A Victorian tea party doesn't have to be elaborate to reflect the experience and nuances of that time. The main idea is to host a special gathering, enjoy being with friends who share a common interest, and have a great time while savoring tea.
Get-togethers with friends over tea were commonplace in the Victorian era. Yet in today’s high-tech world, text messaging, emails, and music-on-the-go have replaced many opportunities for warm, engaging social interaction.
Hosting a Victorian tea party may be a way to recreate a bit of history and indulge in the comfort and warmth associated with face-to-face, uninterrupted conversation. Here are some tips on how to host a Victorian tea party in your home.
Decorating: Creating the Environment
Think about England in the 1800s and decorate your entertaining area to reflect this rich time in history.
If you own some Victorian era items in your home such as photographs, lace handkerchiefs, mirrors, jewelry, or books, use them in your decorating motif.
Then, decorate with fresh flowers, ribbons and lace for touch of elegance. You may want to consider using yellow roses in your arrangements to signify friendship.
Select some classical music that you enjoy and decide where to put your equipment and speakers so they will subtly fill your room with music.
Use linen and lace table cloths and napkins if you have them. If not, a simple white lace trimmed cloth will create a beautiful table and serving area to show off your tea service and entertain guests.
A floral-designed tea set is an ideal choice for serving guests at a Victorian tea party. If you do not have this traditional-type design, a nice glass or ceramic tea set that has a matching creamer and sugar bowl will work well.
Tea Service and Table Setting
You need to deccide whether you will be serving your tea and food “buffet style” or while guests are seated at a table. The number of guests at your Victorian tea party will determine the most appropriate method.
If you have more than eight friends over for tea, a buffet style arrangement may work best. You will need to have a separate serving area or table for your tea and food – and another table at which they can sit.
If you have a smaller group, your tea and food can be attractively placed in the center of the table. Either way, for each guest, make sure you have a matching tea cup and saucer, spoon and fork, small plate, and cloth napkin.
Decide whether you will make the tea yourself or give your guests a selection from bags or loose tea. If you are using tea bags, have them arranged in a tea box or on an attractive tray (perhaps on a lace doily) next to your tea service.
If you want to offer loose tea choices, arrange them in class containers and label each blend. If you are providing loose tea, be sure you have ample tea brewing accessories for your guests to use.
In addition, you will want to have a plate for lemon wedges, a small container to hold packets of sweeteners, and a small pitcher or server for honey. Having lumps of sugar in instead of the standard white variety in your sugar bowl provides an extra touch.
Food and Fun
There are some wonderful and easy-to-make food choices to accompany tea. A tray of sweet finger foods that may include small cakes, tarts, cookies, scones and muffins are always appropriate.
In addition, you may want to have a platter of light sandwiches (without bread crust) such as cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon spread, pimento cheese, olives and cheese, or other choices. Providing crackers adorned with specialty cheese or other toppings is another food choice for your guests.
Invitations and Extras
As part of your Victorian tea party planning, you will want to select invitations that have a design theme from the era.
Hand address and mail them 10 to 14 days in advance of your party date.
Request that guests RSVP 5 days before your tea party so you will have enough time to plan your food, table setting requirements and other details.
You may opt to give small gifts or party favors to your guests. Special tea, nuts, candies, small poetry books, Victorian-designed fans or picture frames will give them a memento they can keep that will serve as a reminder of your special get-together.
The most important aspect of your Victorian tea party is remembering the purpose of the event, which is to share time with good friends and have an enjoyable, memorable experience.
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