tea party ideas: several pastries on display

There’s something so warm and welcoming about a tea party. It’s the perfect reason to get together and celebrate a special moment in life, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, bridal shower, or baby shower. To help you throw the perfect get-together, we’re sharing some of our favorite tea party ideas, including fun themes, games, activities, and — of course — delicious food and drink inspiration. 

5 Party Themes for Tea Time

tea party ideas: Vintage Balloon Invitation from Greenvelope

Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery

Ready to host the tea party of the year? We love these fun tea party themes that work great whether you’re celebrating a baby shower, birthday party, engagement party, or other special moment in your life. 

1. Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

You can’t go wrong with a Mad Hatter’s tea party, inspired by the Alice in Wonderland story or movie. Head outside and set up a wonderfully colorful tablescape featuring fresh flowers, vintage teapots, and oversized chairs. Invite your guests to dress up as their favorite character from the story, and have your host play the role of the Mad Hatter himself.

This tea party isn’t the only moment in the Alice in Wonderland movie you can take inspiration from. If you or the guest of honor is a fan of red and black, opt for a Queen of Hearts-inspired tea party instead. Fill your party space with giant chess pieces, playing cards, and heart-shaped centerpieces and decor. Serve up mini red velvet cakes and cups of tea, before playing some themed lawn games together. 

2. Fairy Tale Tea Party

Whether you’re hosting a birthday party for a little girl or boy, or you’re simply a fan of fairy tales yourself, a fairy tale-themed tea party is an enchanting way to gather with friends to chat, laugh, and enjoy a little tea time. 

Style your home or party venue up as if it were a castle, or escape outside for an outdoor garden tea party in a whimsical woodland. Look for tea sets and place settings in soft pastel colors like pink and lilac or powder blue and seafoam green. You can also introduce some themed party games — like a treasure hunt to find a lost necklace or crown. When it’s time to head home, treat your party guests to party favors such as a tiara of their own or colorful cupcakes

3. Vintage Tea Party

A vintage-inspired celebration is one of those can’t-miss tea party ideas. Ask your friends and family members to join you for a vintage themed afternoon tea as a fun way to celebrate a birthday, engagement, new baby, or new job. Because of its reflections on the past, a vintage theme works beautifully for a Mother’s Day tea party. 

Bring out your own vintage china collection for the occasion, or pick up an eclectic assortment of tea cups, saucers, and other table setting pieces from your local thrift shop. (It’ll add to the vintage theme.) Decorate your tables with traditional tablecloths, doilies, and fresh blooms. Serve up a traditional fare, with a selection of hot teas, finger sandwiches, and mini cakes. For a refreshing extra touch, make freshly-squeezed lemonade and iced tea too. 

4. Under the Sea Tea Party

This is another super fun tea party idea, especially if you’re hosting a party for kids. It’s a theme where you can get incredibly creative and set up a truly immersive experience for your party guests. 

Decorate your space as if it were an underwater wonderland. If you’re hosting indoors, cover your walls in shimmery chiffon fabric (think blues and greens) and decorate with aquatic-inspired balloons and other decorations. If you’re celebrating outside, you can even create a little “beach” by filling a kiddie pool with sand and having buckets and shovels at the ready. Try making DIY under-the-sea party props either ahead of time or set them up as a crafty activity for your tea party. You can stick to the usual tea party treats or add a cupcake decorating station for the little ones. 

5. Bring Your Own Teacup Party

We love themed tea party ideas, but you don’t have to go overboard to create a fun experience. With this simple take on a tea party, invite your guests to bring their own teacup to create a fun tea party and picnic hybrid. 

Head outside for an al fresco tea party, or stay indoors and get cozy around a kitchen table. It’s up to you whether you go for a full potluck theme and ask everyone to bring food and treats to share, or whether you serve up an assortment of teas and delicious finger foods. This idea works great for a family reunion or get-together with close friends, or if you want a more relaxed approach to a traditional afternoon tea. 

4 Favorite Tea Party Activity Ideas

tea party ideas: Tea Time Invitation in blue from Greenvelope

Design: Alexandra Dzh

Tea parties are the perfect opportunity to get together with loved ones to catch up on what’s new and simply enjoy each other’s company. Add even more reasons to laugh and be joyful with these party games and activities. 

1. Treasure Hunt

If you’re hosting a themed event, this is one of those tea party ideas that really amps up the fun factor. Send your party guests on a hunt to find some lost jewels, a missing clock, or some other kind of treasure, with treats hidden along the way. This works great for a kids’ birthday party, but you can also adapt it for adults by making it a more challenging and competitive team game. 

2. Tea Bag Toss

You’ve heard of bean bag toss, but have you heard of tea bag toss? This fun twist on the classic game swaps bean bags and buckets for tea bags and teacups. Challenge your guests to see how many tea bags they can successfully land in teacups, with the highest number winning a prize. This is a quick, affordable game that makes it easy for everyone to participate.

3. Sugar Cube Stack

There’s something compelling about trying to build the biggest tower, and it’s even more fun when you add sugar cubes into the mix! Split your guests into teams or make it a solo challenge to see who can stack the tallest sugar cube tower before the timer runs out. This can be a great icebreaker, or a sweet and simple challenge for your guests after enjoying a spot of tea. 

4. DIY Teacup Painting 

If you’re looking for a more in-depth tea party activity, we love the idea of decorating your own tea cups. Buy some plain teacups that your guests can paint and decorate in their own style. Set out a decoration station with food-safe paints, paintbrushes, and stencils where everyone can get crafty. This is a sweet idea for a bridal shower or baby shower, and gives your guests a lovely memento to take home with them. 

4 Ideas for Delicious Tea Party Food and Drink

tea party ideas: Sweet Berry Cake Invitation from Greenvelope

Design: Paper Raven Co.

It’s not a real tea party without some tasty refreshments and food to enjoy. Whether you opt for light treats at an afternoon tea party, or a more substantial serving of food at high tea, here are some delicious food and drink ideas to tempt you. 

1. Refreshing Drinks

At most tea parties, you’ll want to offer your guests a selection of drinks to cater to everyone’s tastes and dietary needs. Plus, they might want to try a few new flavors that they haven’t experienced before. Make sure you offer some classics like Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and Assam. Have a few caffeine-free options available too — like chamomile, rooibos, or mint tea, which are perfect for a relaxed afternoon tea. 

Keep a few non-tea options available as well. Fresh lemonade, fruit juices, or smoothies are lovely and refreshing. Also, make sure there’s plenty of still water for everyone — you can even add a few fresh slices of cucumber, lemon, and orange for that spa-like experience. 

2. The Perfect Scones

Every afternoon tea party needs one classic treat — the English scone. This baked treat is a must-have for tea parties, and it’s delicious served warm or cold. Getting scones right can be tricky, but this popular scone recipe can help. 

A plain scone isn’t anywhere near as delicious as one with accompaniments. Provide plenty of clotted cream, as well as tasty preserves like fruit jelly and marmalade. You can also add in a chocolate or hazelnut spread for those with an extra sweet tooth. 

3. Delicate Finger Sandwiches

Another classic must-have for an afternoon tea party is the finger or tea sandwich. These delicate sandwiches are often cut into thin rectangles, and served on a tiered tea tray stand. You can opt for any fillings you wish, but some of the classics include cucumber sandwiches with butter or cream cheese, smoked salmon, and mini BLTs. 

Want to step outside the usual tea sandwiches? Swap your soft finger sandwiches for a toasted version, with mini grilled cheese or paninis instead. If you want to serve something more substantial or relaxed, you could even substitute your sandwiches for mini burgers and hot dogs. 

4. Mini Sweet Treats

One of the best parts of any tea party is the delicious cakes you’ll get to enjoy. Instead of serving a large cake on the table, it’s common to offer up small slices of loaf cakes, cupcakes, or mini chilled pastries instead. 

Some of our favorite sweet tea party ideas include mini eclairs, flapjacks, macarons, lemon cake, and apple tarts. If you’re hosting a themed party, look for ways to add in flavors or decorations that tie into the theme — like sugar flowers, sprinkles, or cake toppers. For more ideas, check out these easy afternoon tea sweet treats.

3 Sweet Tea Party Invitations 

Ready to start inviting people to your afternoon tea party? Send a tea-themed invitation to let people know all the details and get them excited to hit that RSVP button. 

1. Tea Party Invitation

tea party ideas: Tea Party Invitation in purple from Greenvelope

Design: Lisa Travis

We love the soft, delicate illustrations on this tea party invitation. It’s available in four gorgeous color options, making it perfect for a sophisticated afternoon tea with loved ones, or a birthday get-together for someone special. 

2. Dainty Doily Invitation

Dainty Doily Invitation from Greenvelope

Design: Jen Montgomery

There’s something so sweet about this dainty doily invitation. The cutout features, floral-inspired background, and gold accents make it ideal for a garden tea party or vintage-themed afternoon tea. 

3. Sweet Tea Party Invitation

Sweet Tea Party Invitation from Greenvelope

Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery

This sweet tea party invitation is a beautiful mix of traditional and modern, featuring a vintage tablecloth mixed with a contemporary illustration style. While this invite example is styled as a birthday party invite, it’s easy to switch out the text to make this the perfect invite for your bridal shower or engagement party. 

Throw a Splendid Celebration With These Tea Party Ideas

From the fun games and activities to the amazing tea and treats, there’s so much to love about a tea party. Find a theme or style that suits your event, then start planning all the details. When it’s time to spread the word, use one of our gorgeous themed tea party invitations so everyone can get excited about the upcoming celebration. Cheers!