsical garden. You’ll need real or plastic flowers, invisible string and a needle.

Use a needle to string the flowers together. Once all the flowers are on the string, you can hang the string up over the backyard to create the effect of floating flowers.

27. Hold Tea Bags in Antique Tins

A simple piece of décor can create a charming detail for your party. If you’re looking for vintage tea party ideas, this is the best way to incorporate it.

Thrift or buy antique tins or jars to hold the tea bags for the party. You can set them up on a table and label them, allowing guests to serve themselves tea.

Children's Tea Party Ideas

28. Decorative Paper Plates

KIds’ parties can get a little hectic, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have pretty decorations. Make them child-friendly by using decorative paper plates.

Tie them into a children's tea party idea by looking for a design with pastel colors, scalloped edges or ones that mimic a china pattern. Those little details add an extra touch.

29. Have an Alice and Wonderland Theme

Take a page from Alice and Wonderland for the theme of your tea party. There are plenty of Alice in Wonderland tea party ideas that can transform your home or backyard into a magical space for a tea party.

Have the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter hosting. Take inspiration from Mad Hatter tea party ideas with the color scheme and décor of the party.

alice and wonderland mad hatter tea party theme with child and mother dressed as mad hatter
via Canva

30. Tiny Kid-Friendly Sandwiches

Adult finger sandwiches don’t always match kids’ palates. Take inspiration from traditional tea sandwiches for this tea party idea for kids.

You can make miniature versions of kid-friendly sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly and ham and cheese. This tea party idea will make them feel like they’re at a real, elegant tea party while still being appetizing.

31. Serve Fruit Teas and Juices

Kids most likely won’t like a strong, herbal or earthy tea. But that doesn’t mean they should miss out on the tea party fun. This tea party idea is a little more palatable for kids.

Teas that are fruit-forward are a good alternative to herbal teams. And if they really don’t want tea, you can serve juice instead.

32. Host Tea Party Games

With kids’ parties, it’s all about keeping the fun going. Games are going to be a children's tea party idea that’s an absolute hit. Make a themed bingo or scavenger hunt.

Or combine them with Alice in Wonderland tea party ideas and make the game about going through Wonderland. Keeping the kids engaged will make the party even more memorable.

33. A Variety of Cake Pops 

Bite-sized treats kids will love will always go over well. Cake pops are one of the best tea party ideas for kids since they’re a whimsical treat that can easily fit the theme.

You can also have a variety of flavors, so every guest can find one they like. Cake pops also make great tea party birthday ideas as an alternative to birthday cake or even a favor to take home.

cake pops tea party idea for kids
via Canva

These fun tea party ideas create a guide to host your own tea party that is sure to delight your guests. For some people, tea parties can have a connotation of being upscale or formal events.

However, that doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t have to go to a fancy hotel or dedicated tea house to enjoy the elegance and fun of a tea party.

When you host a tea party in your own home, you can make it as fancy or casual as you want. Whether you plan a modern theme or stick with traditional tea party ideas, enjoy an afternoon with your friends with good food and pretty decorations.

For even more fun party ideas, check out other experiences happening on Classpop!