Tips for Hosting an Afternoon Tea

March 7, 2013

Every girl should attend a proper tea at some point in her life, whether it's at a fancy hotel, a tea room, or a friend's place. With Easter and Mother's Day rapidly approaching, consider hosting a tea for your friends and family. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind.

1. Put your pinky down.
It's a huge misconception that pinkies should be up when sipping tea. The proper place for your pinky: down, on or near the handle of your teacup.

2. Dress up!
While afternoon tea is a fun, relaxed occasion, afternoon tea attire is not so much. Jeans and shorts are out; a dress is your best choice, and hat and gloves are optional.

3. Keep teacup and saucer together.
When you lift your cup to take a sip, lift the saucer as well. The two were made for each other and never want to be apart.

4. No forks allowed.
A proper tea is not the time to serve up your amazing osso bucco. Light fare--small finger sandwiches, cookies, tarts, and scones--is the norm; basically anything that doesn't require a knife and fork. The only exception to this rule is if you're serving clotted cream and jam with the scones.

5. Lemon OR milk.
Lemon and milk don't mix--the acid in the lemon causes the milk to curdle and look extremely unappealing. It's a good idea to offer guests their choice, just make sure you let any new tea drinkers know not to mix the the two.

6. Use sugar cubes.
Keep your table as tidy as possible by setting out sugar cubes versus granulated sugar. A tiny spoon or, better still, tongs can be used for serving them. To make your party even sweeter, look for sugar in heart or flower shapes

7. Finish with a flourish.
A good tea ends with fresh strawberries and champagne. Sometimes good chocolates are served, and very much appreciated.

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