Tips On Hosting Your Indoor Tea Party, TOCA Event Style
TOCA Events is used to giving parties. From a mere handful of people to thousands of guests, we create everything from intimate breakfasts to over-the-top bashes, and we love every minute of helping to spread the joy wherever we can.
In this spirit, we are always ready to help our readers construct their own festive moments and today we want to talk about the simplest of events: the tea party.
Bringing People Together
A tea party is a great way to bring friends or business associates together in a cozy setting that is conducive to socializing. Whether buffet style or a sit down affair, you can create a special ambiance with a great setting, delicious foods, and well-thought-out décor.
The Right Table
As party specialists, TOCA Events always starts out with a good working list of what is needed. First, we look at the room. Is it ample enough to accommodate a table where everyone can sit around it, or should it be used just for food and beverages? If you choose buffet style, move the table against a wall if space is short, otherwise place it so that it is accessible from all sides.
Choose a tablecloth and matching linen napkins. A solid color is always a good choice, making the perfect background for beautiful china and well-chosen florals. Select flowers without strong scents, and if there is not enough room for vases or a centerpiece, scatter petals around the table instead. You can also use seasonal elements such as an autumn leaf displays, pine cones and branches, or freshly picked wildflowers surrounding your serving plates.
The Sit Down Party
For a sit-down tea party, our TOCA Event party planners observe the classic setting with plates centered for each guest and linens folded in either a rectangle, square, or triangle, placed to the left with the open edge on the right side. If there isn’t enough space, put each napkin in the center of the plate. Be sure not to overcrowd your table with cutlery or décor.
Your cutlery depends on what type of foods you are serving. Place a small spoon on the right side of each plate for tea. If sticky foods are on the menu, place a small fork on the right and one or more knives between the plate and spoon, with the blades facing the plate. If spreads and jams are involved there should be a serving spoon for each one.
Cups and Saucers
Teacups and saucers go to the right of the teaspoon and a tiny bowl should also be offered for used teabags, tea leaves, and used lemon wedges. Water glasses go above the knives or the tea cup if there are no knives. If you are serving other beverages such as champagne, mimosas, or lemonade, then include the appropriate glass to the right of the water glass.
Place the dessert plate or bowl above the main plate, including a small dessert spoon and/or fork horizontally between the two plates.
For a good buffet, arrange the room elsewhere so people can sit or stand comfortably. Use chairs and sofas to create areas that invite conversation, and provide small tables so that guests can easily put their plates and drinks down.
For the buffet table, place the tea service at one or both ends of the table. Make sure you have several tea options on hand, including caffeinated and herbal teas. At TOCA we prefer loose-leaf teas that are freshly brewed in their own teapots Remove the leaves before serving or provide a strainer. Include a bowl of raw sugar granules or cubes along with a honey pot and server and lemon wedges or lemon halves wrapped in gauze for easy squeezing. And don’t forget small pitchers with cream and milk.
Placing Your Foods
A tea party usually calls for finger foods. Place savory and sweet foods in the middle of the table. These can include small sandwiches without crusts, deviled eggs, scones, small cakes, cookies, and the like. Our TOCA Event party designers love to use three layered cake stands instead of trays, placing scones on top, tea sandwiches and savory snacks in the middle, and sweets on the bottom.
Cold drinks can go on a side table and can include water, iced tea, lemonade, white wine, champagne, and sherry.
Choose your music well, as this is key to creating just the right atmosphere. If you can hire musicians, find a harpist or guitarist or a classical or soft jazz trio. Otherwise, make or find a good playlist that sets the tone while helping guests relax and enjoy!
For more information on hosting a party, contact us today at: