An English High Tea event is all about refined elegance.
An English High Tea takes one back to a slower
An English High Tea would be served in the late afternoon around 3 pm and would often go into the evening with more substantial food offerings to replace a full dinner. At more elegant events, wine and sherry were also available.
An English High Tea has a mixture of cold and hot, sweet and savory finger foods. Tea, coffee, and juices are served and often sparkling wine and/or cocktails as the afternoon progresses.
An English High Tea really starts with the invitations. To set the scene well these should be more formal on heavy card in cream envelopes. Tell guests they are cordially invited to attend an English Style High Tea at the residence of the Host from 3 pm. Let guests know if there will be a dress code of English Style Formal Tea Dresses and white gloves. You can set a fun dress code such as Downton Abby Style or Queen of England Style.
Be sure to ask your guests to RSVPs at least one week prior to the event to allow you time to arrange the catering.
Keep the old-fashioned theme by posting the invitations by mail to your guests with handwritten names and addresses. Or even better hand-deliver them in person.
Setting The Scene
An English High Tea means elegance and refinement. This is not the place for over the top embellishments or decorations. A classic vintage style works best for this party. White tablecloths, Starched linen napkins, matching Fine Bone China Teacups and Saucers. Silver teaspoons, silver serving tongs, fine china teapots, plates, sugar bowls. Crystal or cut glass jam bowls. Large vases of flowers, roses, and hyacinths.
Place a handwritten name card at each place setting and a small menu card. Beside each place setting place a small side plate with a knife and linen napkin in silver or porcelain napkin ring. On the center of the place, setting stand your vintage Fine Bone China teacup and saucer with a silver spoon on the saucer. Add sugar bowls and milk creamers to the table. You will bring the teapots filled with hot tea later. If you are serving bubbly wine also set the table with champagne flutes.
Serve the food on gorgeous old fashioned plates and cakes stands. Tiered plates look perfect in this setting. When setting the food on tiered plates, remember to put savory food on the bottom and sweet things on the top plate.
Be sure to have enough dishes of jams, cream, and honey for adding to the scones.
For the tea service have small dishes of sliced lemons for placing in your tea. You can make the teapots full of loose leaf tea, in which case remember to offer guests a tea strainer when pouring the tea. Alternatively, have a selection of flavored tea bags on offer for guests to choose their own tea.
Classic English High Tea Food Selections
Selection of small sandwiches and Club sandwiches (lots of ideas in our Classic Sandwiches Post)
Smoked salmon rolls
Cold meat platter
Sponge Cake (Our Victorian Sponge Cake Recipe is here)
Scones with jam and cream – (Our Scone Recipes are here)
Classic Earl Grey Tea
Traditional English Breakfast Tea
Refreshing Peppermint Tea
Equipment List for hosting an English High Tea Event
Per Place setting
Classic Bone China teacups with matching saucers
Crisp White Linen napkins
English Rose Napkin rings
Classic Lemonade Glasses
Champagne Glasses or Sherry Glasses
Dainty Silver Teaspoons
Silver butter knife
For the table
Glass water jugs with ice and lemon slices or mint
Silver Cream Spoon
Glass or Ceramic Cake Stands
Fine Bone China Sandwich plates
Classic Fine Bone China Teapots
Crystal Sugar bowls with silver sugar spoons
Fine Bone China or Cut Glass Milk Jugs
Dainty porcelain Jam Dishes
Glass or Ceramic Cream Bowl with a silver spoon
Vases with roses and other flowers in season
Other optional extras
Mini British Flags in cupcakes
Articles about tea time: