I like to consider myself an expert on tea parties. My teapot collection takes up half my cupboard space. I spend most of my grocery shopping time in the tea isle trying to decide between lemon ginger and jasmine green tea, only to buy both. My room’s been decorated like Alice in Wonderland since I was six. (Is that still cool ten years later?) Last spring, I helped adapt the Lewis Carroll novel into a play and acted in said play.
That said, in all my years I never actually learned any of the actual etiquette for tea parties. You know, who pours tea for whom, which spoon you use for sugar and which one for jam, the proper knife to use to slaughter a goat (wait that’s not tea party etiquette). I thought of myself as the rock n roll of tea parties, you know, too cool for rules, but alas, I was mistaken. It seems that tea and rules must ever walk hand in hand. These rules, however I promise, will not devolve your tea party into a gossip circle for Downton Abbey caricatures, but instead elevate it to Mad Hatter proportions.
- Don’t overdo the hairdo. Your great grandma may have rocked the mink hat in the 1920s, but atop your head it just looks like a chinchilla tail haphazardly pinned to your bun. This would be pretty unsettling for your guests, especially the ones with pet chinchillas.
- Don’t underestimate the jasmine tea. At first thought jasmine tea seems like the carrot cake of the tea party, the one person you invite just to be nice, but don’t be surprised if this carrot cake becomes the star of the show.
- When in doubt, tar and feather. If your tea party doesn’t successfully get those marauding British out of your harbor, don’t be afraid to fall back on the good old tar and- wait. that’s the wrong kind of tea party.
- Invite the florists’ kid. Sure she’s one of your best friends, but the real reason to invite the florists’ kid is for the perfectly put together bouquets. Especially if you’re like me and you can’t tell a carnation from a cornflower.
- Go overboard on the custard pies. Because apparently all of your friends are medieval British people, and they’ll devour a whole plate of mini custard pies in just minutes.
- Never let anyone in the kitchen. If you’ve done your job right, the kitchen is almost certainly a mess. It’s best to confine your guest to the impeccable organized dining room, so they’ll never expose you for the slob you are.
- No one puts cream in tea. As much as you like the look of your mini cream pitchers, they’re a waste of table space. No sane person puts cream in their tea, and anyone who does is not worth inviting to your party (that’s a little strong, they’re just not worth setting cream on the table, still invited them).
- No one puts lemon in their tea either, or at least teenagers don’t. Still set them on the table, though. At low points in the party, challenge your guests to eat as many slices as they can without puckering their face.
- Always have a fun and tea-loving attitude. This is the easiest rule, of course, for any tea party host, because who doesn’t love tea?