June has made its leisurely entrance, bringing with it some unpredictably chilly nights and muggy days (it’s still *technically* spring, after all). Best of all, June has ushered in hopeful ponderings of warm-weather plans to come.
The soon-to-be summer atmosphere has even set the mood for sporadic tea purchasing. I impulse-bought two different kinds of tea that promise both aesthetic and flavor magic. I was completely seduced by the idea of fresh fruit, a mint leaf, and a ray of sunshine hitting the blackberry jasmine tea in my cup.
But that’s marketing for you…
Anyway, this got me thinking: when was the last time I sat down and enjoyed a cup of tea away from my desk?
One thought led to another. I began reminiscing about gatherings of friends and family, lavish (yet kitschy) tablescapes, and fruity, floral notes floating from my teacup… And then I decided: It’s definitely time to host a little tea-centric soiree of my own.
Inspired by this, I decided to share some tips for hosting your own lowkey summer tea party, whether it’s your first or your 100th. These tips are accompanied by photos of my tea party-ready table settings from spring 2021 (one of my favorite YouTube videos).
How To Host A Summer Tea Party
Step 1. Pick a date & pop it on the calendar
In the realm of self-development, experts often say “it’s not real unless you schedule it”. I find this to be true for everything from professional endeavors to whimsical tea parties.
I mean, who in their right mind makes time for things like this when there’s so much going on in the world…? We do! Because enjoying life’s little moments has never been more important. But if you don’t put it on the calendar, you risk pushing it back again and again.
Decide that this matters and pick a date for it. Life will always serve up emergencies and more important things to focus on, so go ahead and block out time for something fun.
Step 2. Decide on your tea party ~vibe~
Are you going the midsommar route (the holiday, not the horror movie) with floral crowns and a lush outdoor setting? Will it be more of a flowery high-tea affair with extravagant tiered trays full of tea sandwiches and few bottles of bubbly to get the conversation flowing?
Or maybe a mismatched Mad Hatter-inspired soiree, complete with a pack of playing cards as party favors?
There are endless routes to take when you’re planning something as purposefully leisurely and whimsical as a tea party, so take this opportunity to dream up your event. Pinterest has endless inspiration for this and any other gathering you might be planning.
Step 3. Get your logistics in order
Once we’re done vibing out, it’s time to get down to business. Create your guest list, order or DIY some invitations, and decide on the various specifics of your gathering.
You’ll need to know things like time (a late-morning brunch, an afternoon meet-up, or an evening wind-down?) and setting (your apartment balcony, a public park, or a rented space?). This may also inform your menu and, depending on how niche you want to get, what kind of tea you’re going to serve.
If budget becomes an issue, go minimal with your offerings and let guests each bring a tea to share and a dish of some kind, potluck-style. Remember, there are no rules!
Step 4. Plan your table
Putting a tablescape together is one of the most underappreciated joys in life, if you ask me. There’s something magical about setting up a gathering space with beautiful dishes and special touches. And don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be expensive to be aesthetic.
While I used to be guilty of ordering an entirely new set of dishes on a whim (I once ordered enough vintage dishes to serve a Gothic-Tropical tea for six and never ended up hosting it due to a move) these days I like seeing what kind of table I can put together with what I already have.
You’re under no obligation to take the traditional route, but here are a few things a classic tea party place setting might have:
- A teacup and saucer. Matching… or not!
- A teaspoon for stirring in (optional) milk and sugar. I don’t take either, but many people do. You’ll also need any other utensils depending on your menu (like knives for spreading jam and clotted cream).
- A spoon rest. If you’re using individual tea bags, they’ll also need a place to rest those after steeping.
- A smaller plate for pastries and bites.
- A teapot or two containing the varieties you’re serving (or hot water if they’re pouring their own).
- Small pitchers for milk, creamer, and any non-dairy add-ins.
- A sugar bowl for sweetening things up. One per table will do.
- A napkin. There are plenty of eco-friendly options, including reusable cloth.
- Serving stands for bites and snacks. I love my handmade stand from The Brooklyn Teacup.
- Place cards, small gifts, and any other cute finishing touches that can make each place setting special.
Sometimes accidental aesthetics are the most charming, so don’t overthink it.
Step 5. Plan Your Tea Selection & Menu
Stuck on which kinds of tea to serve? Summer calls for herbal infusions and fresh florals. Citrus and tropical blends smell and taste amazing this time of the year. You can even serve iced variations—think blackberry, hibiscus, or green tea. You can also opt for classics like English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Darjeeling.
If it’s still available, you might find sakura (cherry blossom) tea imported from Japan, which goes out of season by the time mid-summer hits. And remember, it’s down to preference! Serve whatever you and your guests will love.
As for the menu, choose bites instead of heavier foods. Consider fresh fruits, light (and tiny) pastries, tea sandwiches, nuts, and any charcuterie board favorites. If you’re also serving wine or champagne, the latter is especially satisfying.
As a courtesy to guests, you might want to have non-alcoholic drinks, caffeine-free tea options, and potential allergens or aversions clearly labeled. Have them note any dietary restrictions when RSVP-ing.
Step 6. Enjoy your tea party!
Don’t get caught up in the planning and hosting to such a degree that you miss your own tea party. Do the prep work and help facilitate things in the early moments of the event, but ease into the experience as if you’re attending the party yourself. The tea is the real host! You’re just here to have an amazing time and make memories with the people you adore.
Let’s raise our teacups to summer and see what awaits us…
Enjoy your summer tea parties, friends! Be sure to tag me on IG and let me know if you use any of these tips (or if you have more to share).
P.S. Need more tablescape ideas? Check out this post:
And this video: