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How to host the perfect high tea

High tea and all things dainty are still very much in vogue for a feminine inspired afternoon tea, special occasion, or wedding cocktail hour. The best place to start your planning is with the right menu!

We always recommend the right combination of sweet and savoury and advise that guests’ invitations are worded to prepare them for a light meal that is more about an eclectic spread of petite delights rather than a lavish feast.

As such we would recommend high tea to be posted after lunch; perfect for many post-wedding ceremonies!

Allow guests to eat with their eyes


Choose fine china, tea cups, saucers, fine silverware, pretty fabric napkins and several interesting vessels to be able to show case your high tea on multiple levels.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and styles. Allow each plate to tell its own story.

Vintage-style cost affordable options can still be found at your local op shop, or buy at auction or even online. And while Royal Dolton is divine, your guests will appreciate the thought that goes into combining your own touch regardless of the designer label under the plate.


Ensure roses and native blooms adorn your table. We love using teacups and teapots as our flower vessels, likewise, lots of lace on the tables. Take a trip to your local fabric store and see what off-cuts you can find. Different lace styles and textures can be teamed together to create interesting eclectic effects.

High tea doesn’t have to be all white and bright either. Black lace and aged rose golds can add a touch of dark charm.


And lastly, ensure your menu is either printed or hand written for your guests to enjoy and eagerly await. A very 2017 trend is to hire a calligraphy expert to hand write for you. We’ve seen these services on gumtree as well as via freelance sites.

Savoury high tea foods

Here is what is featuring on our high tea table this season:

  • Smoked salmon, cucumber & horseradish crème fraiche ribbons on dark rye (nf) (1pp)
  • Free range chicken, chives and lemon thyme fingers (nf) (1pp)
  • Cucumber sandwiches with philly cream cheese, dill and chives (v, nf) (1pp)
  • Smoked salmon, dill crème cheese & baby capers tarts

Sweet high tea foods

Here are the sweet delights we are featuring now:

  • White chocolate dipped strawberries (v)
  • Assorted cupcakes (v)
  • Date and buttermilk scones, strawberries preserve and clotted cream (v, nf)
  • Lemon meringue tarts (v)
  • Red velvet raspberry macarons (v, gf)
  • Chocolate caramel tarts (v)


High tea drinks

What high tea would be complete without, well tea!

And while Early Grey and English Breakfast plus your favourite oolong will no doubt be on the menu, why not add in some quirky alternatives.

For a warmer weather event, ice things up with our exotic flavours such as Lime & Mint Mojito Iced Tea, Hibiscus Heart Iced Tea w honey (no added sugar) and Lemon & Ginger Iced Te,

And for the colder months, we love a hot apple cider and even a delicious aromatic mulled wine.

Pick a theme for your high tea

Manhattan chic

Black and white chic inspired by Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


French or English countryside, linen napkins, and the right soothing soundtrack.


Vintage teacups, cake stands, pastels, ribbon sandwiches, lots of lace. Celebrate a special birthday or anniversary (e.g. mum’s 50th)

Beach style

Slip away to the Hamptons with fresh white and blue décor perfect for a summer’s afternoon. Great for a bridal tea or baby shower.

High tea catering

High tea catering from Your Private Chef is fun, versatile and ready to go now! Order online!