A Romantic French Style High Tea recreates an event from an era of opulence and luxurious elegance
A French High Tea Party inspired by The La Belle Epoque “the Beautiful Era”of the late 1800s in France. It was the French gilded age of opulence, luxurious elegance and extravagant home-based entertaining.
A French High Tea party would be hosted at home with all the opulence of the late 1800s. Guests would arrive around 3 pm and stay all afternoon and evening enjoying teas, sweet and savory food and wine. It was an elegant way to host a dinner party without the heavy food and formal seating arrangements.
French opulence requires over-the-top elegant invitations. Set your color scheme using the pinks, purples, reds and pastel blues so popular at the time. Heavy card handwritten invitations placed in heavy cream envelopes set the scene early. Dress code ‘the Beautiful Era” – France 1800s. Marie Antoinette can be a great inspiration for a French High Tea Party.
We love these gold lace invitations that tie with a satin bow. They set the scene in a romantic way. This set includes 50 gold laser-cut pockets, 50 blank inner cards, 50 envelopes, 50 seals, and 50 white ribbons. Allowing you to fully personalize your French High Tea Invitations.
Setting the scene
Recreate a feeling of beauty and extravagance with your table settings. Set tables with lots of layers. Start with a long white or cream tablecloth that reaches the floor. Over this, you can lay chiffon or sheer cloth in pink, blue, or white. This creates a gorgeous floaty beginning. On top of this, you can use table runners in gold, silver, or pink. On top of these layer lace doilies.
Along the center of the table, large candelabras can look amazing, especially if they are draped in pearls and dripping with crystals. Bring out all the silver and crystals for French High Tea Party!
This fabulous 5-light candelabrum adds drama to the table and brings a little extra bling. Light the candles and add extra opulence by combining the candelabrum with draping flowers and vines.
There is no way to go too far over the top with this theme. Add large vases and bowls filled with old-fashioned roses or peonies in pinks, reds, and white. Next, add glass bowls of chocolates, sweets, and chocolate-dipped strawberries for guests to nibble on.
Generous peonies are perfect to add to this rich and lush French theme. Add them to the table, to the backs of chairs, or lay them around the base of the candelabrums.
Decorate the room with lots of pink, red, gold, white. You can use ribbons, balloons, pearls, silks feathers, fans, and mirrors. And have large vases of flowers everywhere. The theme can carry off a lot of ribbons, ruffles, and lace! And lots of cake!
At each place setting lay a handwritten name card and menu card.
These pretty Eiffel Tower place card holders are an easy way to inject a very French icon to your day. They also make pretty gifts for your guests to remember the day by.
Or add the glam by using a jeweled place card holder. These pretty ones come in a variety of colors
Use ornate vintage-style plates, teacups, and saucers at each place.
Beautiful cream or pink napkins can be folded and held by beautiful napkin rings or tied with gold and pink ribbon.
We found these really stunning pearl napkin holders. They are discreet, yet dramatic. And they fit in with this theme wonderfully. We like to use crisp white linens folder gently into these holders. Perfect!
At each place setting sit a Silver teaspoon and a cake fork. If you are serving food that requires utensils to eat, add these too. We prefer to keep it simple and just serve lots of cake!
Add tall champagne glasses if you are also serving wine.
These bejeweled champagne glasses bring something special to the table. They add even more sparkle and shine to a romantic French High Tea.
A French High Tea Party is best with lots of tiered cake stands, and glass plates.
Serve the food on the most ornate or decorated plates you have. This style suits beautiful gold and silver platters or vintage serving plates in pink and gold.
We love cake stands for high tea events. They allow us to add a range of sweet treats along the table. We layer the stands with heavier cakes and tarts on the base layer, and lighter treats in the center layer. And, finally, we add lush strawberries dipped in chocolate on the upper layer. We would use three of four of these tiered plates for a table sitting 10 guests.
This pretty Royal Albert tiered cake stand is a more refined-looking serving plate, that can be paired with the matching teacup and saucer set. A Royal Albert set is an investment in a cake plate that will become a family heirloom passed down the generations.
We are enjoying this set of Floral Mismatched Tea Cups by Brewed to a Tea . Using the same pattern in perfectly mismatched colors is a lovely way to add a pop of extra color to your high tea.
French High Tea Party Food Selections
- Bread rolls
- Cheese platters
- Cheese and thyme scones
- Ricotta and tomato mini tarts
- Smoked Salmon
French Cheese Selection by Markys Farms provides an amazing selection of French Cheeses. They can be delivered to your door, and easily turned into a pretty cheese platter for a gorgeous French High tea party.
Another quick and easy dish to add is a mini Spinach and Cheese Quiche. If you haven’t got the time to make them, these sweet mini quiches can also be delivered to your door. All you need to do is put them in the oven for a few minutes to heat. Super easy and delicious.
Smoked Salmon Roses add the wow factor to platters. We love to serve them with a dollop of cream cheese mixed with chopped chives on brown bread toasts.
If you are looking for more food options, there are more than 100 Classic Sandwich Recipes in High Society Sandwiches. Based on recipes from the late 1800s that remain popular today.
SWEET FOOD OPTIONS
- Chocolate Eclairs – Chocolate Eclairs by O & H Danish
- Macaroons – Leilalove Macarons Mademoiselle de Paris
- Chocolate Mousse – Southern Gourmet Mix Mousse Double Chocolate
- Chocolate Croissants – La Boulangere Pains Au Chocolat, Chocolate Croissants
- French Cookies – La Grande Galette French Butter Cookies
- Creme brûlée – French creme brûlée
- Strawberry cheesecake – David’s Cookies Strawberry Cheesecake
- Pink meringues – Eve’s Bakery All Natural Gluten Free Meringues
- Custard tarts – Southern Bakery Mini Chess Pie
- French Coconut cake – Handmade Coconut Layer Cake | Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
One of our favorite French foods is macaron. These divine Leilalove Macarons – are baked to order and delivered fresh to your door. Pick your favorite flavors and colors, then stack them up on pretty tiered plates and watch them disappear as your guests discover how good they are too!
French High Tea Teas
- Peach tea – The Republic of Tea Peach Blossom Oolong Tea
- Jasmine tea – Harney & Sons Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea
- Lady Grey tea – Twinings of London Lady Grey Black Tea
- Caramel Tea – The Republic of Tea Caramel Vanilla Cuppa Cake Tea
- Creme Brulee Tea – The Republic of Tea Cardamom Creme Brulee Black Tea
Checklist for creating your perfect French High Tea Party
Per Place setting:
- Pink, gold, purple, red Limoges teacups and saucers
- Pink, gold, blue or red side Plates (do not need to match the teacups)
- Tall lemonade Glasses
- Champagne Glasses
- Silver Teaspoon and tiny cake fork wrapped together with ribbons
- Ornate Place markers
- Elegant Menu Cards
We love using tidbit plates, tiny single-serving plates that can hold a single slice of cake or a sandwich. These Tidbit Plates by Royal Albert are one of our favorites. They come as a set of four mismatched plates and are perfect for adding even more color to a beautiful French High Tea event.
Checklist For The Table
- Crystal jugs and decanters for water and lemonade
- Sandwich tongs
- Many cake serving utensils (cake slice, knives) in silver or porcelain.
- Dainty silver cream spoon
- Tea Strainer
- Glass, crystal Cake Stands
- Pink, white and gold Sandwich and cake platters
- Glass bowls and stands for sweets and chocolates.
- Silver and ornate porcelain Teapots
- Glass Sugar bowls
- Ornate pink and white Milk Jugs
- Crystal bowls for the jam and cream
- Large vases with flowers
- Crystal candlestick holders
- Candelabras with white candles and dripping with pearls and flowers
- Long white tablecloths
- Sheer over tablecloths
A pretty Cake Knife and Server set makes slicing and serving cakes easy and elegant. We suggest placing a cake knife and server beside each cake for guests to help themselves to generous servings.
A pair of Silver Sandwich Tongs make serving sandwiches and slices a treat. We love how royal we feel using silver tongs!
Add lots of cake tiers to the table. These Victoria Silver Cake Stands are lovely to arrange on the table with large and small cakes and treats. You can stack them or spread them around the table.
Serve Individual Cake Portions in elegant glass stands with a dome. We promise these sweet glass cake stands with domes will be loved by your guests. We were very happy to find these and love to use them at all events.
Add large floral garlands to your tables to really bring that French-style romance into the room. We are obsessing about these easy-to-create garlands by Ling’s Moments
Create a very special-looking table by using a table skirt. We love this Pretty Blush Rose Chiffon Table Skirt that reaches to the floor and drapes beautifully.
If drapey is not your thing, you can create an elegant table setting using a beautiful Gold Table Runner. We like this one by TRLYC
Extra Decorations Checklist
- Eiffel Towers
Peacock Feathers add a layer of mystery and elegance to an event. They are perfect in large vases that add drama and depth to the French High Tea theme.
More Classic Recipes In High Society Refreshments
Looking for more inspiration for your next tea party event? The New Vintage Tea Party Book has lots of ideas, recipes, and inspiration for your next event.