The Ultimate Tea Party Guide: The Best Ideas and Buys for Hosting a Grown-Up Tea Party

Why should dolls and stuffed animals have all the fun? Consider these ways to ring in the spring with a golden afternoon.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
April 05, 2023
HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

Photo by: Brittney Gazaway

Brittney Gazaway

In many ways, a tea party is the perfect party: There's drinks, snacks and desserts; it can be hosted indoors or out; and it fits any occasion or holiday. Tell your guests you're having a tea party, and be instantly met with a chorus of "Awww!"

It's only an added bonus that the theme doesn't ask too much of its host. Put the kettle on, get out the good tea bags and serve some cucumber sandwiches, and you've got yourself a tea party. So whether you're celebrating Mother's Day, throwing a baby shower or just getting some friends together, see our favorite tea party ideas and shop for tea and accessories for tea lovers.

THE DECOR

A tea party aesthetic can be anything you make of it: Go traditional and classic with thrifted vintage finds and pastels, or opt for an all-black tea set styled with lace and ornate patterns for a perfectly gothy look. Remember: Tea parties aren't limited to springtime!

One of our favorite colors has and always will be pink, so for our tea party, we filled a table with pink teapots, chargers, place mats, flowers and even pink desserts. Pink floral plates, houseplants and a moss tablerunner add a natural touch and bring things back down to earth.

HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

Photo by: Brittney Gazaway

Brittney Gazaway

To create a table with depth, we stacked books from around the house to hold plates and vases. Tiered stands create a place for guests to help themselves to treats and snacks while also looking fabulously stylish. We used clear construction adhesive to stack thrifted teacups, plates and saucers to create custom tiered stands that fit the theme perfectly. If you try this at home, use a level so you don't end up with a wobbly stand!

HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

Photo by: Brittney Gazaway

Brittney Gazaway

If you’re not a crafter or don’t have time to take on a DIY, check out some of our favorite tiered stand buys that will grace your table season after season.

$198
Anthropologie

We wouldn’t blame you for leaving this tiered dessert stand on the counter long after the last mini-scone has disappeared — it’ll also make fresh fruit look impossibly cool. Designed by food stylist, recipe developer and James Beard-nominated “Black Girl Baking” author Jerrelle Guy, the stand has three delicately carved tiers made from acacia wood.

$140
1220CeramicsStudio | Etsy

Give your Nana’s celebrated coffee cake (or a passel of pastries from the local bakery) pride of place with a work of art. Handmade and fired to an ultra-high temperature, this pedestal is both beautiful and durable: It’s microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

In lieu of traditional place cards, take a page from California illustrator and hand-letterer Joanna Reynolds’ book and label your guests’ drinks with Lewis Carroll’s famous temptation from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Sure, you could just write out their names instead of "Drink Me" and quotes from the Cheshire cat and the Mad Hatter, but where’s the fun in that?

There's nothing quite as good as a glass of rose wine on a hot day.

Chilled Glass of Rose Wine

There's nothing quite as good as a chilled glass of rose wine on a hot day, some white wine with a tasty chicken meal, or a bit of rich red wine served with steak and pasta.

Fresh flowers brighten up a table no matter the season. There’s no need to spring for a fancy or expensive vase, either. You can use cups, tea pots or even bowls filled with floral foam for a charming, effortless look. Finish filling out the table with thrifted items or borrow items from around the house like books and small statues.

$17.51
Amazon

For an cute but inexpensive option, try these antique-inspired teacup vases that you'll want to keep up long after the last guest leaves.

THE TEA

Now that you've set the table, on to the main event: the tea. There are thousands, if not millions, of tea blends out there, from chai to herbal to matcha, with endless customizations. Serve up your favorite tea or let guests serve themselves from one of our favorite sampler options below. We also picked out a few matcha options plus tea cocktails — after all, it is a grown-up party.

$25
Amazon

Tea Forté's signature pyramid-shaped, single-use tea infusers are like little gifts for your guests. This introductory collection rounds up some of their greatest hits, including refreshing White Ginger Pear, soothing Chamomile Citron, classic Earl Grey, and relaxing Jasmine Green.

Make Your Own Tea Bags

How to Make Cat-Shaped Tea Bags

These tea pouches are the purrfect gift for the cat-loving tea drinkers in your life.

For an alternative to honey or plain white sugar to sweeten your tea, try making these flavorful hibiscus sugar cubes. Add a tablespoon of strong-brewed hibiscus tea to 2 cups of granulated sugar until it forms a sand-like consistency, then add the mixture to a silicone mold (we used a heart-shaped molds) and let dry for 48 hours. Once fully dry, pop the sugar cubes out into a serving bowl and they’re ready to be added to a cup of tea. This sugar cube flavor can be adapted to fit your needs: try making sweet orange tea sugar cubes if you’re a fan of Earl Grey, or add a tablespoon of lemon zest instead of tea to brighten up lavender tea.

HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

HGTV Trending Topics Table Settings - Tea Party

Photo by: Brittney Gazaway

Brittney Gazaway

Tea Party Cocktails

Tipsy Hibiscus + Green Tea Cocktail

Rich in antioxidants and full of flavor, this bourbon-based cocktail is both good for you and good for what ails you.

Tea-Infused Champagne Cocktail

Introduce a little elegance to your holiday brunch with this floral tea-infused champagne cocktail.


Give chamomile a kick with a steaming cocktail from Megan Lee at Marble + Rye in Buffalo, New York: Her "Hot Tommy" begins with a pot of tea, then raises the stakes with an ounce of Tommyrotter American Whiskey, 1/2 ounce of Amontillado sherry and a tablespoon of honey. As you’re steeping your tea, add the whiskey, sherry, and honey to a teacup or mug, top with the chamomile and add a squeeze of lemon. Finish with a bit of grated cinnamon, then sit back and enjoy your company’s contented sighs.

Gather family 'round the fireplace and mug in hand.

American Whiskey Cocktail

Whether your favorite pour is Bourbon or rye, Scotch or Irish, there's a warm whiskey cocktail for everyone this winter. Gather friends and family 'round the fireplace, mug in hand, and let the January winds blow.

Matcha

$59
Art of Tea

Make like 12th-century Buddhist monks and whip up foamy cups of matcha tea, a creamy, calming brew prepared with shade-grown green tea leaves. This starter set includes everything you’ll need to cultivate a moment of Zen.


When you’re ready to take your matcha to the next level, try this cocktail Jon Feuersanger created when he worked as a beverage manager for Denver’s Beast + Bottle: "Honey Made Me Do" It combines 1 1/2 ounces of Don Ciccio & Figli Finocchietto (a savory Neapolitan fennel liqueur), an ounce of lemon juice, 3/4 ounces of honey syrup, 1/4 ounce of aquafaba (the liquid you find in cans of legumes like chickpeas) and 1/4 teaspoon of matcha. Shaken with ice and double-strained in a tea cup, it’s worthy of royalty. If you're a fan, you can now find Jon coming up with creative cocktails at Death & Co. Denver.

Kids and adults alike love this delicious, comforting drink.

Milk and Honey -- Comforting Drink

Outside of being great for relieving throat pain, the mixture of milk and honey helps us to increase our resistance in physical exercise and fights insomnia.

Matcha Green Tea Gimlet

The grassy notes of the matcha balance perfectly with the flowery botanicals of the London dry gin in this very "green" cocktail.

Matcha Green Tea Donuts 01:25

Delicious and nutritious, these adorable baked mini donuts are packed with antioxidants.

Matcha Green Tea Biscotti

A generous drizzle of rich chocolate ganache enhances the earthy notes of green tea and salty roasted almonds.

Matcha Green Tea Cakes With Sesame Mousse

These green tea matcha cakes, filled with sweet yet woody black sesame cream, are almost to pretty to eat.

Teapots, Infusers + Accessories

$150
Gracious Style

Named for and inspired by a French photographer/poet/painter who was Pablo Picasso's lover and muse, Dora Maar (the teapot) will be the undisputed star of your next surrealist tea. (Never hosted a surrealist tea? Here’s a video of Benedict Cumberbatch performing "I’m a Little Teapot" to get you in the mood.)

For a truly unforgettable gathering, look to Ron and Leetal Arazi of New York Shuk: Their exquisite, all-in-one set includes an engraved Berber tray, a golden Moroccan teapot, a set of six painted glass cups in the jewel tone of your choice, their own blend of spiced mint tea, pistachio halva and Turkish delight.

For a truly unforgettable gathering, look to Ron and Leetal Arazi of New York Shuk: Their exquisite, all-in-one set includes an engraved Berber tray, a golden Moroccan teapot, a set of six painted glass cups in the jewel tone of your choice, their own blend of spiced mint tea, pistachio halva and Turkish delight.

Photo by: Christine Han

Christine Han

$89.99
KitchenAid

If heating water on the stove isn’t your speed, consider KitchenAid’s electric offering: It boils 1.25 liters in minutes and looks awfully snazzy on the counter.

$16.99
Amazon

This is Ground Control to Earl Grey: The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts all splashed down on their trip back to Earth, a la this fellow (though he’s officially the first to splash into a cuppa).

THE FOOD

Cupcakes, toast and those cute little cucumber sandwiches — tea parties are all about easy-to-eat finger food and sweet treats.

For our spread, we started with toast topped with onion and chive cream cheese watermelon radishes and microgreens for a refreshing but filling bite (Image 1). To make classic cucumber sandwiches (Image 2), add a blend of cream cheese, softened butter, lemon juice plus herbs and seasonings like dill, parsley, salt and pepper to two pieces of white bread, then top it off with sliced cucumbers. Close the sandwich and use a knife or a cookie cooker to cut off the crusts (you can save them to make breadcrumbs or croutons). You can leave them plain or garnish with an extra slice of cucumber.

For more savory options, toast up baguette slices topped with chicken salad and pecans, or for a Southern twist serve up pimento cheese sandwiches (Image 3). And if you love the look of window cookies but aren't a baker, use cookie cutters to make window sandwiches; we added strawberry cream cheese to the bottom slice of bread and topped it with strawberry jam (Image 4).

Pink strawberry shortcake ice cream bar cake topped with strawberries

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar Cake

This cake will bring you back to your childhood. Mandy Merriman, Baking with Blondie creator and author of "Cake Confidence" and "I'll Bring the Cake: Recipes for Every Season and Every Occasion," was inspired by her favorite middle school snack: strawberry shortcake ice cream bars. Her riff on beloved ice cream truck treat features a strawberry swirl cake, a strawberry vanilla bean buttercream and a strawberry crumble. Her not-so-secret to getting the perfect crunch is toasting crumbled shortbread cookies, then mixing them with freeze-dried strawberry crumbles.

Photo by: From I’ll Bring The Cake by Mandy Merriman. Copyright © 2023 by Mandy Merriman. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

From I’ll Bring The Cake by Mandy Merriman. Copyright © 2023 by Mandy Merriman. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

For dessert, we can't think of anything more perfect than this nostalgia-inducing cake from Baking with Blondie creator Mandy Merriman's new book: her Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar Cake. Her riff on a beloved ice cream truck treat features a strawberry swirl cake, a strawberry vanilla bean buttercream and a strawberry crumble. Her not-so-secret trick to getting the perfect crunch is toasting crumbled shortbread cookies, then mixing them with freeze-dried strawberry crumbles.

$32.99
Amazon

Also author of "Cake Confidence," Merriman's "I'll Bring the Cake: Recipes for Every Season and Every Occasion," takes the guesswork out of delicious and beautiful cakes — starting with boxed mixes and then adding flavorful ingredients and creative decorations — for occasion-worthy cakes any baker can make.

Other tasty candidates include our lemon-lavender tea cake, pillowy mandolins, chocolate mousse served in teacups, macaroons or classic chocolate chip cookies. If you have leftovers once the party's over, freeze the leftovers as a sweet treat for a job well done later. Cheers!

Lemon-Lavender Tea Cake Recipe

Serve up the perfect spring dessert with tiny bundt cakes drizzled in a lemon glaze and sprinkled with loose lavender.

Blood Orange Chocolate Tart Recipe

Make morning tea feel extra decadent with a rich chocolate tart and surprising notes of blood orange and sea salt.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake 00:56

Inspired by a blueberry muffin with a schmear of cream cheese, this layered cake can be made the night before and refrigerated.

More Tea-rrific Buys + Ideas for Tea Lovers

17 Best Gift Ideas for Tea Lovers

From loose leaf to cold or hot, we've rounded up the best gifts to surprise your tea-loving friend or snag for yourself.

A Smart Mug Perfect for People Always Reheating Their Beverages

This cool coffee gadget is worth splurging on.

Make Personalized Tea Bags for Mother's Day

Surprise Mom this Mother’s Day with handmade tea bags featuring her favorite photos. This thoughtful gift is inexpensive and easy to make.

Free Pattern: Paper Teacup Gift Boxes

These adorable, handmade gift boxes are perfect for Mother’s Day or favors at a tea party. Download the free pattern and customize them to your heart's content.

Make Tea Towels With Your Kids' Art

Turn a treasured piece of art into a keepsake with this easy printer paper transfer project.

Make a Stenciled Tea Towel in Minutes

This easy stenciled tea towel makes a perfect, personalized gift.

Make Custom Sweet Orange Tea Favors

Use bulk spices to create your own custom blend of tea to give as a holiday favor. This recipe is for Sweet Orange Ginger Tea.

4 Amazing Tea Bag Hacks
Loading Video...

Next Up

The Best Crafting, DIY and Hobby Books to Buy or Gift

If you’re looking for a new hobby or need the perfect gift for a beginning crafter or experienced artisan, our crafting book guide will help you find the perfect book for any occasion.

Tour This All-Pink A-Frame in Waco and Then Shop the Look for Your Own Home

Alli Pozeznik's retro Texas pad is a must-book on Airbnb. It's Barbie meets '70s kitsch with a generous helping of cowgirl aesthetic. Take a peek inside and shop the same decor, furniture and accessories.

28 Fun Spring Gift Ideas From Uncommon Goods

Graduations, weddings, Mother's Day and more are on the horizon! Find the perfect gift for everyone and every occasion.

Our Favorite Tailgating Products Are All Available on Amazon

Whether you're in a parking lot at a stadium, hanging out in a park or watching the game in your backyard, these must-have tailgating products will make game day even better.

The Best Margarita Makers for Cocktails at Home

Don't waste away one more weekend without one of these top-rated margarita makers in your kitchen.

28 Must-Have Products for Outdoor Entertaining This Summer

From coolers for your drinks to fun games, these are all of the products you'll need for the best outdoor parties ever.

Everything You Need for an Epic 'House of the Dragon' Watch Party

House of the Dragon is coming to HBO! Prepare for the prequel series with these thrilling Game of Thrones-themed buys.

15 Fresh Spring Decor Picks for Every Room in Your House

Set the tone for the season ahead with our budget-friendly spring decor finds for your home.

7 Gifts Based On Their Favorite Drink Under $75

If you never see them without their favorite beverage in hand, they'll love these gift ideas.

25 Best Gifts for Tea Lovers

From loose leaf to cold or hot, we've rounded up the best gifts to surprise your tea-loving friend or snag for yourself.

More from:

HGTV Handmade

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

Home Town

10am | 9c

Home Town

11am | 10c

Home Town

12pm | 11c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

House Hunters

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

8:30pm | 7:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

10:31pm | 9:31c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

1:31am | 12:31c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30am | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30am | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30am | 4:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.