Tea Party Etiquette

Hosting a Tea Party in Style

Thinking of hosting a traditional tea party? Then our tea party etiquette page will be of great use to you! Many of the past traditions and etiquette surrounding tea parties has been lost over the last several decades, but a traditional tea party can be a real treat for your guests.

Lets start with the Tea Party itself. There are two types of tea parties. Full Tea & Light Tea. The difference is in the tea party menu.

Full Tea - Tea Party Menu

A full tea has three courses. Your tea party menu should consist of the following:

Light Tea - Tea Party Menu

A light tea is just that, one course less than a full tea. For a light tea, your tea party menu should have the following:
  • Scones to start
  • Sweets to finish

Tea Party Etiquette - The Table

The tea pot spout should be pointing towards the hostess once placed on the table. You should have small tea spoons, one for each guest, small forks, napkins and small plates.

Those experienced in traditional tea service will eat the food in the order listed above.

Please do get a hold of sugar tongs if you are serving sugar cubes, or designate a spoon for the sugar bowl.

What to do with the Teaspoon!

Once you have your tea, and you have stirred the tea with the spoon provided for you, it is proper etiquette to lay the teaspoon in your tea saucer. It is not proper to place it back on the tea serving table or trays.

Tea Party Etiquette & Your Pinky!

While you may be tempted to stick out your little pinky while sipping on your tea, it is not proper to do so. It is just a little dig at tea drinkers. The pinky is actually mocking the tea party and its guests.

The Tea Party Napkin

Proper etiquette states that you should have a cloth napkin, not paper. Either way, it is proper to completly unfold the napkin and place in on your lap. We often rush things today and just dab the closed napkin at our mouth. Also, do not scrunch it up. It is proper to keep it layed flat.

Tea Party Menu - How to eat the food!

At a formal or traditional tea party, proper etiquett is to eat the foods served with your fingers. So, if you are having a scone, break off little pieces, and eat them one at a time, do not cut or use a fork to eat the scone.

Tea Sandwiches are also meant to be eaten with your fingers, just remember to savour those little morsels and take a few bites of the sandwich instead of popping the whole thing in your mouth. Oh, and don't forget to put them on your plate before you start to eat them!

Read our Tea Party Sandwiches Article

Tea Party Sweets - Ahhhh the sweet tray. Again these should be cut and served in small pieces for bars and cakes, and other sweets should be on the small side as well. Just remember to take a few bites vs popping the entire thing in your mouth.

By taking those couple of little bits, it shows the hostess that you appreciate the food and is proper etiquette.

Read our Tea Party Tea Pot Cake Article

Visit our Tea Party Cupcakes Article

All Done?

Once you are done, simply place your plate in front of you. Do not move it to the side or scrunch your napkin up on it. Simply fold you napkin (yes, we know it is dirty!) and place it to the side of your plate. Spoon to the side of your tea cup on the saucer and that is it.

I hope these few tips will help you with your tea party etiquette and your next event goes off in grand style!

Return from Tea Party Etiquette to Tea Party Ideas


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