Interview with a Fellow Tea Lover

It is unfortunate how tea rooms in the Nashville and the surrounding areas have mostly closed up shop for those of us who enjoyed a high tea or a nice afternoon tea. We still have enjoyable coffee and tea shop options, but I also miss the traditional English teas. I solved this problem by having small, intimate tea parties. A nice tablecloth, fancy settings, delicious food and, voilà, I was done. For Easter, our teenagers (including my son) requested a high tea. 

I thought it would be interesting to have a tea event at our church. Many ladies seemed enthusiastic to try it, but the reality of a large-scale tea party made me wonder where on earth to start.

I came across Karen Dinsdale Magnant’s elaborate Bridgerton Tea Party on Facebook and decided to ask for advice. We were in the same Facebook group as we both love the TV show Bridgerton and fancy teas. She enthusiastically agreed to dialogue. We set up a time for a video chat.

Steps for a Traditional Tea 

Pick a theme

There are many themes to choose from. Karen and her friends each host a party at their respective houses. Some themes include Tea in Paris, Martha Washington, Snowflake tea, Alice in Wonderland, and a Bridgeton Tea Party. Other themes could be simple as a Fall or Christmas tea. When I visit Historic Rugby, TN, they have an annual Michaelmas, a Christmas tea event and an English tea setting contest. Whatever theme you choose, think elegant thoughts.  

Select date, place of event and time

Send invites according to your theme. If planning a larger scale event, feel free to create social media platforms or other advertising information regarding your tea party. 

Decorate accordingly 

Decorate to whatever theme you chose. Make an inventory of whatever you have access to and what you will need. Set a reasonable budget. 

Get creative and think outside the box. Go to antique stores or yard sales and refurbish items to place on tables or use as props. Karen used a brown chandelier she found at an antique store. She painted it white and had help placing extensions on it.   She now uses it as a table server.   

Low centerpieces are ideal where people will be eating together.

Think nice linens such as tablecloths, napkins, paper doilies, water glasses, etc. 

Feel free to use Dollar Tree, Walmart, Amazon, or even Facebook Marketplace to find items. If you are planning a church event (such as I desire to do) feel free to ask others for a wish list of items to donate. I plan to ask for serving dishes, hats, and tiered plates to start. Keep your theme in mind in the preparations. 

Plan background music. Soft, instrumental music works best. 


Microsoft Word is an easy way to create invitations, programs, or brochures. Karen suggests having something creative in the brochure and place one for each guest. She publishes articles on “tea etiquette” and a “how-to for reading tea leaves.”

Plan food items

When I plan for a more intimate gathering, I plan all the food. I will have sandwiches, scones, muffins, fruit, and assorted desserts. Karen and I agree that cucumber sandwiches are a staple item. Be cognizant of any dietary needs and food allergies. 

For larger gatherings, feel free to have guests bring items. Plan to know in advance what guests are bringing, so you won’t have four different versions of tuna salad sandwiches. One tea party I attended also served soups and stews along with sandwiches. Plan as you would like. I would encourage to plan a variety of foods and to have sweet and savory items. I have one friend who absolutely loves the cucumber sandwiches, but another friend sticks to turkey sandwiches. My husband will down blueberry scones, but I prefer the cinnamon ones. A variety (within your budget) will allow for happy guests to pick and choose. 

Also, a buffet style set-up is ideal unless you plan to have the exact same food items at every table. 

Serve drinks

I have several tea pots at my disposal which allow me to brew different teas. You’ll need diffusers for loose leaf teas. Karen suggests also having two electric water kettles set up and display disposable tea bags to allow people to pick and choose. Of course, not everybody likes tea, so also allow for water, coffee and/or sodas to be available. 

Plan Activities

Not every party has to have games, but it is a fun ice breaker. Games could be trivia, hide the tea cup, or a blind tea tasting.  Feel free to have games set up at each table for the guests to enjoy. 

Party favors are a nice way to thank people for coming to the gathering. Favors can be as simple as two tea bags in a pretty drawstring bag.

Clean up plan

I didn’t even think about this till Karen mentioned it. I usually clean up after a tea party at my house, but for a larger event, it will need to be planned. Make sure you visit the facility you plan to use to see what’s available.  Having bins labeled (for cups/saucers, water glasses, plates and linen) will help organize what needs to be cleaned. Have dish soap and other cleaning supplies handy unless the facility supplies them. Have extra clean up rags and sponges to wipe tables. Feel free to ask for volunteers to help with the clean-up as well. 

Have Fun in Fellowship

Try to have everything arranged so guests will be relatively self-sufficient. Make sure everything is labeled and organized for flow. Then sit and enjoy the party. 

Find Karen’s tea posts also on her Pinterest page here.

Here is my Pinterest page as well.


2 responses to “Interview with a Fellow Tea Lover”

  1. You have such a wonderful writing style! I am so impressed by everything on your blog! Do you mind if I share a link to your blog on my blog for my readers to learn about your blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. That would be fine. We bloggers supporting each other is a wonderful idea.

      Liked by 1 person

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