Are you hosting a birthday party but have no idea where to start? We have your back. No matter what age the lucky birthday star is, a tea party is a lovely and fun event for the whole crew.
Tea parties have a lot of moving parts, which is part of what makes planning them so fun. Luckily, we love the nitty-gritty of planning a good tea party. Read on for some of our tried-and-true tips on how to throw a classy and fun tea birthday party.
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Start With a Theme
A good first place to start with any party is the theme. We love tea parties because they’re so versatile and can fit almost any theme. The question is: Which theme fits you or your lucky friend the best?
Here are some of our favorite fancy tea party themes.
Bridgerton-Style Afternoon Tea
With the nation currently swooning over Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma, now is a fitting time to throw an elegant Regency-era tea party. Not everyone owns a ball gown, but guests can still embrace the Bridgerton spirit.
Stock your period-appropriate setup with traditional British tea biscuits and sandwiches, and scour your local thrift stores for some fine floral china. Set out elegant floral centerpieces featuring pastel roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums to truly embrace the Regency vibe.
Classy Black Tie
If your best gal or guy leans toward more modern tastes, try throwing an ultra-fancy tea party. Use a color palette of black, white, and gold for a clean and classy feel, and set up black or white tapered candles along the table setting for a truly five-star vibe.
Encourage guests to arrive wearing their red-carpet finest, and greet your 21 and over guests with a glass of champagne at the door. This theme will have your bestie feeling like they just stepped into the Met Gala. And who knows? Maybe Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston will be there dancing the night away.
Mad Hatter Matcha
One of the most famous tea-based works of fiction is Alice in Wonderland. If your birthday guest has a kooky side, this theme is a wonderful option. You can decorate with cards and board games, offer intensely unique teas and colorful finger foods, and even encourage guests to wear movie-inspired makeup and dress.
You can also decorate with fantasy-esque florals like kangaroo paw, hanging amaranthus, abracadabra rose, and billy buttons. Finally, throw in some fun “bigger” and “smaller” labels and a few handheld mirrors to complete the theme.
Japanese Tea Traditions
The Japanese tea ceremony is an ancient tradition that invites guests to enjoy the tea-drinking experience while connecting with the people and the Earth around them. Set your party up in a garden or use traditional Japanese floral arrangements (Ikebana) to set the tone. You can even have guests complete their own Ikebana as a fun party activity!
You can even set up some tabletop zen gardens if the birthday star is more minimalist. Invest in some ceremonial-grade matcha or take a look at our selection of flavored matcha for a delicious non-traditional experience. This is a wonderful way to learn more about the history of tea while enjoying a hot cuppa and enthralling conversation.
Everything Is Tea
Take advantage of the “everything is cake” trend to throw a tea party with a fun twist: everything is tea! You can decorate with popular tea flowers and herbs like rose, lavender, and chamomile, and even use teapots and teacups for decoration.
You can take this theme to the next level by creating tea-based cocktails and treats using some of our favorite tea recipes. In fact, we even have several cake-flavored teas if you want to take this theme all the way by uprooting the birthday cake tradition.
Send Out Invitations
Once you have set your theme, it’s time to send out your invitations! Party planning experts suggest sending birthday party invitations between three and four weeks in advance to make sure each guest has enough time to clear their schedule.
This invitation stage of a party is also an easy time to check with each guest for dietary restrictions and allergies. This way you have plenty of time to put together a vegan, dairy-free, or gluten-free menu.
Your invitations can even match your theme! Take some time to review your options, and make sure to check out creative marketplaces like Etsy or Society6 for some truly unique designs. You’ll also be supporting artists and small businesses as an added plus!
Establish a Dress Code
It can feel like no party is complete without a dress code — especially a fancy tea party. Some popular tea party dress codes include casual, dressy, and black-tie.
We recommend opting for a casual dress code if you want a more cottage-core feel or if you plan on hosting most of the party outside. However, you might be better off choosing a black-tie dress code if you’re throwing an upscale party.
A dress code is also a great opportunity to establish theme-specific expectations. For instance, this is where you would notify guests of specific makeup, color, or stylistic requirements. A dress code is especially fun for a costume tea party or a Bridgerton-style tea party.
Choose Your Tea Lineup
While the birthday boy or girl is the star of this show, the tea selection is a close second. You can choose to serve a classic favorite like English breakfast, or try something more exciting like Tea Kitten Pink Citrus Magik. This tea comes out bright blue and magenta for a whimsical party touch.
This is also where you can decide whether you’ll be serving hot, iced, or milk tea. We recommend basing your decision on the season, the temperature, and whether your party is indoors or outdoors.
You should also make sure to provide milk, sugar, and lemon so that each guest can adjust their tea to their own preferences. For an ultra-personal touch, ask each guest to bring a few bags of their favorite tea as a gift for the birthday boy or girl.
Decide on a Menu
The last thing you want is hangry guests. Small finger foods and scones are a traditional tea-time snack, so starting there can be a fun jumping-off point. You can look up tea food recipes or choose something based on your theme.
If your birthday tea is in the middle of the day, you may want to forgo the tiny tea treats and offer full-size lunch foods. Think of classic party foods like sandwiches, or offer full-sized versions of traditional tea treats.
Set the Scene
The party atmosphere is a wonderful opportunity to set a fun tone, and there are a few extra-important decisions you can make that might determine your party’s vibe. First, you’ll want to decide whether your party will be inside or outside. Although this depends largely on the weather, your chosen theme could also play a part in this decision.
You may also want to decide on centerpieces. Some of our favorite centerpiece elements include vintage romance books, elegant teapots, flower arrangements, and candles. You can even use the food itself as a centerpiece by utilizing cutesy sandwich displays and cake stands.
Finally, you’ll need to choose music to fit the mood. Whatever your theme, music is the background element that will tie everything together. You can build your own playlist based on your guest of honor’s tastes, or try using a curated playlist designed specifically for tea party use.
We recommend Spotify’s Tea Party playlist as a wonderful place to start. This playlist features a good mix of classical pieces and oldies-but-goodies to cater to everyone’s tastes.
Break Out the China
If there’s ever an occasion to break out the fancy plates, this is it. If you don’t have a set of china or if you’re nervous about using your family heirlooms, don’t worry. We have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you get that fancy party feel.
You can visit some local thrift stores to build up a collection of china for the party. Even if your finds are mismatched, tea parties are very forgiving and can actually be even cuter with multiple tea sets.
You can also have every guest bring their own teacup and saucer for a more personal touch. Guests can take their sets back home or leave them as gifts for the birthday girl or boy. This is a lovely way to help your bestie fill up their tea collection with sentimental pieces that will always remind them of this fun memory.
If you don’t want to dirty up dishes, you can also find some gorgeous china-themed paper cups and plates for easy clean-up.
Birthday Gifts and Party Favors
Have guests bring tea-themed gifts that the lucky birthday star will treasure forever and ever. To help give guests some ideas, send them to our selection of tea gifts. From exotic teas to cute mugs and tea accessories, we have gifts that can help satisfy every taste and wish.
Even adults love a good party favor! Thank your guests for coming by sending them out the door with a mini box of tea or a cute cup and saucer set.
Sum It Up
The beauty of a good tea party is in the details, and boy do we love those details! From choosing a party theme to sending guests out with a thoughtful party favor, we’ve created a helpful DIY guide to throwing the world’s best birthday tea party.
Make sure to check out our blog for more fun tea ideas, and take a look at our monthly tea subscription box. All you have to do is take one short quiz, and we’ll deliver teas we hope you’ll love right to your doorstep. It also makes a great birthday gift … *hint hint.*
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.