Making a tea party table setting can be very simple, or very elaborate depending on your mood.
Of course we don't always set up the table elaborately. Most of the time it's simply a plate of goodies and a mug of tea. But when we do set the table it's such good fun.
I've started collecting fabric from the thrift store for table cloths and napkins so that I can have different colours depending on how I'm feeling. In the tea party table setting shown here, the table cloth is actually one of my old sheer curtains. I made myself sheer curtains for our living room and then really hated them! I saved the fabric, which was only $3 per yard in the first place, and I love the way the fabric hangs and sits decadently on the floor. I bought this fabric from fabric.com online.
Having a collection of teacups is of course a great idea! I don't have all that many of my own, but I am lucky enough to have friends who don't mind sharing. I actually love mixed and matched individual teacups. I think it makes the table friendly and fun - which is just what I'm looking for at afternoon tea time.
I would dearly love to own some more china - sandwich platters and cake stands in particular. But in the meantime, I do enjoy making my own from whatever I find at hand.
Flowers and greenery really do make the table look pretty.This is easier in the summer months - but even in winter, there are ever-green branches and berries that can make a table feel fresh and natural.
I think the key to a well-set and unusual table setting is to find some inspiration first and to plan well ahead. All my photogenic tea party table settings have been planned in advance. For me, the table always starts with one thing. The above picture started with the irises in my yard, looking so beautiful with the phlox behind them. This poetry tea party table setting was designed around the peaches.
Using the seasons as a starting point is a good idea. There will always be something around you for the table layout, and you can think of different things to bake around the year too. Strawberry afternoon teas are wonderful in the summer when strawberries are in season. Carrot cake in the fall is perfect. Chocolate and pikelets are perfect in the winter.
Once I've found my initial inspiration, it becomes a matter of working out a menu and playing with ideas for serving bowls. On the day of these fancy afternoon teas, I have already got together my table - on paper at least. And I have gathered the things that I will need into one place.
I use PicMonkey to make a menu (if I have guests coming and we really want to go to town. It's easy to use, and it's free! You can even use it to make invitations and then email them if you like.
Chocolate and purple go so well together - it's such a rich combination. So when we used the irises for inspiration and made a purple tea party table setting with ivy, clover and phlox from the garden, we had to have plenty of chocolate!
The sandwich platter was made as a last minute inspiration from a tin lid and a glass - it took less than five minutes to put together!
Roses are so evocative of a perfect English summer's day. Pale blue and pink look so pretty together, and this is pink rose tea table setting is an easy look to re-create.
The scones were served with rose petal jam, and the blue rose napkin fold completed the look perfectly!