The tradition of high tea, with its dainty treats, elegant teapots, and refined ambiance, has charmed tea enthusiasts for centuries. Originating in Britain in the 19th century, high tea quickly became a symbol of sophistication and social gatherings.
In modern times, hosting a High Tea Party for adults offers a wonderful opportunity to relive this timeless tradition and create an unforgettable experience for your guests.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, hosting a bridal shower, or simply indulging in a delightful afternoon with friends, a High Tea Party presents the perfect setting to showcase elegance and charm.
In this article, we will explore a variety of enchanting ideas to help you elevate your High Tea Party and make it a truly memorable affair.
High tea: What is it?
High tea, often confused with afternoon tea, is a traditional British meal that originated in the 19th century. It is a formal tea service that is typically served in the late afternoon or early evening, and it is more substantial than afternoon tea, often serving as a light meal rather than a mere snack.
The term “high tea” is believed to have come from the use of tall dining tables, where the meal was served. Unlike afternoon tea, which was traditionally enjoyed by the upper classes as a social event, high tea was originally a working-class meal served after a day of labor or as a late supper for the lower and middle classes.
High tea usually includes a combination of savory and sweet dishes, and the menu can vary depending on regional and cultural influences. Typical components of a high tea menu may include:
- Savory items: Sandwiches, quiches, sausage rolls, savory tarts, and other light savory bites.
- Bread: Scones, bread rolls, or toast served with butter and preserves.
- Cakes and Pastries: Tea cakes, fruitcakes, tarts, and other sweet treats.
- Biscuits: A variety of sweet biscuits and cookies.
- Tea: High-quality tea, often served with milk and sugar.
- hot dishes– meat pies, stews, or eggs may also be served as part of a more substantial high tea.
Unlike afternoon tea, which is typically served with fine china and delicate teacups, high tea is often presented with more sturdy crockery and mugs.
It’s essential to note that the terms “afternoon tea” and “high tea” are often used interchangeably outside of the UK, which can lead to confusion. However, in the UK, they refer to distinct tea services with different origins and connotations.
Pick a fantastic theme
A High Tea Party for adults can be an elegant and sophisticated affair, and choosing the right theme can add an extra layer of fun and excitement. Here are some fantastic themes to consider for your High Tea Party:
- Vintage Garden Party
Transport your guests back in time with a vintage garden theme. Use pastel-colored decorations, vintage teapots and cups, and floral arrangements. Encourage guests to dress in their finest vintage attire.
- Alice in Wonderland
Create a whimsical and magical atmosphere inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. Decorate with playing cards, teacups, and oversized flowers. Have “Eat Me” and “Drink Me” labels on the treats and drinks.
- Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Take the Alice in Wonderland theme a step further and make it all about the Mad Hatter. Ask guests to wear crazy hats and set up quirky decorations like teapots on stacks of books and mismatched tea cups.
- Parisian Chic
Bring the elegance of Paris to your tea party with a Parisian Chic theme. Use Eiffel Tower decorations, macarons, and French pastries. Play French music in the background and encourage guests to dress in chic fashion.
- Downton Abbey-Inspired
Pay homage to the British aristocracy with a Downton Abbey-inspired theme. Decorate with vintage tea sets, candelabras, and elegant table settings. Encourage guests to dress in their best Edwardian attire.
- Around the World Tea Adventure
Take your guests on a global tea journey by featuring teas from various countries. Decorate each table to represent a different country with its unique tea traditions and delicacies.
- Tiffany Blue Tea Party
Embrace the iconic Tiffany Blue color for your party theme. Use white and Tiffany Blue decorations, and serve treats inspired by the famous jeweler.
- Literary Tea Party
Celebrate the love of reading by incorporating themes from classic literature. Each table could represent a different book, and the decorations and treats could reflect the stories.
- Hollywood Glamour
Bring the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood to your tea party. Decorate with gold accents, red carpets, and classic movie posters. Encourage guests to dress up as their favorite Hollywood icons.
- Masquerade Ball
Add an air of mystery and excitement with a masquerade ball-themed high tea party. Provide masks for guests to wear and decorate the venue with opulent masks and feathers.
Remember to consider your guests’ preferences and interests when choosing a theme, and don’t forget to send out creative invitations that match the theme to build anticipation for the event. Enjoy planning your fantastic High Tea Party!
Make them posh dishes
Creating a posh and elegant menu for a High Tea Party for adults involves serving refined and delectable dishes that complement the sophisticated atmosphere. Here are some posh dishes to consider:
- Smoked Salmon Canapés:
Serve delicate, bite-sized canapés with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and fresh dill on crustless bread or blinis.
- Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Classic and refreshing, these sandwiches are made with thinly sliced cucumbers and cream cheese on thinly sliced white or whole-grain bread.
- Lobster Salad Rolls
Elevate the traditional lobster roll by serving it in a smaller, more refined size, using fresh lobster and a light dressing in a buttered and toasted mini roll.
- Foie Gras with Fig Compote
Offer a luxurious option with seared foie gras served on toasted brioche rounds and accompanied by a sweet fig compote.
- Mini Quiches
Prepare a variety of mini quiches with different fillings like spinach and feta, caramelized onion and gruyere, and smoked salmon and dill.
- Truffled Mushroom Tartlets
Delight guests with savory tartlets filled with a mixture of wild mushrooms, truffle oil, and creamy goat cheese.
- Shrimp Cocktail Shooters
Serve chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce in shot glasses for an elegant and easy-to-eat appetizer.
- Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam
Offer traditional scones, both plain and flavored (such as cranberry-orange or lemon-blueberry), served with clotted cream and an assortment of jams.
- Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
Elevate the presentation of strawberries by dipping them in high-quality melted chocolate and letting them set before serving.
- French Macarons
Provide a variety of delicate and colorful macarons in flavors like raspberry, pistachio, lemon, and lavender.
- Mini Fruit Tarts
Prepare mini tartlets filled with pastry cream and topped with fresh seasonal fruits like berries, kiwi, and peaches.
- Petit Fours
Display an assortment of dainty petit fours, including miniature cakes, tarts, and pastries, all beautifully decorated.
- Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Infuse classic shortbread cookies with a hint of culinary lavender for a fragrant and sophisticated treat.
- Earl Grey or Darjeeling Tea
Offer a selection of high-quality loose-leaf teas, including Earl Grey and Darjeeling, to pair perfectly with the sweet and savory items on the menu.
Remember to pay attention to presentation and use elegant serving platters and tiered stands to display the food beautifully. Additionally, offering a mix of sweet and savory dishes ensures there’s something for every guest’s palate. Enjoy your posh High Tea Party!
Send Stylish Invitations
Creating stylish invitations is a wonderful way to set the tone for your High Tea Party for adults and build excitement among your guests. Here are some elegant and stylish invitation ideas:
- Vintage Tea Cup Invitations
Design invitations in the shape of vintage teacups or teapots. Use pastel-colored cardstock or elegant textured paper to add a touch of sophistication. You can also add a ribbon or a small fabric doily to complete the vintage look.
- Floral Elegance
Choose invitations adorned with delicate floral patterns or watercolor floral illustrations. Opt for a soft color palette to evoke a sense of elegance and grace.
- Tea Bag Tag Invitations
Create tea bag-shaped invitations with a tag that includes the event details. You can attach a real tea bag with a string for an interactive touch.
- Handwritten Calligraphy
Use handwritten calligraphy for an upscale and personal touch. Consider using gold or silver ink on dark-colored cardstock for a luxurious look.
- Gatefold Invitations
Design invitations that fold inwards like a gate to reveal the event details inside. Decorate the front with intricate designs or embellishments.
- Lace-Edged Invitations
Trim the edges of the invitations with lace or paper lace borders to add a delicate and sophisticated touch.
- Embossed Designs
Opt for embossed invitations with raised patterns or elegant monograms for a luxurious and tactile feel.
- Silk or Satin Ribbons
Attach silk or satin ribbons to the invitations for an added touch of elegance. Choose ribbons in complementary colors to the overall theme.
- Tea Party Collage
Create a collage of teacups, teapots, flowers, and other tea-themed elements on the invitation for a whimsical and charming design.
- 3D Teapot Invitations
Design invitations in the shape of a teapot, with the top opening to reveal the event details inside.
- Wax Seal
Add a wax seal with a personalized monogram or a tea-related motif to give the invitations a classic and refined touch.
- Teacup Pocket Invitations
Create pocket-style invitations in the shape of teacups, with the event details printed on small cards that fit inside the teacup.
- Vintage Postcard Style
Design invitations in the style of vintage postcards, complete with delicate illustrations and old-fashioned fonts.
- Tea Time Illustrations
Create custom illustrations featuring teapots, teacups, and delicate tea party settings to make the invitations unique and eye-catching.
Remember to include all the necessary event details, such as the date, time, location, RSVP information, and any dress code if applicable. Choose high-quality paper or cardstock for printing, and consider adding a personal touch, such as a handwritten note, to make the invitations extra special.
Select a fitting tea
When hosting a High Tea Party for adults, offering a selection of high-quality teas is essential to create an elegant and enjoyable experience. Here are some good tea brands and types to consider:
A well-known and reputable tea brand that offers a wide variety of classic and flavored teas. Their Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Lady Grey teas are popular choices.
- Harney & Sons
Known for their premium teas, Harney & Sons provides a diverse selection of black, green, white, and herbal teas. Their Paris blend and Hot Cinnamon Spice tea are particularly popular for special occasions.
- Mariage Frères
A luxury tea brand from France, Mariage Frères offers a range of exquisite blends, including Marco Polo, Earl Grey French Blue, and Wedding Imperial.
- Fortnum & Mason
A prestigious British tea brand, Fortnum & Mason offers a collection of fine teas, such as Royal Blend, Afternoon Blend, and Assam Superb.
- Taylors of Harrogate
This Yorkshire-based tea company provides a range of high-quality teas, including Yorkshire Gold, Assam, and various fruit and herbal infusions.
- Mighty Leaf Tea
Known for their handcrafted whole-leaf tea pouches, Mighty Leaf offers a selection of artisanal teas like Organic Spring Jasmine, Bombay Chai, and African Nectar.
- Kusmi Tea
A French tea brand with a blend of traditional and modern flavors. Their Anastasia, Prince Vladimir, and Detox blends are well-regarded.
- Ahmad Tea
Offering a variety of teas from classic black teas to herbal infusions, Ahmad Tea is a trusted brand for quality and taste.
- Clipper Teas
A brand known for its organic and fair-trade teas, Clipper offers an array of options, including English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and various fruit and herbal teas.
If you’re looking for unique and exciting tea blends, DAVIDsTEA is a great choice. They offer a wide range of flavored teas and herbal infusions.
Types of Tea to Include:
- Earl Grey
A classic black tea infused with the flavor of bergamot orange.
- English Breakfast
A robust black tea blend, perfect for morning tea service.
A light and delicate black tea from the Darjeeling region of India.
- Green Tea
Offer a high-quality, pure green tea and perhaps a flavored option like jasmine green tea.
- Herbal Infusions
Include caffeine-free options like chamomile, peppermint, and fruity blends.
A bold and malty black tea, ideal for tea enthusiasts who prefer a stronger brew.
Remember to provide a variety of milk, sugar, honey, and lemon wedges to accompany the teas. And don’t forget to educate your guests about the teas available, allowing them to appreciate the flavors and aromas as they sip and socialize during the High Tea Party.
Live music is enjoyable!
When selecting live music for a High Tea Party for adults, you’ll want to choose options that complement the elegant and sophisticated atmosphere while providing a pleasant backdrop for conversation and enjoyment.
Here are some excellent live music ideas:
- Classical Ensemble
A string quartet, harpist, or classical pianist can add a touch of refinement to the event. Their soothing melodies and timeless classics create a serene ambiance.
- Jazz Trio or Quartet
Jazz music is a versatile choice that can adapt to the ambiance of a High Tea Party. A jazz trio or quartet playing soft and smooth tunes will create a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere.
- Acoustic Guitarist
An acoustic guitarist performing instrumental arrangements of popular songs and classics can bring a relaxed and mellow vibe to the event.
- Piano Player
A skilled pianist can play a mix of classical, jazz, and popular tunes, providing a diverse and enjoyable musical experience.
- Vocalist with Pianist or Guitarist
A talented singer accompanied by a pianist or guitarist can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to the tea party. They can perform a selection of jazz standards, ballads, and light pop songs.
- Chamber Music Ensemble
A chamber music group, such as a flute and guitar duo or a violin and cello duo, can perform a mix of classical and light contemporary pieces.
- Bossa Nova Band
For a more exotic and laid-back atmosphere, consider hiring a Bossa Nova band. Their Brazilian rhythms and smooth melodies will add a touch of sophistication.
- Folk Music Duo
A folk music duo with acoustic instruments like guitar and violin can create a warm and inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy.
- Celtic Music Band
If you want to infuse a bit of Celtic charm into the event, a traditional Celtic music band with instruments like fiddles, harps, and flutes can be a delightful choice.
- Lounge Singer
A lounge singer with a smooth and soulful voice can entertain guests with a mix of jazz, blues, and easy-listening songs.
Remember to coordinate with the musicians beforehand and provide them with information about the event’s theme and the type of music you’d like them to perform. Live music can elevate the High Tea Party experience and create lasting memories for your guests.
Set the Tables with Nice Décor
Setting the tables with nice decor is crucial to creating an inviting and elegant atmosphere for a High Tea Party for adults. Here are some ideas to help you create a beautiful table setting:
Use high-quality fine china with delicate patterns or elegant solid colors. Provide matching teacups and saucers for each guest, or consider mixing and matching vintage teacups for a charming touch.
Opt for crisp, clean tablecloths or table runners in pastel shades or classic white. Consider using lace or embroidered napkins to add a touch of sophistication.
- Tiered Stands
Display a variety of sweet and savory treats on tiered stands to create an attractive centerpiece. Use stands in different heights for visual interest.
- Floral Centerpieces
Arrange fresh flower bouquets or small floral arrangements as centerpieces. Stick to soft and pastel-colored blooms to maintain a light and elegant feel.
- Place Cards
Create personalized place cards for each guest to add a thoughtful and refined touch to the table. You can use decorative place card holders or tie the cards to the teacup handles with ribbons.
- Vintage Teapots and Silverware
Place vintage teapots as decorative elements on the table. Use polished silverware to add a touch of luxury and formality.
Add a warm and romantic glow to the table with scented or unscented candles in elegant candleholders. Opt for tea lights or small votive candles for safety and convenience.
- Name Tags for Teas
If you’re serving a variety of teas, create small labels or tags indicating the name of each tea and place them near the corresponding teapots.
- Charming Place Settings
Pay attention to the placement of teacups, saucers, plates, and utensils to create a visually appealing place setting. Fold napkins neatly or use napkin rings for an added touch of elegance.
- Ribbon Accents
Tie satin or organza ribbons around the teapots, napkins, or cutlery to add a touch of sophistication and cohesion to the table.
- Vintage Books
Stack vintage books with beautiful covers to add height and a touch of old-world charm to the table.
- Decorative Plates and Dessert Stands
Use decorative plates or dessert stands to serve the sweets and treats. Opt for plates with intricate designs or patterns that complement the theme.
- Elegant Drinkware
If you’re offering beverages other than tea, choose elegant drinkware for serving water, juice, or champagne.
Remember to keep the table decor cohesive with your chosen theme and color scheme. With attention to detail and a touch of creativity, your High Tea Party table setting will undoubtedly impress your guests and set the stage for a delightful afternoon of tea and conversation.
Plan some activities
Certainly! Here are some fun and engaging activities for an adult’s High Tea Party:
- Tea Tasting and Pairing
Set up a tea-tasting station with a selection of different teas. Provide tasting cards so guests can jot down their impressions. Pair each tea with suitable treats and pastries to enhance the flavor experience.
- Hat Contest
Encourage guests to wear stylish hats and hold a hat contest. Award prizes for the most creative, elegant, or unique hats. Guests can take turns modeling their hats, and everyone can vote for their favorites.
- Tea Etiquette Quiz
Create a quiz or game about tea etiquette and table manners. Guests can form teams and compete to test their knowledge of tea traditions and proper etiquette.
- Tea-Infused Cocktails
Offer a special segment where a mixologist demonstrates how to create tea-infused cocktails. Guests can sample the drinks and enjoy a mini cocktail-making class.
- DIY Tea Blending
Provide an assortment of tea leaves, dried fruits, flowers, and spices. Let guests create their own custom tea blends, which they can take home as party favors.
- Tea Trivia
Host a tea-themed trivia game with questions about tea history, origins, and cultural significance. The winning team or individual can receive a small prize.
- Tea Leaf Reading
Hire a professional tea leaf reader to offer mini readings to interested guests. This activity can add a touch of mystique and intrigue to the event.
- Tea Party Crafts
Set up a crafting station with materials for guests to decorate teacups or saucers. Guests can get creative and design their unique tea sets.
- Storytelling Session
Invite a professional storyteller or ask a friend with a knack for storytelling to share tales, anecdotes, or short stories during the tea party.
- Charity Tea Auction
Organize a charity auction where guests can bid on themed gift baskets or tea-related items. Donate the proceeds to a local charity or a cause close to the hearts of the attendees.
- Victorian Photo Booth
Set up a photo booth with props and backdrops inspired by the Victorian era. Guests can take fun and stylish photos to capture memories of the event.
- Tea and Food Pairing Workshop
Host a short workshop on pairing different teas with specific food items. Discuss how the flavors complement each other and offer tastings for the participants.
- Tea Cup Decorating
Provide plain tea cups and saucers along with paint, markers, or stickers. Guests can personalize their cups as keepsakes to remember the special occasion.
Remember to adapt the activities to fit the preferences and interests of your guests. Mix and match these ideas to create a delightful and memorable High Tea Party experience for everyone involved.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first thing to eat at a high tea?
The first thing to eat at a high tea is typically savory items, such as finger sandwiches, quiches, and bite-sized appetizers. These savory treats are served before moving on to the sweet courses, like scones with clotted cream and jam, and a variety of cakes, pastries, and biscuits.
The order of consumption allows guests to enjoy a balanced and delightful progression of flavors, from savory to sweet, creating a pleasurable and sophisticated culinary experience during the high tea event.
What is the opposite of high tea?
The opposite of high tea is low tea, also known as afternoon tea. While high tea is a substantial and more formal meal served in the late afternoon or early evening, afternoon tea is a lighter, more social affair held in the mid to late afternoon.
Afternoon tea typically includes a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of small cakes and pastries. It is served on low tables, hence the name “low tea,” and is accompanied by a variety of high-quality teas in delicate teacups, creating a refined and leisurely tea experience.
What is Sri Lanka’s number one tea?
Sri Lanka’s number one tea is Ceylon tea, which is renowned globally for its exceptional quality, flavor, and aroma. The name “Ceylon” is a historical reference to Sri Lanka’s former name. The country’s ideal climate, fertile soil, and varying elevations contribute to producing diverse and distinct tea varieties.
Ceylon tea is known for its bright, coppery liquor and delicate yet robust taste. With an industry steeped in tradition and expertise, Sri Lanka has established itself as a top tea producer and exporter, offering a wide range of black, green, white, and oolong teas that delight tea connoisseurs worldwide.