STYLE

How To Host An Afternoon Tea In 11 Easy Steps

14/08/2014 16:34 | Updated 22 May 2015

Afternoon tea is a dainty, sophisicated, beautiful affair - if you know what you're doing as a hostess, that is. For those of us who aren't natural Blair Waldorfs, there's hope. Vintage guru Angel Adoree - owner of The Vintage Patisserie and author of The Vintage Tea Party books, tells us how to host an afternoon tea in 11 easy steps. Pinkies up, darlings!

How to do host an afternoon tea in XX easy steps

1. Choose your location

A party at home is the classic choice – it's intimate, open and there are never any issues. If home's not workable, go exploring for venues with character. Ask churches, town halls, restaurants, pubs or bars if they have a back room or a secret space upstairs – especially in your local financial district, which is often quiet at the weekend.

2. Decide on your décor

Setting the mood affordably is all in the preparation! Why not make paper bunting? Print images with the occasion on, cut into shape and sew!

3. Send invitations

There's nothing like a handwritten invitation to set the scene and make guests feel involved in your journey (For ready-made templates, check out the vintage designs online at Vintage Patisserie).

4. Source props

Thrifting is my favourite pastime and I love local boot fairs, antique shops, auction houses, garage sales, charity shops and, of course, online. Don't necessarily look under vintage headings though, as others will be looking for the same things. Great vintage discoveries are often best found outside of vintage environments, so get yourself up early and go exploring to search them out!

How to do host an afternoon tea in XX easy steps

5. Mix it up

Gone are the days when everything needs to match! Do be careful that your teacup and saucer match as these are made for one another - but that is your only rule!

6. Personalise your finds

Don't be put off by unappealing patterns in granny's cupboard. With some masking tape, plenty of newspaper, plastic gloves and ceramic paint, you can re-design and bake your new china in the oven! Just 45 minutes in the oven at 160 degrees and you're good to go.

7. Inject your personality

Think outside conventional rules when dressing the table. I like to use chess boards, goldfish bowls filled with rose heads, or pearls. For the more experimental, think outdoors! I always dress my table with Barnibus – my fake crow - and some vintage monocles!

8. Do them a favour

Engraved Truffle Hearts are very cute and go down very well at all parties! Do try and keep it personal: jams with guest names on, homemade miniature cakes for the morning after in a vintage tin, or if you think well in advance, homemade champagne!

9. Listen in the old fashioned way

Music feeds the soul, but at an event where it's about the people, it really should be used as background music. Later in the evening, it can be turned up so you can dance until sunrise!

10. Food and drink

Cater within your time means and ensure that this can be done before your party. Even if you only manage to bake one cake, your guests would rather have you at the party than slaving in the kitchen!

11. Love and Laugh

The final and most important bit of advice is to make sure that you can enjoy the moment. Every day is for smiling and tea parties bring people together and comfort us with tradition and cake. So love, laugh and get a little drunk! "Bubbles in a tea cup, anyone?"

For more tea party tips, check out The Vintage Tea Party Year by Angel Adoree, published by Mitchell Beazley, £20, Octopus Books http://vintagepatisserie.co.uk/

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