HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Tea Party Question!

Hi...I am hosting a small bridal shower tea party for a friend...there will be 8 to 10 adults + 3 little girls, so going to make it a sit down tea. Guests will arrive at 2:30, want to have everyone there before we go to the dining room and sit down. So...suggestions on what to serve in the meantime (maybe half an hour before tea?). I could have a tea station in the living room, but that would mean a separate set of tea cups (the table will be laid with them). Or could have punch maybe/some cookies while we wait and relax? Thanks for all suggestions!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. what are you serving with the sit-down tea?

    for your "waiting room," i'd suggest some bowls of quality mixed nuts, including a bowl of those chocolate -dusted almonds from emerald nuts.

    but, if i got to some party and wasn't offered something to drink when i got there, i'd be a little put out.

    you are supposed to stand at the door and introduce everyone to the guest of honor as they arrive -- that's what i learned on the etiquette sites. maybe you should let people get tea from a sideboard after they arrive and meet the guest of honor, and THEN as everyone has gotten there, move to the sit-down phase.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal

      Scones with clotted cream, finger sandwiches, assorted sweets, fruit, teas + maybe hot chocolate or lemonade for the kids...its quite a bit of food, so don't think i want to put out much beforehand..

    2. I would not serve punch and cookies if you are having a formal tea, as you will have sweets with your tea. Tea is often served with something savory and sweet so why not have some hors d'oeuvres that are light beforehand with a punch or perhaps a rose wine and then proceed to tea.

      1. Maybe just some champagne and sparkling cider? If you're having a meal, I wouldn't really serve food beforehand. Also, I think of tea as a light, more casual affair- sitting in the living room, eating delicate tidbits and socializing rather than a sit down affair.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hobbert

          This is more of a formal tea, such as you get in a large hotel or at a British Department store. Have also had a sit-down tea served very nicely at American Girl Place in New York...

        2. Most tea-parties in our region start with sparkling wine/sparkling lemonade. And minimal nibbles such as nuts or dried fruit.

          1. Yes, if you are serving a formal tea, then I would put out minimal items beforehand. Next to the pre-tea drinks, I would put a bowl of buttermints, Jordan almonds, and maybe a fruit/nut mix.

            But I think just a bowl of buttermints or peppermints (or even lemondrops, depending on the colors you are going-for) might be best because they could 'clear/clean' out the taste in others's mouths before the tea.

            1. It's not like it's a holiday feast where the family gathers hours before the meal. You have a small time window. I would assume everyone will get there close to the time you've set,
              and would not feed them before the sit-down meal. Set out a pitcher of ice water and empty glasses, and perhaps a bowl of grapes and some jellied fruit candies.

              1. I would do some nuts and cheese straws with some lemonade or champagne

                1. Thanks for the suggestions everyone! The tea was yesterday and was lovely...put out a bowl of punch (pink) first, and people served themselves while they chatted...then sat down for the formal tea (scones & jam & devon cream, finger sandwiches, sweets)...everyone sipped their tea, then we filled up their champagne glasses with a glass of Proseco and toasted the bride. it was a wonderful afternoon and not actually that much work...a very simple menu really.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: relentlesscook

                    Congratulations on your lovely day. We need to bring back the tea party!