Posts Tagged: antique china

A Vintage Tea Party

"Tea" Vogue, 1936When I was about five or six, I received a miniature blue and white china tea set for Christmas. It came in a large cardboard box with a windowpane lid and each precious piece cradled in a flocked plastic tray.

As I opened the box that day, I felt like such a grown-up. I carefully took out each cup and saucer, and gingerly placed a tiny silver (plastic) spoon on the edge of each set. I poured tea (imaginary, of course) for the invited company – my older cousins, whom I adored – and made small talk while passing around miniature platters of arrowroot cookies.

Tea Table Chat

I was a lady, pouring that imaginary tea. I felt interesting, witty, sophisticated – at least six-teen years old. I was the owner of fine china. I was a grown-up.

After the tea party, I carefully packed each piece back in the plastic tray and closed the windowpane lid. Each time I played with the dishes, I would always place them back ever-so-gently in that box, like a treasure chest. Over the years, it became so worn that I should have just thrown it away, but to me, it was as much a part of the set as the dishes themselves. The ritual of placing each precious piece back in the box completed the entire experience of mature responsibility.

I’m not sure what ever happened to that tea set. It makes me a little sad to think I’ll probably never see it again. But I’ll always have the memories.

Why not get in touch with your inner child by hosting your own tea party?

How to host the perfect vintage tea party:

  1. Send the invitations
  2. Make refreshments
  3. Set the table
  4. Brew the tea

 A “tea,” even though it be formal, is nevertheless friendly and inviting. One does not go in “church” clothes nor with ceremonious manner; but in an informal and every-day spirit, to see one’s friends and be seen by them.”

-Emily Post, “Etiquette”, 1922

1. Send the invitations:

Start your party off on an elegant note. Something simple is best, like correspondence cards with embossed designs or dainty floral graphics.

William Morris Notecard Box - The MetJapanese Chrysanthemum Correspondence Cards

Swirl Border Correspondence Cardscavallini-petite-notes-sweet-treats

Laser-cut Tri-fold Notecards by Vera WangLaser-cut Navy Blue Notecards by Vera Wang

2. Make refreshments:

Tea sandwiches, bite-sized pastries, and small cakes are traditional tea party fare. Choose lighter versions for an informal affair, or go with more decadent ingredients, with a larger selection of savory items, for an afternoon high tea.

Vintage Tea Party CupcakesTea Sandwiches



3. Set the table:

It all starts with the china…

1950s Japanese Teacup Set1930s Aynsley Tea Set

Vintage Tin Tea CupsEnglish Bone China Blue and Gold

Add some silver…

1920s Silver and Porcelain Tea SetFinnish Vintage Teaspoon and Pastry Fork Set

And pretty table linens…

Vintage Cloth Napkin Set1950s Hand Embroidered Linens

4. Brew the tea:

Add the finishing touch to your vintage tea party with a silver tea ball…

Stieff Sterling Silver Tea BallGorham Sterling Silver Tea Ball

Here are some tips on brewing the perfect pot of tea from Twinings of London. I expect they’ve learned a thing or two in their 300 years of experience.

Do you also have fond childhood memories of tea parties, or other make believe games?