A selection of teas, teacups, saucers, a teapot, cutlery, milk and sugar are the most essential elements for a tea party. A tablecloth, napkins, plates and small snacks such as scones and light sandwiches are also necessary. Provide other drinks for guests who don't care for tea.
Offer at least two kinds of tea so every guest can make her own selection. Include at least one classic kind of tea, such as English Breakfast, as well as fruity or minty teas. In warm weather, prepare a pitcher of iced tea the day before the tea party.
It's not necessary to have a matching set of teacups and saucers. A mismatched set looks charming and rustic.
Cover the table with a tablecloth, preferably one that's white linen or lace. Set out a plate, cloth napkin and set of cutlery at each place. Provide a small pitcher of milk and a bowl of sugar cubes with a spoon.
Make or buy a selection of sweet and savory foods, such as smoked salmon sandwiches and buttery cookies. Arrange them on plates or on a tiered cake stand.
Fill pitchers with water and set out water glasses. Provide an urn of hot coffee as well.