The Ultimate Guide: Afternoon Tea At Home

I genuinely cannot wait to be able to go out and have afternoon tea prepared for me, but whilst that isn’t a choice, I thought I’d better have found some ideas for afternoon tea at home.

table set with afternoon tea

It’s no secret that hosting is one of my favourite things to do – I absolutely love having my friends and family over.

Since we have been in our own house, we have also been amidst a global pandemic so hosting hasn’t really been possible. I managed to host a Christmas Eve party for my family when lockdown rules eased, but apart from that I haven’t really had a chance to put my hosting skills to use.

Since I haven’t been able to host properly, I have been upping my game with at home date nights for me and Brad. This has meant I’ve been getting my hosting skills up to scratch and gathering together inspiration & ideas for when we are actually able to host a proper party.

I’ve been obsessed with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recently, I’ve taken inspiration from the absolute queen of hosting, Lisa Vanderpump. She hosted this incredible tea party which inspired me to try it out myself, except I had no guests *cheers, Boris* or drama – and I didn’t have millions to spend on it either (sigh).

Not gonna lie here, I really did just wing it, *BUT* it turned out exactly how I wanted it and I couldn’t be happier.

a table set for afternoon tea

What you need

The decor is one of the most important things in my eyes. If it doesn’t look pretty, what’s the point?!

A tea set

*Obviously* the most important component of an afternoon tea party at home is an actual tea set. Shock horror but as a 21 year old woman, I didn’t actually own a tea set. I set out to find the perfect vintage bone China set, but I really struggled due to the vintage shops and charity shops being closed. I scoured eBay, Depop, Facebook market place – I just couldn’t find the right one.

Because my house is mainly neutral colours, I really wanted a vintage pattern but after searching for literally a month, I bit the bullet and ordered this set off Amazon. I was a bit gutted as they’re not bone China nor are they a pretty vintage pattern, but as soon as they arrived I fell in love. The set comes with 6 teaspoons, saucers and tea cups, a teapot, sugar pot and a milk jug.

Food Stands

This one isn’t really that essential, but in order to get the proper ~afternoon tea~ feel, you need a food stand! I ordered these ones from Amazon on prime. They are acrylic which I wasn’t aware of when I bought them, but they served their purpose and done a great job. I also bought a cake stand from the range to sit my pretty little Victoria sponge on.

Tableware

I set my table for 6, each setting had a placemat, side plate, saucer and tea cup with cutlery and a Prosecco glass. I also think it’s important to have a centre piece on the table to tie it all in together.

Drinks to Serve

On arrival, you need to ensure each of your guests are welcomed with a glass of fizz or orange juice. When setting out your table, you need to set each place with a prosecco glass.

Onto the obvious, the tea. I am personally quite partial to green, peppermint, chamomile and black tea. If I’d have had more than one teapot, I would have done a selection but in this case I stuck to black tea. Make sure you have milk and sugar set out on the table, too, ready for when your guests sit down.

Food to Serve

Tea sandwiches

Tea sandwiches are super easy & quick to make. These can be set out on a food stand – usually on the bottom plate- I chose to do a mixture of 5 different fillings on both white and brown bread and set them out on a serving plate. The fillings I chose for my tea sandwiches are ham and cheese, cheese, tuna and sweet corn, egg and cream cheese & salmon. The key to tea sandwiches is they need to be crustless and either sliced in “fingers” or triangles.

Scones

These are usually set out on the middle plate of the food stand – The most controversial British debate. However the *F* you pronounce it, they are a key factor to a successful afternoon tea. Us British people also like to have an absolute field day on pointing out to our guests which order is the “correct” way to eat your scones… Jam or cream first? I set my scones out as they are, and let my guests cut them and spread their own jam & cream. I popped the jam and cream into separate little dishes next to the food stand; Saves my time and energy and saves the great British debate on whether I’ve prepared them correctly or not.

Sweets

For the top of the food stand, the “desserts” – I had a collection of bakes & sweet treats on my table, everything from fresh baked brownies, to cupcakes and shop-bought sweets. I didn’t go OTT on this, as we already would of had scones before hand. I have a post here on 3 Easy No Bake Treats to Make – the biscoff truffles are to die for!

Overall, I’m so impressed with how everything turned out. I cannot wait to do this again in the summer, but take it out in the garden!