Vintage Garden Tea Party

Summertime is perfect for hosting an intimate vintage garden tea party under the trees.

An afternoon tea format suits a garden tea party well. With guests arriving around 1 pm for a few hours of tea and treats in the garden. This means you can keep the food options lighter and make the most of the warm summer weather.

garden tea party
Hanging Butterfly Bunting by Talking Tables
garden tea party
Hanging Butterfly Bunting by Talking Tables

The Invitations:

Start the summer garden theme off right with beautiful floral invitations.

Handwritten invites with crisp white envelopes are perfect, or add more of the summer vibe by using floral pop-up cards like the one below to bring summer to your guests before they arrive.

In the invitation ask guests to come in their best garden tea party dress (think1950s retro-glam). Summer tea party hats are also fabulous!

Lace gloves, pearls and pretty pastel-coloured dresses and parasols suit this type of party perfectly.

Ask for RSVPs to arrive at least one week prior to the event to allow you time to arrange the catering.

Setting the scene:

Set out tables on the lawn or on your patio. You can set up on a long table or a few little tables of four.

Ensure there is some shade for your guests. You can provide this using large umbrellas or the shade of the tree. No one wants to melt in the sun all afternoon.

garden tea party
White Lace Tablecloth by Queen Dream
wedding garden tea party
White Lace Tablecloth by Queen Dream

Outside tables can be covered with floor length tablecloths in either white or pastel pinks or blues. You can then add a lace table runner or a bright floral runner to bring some more romance to the setting.

Along the center of the table place vintage teacups and teapots filled with roses and summer flowers in full bloom. Rose petals can be scattered along the table also.

Add more layers of lace doilies on top of the table runner to really turn up the vintage romance style. Place one floral sugar bowl and creamer per four people along the table.

Fine bone China pieces are the daintiest type to use for this kind of tea party. They are light and fine to use.

Royal Albert Plate Set by Royal Albert

Place Settings:

Have each place setting marked by a handwritten place card and menu card.

At each place setting put a side plate with a teacup and saucer on top, accompanied by a dainty silver spoon on the right. Matching tea sets are not important, but floral or pastel coloured pieces look best in this setting.

Beside the plate place a knife and linen napkin.

If you are serving bubbly wine, also set the champagne glasses above and to the right of the teacup.

garden tea party
Floral Teacup and Saucer Set by Royal Albert

We are in love with these blue bubble bee napkin rings. Perfect for a summer garden party!


Food Serving

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 savoury food at the bottom and sweet things on the top plate.

Have large jugs of iced tea and water with mint and lemon at tables for guests to help themselves to.

garden tea party
Glass Mason Jar Double Drink Dispenser by Estilo

Extra decorations:

Add the next level of glamor by decorating the garden with white birdcages, hanging chandeliers and pearls, filling the table with old fashioned silver candlestick holders

Vintage Garden Tea Party Food Selections:


Selection of small sandwiches

Mini quiches

French Cheeses

Mozzarella and cherry tomato sticks

Meat Platters


Cupcakes with pastel-colored icing

Naked Sponge Cake with strawberries

Lemon shortbread

Scones with jam and cream

Mini pavlovas

Flower Cookies

Chocolate brownies

Tea Loaf

Iced buns

Rose petal jelly

garden tea party
Alice in Wonderland Small Tea Domes by Talking Tables

Tea Selections:

Jasmine –Harney & Sons Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea

English Breakfast – Taylors of Harrogate English Breakfast Tea

Peach – Tea Forte Peach Brûlée

Peppermint – Harney & Sons Organic Peppermint Tea 

Green tea – Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha Green Tea

Iced teas

Peach – We Spill The Tea Iced Peach Honeybush Tea

Strawberry – Fortnum & Mason British Tea with Strawberry

Ginger – Groovy Ginger

Rose petal – The Tao of Tea, Rose Petal Black Tea

Other drink options:

Pink lemonade – Country Time Naturally Flavored Pink Lemonade Drink

Sparkling wine with strawberries – In-Spirit Glitter and Gold Strawberry Sparkling Wine

Pink sugar cubes – L’ Envie en Rose Pur Sucre de Canne

Chocolate-dipped mints – Andy Anand Chocolate Mint Cookies Bites

Items for each place setting:

Floral or Pastel coloured Bone China teacups with matching saucers
Floral Side Plates

Multi-colored Floral Side Plate set

Tall lemonade Glasses
Champagne Glasses

Dainty teaspoons

Silver Cake forks
Hand-written name cards
Menu Cards
Bright, pretty linen napkins

Mismatched Tea Set by BTaT

For the table:

Lemonade jugs

Iced tea carafes
Water jugs
Silver Cake knife

Silver Cake slice
Vintage Sandwich tongs

Vintage Cream Spoon
Pretty Tea Strainer
Cake Stands

Vintage floral Sandwich plates

Floral or white Teapots
Porcelain Sugar bowls

Royal Albert Sugar Bowl

Glass Milk Jugs
Pretty little Jam Dishes
Floral Cream Bowl
Vintage teacups for floral arrangements

Royal Albert Teacups and saucers

Lace doilies
Crisp white or pastel coloured tablecloths
Lace or floral table runner

Extra decorations:

White bird cages
Strings of pearls
Wide chiffon ribbons for chairs
Hanging chandeliers
Vintage silver Candlestick holders
Large glass drink containers with taps for iced tea and lemonade

english garden tea party
Floral Paper Lanterns by Talking Tables
garden tea party
Parasols by Barebeyond

Our The New Vintage Tea Party Book has lots of ideas, recipes, and inspiration for your next event.

Get a FREE Vintage Tea Party Recipe E-book and enjoy regular ideas and inspiration directly to your inbox. 

* indicates required


More Vintage Tea Party Inspirations