In this post, you will find a collection of fabulous tea party ideas for adults.
Pinky fingers up! It’s teatime!
Tea parties aren’t just for little kids playing make believe.
This is a type of party that has brought adults together for years.
While a formal event for socializing in the past, modern day tea parties can be thrown by anyone with a desire to spend time with their friends.
Great reasons/occasions to host a tea party include:
- Church Gatherings
- Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day
- Just to do something different!
If you’re convinced, here’s the ultimate guide for throwing the best adult tea party that your guests will have ever been to!
What Do You Do At An Adult Tea Party?
If this is your first time planning this type of event, you might be wondering what ladies do at a tea party… Understandably, no one wants to host a boring party.
Well, think of it as a social gathering where the objective is to chat, laugh and share common interests. That’s it! You may choose to add specific party games or activities to match the objective of the event, but if you don’t, that’s okay as well.
So, while the planning might seem a little nerve wracking, tea parties are actually relaxed, easy-going events.
Planning a Tea Party for Adults
Step 1: Choose a Theme
Starting off by picking a theme makes it easier to figure everything else (dress code, decor, games, music, invitations, menu) out.
Be as creative as you can be! For inspiration, some cool tea party theme ideas for adults are:
- Southern Belle
- Queen of Hearts
- Victorian-era Tea
- Fairytale Storybook
- Alice in Wonderland
- Modern-Day British Royals
- In celebration of a specific culture
- Attire-Specific Themes: All Pastel, Big Hats, Florals, Pink Everything, Black & White
Step 2: Determine Dress Code: Casual or Fancy?
Dresses and semi-formal attire are popular choices for tea parties because historically, that’s consistent with a high tea dress code.
Nowadays, however, the dress code is determined by the occasion and the host’s preferences. Both casual and fancy attire is acceptable.
To ensure that your guests dress accordingly to your chosen theme, make sure that invitations are explicitly clear about the dress code.
Step 3: Select the Menu
Your tea party menu consists of two main factors: the Tea + the Snacks/Food.
When it comes to the tea, the best practice is to select and serve a few different types of teas (any tea types are acceptable- black, green, oolong, matcha, chai, etc).
Consider adding at least one caffeine-free option for those that are sensitive to caffeine.
Remember that it’s important for hot water to be readily available for new cups of tea.
Also, make sure to have common additives like honey, cream, sugar, sugar-free sweetener and milk available.
Now for the food…
To help you determine what food goes with a tea party (especially a traditional-style tea party), it’s good to know the difference between “afternoon tea” and “high tea“.
Traditionally, afternoon tea happened earlier in the day and was served with delicate pastries and light finger foods.
High Tea (for the working class who had to work during the day) happened in the evening and tea was served with heavier, more savory foods (like quiches, soups and dinner fare).
These days, the two terms are often used interchangeably.
So with that being said, typical tea party menu ideas for adults today would be cake(s), petit fours (bite-sized appetizers like eclairs and macarons), sandwiches, croissants, fruit tarts, other pastries and brunch foods.
Remember to set out butters, jams and/or creams so that your guests can customize their food experience.
Accommodate all attending guests by asking about dietary restrictions and allergies, ahead of time.
Step 4: Plan Games, Activities, or Discussion Topics
Victorian tea party games included Blind Man’s Bluff, Charades and Lookabout- all of which can still be played today.
However, you can play just about any parlor game. Here’s a list of tea party games for adults and more.
Next, solve the question of “what do you talk about at a tea party?” with pre-vetted discussion topics, like these.
Step 5: Decorate Elegantly
As alluded to earlier, tea party decorations should be consistent with your theme, if you have one.
Decorate tables with delicate tablecloths, unique centerpieces (suggestions below) and other appropriate tea party accessories for adults (like flowers).
The location of your party can also add to the ambiance. Which is why some people choose to host their tea party at a botanical garden or tea room.
29 Tea Party Ideas for Adults to Inspire You
When you start planning a tea party for adults, you might be worried that it’s all too…. simple. Or plain.
Well, don’t you worry. There are lots of different ways to give this party the wow-factor.
Read through the ideas below for lots of inspiration on making this get-together special and memorable.
Bake “Tea Bag” Cookies
Hardly anything will be more impressive than baking cookies in the shape of tea bags!
Send Them Home with Tea Cup Party Favors
Parting gifts are an excellent way to memorialize an event long after it’s over.
If you’ve purchased extra tea cups for this party, you can allow guests to take them home as party favors. Just tie these printable Thank You tags onto the handles.
If you want to hang onto your tea cups (I don’t blame ya), you can give tea cup-themed favors.
For example, these blooming flower tea balls or these pretty Teapot Favor Boxes with extra bags of tea inside.
Set Up a Fresh Fruit Bar
Summer is the best time of the year to enjoy fresh fruit and coincidentally, summer is a very popular time to host tea parties. Get where I’m going with this?
Identify which fruits are in season and add a fresh fruit bar to your menu. It’s a delicious way for everyone to stay hydrated and eat something relatively healthy,
Incorporate Lace Umbrellas
Is your event a garden tea party for ladies? Make your backyard, balcony or patio into a charming outdoor space using lace umbrellas. For example, these cotton lace parasols are a really stylish way to create shady areas under which your guests can sit.
Consider the Alice in Wonderland Theme
Alice in Wonderland is probably the most popular tea party theme out there, due to the symbolic tea party hosted by the Mad Hatter character.
This theme is one that you should consider for your party because there are lots of costume ideas to choose from and also, lots of ready-made party supplies in this theme that you can grab online.
Just Google “Alice in Wonderland or Mad Hatter tea party ideas for adults” and you’ll see what I mean.
Serve Tea in Mason Jars for a Southern Theme
Sipping on afternoon tea while dolled up is a popular image of the Southern Belle. Capture the charm of the American South by serving your tea (iced tea) in mason jars.
Create a Tea Bag Scavenger Hunt
Tea-bag scavenger hunt is one of the best games to play at a tea party for adults.
Write clues on the tags of these empty tea bags and fill them with your own blend of loose leaf teas. Whoever finishes first get the big prize and everyone else gets to keep their mouthwatering new tea bags!
Use a Cute Cream and Sugar Set
A tea party is the perfect time to bust out your family china and heirloom sets of serveware. It’s also a great time to showcase any unique tableware that you’ve collected.
Another way to put your style on display is to make a stacked sugar cube display with pretty-colored infused sugar cubes like these.
Decorate the Table with Mason Jar Luminaries
For a romantic evening event, you absolutely need these gorgeous DIY pressed flower mason jar luminaries. The best thing about them is that you can give them away to guests as party favors at the end of your party.
Make Special Tea Sandwiches
Finger sandwiches are a staple of the typical afternoon tea menu. So, if you’d like to make your tea party as authentic as possible, here’s a guide for sandwiches traditionally served at afternoon tea.
Save Money & Decorate with Wildflowers
For a budget friendly decor hack, search your yard for wild flowers to use as decoration. You can put them in vases, make them into centerpieces and even sprinkle them strategically around the serving table.
Thrift Store Hunt for Gloves & Hats
One of the main reasons that I love tea parties is the opportunity to dress up in old-fashioned or foreign attire, like fancy gloves and big hats.
If you feel the same way, let your guests know ahead of time to dress in the designated attire. It’s quite easy and cheap to pull together a great outfit from the thrift store.
Try Authentic British “High Tea” Desserts
Remember that, traditionally, high tea menus are heavier than afternoon tea menus. So, if you’re planning a high tea party, add British desserts like crumpets, puddings, trifles and tarts.
Play Tea Party Bingo
Like other forms of Bingo, the caller will draw game pieces from a bowl (or teacup or teapot), then guests will put down a marker if they have a matching spot on their game card. The first person with five in a row wins.
These printable tea party bingo game cards make it really easy to organize.
Scones are the must-have tea party food. That light fluffy texture goes very well with tea.
What you might find, however, is that different types of scones taste better with specific types of teas. Here’s a tea & scone pairing guide to help you figure it out.
Cut Your Finger Sandwiches into Playing Card Shapes
Another way to totally impress your guests is with this playing card sandwich recipe.
All you have to do is use these playing card shaped cutters on one side of some crustless sandwiches and voila! They’ll look so good, your guests will barely want to eat them.
(They also fit in so well with the Alice in Wonderland theme!)
Jazz It Up with Lace
Isn’t there just something so dainty and lady-like about lace? Make it the center of your decor!
You can start with this drop-dead gorgeous vintage lace tablecloth.
Create Centerpieces with Tea Pots as Flower Vases
If you’ve got multiple teapots on hand, put them to work as themed centerpieces. Fill them with flowers and other paraphernalia to complete the look.
Make a Cake Stand Using Tea Cups and Saucers
This is guaranteed to have your guests oo-ing and ah-ing.
All you need is a tea cup, saucer and glue. Put the cup’s open side down and glue the saucer onto the back of the cup. It makes the cutest, most unique little stand for a cupcake or collection of pastries. They’ll look like this:
Use Vintage Cloth Napkins
If you’re going for old-timey vibes, nail the look by visiting your local thrift store to look for vintage cloth napkins.
If you can’t find any or simply prefer napkins that haven’t been used, you can grab some lovely vintage-style napkins like these and no one will know the difference.
Use an Elegant Tea Serving Cart
For sophistication and glamour, introduce each new batch of tea using a serving cart or ...wait for it... a tea trolley.
What’s more sophisticated than placing your teapot, toppings and a few pastries on the different tiers of this cart and wheeling it from table to table? Oh the elegance!
Use Lace Doilies to Wrap Silverware
I remember when doilies were popular to use on furniture. Though that’s no longer trendy, you can still appreciate the intricate beauty of lace doilies by using them as coasters, placemats and to wrap silverware.
Outdoor Tea Party? Hang Lanterns
If you are hosting an outdoor party in the eveningtime, lanterns are great tea party decorations.
Lit lanterns give off an enchanting glow that’ll make this get together all the more romantic and magical.
Set Up a Simple Game of Croquet
Are you and your friends familiar with croquet? If so, it might be a fun game for everyone to play and if not, it could be a fun game to learn and introduce to everyone.
Croquet involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops on a grass court. Here is a tutorial.
Play Tea Bag Toss (Just Like Cornhole)
This is such a fun tea party entertainment idea. Cornhole is a game where you toss bean-filled bags through a hole on a board. It’s really popular in the American Midwest & South.
To make the game fit your tea theme, replace the bean bags with tea bags and use this mini tabletop cornhole board!
Serve Fruit & Cheese Kabobs
Wanting a simple menu that is easy to put together as well as easy for people to grab while mingling? Try putting fruit and cheese cubes on kabob sticks.
For something totally brunch-themed and unique, check out this recipe for fruit and cheese kabobs with croissant croutons.
Try a Doctor Who or Downton Abbey Theme
Doctor Who is a long running British science fiction show and Downton Abbey is a British historical drama. Fans of either show would have lots of fun dressing up as the characters and incorporating elements of the show into the party decor. For games, you can even host show trivia!
Make It a BYOT Party (Bring Your Own Tea!)
Making this a potluck of teas means less to prepare by the hostess. Also, a BYOT increases the variety of teas that everyone gets to partake in.
BYOT can also mean “Bring Your Own Teacup”; an opportunity for guests to show off their unique drinkware.
Sharing the origins of each other’s teas and/or teacups makes for great conversation.
Pearls Make Everything Pretty
For a glamorous look, drape strands of decorative pearls across your chairs or use them as table decorations or centerpieces.
Ask your guests to show up in their best, pearliest attire and make sure that your outfit includes layers and layers of this classy gemstone.
Don’t these adult tea party ideas get you all excited!? I’d love to read your tea party stories and see your tea party pictures, so make sure to tag us on Instagram!