How to Host a Modern Tea Party

This ain't your grandmother's afternoon tea! With bold pops of colour, unexpected invites and punchy personalized accents, your next tea party is sure to be anything but old-fashioned. Read on for everything you need to know to freshen up your fete!

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Above, from left: Paul Loebach dining chairs, West Elm; Docksta table, Ikea; artwork, Art Interiors; table fabric, Designer Fabrics; all serveware and dinnerware, Kahla; except Diane von Furstenberg paint-splatter bowls, HomeSense.

  • Set the tone with an alfresco lunch. No need for anything fancy or frilly. A simple table and chairs is perfect; use what you have.
  • Leave the heavy tablecloth in the cupboard. Instead, add a punch of colour to the table with a scrap of fun fabric or a discounted end-of-the-roll remnant. Crop it smaller than the table's surface for a crisp, clean look.
  • Play with height. Stack plates and platters and use a variety of serveware to add visual depth to your table. Plus, it makes it easier for everyone to get their hands on the goods!
  • Pull out your best and most beautiful serving pieces for the occasion. Modern teacups are a great way to add bursts of colour; these days, many also include practical features like the velvety exterior on these Kahla cups, which actually protects your hand from the heat!

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Above, bottom left: tea tins, HomeSense.

  • Break away from the ubiquitous e-vite and surprise your guests by sending out good old-fashioned paper invitations by mail!
  • Metal tea tins filled with flowers not only enhance the party's theme, but also offer yet another way to inject some colour into your tablescape. Be sure to put a small water or shot glass inside each tin if it has a paper component.
  • Personalize your party with custom labels. From the tea itself (above, top left) to pop bottles (above, at right), put your stamp on all of the packaged goods then simply adhere with double-sided tape.

 

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