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.
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 crystal for French High Tea Party!
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.
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.
Use ornate Limoge 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.
Silver teaspoons and cake forks should be set at each place.
Add tall champagne glasses if you are also serving wine.
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.
A French High Tea Party is best with lots of tiered cake stands, and glass plates.
French High Tea Party Food Selections
Cheese and thyme scones
Ricotta and tomato mini tarts
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
Pink and White Coconut Ice – Mr Stanley’s Coconut Ice
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
100 Classic Sandwich Recipes in High Society Sandwiches
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
Silver Teaspoon and tiny cake fork wrapped together with ribbons
Ornate Place markers
Elegant Menu Cards
For the table
Crystal jugs and decanters for water and lemonade
Many cake serving utensils (cake slice, knives) in silver or porcelain.
Dainty silver cream spoon
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
White or gold table runner
Extra Decorations Checklist
More Classic Advice on How To Host Afternoon Teas
Looking for more inspiration for your next tea party event? The Vintage Tea Party Style Guide has lots of ideas, recipes, and inspiration for your next event.