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When you think of an afternoon tea party, you may think of your childhood tea parties where you invited all the little girls in the neighborhood over to your backyard to sit around a table with pretend food and your favorite teddy bear. And though that may remain a core memory (as it should), an afternoon tea event is not just for little kids. For adults, it’s a great way to gather with friends or celebrate a special occasion – whether that be a baby shower, engagement party, bridal shower, or birthday party. (And hey, if Queen Victoria had tea time then it’s grown up enough for you.) If you are getting ready to host your adult tea party, then you’re in the right spot. I’ve got 10 decor tea party ideas for adults to help make your tea party one that you and your guests will never forget. You don’t need a reason to munch on delicious shortbread cookies and drink a pot of tea (hello, I just described my dream night routine), but a tea party is a perfect opportunity to do just that!
But before you plan your decor, first you need to plan your tea party theme. From an elegant tea party inspired by shows like Bridgerton (I’ve only seen pics) and Downton Abbey to an Alice in Wonderland and mad hatter theme, there are plenty to choose from.
Here are even more ideas to get you started:
Tea Party Theme Ideas for Adults
- Vintage tea party: Decorate with antique-inspired teacups, floral tablecloths, and lace doilies.
- English garden tea party: Create a garden theme with fresh flowers, a charming bench, and garden-inspired decorations.
- High tea party: Add sophistication with crystal glasses, silver cutlery, and elegant tea sets.
- Alice in Wonderland tea party: Create a whimsical atmosphere with colorful decorations, oversized teacups, and playing card accents.
- Parisian tea party: Bring the romance of Paris with Eiffel Tower centerpieces, macarons, and French music.
- Bohemian tea party: Add some bohemian touches with tapestries, floor cushions, and dreamcatchers.
- Rustic tea party: Create a cozy and rustic feel with wooden accents, burlap table runners, and mason jar vases.
- Holiday tea party: Celebrate the holidays with themed decor – such as a red and green color scheme, evergreen trees, and snowflakes.
- Floral tea party: Decorate with soft pastel colors, floral decor, and fresh flowers.
When sending out invitations to your tea party guests, make sure to state the dress code so your guest list feels prepared. You can even design the invitation in a way to subtly hint at the theme – or fully revealing it works too!
Tea Party Decor Ideas
1. Cake Stands
When it comes to hosting an adult tea party, the cake stand is a must-have item for any tea party theme. A beautifully decorated cake stand will not only serve as a functional item to showcase delicious treats, but it can also add a touch of elegance to your tea party decorations.
There are so many different ways to incorporate cake stands or tiered serving stands into your afternoon tea party. The most common way is to display an assortment of tea sandwiches, finger sandwiches, and yummy goodies.
Typically, each tier will hold a separate course. The first tier (working from the bottom up) will hold your savory sandwiches, the second will display your scones, and the third will hold the desserts, such as mini cupcakes, macarons, shortbread cookies, pastries, tea cakes, or cupcakes.
It’s been said to plan 3-4 tea sandwiches per guest for your tea party menu (though it’s great to plan extras). I just hosted a tea party a few weeks ago, and these were the sandwiches I made. They were a hit!
- Prosciutto, goat cheese, fresh basil, and honey
- Smoked salmon and cream cheese
- Cucumber, dill, and butter
Cut these sandwiches into small bites so your guests can have easy-to-eat finger foods.
In addition to serving as a display for delicious treats, cake stands can also be used as party favors for your tea party guests. Party favors aren’t a must-have (depending on your occasion), but they can be a nice touch!
Here’s an idea: Fill small jars with assorted tea bags, honey sticks, or small chocolates. Tie it up with a bow! This will add a personal touch to your tea party and give your guests something to remember the occasion by.
A tablecloth is the perfect decor piece to tie it all together. Choosing a high-quality fabric such as linen or lace can make a significant difference in the overall aesthetic. Or depending on your theme, such as a vintage tea party, you can select a tablecloth with delicate patterns or embroidery for a timeless look.
Whichever you chose, the tablecloth will serve as a backdrop for your place settings, fine china tea cups, and all the delectable treats on your menu. Don’t worry thinking that you need to go splurge on an elegant silk tablecloth. Think about what you already have in your linen closet. For example, I used a flat linen bedsheet and it created a beautiful, natural look!
I love it when function and decor meet. Even with serving mostly finger foods at a tea party, it’s a good idea to have some silverware for things like stirring sugar into your tea cup as well as buttering a scone. You’ll want to use silverware that matches the overall aesthetic of your event.
For example, I chose plastic gold silverware for my Parisian tea party, but you can choose silver or nickel for a classy, Downton Abbey theme.
By taking care of the selection and presentation of your silverware, you’ll add an important layer of sophistication to your tea party. Your guests will appreciate the attention to detail and the thought you put into your tea party decorations!
When hosting a tea party, it’s essential to have beautiful glassware to serve your beverages in. For tea, traditional tea cups and saucers are always a lovely touch. If you’re throwing a tea party in the South, try serving iced tea in vintage crystal glasses or delicate stemware.
You can also consider adding a splash of color to your tablescape with colored glassware. There are so many good plastic options out there, so you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg! Don’t forget to provide a variety of beverages, such as water, tea, lemonade, or champagne, to satisfy all your guests’ preferences. Cheers!
5. Fresh Flowers
Is your tea party really complete without a fresh flower or two? I think not! Fresh flowers can be a great way to add a touch of natural beauty to your tea party decor. Whether you choose a colorful bouquet of wildflowers or opt for a simple arrangement of white roses, fresh flowers add a subtle yet sophisticated element to your tablescape.
To incorporate fresh flowers into your tea party decor, consider using them in your centerpiece or placing a small vase of flowers at each place setting. You can also use flowers to add color and texture to your table runner or place them on cake stands to create a stunning dessert display.
When choosing your flowers, consider the season and the color palette you have selected for your tea party. If you are hosting a springtime tea party, for example, you might choose delicate blossoms in soft pastels or vibrant greens. For a summer tea party, bright and bold flowers such as sunflowers or dahlias can be a great choice.
When arranging your flowers, keep them simple and elegant. A small bouquet of fresh flowers in a single color can be just as impactful as a more elaborate arrangement.
Candles can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere for your guests, especially if the tea party is taking place in the evening. Use taper candles and candle sticks for an elegant touch.
To take it to the next level, choose scents that complement the overall ambiance of the party. For example, lavender or chamomile-scented candles would pair well with a calming tea party theme. With the right candles, your tea party will feel both beautiful and comforting! Not to mention smell nice.
7. Table Runner
A table runner is a seemingly insignificant decor piece but can make a big impact on the overall aesthetic of the event. It adds a touch of elegance and can help tie the different decorative elements together. There are many different styles and materials to choose from, depending on the theme of your tea party.
For a classic and sophisticated look, consider a lace or embroidered table runner. This will add a delicate touch to your tea party decor and can complement fine china and floral arrangements. If you are going for a more rustic or natural theme, a burlap, gauze cheesecloth, or linen table runner can add texture and warmth to the table.
A great way to add some floral elegance to your tea party decor is through the use of vases. Not only do sculptural vases add beauty, but they can also serve as a functional element by holding flower arrangements.
Consider incorporating multiple small vases or one large statement vase as your centerpiece. You can fill them with fresh-cut flowers or even opt for faux flowers for longer-lasting decor. Want to add dimension and texture to your tablescape? Mix and match vases of different shapes, sizes, and colors.
When selecting vases, consider the style of your tea party. For a more classic and elegant look, choose clear or crystal vases that are simple and timeless. Alternatively, for a more eclectic and bohemian vibe, consider colorful or textured vases that are unique and eye-catching.
Incorporating vases into your tea party decor not only adds a touch of beauty and sophistication but can also elevate the ambiance and overall atmosphere of your event!
9. Fine China
In case you haven’t noticed by now, yes, your beautiful yet practical items double as decor! From your teapot to your cups and saucers, choosing the perfect fine china for your tea party adds to the overall theme and ambiance you’re aiming to create.
For a traditional English tea party, choose china with delicate floral patterns and a classic teapot to match. For a more modern tea party, you may opt for a bold color or design that stands out.
Don’t forget to include cream and sugar on the table for guests who take their tea with milk and sugar. You can also mix and match patterns to create a unique and stylish look!
10. Plate Setting
From your placemat to your napkins, when it comes to hosting a tea party for adults, the details truly matter!
Choose high-quality napkins and plates in complementary colors and designs. It’s best to keep these elements fairly simple, with classic colors and patterns that won’t detract from the rest of the table decor. Alternatively, you can use this as an opportunity to add a pop of print and show off your theme, such as vintage floral plates for an English garden party.
If you want to incorporate a placemat, select a coordinating one that complements the overall theme and color scheme of your tea party. A beautiful, textured placemat can add interest to the table without being overpowering. Make sure it’s large enough to accommodate the place setting and any additional items you plan to add, such as the menu or place cards.
To add a touch of elegance, consider adding a delicate lace doily to the center of each place setting. This subtle addition can enhance the visual appeal of your whole table. (And look good in photos!)
By paying attention to the details of your table setting and overall decor, you’ll create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere for your tea party guests. They’ll appreciate the thought you’ve put into every aspect of the event, from the napkins to the silverware!
Now that you’ve got these 10 charming decor tea party ideas for adults, it’s time to decide on your outfit. Up Next: How to Dress for a Tea Party: The Definitive Guide to Tea Party Fashion