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Image / Living

How to throw an afternoon tea party

02nd Sep 2020

Now that we are allowed to socialise again, many of us are hosting afternoon tea parties to catch up on the missed birthdays, mother’s day and other celebrations. We speak to The Afternoon Tea Expert®, Eileen Donaghey, to find out how we can make afternoon tea at home a truly special affair.

It’s been a strange year and we have missed many celebrations that we usually would have marked with an afternoon tea party. Since older and vulnerable people are now told to stay indoors again, having a safe, socially distanced afternoon tea at home is a great way to connect with friends and family once again. Here are my top tips for adding those extra finishing touches to make you the host with the most! 


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Make a fancy invitation 

I’m not thinking the kind we had for parties when we were small where you could write your friend’s name in an empty white box. No, I’m thinking a lovely designed invite that will match your colour scheme. There are tonnes of free apps, like Canva, that have pre-designed templates so all you have to do is edit the details. They are so easy to use you can do it on your mobile while watching Netflix. Just think of the reaction your guests will have to a beautifully designed invite – it would get anyone excited! 

Choose a colour scheme

While I’ve mentioned the invite having a colour scheme, having a colour will really make your dining table pop and scream ‘Look how much effort I’ve made!’ It’s actually really easy to do and doesn’t cost the earth. I would suggest starting with the colour of your tea set and work from there. You can buy a bunch of flowers, candles or even matching ribbon for the napkins to make it all tie together. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same shade — just enough to tie everything together. 

Make name cards

You might think having a name or place card on the table is a bit OTT but I say no! Come on, I can’t be the only one who keeps the name cards from weddings I’ve been to years ago… Everyone loves a name card and it really makes your event so special. From a practical point of view, while you’re running around getting the tea ready, your guests can find their own seat. Plus, if you have an auntie that needs to be kept away from the cakes or two people who would be better not sitting together then name cards are the solution! Again, very easy to make and you could even think of a less traditional way of displaying them. I once was at an event where the name card was in fact a cookie. I didn’t quite manage to bring that one home! 

Set a dress code 

We’re all dying for a chance to get dressed up and go somewhere — even if it is our friend’s kitchen. A nice idea is to suggest people wear one thing that would match your colour scheme. It just helps get people excited before they get there and think of how nice your photos will be for Instagram afterwards! 

The tea

Tea is a delicate subject because everyone has their own way of making their own tea and if your own mother is anything like mine, your tea will be rejected for not being the ‘right colour’. So we will have to tread carefully here. To make it a bit different, why not offer a choice of tea? Of course we will offer Irish breakfast to make sure Granny is happy but maybe have a choice of loose leaf tea that people might not drink every day. Like Darjeeling? It’s called the champagne of teas and is used for extra special events so why not offer it at your afternoon tea party. 

Enjoy your afternoon tea party, have fun and remember to keep those little fingers in! Please do tag @afternoontealondon on Instagram so I can see your lovely parties. 

Feature photo: Unsplash