Be sure to click on each of the links below to see elegant pictures of items for tea parties.
Afternoon Tea… Low Tea…High Tea… Many caterers, party planners, tea rooms, hotels and protocol and etiquette “experts” are confused on the time of day for each type of tea party. Below explains the difference between Elevenses, Afternoon Tea, Low Tea, High Tea,and Dinner.
AFTERNOON TEA OR “LOW TEA” – An Afternoon Tea can be given for bridal or baby showers, retirement parties, a birthday or graduation parties, in honor of visiting friends, new neighbors, anniversary party, a housewarming, entertaining business clients, fund raising events, graduation, holiday, post-wedding, just catching up with good friends, or as fun way to teach children etiquette.
The three basic types of Afternoon, or Low Tea:
- Cream Tea- A simple tea service consisting of scones, clotted cream, (a thick cream, like a marriage of butter and cream) marmalade or lemon curd and tea.
- Light Tea – Tea, scones and sweets
- Full Tea – A dainty afternoon meal, served typically from 2-4 pm, which includes the tiers of smart little crustless (finger) sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, curd, 2-3 sweets, savories and heaps of tea.
ROYALE TEA– A social tea served with champagne a the beginning, or sherry at the end.
CELEBRATION TEA- Another variation of afternoon tea with a celebratory cake which is serve alongside the other sweets.
HIGH TEA– A meal eaten in the late afternoon or early evening. A true high tea, is a a light elegant yet full evening meal served between a light lunch and late dinner. American hotels and tea rooms, unfamiliar with the tradition, incorrectly refer to afternoon tea as “high tea” offering tidbits of fancy pastries and cakes on delicate china. In reality “high tea”, or “meat tea” is dinner with heartier fare, consisting of at least one meat or fish, potatoes or vegetables, bread and butter complete with an assortment of teas and a dessert, such as a cake or trifle.
DINNER– Dinner is the evening meal served at the end of the day.
WHAT TO SERVE:
- Teas, such as green, black, Earl Grey and herbal teas. Accompany with cream, sugar, artificial sweetener and lemon slices along with a choice of iced tea, lemonade and ice water.
- Pastries, such as scones, biscuits, croissants, petit-fours, cupcakes and sweets
- Finger sandwiches. (Suggestions: Egg Salad, Cucumber and Cream Cheese, Chicken Salad, Smoked Salmon, Ham Salad, Marmalade, Tuna Salad, Watercress and Goat Cheese, Cucumber Mint) Many times the hostess will choose to remove the crust from the bread.
Many in-store bakeries and delis have pastries and sandwiches available or will allow you to special order.
A Tea is a tradition of refinement and elegance so use your best– whatever it is: bone china, tea cups, tea service in silver, trays, cake stands, servers, tea caddies, tea strainers, teapots, tea tables flowers and linens to add polish and grace to the occasion.
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