In today's busy society, it seems like everyone wants more time with family and friends. And yet for many of us, hosting a dinner or even a lunch is daunting: there's the preparation, the cooking, the cleaning, the dishes -- oh, the dishes!
An afternoon tea can be a quick, painless way to host a get-together. All the host needs to do is brew tea, set out some snacks if desired, and enjoy the company!
The key to a successful tea party is variety. Decades ago, our grandmothers may have served one simple black tea at a tea party: today, this simply would not do. Many people avoid caffeine for various reasons while others adore it; some people prefer herbal teas to decaffeinated black or green teas; and tea lovers have simply grown accustomed to having ready access to a wide variety of flavors.
For that reason, it is a wise idea to allow your guests to choose their own favorite tea from a selection of at least three or four varieties.
The hostess should always pour for her guests; this can either be done for each individual guest as she arrives or all at once after all guests have arrived. The former is typically a bit of a time saver, while the latter is more formal.
Because tea parties can be held at any time of the day and are typically relatively brief and flexible affairs, they can easily be scheduled into any day, no matter how busy, which makes them a great choice for working parents, stay-at-home moms, and busy students.
Tea parties can also make an excellent choice for larger events like graduation parties, engagement parties, etcetera, especially for those on a budget: tea is relatively inexpensive and can be served in one's own home. To make things a bit more formal, the host can serve tea after all the guests are seated, as stated above, and use good china and place settings, as well as a centerpiece such as flowers.
Tea parties are a great addition to any social calendar!