Hosting a Garden Tea Party

Spring is the perfect season to host an elegant garden-inspired tea party. Fresh flowers are in bloom, the days are long and sunny, and the weather is gentle and pleasant. What better way to celebrate the season than gathering with your nearest and dearest to sip, snack and socialize in your own backyard?

A garden tea party is also the perfect theme for a bridal shower, Easter brunch or Mother’s Day celebration. Mark your calendar, invite your closest friends, and use this guide to host the ultimate garden tea party this spring or summer.

Choose Your Venue

In many cases, the best setting for your garden tea party will be your own backyard or patio. A public park would also made for an ideal venue, especially if you plan to host a larger event.

In either scenario, it is important to ensure that your tables and chairs will receive enough shade. If there is not an abundance of natural foliage, plan to set up umbrellas or other coverings to help guests stay cool and comfortable, even on the warmest of days.

Additionally, it is a smart idea to have a backup plan in case spring showers decide to rain on your parade. You can always bring the garden setting indoors with fresh florals and colorful decor.

Narrow Down a Theme

“Garden-inspired” is a wonderful starting point, but we recommend narrowing down your theme even more to help guide your decor, menu and other details.

Consider your vision for your event—does it skew more towards Alice in Wonderland, or high tea with the royal family? Have you been picturing a shabby-chic, vintage event with mismatched teacups, or an enchanting secret garden party inspired by your favorite fairytales?

After you have narrowed down your garden tea party theme, it is time to begin planning the decor and finalizing the menu.

Determine Your Decor

Choosing the decor for your garden tea party is a wonderful way to express your creativity and bring your theme to life. An abundance of fresh flowers is a must for any garden-inspired event; for your centerpieces, select your favorite vessel (we recommend a vintage teapot for an extra touch of whimsy) and fill it with your favorite springtime blooms.

Dainty yet festive details like colorful bunting, doilies, tiered trays, birdcases, and baskets will help keep your theme looking cohesive.

Plan the Tea Menu

You can’t have a garden tea party without the tea! High quality black tea—especially Assam, Darjeeling or Ceylon varietals—are a must-have for any proper tea party. British Breakfast and Earl Grey are among the most classic and widely-enjoyed black teas.

Learn how to steep tea the right way before the big event, to ensure that every cup is perfectly prepared. Practice makes perfect!

Herbal teas are another excellent choice for a garden tea party, especially fragrant floral teas. These tasty teas can be served hot or iced—the perfect refreshing beverage for a warm, sunny day. Freeze fresh herbs or florals into your ice cubes for an extra festive touch.

Plan the Food Menu

Stick with foods that are light and fresh, like a simple tossed salad or assorted sliced fruits. Finger foods such as tea sandwiches and deviled eggs will allow guests to snack at their own pace while mingling with friends.

Don’t forget dessert! Classic British treats like trifles, puddings, tarts and buttery shortbread cookies will delight guests and make for a beautiful buffet presentation. Impress guests by whipping up these simple-yet-delicious chai tea-infused shortbread cookies.

Want to really embrace the garden party theme? Use piping tips and buttercream frosting to transform basic cookies and cupcakes into colorful roses, hydrangeas and other florals.

Above all, the key to planning a garden tea party is to be gracious host and put your guests’ comfort at the forefront of your decisions. Good tea, good food and good company are the cornerstones of any successful tea party—feel free to get creative with the rest!