how to throw an afternoon tea party

My friends have always been very important to me, especially my lady friends. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a group of really close female friends, and I have deeply treasured these relationships. While my guy friends are all super important to me, there is a specific kind of emotional intimacy that comes from a bond with a close girl friend that is a thing all it’s own.  So when I had the idea of throwing an afternoon tea party for my girls, I really didn’t really need an occasion. It was really just a way of just saying ‘I love you, you’re awesome, let’s eat some mini foods.’

So here is what I made, and how I pulled it off. This would work really well for an engagement party, baby shower, birthday party or whatever. In fact, some of my gfs were convinced I was going to surprise them with some news – nope, just wanted an excuse to make tiny scones you guys!

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Drinks

  • 2 pitchers of Pimm’s Cup – I used this recipe
  • 2 pitchers of iced tea – I used Laura’s recipe for “not-super-sweet sweet tea with orange and spice.” It’s the best.

(Friends brought favourite teas, but we had to forego that as it was simply too hot)

Bites

  • Cucumber sandwiches – the classic cream cheese & cucumber, one side whole wheat, one side super white sandwich bread. Crusts removed!
  • Open face smoked salmon sandwiches – on dark rye with creme fraiche and chives.
  • Fruit skewers – I used watermelon, pineapple and grapes
  • Scones (obviously!) – I used this recipe from Violet Bakery and was really happy with the results. The other thing to flag: these scones rose so high that many of them tipped over! Despite looking a little funny they tasted amazing. Served with double devon cream and jams, because obviously.
  • Almond rhubarb picnic bars – this recipe was delicious (although as you can see in the photo above, I totally buggered up the chevron! It took me a while to figure out how to do it, and by the time I realized my chevron was too wide, I just said, screw it. And it still looked pretty).
  • Lemon poppyseed blueberry cake  – recipe from Seven Spoons cookbook, baked in a loaf pan.

Decor

  • Bunting – provided by my friend Rose who owns bunting because she is a proper Brit 😉
  • Vintage tea cups from my grandma
  • Tiered plate stand borrowed from my mom (although I’ve seen tons of tiered platters at places like Homesense) and a cake stand
  • Tissue paper tassel garland – I got this in a kit for $4 on sale at Michaels having seen things like it on a million blogs. I feel like it would be a pretty easy DIY too.
  • Fresh flowers – always a good idea.

Tips

  • The day before: I did all the grocery shopping, and then made the rhubarb bars, lemon loaf, and fruit skewers. I also chopped up all the fruit for the Pimm’s cups!
  • The day of:  I baked the scones, put together the mini sandwiches and set up the table.
  • To avoid having to do a ton  of dishes (I had 15+ guests, no dishwasher) I used adorable polka dotted paper plates (and matching napkins) I got at Homesense and clear plastic cups for the cold drinks.

how to throw an afternoon tea party