I started serving High Tea because I'm a socializer. It also gave me a very good reason to use the Candlewick crystal dishes that I inherited from my grandmother. Add to the crystal serving pieces a few sets of vintage china and before I knew it, I had dishes to fill a hutch and place settings to serve 12 for tea if I wanted to!
High Tea is four or five courses and includes a meat course; for my tea parties that is usually a sandwich made with chicken salad mixed with honey mustard along with the mayo. Or it could be egg salad on cinnamon raisin bread, it is delicious! Scones and Deavonshire Cream are a must serve and two or three desserts.
When I send out tea invitations I have a theme in mind, a seasonal tablescape, and handmade ATC (artist's trading card) tags for each guest grace the the dining room table. In the weeks before the tea I am busy planning the dishes to use, the menu, the centerpiece and then I make an individual tag to sit at each spot. To hold the tags I have used a variety of objects: mini sterling silver clothes brushes, flower frogs, photo holders, menu card holders to name a few. It's fun to watch the guests circle deciding which place setting and bone china tea cup they want and which tag is their favorite.
Creating the atmosphere of elegance, tea is also an excuse to sit out the basket of vintage hats that I have procured. Ladies look adorable in cloche hats from the 1920s, a pill box style from the 60s or a darling little velveteen number complete with a veil on top and tiny bow in back.
Do you shop the thrift stores for vintage aprons? They come to my house if they are gingham check with embroidery, crocheted in multiple colors or the darling little hostess aprons made of silky fabric starched stiff.
I love to hear the tea kettle whistling, to fill the tea ball with fresh tea and enjoy the company of friends from the decades of my life, all laughing and sipping tea from treasured china cups and splurging on sugar on a Saturday afternoon!