How to host a classic Afternoon Tea Party

Afternoon Tea brings loved ones and friends of all ages together. With lockdown keeping us separated for so long, why not host an extra special Tea Party to let everyone catch up. Keep it classic, or add pizzazz and atmosphere? The choice is yours.

  1. Dress for Tea

The aristocracy dressed smartly for Afternoon Tea. To make your event an occasion, why not add ‘dress up!” to your invitation? Of course, being ‘smart’ need not be uncomfortable. Afternoon Tea suggests gorgeous summer dresses, light cottons, vintage florals or bright colours for women. For men, trousers and linen shirts with a jacket thrown over the shoulder are in order. Altogether a truly delightful and quintessentially English image.

But if you fancy something different…

  1. Choose a Musical Theme!

Afternoon Tea is traditionally British, and so are our wonderful theatres. A West End Musical theme will ignite imagination, and everyone will find a character they love. Choose one Musical so that everyone blends (Hair could be amusing!) or let your guests decide. You might find a Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, Jean Val Jean from Les Misérables, Che from Evita, an escaped animal from The Lion King – or even a stray moggie from Cats eating cake and sipping tea at the same table.

A theme can be whatever you decide. The Great Gatsby is certainly a classy favourite, but what about going futuristic with Star Trek, or a circus theme with The Greatest Showman? At Prospero Events, our specialty is adding a theatrical atmosphere and live music to any occasion. Tell us your theme, and we will supply not only a sumptuous Afternoon Tea, but musicians and entertainers too.

  1. Select Quality Tea

The essence of a successful Afternoon Tea is an excellent selection of high quality tea. It will give a sense of importance, be a talking point, and allow your guests to choose what they prefer, rather than what they are given.

Prospero has selected English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Green Tea, Peppermint and Lemon and Ginger. Our loose teas are Darjeeling and Assam. It’s hard to believe, but some guests actually prefer coffee to tea. We use coffee from Ozone, artisan coffee roasters in Shoreditch. Younger guests not yet initiated into the world of tea will be pleased with a selection of squashes or other soft drinks.  

  1. Take your Time.

Ah… we rush around so much in the modern world, so allow plenty of time for everyone to unwind. Tasty sandwiches and delicious cakes need not be wolfed down in an hour. Instead, let them be savoured and enjoyed. Your event is about bringing people together. If they haven’t seen one another for a long time, tea will help to break the ice. After that, they can mingle and mix – relaxing as the afternoon goes on. At Prospero Events we find that allowing 2 hours for a classic Afternoon Tea without performers works well. With our musical or theatrical Afternoon Teas we suggest up to 3 hours. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss how we can help with your bespoke requirements.

  1. Fabulous Food

Afternoon Tea should be high quality, freshly made, and offer a selection to tempt every taste bud. It takes time to create elegant plates of delightful food, beautifully presented and packed with flavour. You certainly don’t want sandwiches to dry out or flop. Allowing someone else to take care of ‘all that’ will mean you can enjoy time with your guests.

Sandwich Selection

Traditional Afternoon Tea is associated with summer when sumptuous salmon and cooling cucumber sandwiches are perfect accompaniments to a hot day. For our Traditional Afternoon Tea parties, we always offer our Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraiche & Dill and Simple Cucumber fillings – but we also have our own specials such as Wiltshire Ham with Mango Chutney or Dill Mustard that go down a storm. We can cater or all your favourites, vegan, vegetarian or special requests and dietray requirements.

Cakes and Sweet Treats

We all have our favourites, don’t we? After much deliberating (and happy sampling!) Prospero chose: Raspberry & Ginger Cheesecake Pot; Little Pistachio Cakes: Mini Eclairs; Raspberry Millefeuilles; Lemon Drizzle Cake; Chocolate Tea-pots; Fresh Strawberries & Chocolate Sauce; Lemon Posset with shortbread.

  1. Where’s the Scone Gone?

Traditionally, Afternoon Tea did not include scones. Added during the early 20th century, they are now a classic ingredient. Clotted cream from Devon and Cornwall became popular as the railways enabled the transportation of fresh food. There is, however, an ongoing debate on what should go on the scone first: jam, or cream? (Apparently, The Queen prefers jam first, with cream on top!) Scones come in a range of varieties, including cheese. Prospero has selected a mouth-watering homemade fruit scone, served with strawberry preserve or apricot compote, clotted cream and butter.

  1. Bone China Cups and Vintage Table Decor

Tea should be taken in a bone china cup. Bone china keeps your tea hotter for longer. It also doesn’t absorb the tea’s flavours, allowing you to taste it at its best. In fact, scientists have proved that the smooth surface of a bone china cup or mug keeps the natural tannins in the tea from sticking to the side. Not only that, according to Professor Andrea Sella from University College London, we find the sounds of a teaspoon “clinking against its hard surface” comforting – which means it’s relaxing, too.

Prospero has cupboards brimming with beautiful bone china cups, serving plates and cake stands. We also supply vintage Victorian tablecloths and appropriate cutlery. However, your guests are dressed on the day, they will appreciate that lovely touch.

Offering champagne or other special ‘fizz’ at your Afternoon Tea makes it a celebration. Brilliant for bridal showers, baby showers, anniversaries, and birthdays. Or simply raising a toast to spending time with your lovely friends and family again.

In Summary:

  • Jazz up your Afternoon Tea with a theme
  • Dress up for tradition – or for fun.
  • Select quality teas and food.
  • Bone china and tablecloths are a must!
  • Allow plenty of time for talk and relaxation.
  • Add musicians and entertainment for atmosphere.
  • Bubbly champagne creates a feeling of celebration.

Now, to plan your Afternoon Tea

That’s just some ideas we have to make your Afternoon Tea party special. The biggest one is to hire a party planner like us. From intimate ‘tea for two’ occasions to catering for over a hundred guests, we can provide everything you need, including singers and musicians, for your guests to be wowed and pampered. We are professional party planners with a theatrical edge, and Afternoon Tea parties are our speciality. Contact us today and Book a free consultation call.