Setting an Elegant Tea Table

Gathering Tea Table Linens

1. Search Good Will Stores and yard sales to find dainty linens to use.

2. If you have plenty of time and have a sewing machine, make your own table linens.  Although there are many ready-made table linens, you can make linens that are more beautiful, and  they are more special to those attending your parties because you made them.

  • Measure your table’s length and width, and the height from floor to tabletop.
  • Purchase solid or printed cotton cloth to cover the tabletop.
  • Leave a minimum 12-inch to full-length floor-to-tabletop overhang on each side.
  • Make your tablecloth floor length on all sides for a formal, banquet-hall appearance.
  • Sew lace or eyelet to the edges of your tablecloth.
  • Make matching or contrasting cloth napkins if you wish, or purchase cloth napkins in complementary colors or patterns. Use printed napkins with solid tablecloths and solid-color napkins with printed tablecloths, or the patterns and colors may clash.

Gathering  Tableware

1. Gather enough tea pots that you can use one teapot for every 10 guests. Place 1 pot at the end of  each table. You can use loose-leaf tea or teabags. If using loose-leaf tea, make sure you have a tea ball for each pot.

2. For each table, use decorative service platters for each type of finger sandwich.

3. Serve sugar cubes and lemon wedges, arranged on a tray, and serve cream in cream pitchers that match your teapot. Provide sugar tongs at each table with your sugar trays.

4. You can use teacups, saucers and dessert plates that match your teapot and cream pitcher for formal teas, but mismatched cups, saucers, and dessert plates look beautiful.

5. Provide a silver or fine stainless-steel spoon and a dessert fork per guest.

6. Fold cloth napkins into attractive shapes and place them on each plate, along with a handwritten place card for each guest.

Presenting Food

1. Cut finger sandwiches into quarters, with crusts removed. Line serving trays with fresh spring greens, or lettuce leaves. Stack sandwiches in a floral patterns and garnish with fresh herbs.

2. Arrange ladyfingers, macaroons, or other cookies on a tiered tray. Garnish with candied or real edible flowers.

3. Place fresh fruit in individual dessert papers and place on a serving platter. Garnish with edible  greenery.

4. Use fresh flowers and greenery to decorate the table as needed. Avoid centerpieces taller than 12 inches.

An opening line  for a Tea Party Program

Having tea together reminds us of gentler times of long ago when the ladies were able to sit down, relax, and enjoy drinking tea with their friends. We have set aside this time for you to relax, to forget your worries, and to enjoy each other’s company.