Tea Party Table Setting
Helpful Hints for Lovely Results
I have been approached with a few questions about tea party table setting, so I thought I would give a few pointers here. There are a few things to consider like table setting etiquette for a tea party and your tablescape ideas. We will give a bit of information on a few of these for your consideration.
Place Settings for a Sit Down Tea Party
Normal practice for formal place settings apply for table setting etiquette, except the tea cup and saucer go to the right of the silverware.
Smaller luncheon plates are used, unless you are hostessing a high tea, then use dinner plates. Don't have luncheon plates? If you are serving quite a few varieties of food, you can use regular dinner plates, but they take up a lot of room. So instead, just use your salad or dessert plates.
Smaller napkins are also used. In general a dinner napkin is about 12" square, and the 9" luncheon napkin is the one of choice for an afternoon tea. Don't fret though if you don't have the right size. Your tea will be a success whether you use dinner or luncheon napkins. In my opinion, it is more important that you use real cloth, not paper.
Tablescape Ideas for the Dining Room Table
Think ahead when you are planning your tablescape ideas. At a sit down tea, the tea party table setting can become overly crowded, or if your centerpiece is too tall, arrangements will be awkward and your guests will not be able to see the others across the table.
A buffet is best for larger centerpieces, vases and the likes.
For a tea served at a dining table:
If you are using a 3 tiered serving tray, keep your flower centerpiece small and low, or don't use one. Tiered trays can be decorated themselves with vines and flowers to 'dress them up' a bit, making a centerpiece unnecessary.
Lots of dishes to place on the table? Centerpieces are wonderful for the completeness of the the tablescape, but keep them small, or if you have a larger display, have a nearby end table to set it onto when you bring out the food.
A beautiful table runner, strands of beads, candles and/or silk flowers are a nice alternative to fresh flowers, especially if your flower garden is out of season.
One of my favorite alternatives to a floral arrangement is to place a lone rose, carnation, viburnum, or lilac in individual tea cups either spaced out straight down the center of the table or at each seat.
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Table Setting Etiquette