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Respectfully Yours: Fun most important ingredient for tea party

Dear Jacquelyn,

I am thinking about hosting a tea party. It seems like there are a lot of details to consider to have an authentic afternoon tea. Other than serving tea, what else would be needed to have an elegant, fun tea party with friends?

Dear Reader,

There is something special about afternoon tea parties. They evoke images of friends sipping tea, chatting and eating dainty sandwiches.

Even though hosting an afternoon tea seems a little daunting, with a little planning your tea party will be a success. The magic is in the details.

Hosting a perfect tea party begins by selecting a date and sending out your invitations. The invitation will establish the theme for the event.

Consider a frilly paper invite. It’s a thoughtful touch that will set the tone for your get-together. The preparation that goes into it shows thoughtfulness and kind consideration for the person invited.

The tea party table is the focus and takes center stage for the event.

Consider creating the perfect ambiance with an assortment of vintage tea cups, tea pot and lace doilies. A lovely flower arrangement is a beautiful addition.

Three courses are traditionally served with afternoon tea: sandwiches, sweets and scones. The food items are often served to the guest on a decorative tray.

All foods may be eaten with your fingers unless cake is served. A fork would then be set on the table along with napkin, tea cup, saucer and teaspoon.

Offer an assortment of fine teas. It’s good to have at least two teas on hand to serve: one black or green caffeinated tea, and at least one herbal or decaffeinated. It’s also a show of a good host to know a little about each tea to make recommendations to each person’s taste.

Hosting a tea party can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.

Remember that fun is the most important ingredient.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2021 Jacquelyn Youst

Healthy Geezer: Heart transplants, leukemia, DOs and MDs