During the Victorian era, if the tea party was to be held in the garden, invitations were sent out with a special mention that the guests need to come wearing hats. Sometimes, guests even got their own cups for such gatherings. Of course, nowadays, to go to such extremes will be considered too much, still you can do a lot of other things while arranging such an event. Here are some interesting ideas from which you can take inspiration.
The invitations for the party should be sent at least two weeks in advance. The invitations should have designs, which remind the people of that era. A good design for the invitation can be a colorful peacock, which was considered to be a symbol of beauty by people of the Victorian era. While sending the invitations you can put in a request to your guests to RSVP a week before the actual event so that you can plan for everything, be it the food, party setting, etc., accordingly.
Decorations and Settings
The Victorian tea party can be held in two ways, i.e., buffet style, wherein you will keep a separate table for serving tea and food, while your guests will be seated on another table or you can consider serving tea to your guests while they are seated, on the same table itself. If your gathering is large, i.e., more than ten people, then to make things easier for yourself, you may opt for a buffet style party. If it's just a couple of your friends who will be attending the party, then make the event personalized by serving them at their table itself.
While arranging the table settings, make sure that the cup, saucer, spoon, fork, cloth napkin, and the side small plate are matching. Ideally the crockery should be made of bone china. Keep a container to hold packets, a plate to keep lemon wedges, and a small pitcher for honey. You can either make the tea yourself or keep some loose tea bags in an attractive box for your guests. The etiquette says that the cups of the guests should never be empty at any point of time during the event, so if you have a large gathering, let the guests make their own tea.
When it comes to the food, the key lies in keeping it simple. You may include foods such as muffins, cookies, small decorative cakes, tarts, light vegetable and cheese sandwiches. To make the menu a little more fun, you may provide your guests with crackers with cheese toppings.
Two very popular games for Victorian tea parties are "charades" and "croquet". To play croquet, you need to buy a croquet set, which can be pretty expensive. If it does not fall in your budget, you can play charades, which was a very popular game even in that era.
As a reminder of this special get together, you can give favors or small gifts to your guests such as Victorian style picture frames, some special teas, or some small pocket books depicting the culture and history of the era.
These parties are classy affairs, so make sure everything about the event be it silverware, tablecloths, or table centerpieces reflect high society living. This in no way means that you feel pressurized to keep everything prim and proper. After all, you have kept this party to reconnect with your close ones, right? So simply enjoy yourself and see to it that your guests have a gala time too.