Tea party decorations aren’t just flowers and lace tablecloths anymore.
From your napkins to your teapots to your platters piled with scones, everything on your tea table (and buffet table if you’re using one) is part of your decorating scheme. Choose all of it to showcase the style or theme you’ve chosen for your tea party.
For Big Impact Without Too Much Fuss…
…organize your tea party decorations around a theme, or have a particular style in mind (for example, Victorian or shabby chic).
Many folks picture a tea party as an elegant Victorian affair with silver tea service, ladies in fancy hats and gloves, rich fabric on the table and even richer food. This style of tea party can be adapted to a less formal occasion, but it’s generally among the more expensive tea parties to host.
An English countryside or shabby chic style of tea party is a great option if you’re going for something less formal. We love the look of layering different textures, colors and patterns (tea-stained florals, plaids, laces) of fabrics, along with mismatched floral patterned china teacups. Delightful!
Check out Rachel Ashwell’s books on shabby chic style and Maggie Stuckey and Carolyn Bucha’s book called Country Tea Parties for inspiration. Between them, you’ll find lots of beautiful and do-able tea party decorating ideas.
Need Theme or Style Inspiration?
Spin off a theme of your own from one of these ideas:
- winter solstice
- autumn harvest
- spring garden
- summer’s bounty
Decorate with Light
Candles work for every tea party. Tapered ones, pillars, votives and tea lights add to a festive atmosphere. Keep them unscented so they don’t mingle with the smells of your foods.
Get creative with candleholders:
- mason jars (check out the gorgeous blue ones)
- mismatched floral saucers or tiny bowls (drip a bit of wax onto the spot where you want the candle to rest so it sticks)
- large squash with a few hollowed out spaces just big enough to fit a tea candle (this looks amazing and is an impressive centerpiece too)
- terra cotta pots
- a crystal bowl of water (for floating candles)
Other options for decorative lighting:
- paper lanterns
- decorative tabletop lanterns
- strings of tiny white lights
Centerpieces are the Ultimate Tea Party Decorations
The centerpiece is a key focal point of the tea party table. It shouldn’t dominate the table and overwhelm your beautiful display of food, but complement it instead.
Usually the centerpiece is a fresh floral arrangement of some sort, but you don’t have to follow tradition. Create an interesting centerpiece and get your guests talking!
- a bowl of seasonal fruits with flowers added here and there
- a vase of fresh herbs tied with ribbon
- an arrangement of candles
- a basket of seashells
- a potted plant in an unusual container (a shoe, a vintage tin can, an old china tea pot)
3 Centerpiece Tips
- Keep the centerpiece low enough so it doesn’t block your guests’ views of each other
(if you must have a tall centerpiece, place it at an end of the table where no one will be sitting, or on a buffet table)
- Use only unscented or lightly scented flowers (you don’t want the smells competing with your delicious food!)
- Use only unscented candles (for the same reason)
Watch Out for Clutter
Now before you go crazy and buy lots of tea party decorations, especially doo-dads and knick knacks for your table (and we understand the temptation), here’s a word of warning:
A table that’s set for a tea party will have a lot of things on it. For example:
- tea pots
- serving plates, platters and bowls
- tiered plate stand or two
- party favors
- sugar bowl
- bowl of sliced lemons
- milk pitcher
- pitcher of water
Those are only the necessities and we’ve probably left a few things out!
Add to that list a cute candy dish here, some votives there, and well, one wrong move with an elbow and, you get the picture. Make an effort to streamline the table and make sure your guests have ample elbow room if they’ll be sitting down. Using another table as a buffet will give your guests more space. Don’t forget to add tea party decorations to the buffet table as well!