Everything a Tea Party Guest Needs to Know

tea party guest

So you’ve been invited to a tea party, but you’re not really sure what the deal is? Do you need to bring a gift to a tea party? What food should you bring? What should you wear to a tea party? Tea party etiquette? 

It might all seem a bit overwhelming, but there’s no need to worry. We’ll go through everything you need to know to be the perfect tea party guest. So let’s get started! 

Tea Party Dress Code

So, what should you wear to a tea party?
Generally, the tea party dress code is smart casual. This is a safe bet if you’ve not been told anything about what to wear to the tea party. So opt for a skater dress, a skirt and shirt combo or smart trousers and a casual top. 

Throw a cardigan or light jacket in your bag if you know the tea party will be outside and the weather looks unpredictable. Floral print is always a good idea if you want to fit in with the tea party dress code.
Some tea parties are more formal however, and if so, then you should dress appropriately. This means, a suit or formal dress. You’ll only need to do this if instructed though. Don’t get suited and booted unless you know that’s the vibe, you don’t want to be too overdressed! 
If the tea party you’re attending has a theme, and the invite mentions fancy dress, then embrace it! Your host will definitely appreciate your efforts and it’s always great fun when everyone gets involved. You never know, there might even be a prize for the best fancy dress outfit, so give yourself a shot at winning! 

Should you Bring a Gift to a Tea Party?

Most of the time, guests are not expected to give a gift at a tea party. So if it’s a huge event, don’t feel obliged to bring anything. 
If you know that the tea party is being held for some kind of special occasion, such as a baby shower or anniversary party, it’s a good idea to give a small gift to the host at the start of the tea party.
If you’re not sure what to bring, choosing a garden or homeware gift is a good idea. Some teaware like fancy mugs or a cool tea pot will be appreciated and will fit the theme. Ornaments and flowers are also good gift options too.
If it’s a smaller or more casual event though, it can be nice to bring some food or drinks to help the host out.

What Should you Bring to a Tea Party?

One of the best ways to be a great tea party host, is to bring some food and drink. Always offer and ask the host first before bringing anything though, or your efforts might not necessarily be appreciated. Here’s a list of the best food to bring to a potluck tea party. We’ve also written a guide on exactly what you should bring to a party that you should check out if you want to be the perfect tea party guest. 


Not everyone can agree on how to pronounce scones, but one thing everyone can agree on, is that they’re essential on any tea party menu. Here are our favourite things to serve scones with at a tea party.

  • Classic jam and clotted cream
  • Top them with strawberries soaked in Pimms!
  • Lemon curd
  • Forrest fruit copot
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Soft cheese
  • Salted caramel sauce
  • Nutella


It doesn’t matter what else is on your tea party menu, we guarantee that there’s something that’ll be made 100 times better if you slap some homemade jam on it! Here are some great flavours to choose from.

  • Blackberry and elder-flower
  • Strawberry
  • Rhubarb and ginger
  • Damson gin
  • Sweet chilli


Biscuits are another staple at a tea party. You can either purchase some popular classics from a supermarket, or get creative and bake your own for added brownie points! Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Peanut butter
  • Ginger nut crunch
  • Hazelnut and white chocolate
  • Triple chocolate chip
  • Raisin oat biscuits 


Have some fun and try your hand at decorating some homemade cupcakes. Your host will love it if you manage to tie in your tasty decorative designs in with the theme. Here are some classic cupcake flavours you should try.

  • Carrot cupcakes
  • Classic vanilla butterfly cakes
  • Nutella cupcakes
  • Red velvet 
  • Black Forrest fruits 
  • Lemon drizzle 


In addition to all the sweet treats, you’ll need to serve some savoury snacks too, and sandwiches are a classic. Here are some great sandwich fillings that you can try.

  • Roast beef and horseradish
  • Chicken and stuffing
  • Crayfish and rocket
  • Avocado and egg salad
  • Tomato, mozzarella and prosciutto
  • Duck and spring onion


It’s also a good idea to offer a healthier option to counter all the indulgent cakes and desserts. Salads are a great option, and they don’t have to be boring! Here’s some inspiration.

  • Pasta salad
  • Pesto and potato salad
  • Chicken teriyaki
  • Sweet chilli and halloumi
  • Chorizo and manchego 


It could be worth asking your host if they want any of the guests to bring some tea to the potluck party in addition to the food. You can either go for easy tea bags or authentic loose tea. Try and offer a range of different flavours too. Some popular ideas are: chai, fruit, herbal, peppermint and green. 

Best Tea Party Etiquette Tips

So now you know what you should bring to a tea party, what do you actually need to do when you’re at the event? Don’t panic, it doesn’t have to be stressful and you shouldn’t worry. Tea party etiquette is mostly common sense, but there are some things you should be aware of. 

Here are some great tea party etiquette tips so you can be the perfect guest!

  • Be careful not to take too much food. Tea party food is only supposed to be there as a snack and not a main meal. So don’t show up starving and overload your plate.
  • Once of the best ways of showing your appreciation to the tea party host, is by sending a thank you, either in the post or by email. Send some flowers too if you want to go the extra mile! 
  • Only pick up your saucer with your tea cup if you are stood up, never when you’re sat down.
  • Always arrive promptly and aim to get there within 10 minutes of the tea party start time.
  • Don’t hang around. Take the hint when the party starts to wind down and say your goodbyes.
  • Never leave your tea spoon on the table. Tea stains are really hard to get out of table cloths! 
  • Don’t put the sugar spoon in your drink. Always use your personal teaspoon for stirring.
  • Scones are to be eaten with your hands, you don’t need to use a knife and fork.
  • Some people think you need to raise your little finger when drinking out of a teacup, but it looks silly and doesn’t help balance the cup! 

So there you go! That’s everything you need to know to be the perfect tea party host. 

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