How to Host a Tea Party: Host Checklist



When you're planning to host a full or Royal afternoon tea there's a few things to consider. Captured below are some key items to gather.



  • Invitations
  • Teacups and saucers
  • Teapot
  • Kettle
  • Tea strainers
  • Napkins
  • Plates
  • Flatware
  • Mini tongs (for serving)
  • Mini knives (for spreading jam and clotted cream)
  • Mini bowls (for jam, clotted cream and/or lemon slices)
  • Water goblets
  • Demi spoons (stirring teaspoons)
  • Tablecloth
  • Creamer bowl (for milk or cream)
  • Sugar bowl
  • Loose leaf tea 
  • Three-tiered cake stand
  • Optional: fresh cut flowers
  • Optional: champagne flutes
  • Optional: tea timer
  • Optional: embellishments like edible flowers, fresh sprigs of herbs and fresh fruit like strawberries and grapes


Step 1: Invitations

Although not entirely necessary, sending out formal invitations can be a nice touch and a great way to communicate the details of your afternoon tea event. It can also help with providing you with an accurate number of guests to prepare for. Whether you decide to send an invitation via phone, email or mail, you will want to capture the following details on your invites:

  • Date and time of the event (between 2:00-5:00 pm, with 4:00 pm being the preferred time, traditionally);
  • Address of the venue;
  • Name of the host(s);
  • Information and the deadline for RSVP; and the 
  • Dress code/preferred attire (here you would specify if clothing should be more formal or less formal than usual afternoon tea).


Step 2: Menu Planning

  • Plan out your menu and decide which savouries, sweets, scones and teas that you plan to serve.
  • In the digital era, you might want to send 'e-invites' for your afternoon tea. A great source to consider is Canva.
  • Once you've planned out your menu, shop for the ingredients that you'll need to prep the food.
  • If planning to serve a full Royal afternoon tea, be sure to select a nice champagne or a sparkling wine like prosecco.


 A sample menu


*Optional: When you send out your invitations you might want to also include copy of the menu you've prepared to entice your guests!


Step 3: Getting the Food and Tea Ready

  • Depending on what you plan to serve (and how many people you plan to serve), you might need to do some meal prepping a couple of days in advance. 
  • If you don't plan to make your own scones, desserts or savouries, you can check out your local bakery or grocery store for some goodies and set them aside for your afternoon tea.
  • Select the teas that you plan to serve. A great place to check out is Sloane Teas.


Fresh scones. Yum!

Cucumber sandwiches are always a good idea.


Step 4: Table Setting

  • Afternoon teas always look elegant when you have a nice table cloth for your table. Choose one that will suit your theme.
  • Select your napkins, tea cups, saucers, teapot and plates along with the flatware, three-tiered cake stand and stirring spoons for each teacup and set the table.
  • Have your mini-bowls for cream/milk, sugar (and/or lemon slices), clotted cream and jam ready as well.
  • Fresh flowers also add a nice touch to the table.
  • Add water goblets and champagne flutes (optional).

Pretty teacups and saucers are a must.



Step 5: Assembling the Cake Stand

  • Once you've prepared the savouries, carefully place them on the bottom tier of the cake stand. You may wish to place some mini tongs for your guests to select the savouries more easily.
  • For the second tier, add in your scones. If room permits, add the bowls for clotted cream and jam onto the second tier as well.
  • For the third and final tier, add in the desserts. You might also want to add in a few slivers of fruit like strawberries for a pop of colour.


Pulling the cake stand together.



For dessert options, homemade madeleines are always a good choice.


Step 6: Prepare the Tea and Beverages

  • Boil hot, filtered water and run it once through the teapot you plan to use. This will help keep the tea warm once brewed.
  • If using loose leaf tea, add in one teaspoon (or scoop) of tea per cup of water plus one scoop for the teapot. So if serving tea for four people, you would add five scoops of loose leaf tea. Remember, steep the tea according to the guidelines for the type that you are using. You can use a tea timer for best results.
  • Add the boiling water into the teapot and prepare to serve by ensuring that every guest has their own tea strainer next to their teacup.
  • Pour the beverages into the glasses (water and/or champagne).


Everything is better with tea, milk and sugar.


Step 7: Serve!

  • Once everything is ready and set up on the table, you are ready to host your afternoon tea. Enjoy!