Inspiration & Ideas

How to throw the best garden tea party

Chilson Dining Table

Not just fit for royalty, the genteel garden party is a great way to entertain family and friends. Make the best use of your garden this summer with a garden tea party – and with these hints and tips, it is sure to be a success!

A fine British tradition, bring back a touch of the traditional with your own modern twist by setting your outdoor table with everything you need to host a tea garden party.

The basics

Small Wooden Aldsworth Pot Ladder

The equipment needed is basic but essential. As well as a sturdy outdoor table and patio chairs, you’ll need a few extra bits;

  • Crips white tablecloth and pretty pastel coloured napkins or serviettes – match these with yards and yards of bunting!
  • As well as your patio and pergola, why not invest in a gazebo? And a garden bar is perfect for less formal garden parties too.
  • As well as the big stuff, you will need plenty of pretty crockery, spoons and forks along with cake stands.
  • Don’t forget to accessorise your garden and gazebo or pergola. Outdoor furniture is not just limited to table and chairs – a decorative ladder with potted plants and garden lights make for an elegant backdrop.
  • Cushions and throws add texture and for a chillier afternoon or early evening, a throw for guests is the perfect way for them to stay warmer (and linger at your garden party too!)

Tea on arrival

Cups of Tea on Garden Dining Table

When you invite your guests to your garden party, give them an arrival time so that you can have everything prepared. As they arrive, welcome them with a drink.

If you plan on seeing the afternoon into the evening, there is nothing wrong with a little glass of bubbly on arrival.

Or to keep it traditional, tea served in a delicately patterned china cup and saucer is simply perfect.

Top tip – scour local charity shops and thrift stores for cup and saucer sets. Don’t be frightened to mix and match colours and patterns either.

The cakes and sandwiches

The spread is the essential part of any garden tea party. Flavours should be delicate rather than deep and spicy. Keep portion sizes small and easy-to-eat too. And stick with the traditional – say goodbye to pizza slices and pasta dishes, and welcome back the delicate finger sandwich…

  • Sandwiches – from thinly sliced salmon to cucumber, sandwich fillings are more of a tasty morsel than a hearty meal. Cream cheese also works well. Use fresh bread and cut off the crusts before serving.
  • Cakes – like its savoury cousin the sandwich, the cake slices and portions should also be bite-sized and delicate unless you are opting for a sit-down garden tea party. Again, flavours and light and summery. And don’t forget that fruit is essential too. Bring out the zesty flavours with summer berries for a real traditional flavour.
Garden Tea Party
  • Scones – no afternoon garden party is complete without scones, jam and cream. If you are opting for a sit-down garden party, have a pristine white table cover for your round garden table and chairs, along with pretty plates and bowls. Serve the best clotted cream you can find too. Serve tea from a serving tray for an authentic look.

Remember, the name of the game when it comes to a garden party is genteel, traditional fun. So, relax and enjoy!

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