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.

Anywhere outside can be made special with the right garden tea party decorations. We love the look of vintage bunting strung between the trees or across the front of your porch.

Stringing fluttering paper butterflies like these ones from Talking Tables is another quick and easy way to decorate your garden.

garden tea party

The Invitations:

Perfect afternoon tea begins with the right invitations. These offer your guests an idea of what you have planned.

We love the idea of pretty handwritten invitations sealed in crisp white envelopes. We are loving the range of floral pop-up cards by Liif Stationary like this Purple Wisteria Pop-up Invitation.

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-colored dresses and parasols suit this type of party perfectly.

In the invitation ask guests to come in their best garden tea party dress (think 1950s retro-glam). Summer tea party hats are also fabulous!

Lace gloves, pearls, and pretty pastel-colored 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:

For a lovely garden tea party, set out tables on the lawn or on your patio. Use a beautiful long table for your guests to sit at or a selection of smaller tables scattered around the lawn.

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

garden tea party

For a lovely garden tea party, set out tables on the lawn or on your patio.

You might like to use a beautiful long table covered in a beautiful Chiffon Table Runner decorated with fresh fruit, foliage, and candles.

A closer look at this table setting using the Chiffon Table Runner with fruit and leaf decorations

garden tea party

Outside tables can also 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. This White Lace Tablecloth is by Queen Dream

wedding garden tea party

Or set out a selection of smaller tables scattered around the lawn covered in long white tablecloths.

Along the center of the table place vintage teacups and teapots filled with roses and summer flowers in full bloom. We love this Royal Albert Plate Set by Royal Albert.

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

These Royal Albert Candy Teacups and Saucers add a sweet floral touch to your garden tea party.

garden tea party

Add more layers of lace on top of the table runner to really turn up the vintage romance style. We love this White Lace Tablecloth by Queen Dream and the cascading bouquet of flowers.

Place Settings:

Have each place setting marked by handwritten Floral Name Place Cards.

garden tea party

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-colored pieces look best in this setting, like this Floral Teacup and Saucer Set by Royal Albert.

Beside the plate place a knife and linen napkin. We are in love with these Bubble bee Napkin Rings. Perfect for a summer garden party!

If you are serving bubbly wine, also set the champagne glasses above and to the right of the teacup. Pink disposable champagne flutes are perfectly acceptable at a garden tea party.

Food Serving

Serve the food on gorgeous old-fashioned plates and cake stands.

Tiered plates look perfect in this setting. When setting the food on tiered plates, remember to put savory food at the bottom and sweet things on the top plate.

We love to use these whimsical butterfly decorations everywhere! They look beautifully stunning on tiered cakes with fresh leaves and flowers.

Have large jugs of iced tea and water with mint and lemon at tables for guests to help themselves. This Glass Mason Jar Double Drink Dispenser is by Estilo.

garden tea party

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

garden tea party night lights wedding

Extra decorations:

Add the next level of glamor by decorating the garden with white birdcages, hanging chandeliers and pearls, and filling the table with old-fashioned silver candlestick holders. We love the pretty glow of candles in these Hanging Glass Globes. You could also fill them with flowers during the daytime.

Vintage Garden Tea Party Food Selections:


Mini feta and spinach quiches are an easy choice for a garden tea party. They can be served hot or cold. And these ones can be delivered to your door ready for heating and serving.

Add a mixture of delicious cheeses, grapes, crackers and olive oil to your care-free easy menu.

Get a fresh cheese platter delivered so all you need to worry about is serving it.

We also love to add a Spanish Meats Selection with olives, grapes, chocolate, and cheese. Delicious for eating under the trees in the garden.

Sweet Dishes:

Cupcakes with pastel-colored icing

Naked Sponge Cake with strawberries – (recipe here)

Lemon shortbread

Scones with jam and cream (recipe here)

Mini pavlovas

Flower Cookies

Tea Loaf (recipe here)

Serve Shortbread Cookies with tea to your guests. They will love the sweet crumbly taste of these little treasures.

We were super excited when we found these delightful Decorated Flower Cookies that we could order in different colors. They have been so popular at afternoon teas.

garden tea party

These Alice in Wonderland Small Cake Domes by Talking Tables, instantly add a tea party feel to the garden. You can serve individual cake slices, cupcakes, or sandwiches in these. They look awesome and make a great gift for your guests too.

What is an afternoon tea without lots and lots of cake? We love the idea of using a large cupcake display in the center of your table. Let your guests enjoy all the cake they want!

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

Add some special fairy magic to your table with these Fairy Cupcake Toppers

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

Checklist of Items for each place setting:

  • Tall lemonade Glasses
  • Champagne Glasses
  • Floral or Pastel colored Bone China teacups with matching saucers
  • Floral Side Plates
  • Dainty teaspoons
  • Silver Cake forks
  • Hand-written name cards
  • Menu Cards
  • Bright, pretty linen napkins

Pretty floral plates are perfect for this theme, like this multi-colored Floral Side Plate set. Beautiful!

We think it is perfectly ok to serve bubbly wine at an afternoon tea. Especially if you use elegant long stem glasses like these ones.

It is the little touches that make an afternoon tea so successful. We love to delight guests with these Royal Albert Teaspoons.

Keep the floral theme going with pretty Mismatched Teacups and saucers by BTaT

Checklist 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
  • Glass Milk Jugs
  • Pretty little Jam Dishes
  • Floral Cream Bowl
  • Vintage teacups for floral arrangements
  • Lace doilies
  • Crisp white or pastel-colored tablecloths
  • Lace or floral table runner

Serve lemonade in beautiful jugs and tall glasses with lots of ice.

We love to serve pink lemonade.

Use a pretty pair of Hostess Sandwich Tongs for serving guests their sandwiches or slices of cake.

Serve cakes on Glass Cake Stands with a Dome which adds to the elegance of the event, and keeps the bugs off the food.

You can choose to use formal white plates for your guests to eat from, or pretty mismatched floral plates like this vintage-style set.

Don’t forget the sugar bowls! This pretty Royal Albert Sugar Bowl is one of our favorites in pastel green polka dot with a floral motif on the lid. Sooo pretty!

We love the whole Royal Albert range and all the options they have for pretty Teacups and saucers

Checklist for 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
  • Parasols
english garden tea party

Decorate with vintage paper lanterns like these Floral Paper Lanterns by Talking Tables.

Decorate the garden with these gorgeous Butterfly Stakes

garden tea party
garden tea party

And hand out Parasols by Barebeyond to your guests to shade from the sun while looking elegant.

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

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