Tea parties can be a fun way to celebrate a girl’s birthday, or even a fun way to spend a play date. You can purchase a reusable tea set for these parties if you don’t already have one. I remember having tea parties at my grandma’s house as a child, and loved using the same tea set my mom had used as a little girl.
You can throw a simple, impromptu party, or plan one out in advance, complete with special invitations. A formal tea party is a perfect excuse for everyone to wear their best dress-up clothes. Decorating your table will be a lot of fun, especially if you get your children involved in the process.
Tea Party Dishes on Amazon
Teapots on Amazon
Brew the Perfect Pot of Tea
You could use regular tea bags, but if you are having a true tea party you might want to try using real tea leaves. Just be aware that tea leaves don’t have enough room inside of their tea bags to properly brew. If you do decide to use tea bags, you can still follow the directions below.
1. Run fresh, cold water into your tea kettle—you should never reuse old water that has been sitting in your kettle. Make sure you use enough water to fill your teapot, plus a cup or two more. Bring the water to just a rolling boil.
2. While you wait for the water to boil, fill your teapot with hot water. This will keep your pot of tea hot longer. Right before the boiling water is ready, pour the hot water out of the teapot.
3. Add 1 tsp. of tea leaves for each cup to your teapot ( a cup of tea is ¾ cup). The average teapot holds between four to six tea cupfuls, so you will need 4 to 6 tsp. of tea.
4. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves in the pot. Stir gently, and then place the lid on the pot. Allow the tea to steep (stand) for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir again and serve immediately, by pouring the tea through a strainer into the tea cups. You can also have another heated teapot ready to pour the tea into before taking it to the table, then you won’t have to worry about loose tea leaves at the table and the tea won’t get any stronger.
5. Serve the tea with sugar and thin slices of lemon or milk.
First Course: Sandwiches
You can serve a variety of tiny sandwiches along with the first cup of tea. Traditionally, fine white bread is used for tea sandwiches, but you can use whole wheat or other breads instead. The sandwiches are supposed to be dainty, so slice the bad as thinly as you can – about ¼-inch slices are best. Your sandwich fillings should be about as thick as the bread slice, or a bit less. After filling your sandwiches, trim the crusts from the bread. Before serving, cut the sandwiches into three rectangles or four triangles. If you want to make it a little fancier, you can use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes of sandwiches. You can serve a variety of sandwiches if you want. I’ll provide recipes for a couple of options below.
Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Makes 3 whole sandwiches
- 6 thin slices of bread
- 4 oz. softened cream cheese
- 2 tsp. milk (if you use whipped cream cheese, you don’t need the milk)
- 2 tbs. finely chopped dates, raisins, or dried apricots,
- 2 tsp. finely chopped green onions
1. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and milk together until it is smooth. Stir in your choice of dried fruit or onions.
2. Spread the filling on three slices of bread, and then top with the remaining slices. Trim off the crusts and cut sandwiches into shapes.
Makes 3 whole sandwiches
- 6 thin slices of bread
- softened cream cheese or butter
- paper-thin slices of cucumbers
1. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese or butter onto three slices of bread.
2. Top the spread with the thin slices of cucumber, and then cover with the remaining bread slices.
3. Trim crusts, and cut into desired shapes. Decorate each tiny sandwich with a sprig of parsley.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Makes 3 whole sandwiches
- 6 thin slices of bread
- creamy peanut, almond, or cashew butter
- jam, jelly, or honey (pick your favorite flavor)
1. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter on three of the bread slices.
2. Spread the jam, jelly, or honey on the other three slices.
3. Put the slices together to create your sandwiches.
4. Trim off the crusts, and cute sandwiches into shapes.
Second Course: Biscuits and Jam
After the sandwiches, offer your guests more tea and warm biscuits with butter and jam. As a tea party hostess, make sure you don’t run out of tea. Go ahead and start another kettle of water boiling for the second pot.
Makes about 16 biscuits
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 6 tbs. cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 6 tbs. milk
1. Preheat your oven to 400°.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers, until the mixture is thoroughly blended. It should look like coarse bread crumbs.
4. Add the milk, mixing until it is just blended.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Lightly flour your hands, and pat the dough out until it is about ½-inch thick.
6. Cut out biscuits with a 1½-inch floured cutter (use shaped cutters, or even a glass). Don’t twist the cutter. Place the biscuits about ½-inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
7. Bake the biscuits for about 10 to 12 minutes, until they are just golden brown. After taking them out of the oven, lightly butter the tops. Serve hot (or warm) with butter and jam.
Makes about 2 cups
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and washed (about 1 pint)
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the strawberries and sugar. Slightly crush the berries with a fork. Cook and stir, over a low heat, until the sugar melts.
2. Raise the heat, and let the mixture boil for 15 to 20 minutes, until the jam thickens and changes from bright red to a darker red. Be sure to stir the jam frequently to avoid sticking or scorching. Skim off and discard any pink foam.
3. Spoon the jam onto a platter and let cool. Cover the jam with cheesecloth or waxed paper, and let it stand for 24 hours.
4. Pour the jam into a sterilized jar. Store in the refrigerator until serving.
Decorate Your Table
You can decorate the table with a pretty tablecloth and cloth napkins. Make sure you have pretty flower arrangements, or even decorate the table with ferns and holly (depending on the season). Set out small bowls of pretty candies. Or, you can arrange little candles around the table, set in saucers or crystal bowls. The possibilities are endless, just have fun.
And, don’t forget: pinkies up when you drink your tea!
Third Course: Cookies
Check your guests’ tea, making sure nobody has run out or that it hasn’t gotten cold. You might need to start another pot. You can serve all different kinds of cookies during this course, but I’ll suggest a couple yummy recipes.
Makes 12 wedges
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 2 tbs. sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp. sugar (additional)
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. In a large bowl, blend together the butter, 2 tbs. sugar, and vanilla with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3. With a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers mix in the flour and salt until the mixture is crumbly. Squeeze the dough into a ball with your hands, and place it in the middle of an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Use your hands to firmly pat the dough into a 7-inch circle, about ½-inch thick. Prick the dough with the tines of fork to outline twelve pie-shaped pieces. Sprinkle the dough with 1 tsp. of sugar.
5. Bake the shortbread for 20 to 25 minutes, or until is slightly browned. Let the shortbread cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet, and then carefully cut into twelve wedges. Completely cool the wedges on a wire rack.
Little Jelly Tarts
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
- ¼ cup jelly
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1¾ cup flour
- pinch salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Spoon the jelly into a small bowl, and stir until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, blend the butter and sugar together in a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.
4. In another bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, blending until a dough is formed.
5. Pinch off bits of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Press your fingertip into the center of each cookie to make a small bowl or well. Fill each well with about ¼ tsp. of jelly.
6. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes. Cool them on a wire rack. The jelly will be very hot, so handle them carefully. Make sure they are completely cool before serving.
Fourth Course: Desserts
You don’t have to serve dessert, but you most definitely can. If you are throwing a birthday tea party, this is the best time to serve the birthday cake. You can also serve pies, tarts, or other yummy desserts. Don’t forget to check the tea!
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Serve the cream with berries of your choice, and eat with a spoon.
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 tbs. sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1. Pour the cream into a chilled mixing bowl. Beat the cream slowly, until it begins to thicken. Then begin to beat it more rapidly.
2. Gradually sprinkle the sugar in, and continue beating until peaks begin to form. Don’t beat it for too long, or it will turn into butter.
3. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Chill until ready to serve.
Makes one cake
- 1 cup sifted flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tbs. butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan.
2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter until the butter melts. Keep this mixture warm until you are ready to add it to the batter.
4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are thick and lemon colored. Add the sugar a bit at a time while beating the eggs.
5. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture with a wooden spoon until everything is just blended together.
6. Add the warm milk and butter, plus the vanilla.
7. Turn the batter into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake springs back when you touch the top.
8. Leave the cake in the pan, and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
9. Run a sharp knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Turn the cake out onto a rack. Then, turn the cake over onto a plate.
10. Serve as it is, or dusted with powdered sugar.
You'll Love this Video: Arranging the Tea Table (1946)
Treasure hunt on June 01, 2011:
Really nice idea thanks for sharing.i want to going this party...its like fun game..
kylie lambert on April 05, 2011:
Thanks for using my cupcake picture here :) Original image found here http://www.flickr.com/photos/lecupcake/238364544/i...
nvki. on February 02, 2011:
i love tea partys!
KidsPartyFavors on January 04, 2011:
For little girls, they love tea party!
Jaynie2000 on September 06, 2010:
Great ideas and recipes. I love the pictures of the little girls in their fancy dresses. Too cute. I also like the way you've laid out all the information. I do my hubs exactly the same way. The more info to share, the better. Nice job!
Tea Mom on August 20, 2009:
I love your ideas! Tea parties are such a great way to bond with our precious daughters, granddaughters, nieces or any special little girl in our life. My girls still remember our silly tea parties in the dining room - they are some of my best memories, too. Great info!
Stacie Naczelnik (author) from Seattle on April 20, 2009:
Janet, I have an entire shelf full of old Nancy Drew books that my mom passed on to me. I can't wait to read them to my kids some day (got to have those kids first though).
Janet21 from New York on April 20, 2009:
Great hub! I was just reading an old Nancy Drew book to my daughter last night and they were serving dainty sandwiches and tea, too! The Tea Table Arranging video was too funny. We got a kick out of viewing it. :)
mamacoots from Louisiana on January 16, 2009:
Nice Hub! I love tea parties, and you have some wonderful information here. I'm going to link to it from my party page. Tea Parties are definitely making a come back for birthdays.
Stacie Naczelnik (author) from Seattle on July 19, 2008:
I always loved tea parties, and can't wait for more young kids in my family to share this with.
New Reflection from The Real World on July 19, 2008:
I ran across this hub. I had never even thought about it, but my 4 year old daughter is always pretending to have tea. This inspires me to let her have a real one to create memories. Thanks so much for the idea!!!
abbey01 on May 08, 2008:
Great article... Can I join the party too??.I have written an article on "Kids parties" you may be interested in reading. Let me know what you think?
Decrescendo on March 27, 2008:
One word. Delicious
Angela Harris from Around the USA on March 09, 2008:
Wow, Stacie, I don't know how you are putting out so many quality hubs every day.
Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on March 09, 2008:
Can I come?? Sounds like a load of fun!!