What Is A Vintage Tea Party?

Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or simply want to relax in the afternoon with your friends, a tea party is always a good idea — but what is a vintage tea party? 

What Is A Vintage Tea Party
Afternoon tea is the perfect time to catch up with friends, relatives, and co-workers

Afternoon tea is the perfect time to catch up with friends, relatives, and co-workers. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve enjoyed tea parties! There’s something delightful about spending some time sipping a delicious tea with someone.

What could possibly be more relaxing than enjoying your afternoon catching up with your friends over a delicious cup of tea and small bites? Afternoon tea parties are back — they are predicted to be a Pinterest trend for 2022! They are a great way to easily add a festive and stylish vibe to an ordinary weekend or even a special occasion.

How To Host A Vintage Tea Party

If you plan to host an afternoon tea party, impress your guests by doing some research about this fine British tradition. If you want to show them that you’re tea savvy, make sure to call it by its proper name. The type of tea we typically associate with the Victorian era – tea and scones – is known as “afternoon tea,” not “high tea.”

Hosting a tea party at the proper time of the day is another way to demonstrate your knowledge about it. Afternoon tea was created by the nobility of the Victorian era and was traditionally served around 4 PM to bridge the long gap between lunch and dinner. If you want to impress your guests, tell them you are “having tea” and not “taking tea” — just like the Queen does!

two elderly women holding both cup of tea while talking
It's up to your decision where would you like to host your vintage tea party

It is entirely up to you where you choose to host your vintage tea party.

If you have access to a patio or porch and the weather is nice, you may consider holding it outdoors. However, if you are only limited to the indoors, gathering around the dining table is more welcoming. Setting up a tea party in the living room is also fine — just ensure you have enough chairs for every guest.

You might also be interested in learning about Ceylon tea.

What To Serve At A Vintage Tea Party

A tea party is all about enjoying a cup of tea and indulging yourself in delightful, bite-sized delicacies. For modern and vintage mix-ups, you can consider adding soup shooters, quiche bites, and edible flowers.

One excellent way for you to get into the theme further is choosing to display treats on a traditional tray. However, your guests should start from the bottom to the top when eating off the tray. 

Savory sandwiches should be arranged on the bottom, scones in the middle, and sweet treats on the top. Crab salad, curried eggs, and pesto chicken are some traditional, delicious sandwich fillings that you can serve.

And while you're enjoying your afternoon tea delicacies, don't worry too much about the cutlery. Believe it or not, using your fingers to eat is appropriate — just make sure to offer a spoon or fork for the desserts, though.

One of the advantages of hosting or attending a vintage tea party is you get to drink tea from an actual teacup instead of your usual travel mug, but there is an art to doing it properly. When having tea, make sure to stir from the top to the bottom of the teacup. Think of it as a clock, and stir from 12 to six and back again — just be careful not to hit the sides of the teacup with your spoon.

What To Wear For A Vintage Tea Party

The host might ask guests to wear traditional tea clothes to the vintage tea party. Tea fashion consists of dresses, hats or fascinators, jewelry, and gloves. The trick is to dress up — make sure that the clothes, shoes, and hat match the mood of the tea venue or tea party.

A parasol is the perfect finishing touch if the tea party is outdoors. 

a Japanese red parasol
A parasol is perfect for an outdoor vintage tea party

A colorful sundress, cardigan, and sandals are also acceptable for a more casual tea party. Avoid wearing denim and go for clothing that is on the modest side — the more cheerful-looking design, the better.

Tips On Planning The Perfect Vintage Tea Party

Choose The Right Setting

We don’t want to jinx it, but if the day of your tea party happens to be sunny, why don’t you try holding it outdoors? The sunshine makes everything look more beautiful and will give your tea party a real old-fashioned, classic garden party vibe.

It will work just as wonderfully indoors if you can’t hold your vintage tea party outdoors. Dress your table with a white tablecloth and some fresh flowers, and decorate your room with bunting and balloons.

Another quick and easy way to decorate your tea party venue is with pastel pink and white balloons matched with pastel partyware!

Send Out Physical Invitations

Nowadays, we spend so much time online that some of us find it exciting to receive something special in our mailbox. So, why don’t you try sending out real invitations for your vintage tea party? If you are feeling particularly crafty, you can make your own invitations — but still, you should set up an online event to help people remember it. 

It can be difficult to gather a whole group of friends in one place at the same time, so make sure to send out your invitations ahead of time!

Serve Your Food On Vintage Crockery

Vintage crockery is perfect for your vintage tea party — the more mismatched, the better! However, if you do not have any fancy china at home, this Talking Tables Tea Party Bundle is a good cheat. The tea cups and plates look just like vintage china and you can just throw them away once the tea party is over to avoid doing any dishes!

Talking Tables Truly Scrumptious Tea Party Bundle | Vintage Floral Paper Tea Cups and Saucer Sets 12 Count | Pink Scalloped Floral Paper Napkins 20 Pack | Vintage Floral Small Paper Plates 12 Count
  • Truly Scrumptious teacups and saucers are the perfect addition to your tea time table, delighting your guests! 12 count.
  • Lovely vintage floral design, featuring subtle pink roses and gold trim.
  • Pack of 20 delightful scalloped edge floral napkins.
  • 12 paper plates in 6 assorted designs. (Thickness - 0.08 inches and Diameter - 6.7 inches )
  • Part of the Talking Tables Truly Scrumptious range - a charming take on vintage partyware.

Matching Flowers And Table Decorations

If you have a fairly large table and want to decorate it, why don’t you try putting some tonal pastel flowers? These flowers do not even need to be real — there are many beautiful fake flowers that you can find at your local flower shops. A clean white tablecloth will help contrast with the colors, and pastel colors give an old-fashioned vibe which is perfect if you are planning to have a vintage tea party!

Fresh flowers will undoubtedly add to the vintage look of your tea party. We recommend using a couple of vases with some fresh flowers to create a long centerpiece down the middle of the table.

Bring Out The Bunting

The decoration is one of the most important things you need to consider when planning a vintage tea party. Bunting has old-fashioned written all over it and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor parties — it can be easily hung in a tree, along the fence, or even on a wall.

If you are holding your tea party outdoors, you can try to hang some cute paper lanterns in the trees and put some fresh flowers on the table to give it a quaint, traditional garden party look.

Don’t Forget The Food

a tea party with kettle, flower vase, a tea, and cupcakes
A vintage tea party usually includes sandwiches, pastries, and cupcakes

A wide variety of teas can be purchased at any local supermarket or grocery store, so the next thing to consider is food. One good thing about a vintage tea party is that the menu does not need to be complicated. It usually includes sandwiches, pastries, and cupcakes, but the typical vintage tea party snack is cupcakes.

Cupcakes come in many different styles and colors, which makes them ideal for a vintage tea party. You can also consider using colorful cake cups to make them stand out.

If you decide to use a colored cupcake stand to present to your guests, try to match it with the color of your cupcakes and cake cups. You can also use a metal cupcake stand — it is great for reusing but won’t stand out as much.

If you are not sure about what food to serve your guests, here are some ideas:

  • Tea (either a classic like English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey or something different)
  • Sandwiches
  • Mini quiches 
  • Scones with jam and clotted cream
  • Classic cakes (e.g., Victoria sponges, Bakewell tarts)
  • Cupcakes

You may also be interested in reading our guide on what is a Victorian tea party.


  • Danico Dacillo became a fan of coffee when he was in college 'cause it helps him stay awake. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, but now working as a content writer. His passion for writing started when he was still in grade school -- as a sports news writer.