In 1865, Alice and Wonderland author Lewis Carroll reimagined Tea party ideas in the most inventive way to date. It is hard to forget the wacky antics of the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse as they constantly switched places with the namesake character.

However, we suspect that the following article will keep you rooted in your seat as you learn of other such similarly enthralling event ideas. 

From a vintage Tea party to a teddy bear Tea party, the possibilities are endless. Best of all, when it comes to the Loose Leaf Tea itself, you can count on The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company to provide.

Since our establishment over 30 years ago, our family-run business has packed its products fresh to order. Doing so ensures not only quality but also consistency, time and again.

Tea Party History

British Tea Party History

Allow us to start at the beginning with “what is a Tea party?” The reality is that it depends on your perspective. Though few would deny that it is a quintessentially British affair, there is an unmistakably American version, too.

In 1773, colonists in the soon-to-be United States, angered by British-imposed high taxes on Tea, dumped 342 chests of the stuff into the Boston Harbor. 

This moment in history became known as the Boston Tea Party, later serving as a spark that led to the American Revolution (1775-1783). The British version, on the other hand, involves fewer muskets and more Tea party sandwiches.

It was the brainchild of Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who in 1840 decided to have a post-lunch “snack” of Tea, bread with butter, and cake. And so, the concept was born.

Vintage Tea Party

1. Vintage Tea Party

We’ve seen the footage of the laughs and smiles, the hugs and celebrations of VE Day on May 8, 1945. Why not capture the spirit of that jubilant time with vintage Tea party ideas?

Of course, when it comes to 1940s Tea party food, you might want to branch out somewhat, remembering that, back then, rations were still in place! But with enough inventiveness, you could create an event for the ages. 

We’re talking homity pie (cheese, potato and leek), bread and jam, cucumber sandwiches and rock cakes. We’re talking Tea party decorations such as Union Jack bunting, floral tablecloths and fine crockery.

Perhaps consider throwing on a polka dot dress or grabbing your grandad’s old trilby hat out of the attic. If you live in an appropriate place, you could even set up in the street as they did!

Kids Tea Party

2. Kids Tea Party

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise: A teddy bear Tea party among the trees! Act as the waiter, show your children’s favourite stuffed toys to their table, and provide them with a kids Tea party set for imaginary fun.

Be sure adult supervision is always at hand, of course, but otherwise, allow the picnic to take whatever shape the youngsters can conjure in their minds! 

There may eventually come a time when make-belief lunch isn’t enough, at which point you’ll want children’s Tea party food ideas. Treats could include pizza sticks, mini sausage rolls, cheese and carrot sticks, sticky popcorn, and marshmallows or strawberries coated in chocolate.

Just please be sure to get the woodland owner’s permission beforehand to ensure uninterrupted creative entertainment.

Mad Hatters Tea Party

3. Mad Hatters Tea Party

We know we’ve referred to it already, but the fact of the matter is that you can’t beat a classic Alice in Wonderland Tea party. Take inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s unforgettable novel or maybe one of the many film adaptations, stopping your watches at 6 o’clock.

All wine must then be out of sight, hair must be untrimmed, and dormice should be at the ready - figuratively speaking! 

Silliness out of the way - or at least some of it - you could think about shaping your invitations as playing cards, Tea Bags, Tea pots or cups. Attach a tiny golden key to each card to complete the look.

Have labels saying “eat me” next to the cakes. Adorn the table with a chequered table cloth, on top of which you can place white and red roses. And, finally, once you’ve enjoyed your meal, play a game of croquet!

Murder Mystery Tea Party

4. Murder Mystery Tea Party

This is certainly not in the category of Tea party ideas for kids. Instead, practice your southern Savannah accent as, we regret to inform you, there’s been a murder!

Start by “cordoning” off the scene of the crime, grabbing some duct tape and creating the shape of a body on the floor. We probably don’t need to tell you what to do with the ketchup, nor the conspicuously placed would-be murder weapons! 

As Tea party theme ideas go, you might find that a murder mystery requires a little extra organisation on your part. It’ll be worth your time investing in a murder mystery kit.

You’ll next have to consider factors like choosing an era and setting, assigning character roles, and, let’s not forget, ultimately determining whodunnit! We’ll give you a hint - it probably wasn’t the butler!

Tea Party Baby Shower

5. Baby Shower Tea Party

Congratulations - you or a loved one is expecting. Such fantastic news should be celebrated with all things dainty and delicious. If you’re the host for someone who is pregnant, you could opt for an ever-popular Afternoon Tea with a twist.

Think of fun games to play, including nappy change relay races, baby-themed bingo, or trivia questions about the mum-to-be. 

When it comes to Tea party food ideas, remember that tastes can become markedly different while pregnant, so please be considerate. One person’s egg mayonnaise sandwich is another’s worst nightmare.

Tea-wise, avoid anything too caffeinated. You could even avoid caffeine altogether by choosing a safe Herbal Tea like Peppermint, Ginger Root, Lemon Balm or, during the third trimester, Raspberry Leaf Tea.

Summary to Tea Party Ideas

There you have it: Five unique Tea party ideas to try at home. Time travel to the 1940s; help envision a magical picnic for your children; be mad as the March hare; solve the mystery; or offer to be mum.

The choice is yours. One thing that each event has in common is the finest Loose Leaf Tea, which you can buy from The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company today.

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.