Summertime is perfect for hosting a vintage garden tea party under the trees.
An afternoon tea format suits a garden party well. With guests arriving around 1 pm for a few hours of tea and treats in the garden. This means you can keep the food options lighter and make the most of the warm summer weather.
Start the summer garden theme off right with beautiful floral invitations. Handwritten invites with crisp white envelopes do this well. Ask guests to come in their best garden tea party dress (think1950s retro glam), hats also optional. Lace gloves, pearls and pretty pastel colored dresses and parasols suit this type of party perfectly. Get your guests to join in helping set the scene. Ask for RSVPs to arrive at least one week prior to the event to allow you time to arrange the catering.
Setting the scene:
Set out tables on the lawn or on your patio. You can set up on a long table or a few little tables of four. Ensure there is some shade using large umbrellas or the shade of the tree. No one wants to melt in the sun all afternoon.
Tables should be covered with floor length tablecloths in either white or pastel pinks or blues. You can then add a lace table runner or a bright floral runner to bring some more romance to the setting.
Along the center of the table pace vintage teacups and teapots filled with roses and summer flowers in full bloom. Rose petals can be scattered along the table also. Add more layers of lace doilies on top of the table runner to really turn up the vintage romance style. Place one floral sugar bowl and creamer per four people along the table. Fine bone China pieces are the daintiest type to use for this kind of tea party. They are light and fine to use.
Have each place setting marked by a handwritten place card and menu card. Set a small floral side plate underneath a floral teacup and saucer with a dainty silver spoon on the right. Matching sets are not important, but floral or pastel coloured pieces look best in this setting. Beside the plate place a knife and linen napkin. If you are serving bubbly wine, also set the champagne glasses above and to the right of the teacup.
Serve the food on gorgeous old fashioned plates and cakes stands. Tiered plates look perfect in this setting. When setting the food on tiered plates, remember to put savoury food at the bottom and sweet things on the top plate. Have large jugs of iced tea and water with mint and lemon along the table for guests to share.
Add the next level of glamor by decorating the garden with white bird cages, hanging chandeliers and pearls, filling the table with old fashioned silver candlestick holders
Vintage Garden Tea Party Food Selections:
Savoury: Selection of small sandwiches, mini quiches, mozzarella and cherry tomato sticks,
Sweet: Cup cakes with pastel coloured icing, Naked Sponge Cake with strawberries, lemon shortbread, Scones with jam and cream, mini pavlovas, chocolate brownies, tea cakes, iced buns, shortbread biscuits, rose petal jelly
Tea Selections: Jasmine, English Breakfast, Peach, Peppermint, Green tea. Iced teas – peach, strawberry, ginger, rose petal
Items for Set-up
Floral or Pastel coloured Bone China tea cups with matching saucers
Floral Side Plates
Tall lemonade Glasses
Silver Cake forks
Hand written name cards
Bright, pretty linen napkins,
For the table:
Iced tea carafes
Silver Cake knife
Silver Cake slice
Vintage Sandwich tongs
Vintage Cream spoon
Pretty Tea Strainer
Glass Cake Stands
Vintage floral Sandwich plates
Floral or white Tea pots
Glass Sugar bowls
Glass Milk Jugs
Pretty little Jam Dishes
Floral Cream Bowl
Vintage teacups for floral arrangements
Crisp white or pastel coloured table cloths
Lace or floral table runner
White bird cages
Strings of pearls
Wide chiffon ribbons for chairs
Vintage silver Candle stick holders
Large glass drink containers with taps for iced tea and lemonade