There’s nothing like an elegant high tea party to celebrate a birthday, a Sunday afternoon with friends or even an office gathering. But where on earth do you start, with teeny gourmet bites to make, lavish tables to set and decor to create just the right mood?

Make it simple with our tips for hosting the ultimate high tea party.

Theming your high tea party

Are you hosting high tea just for the fun of it, or is it for a special occasion? There are endless options for themes, so find one that’s best suited to your event. Choose whimsical decor for a Mad Hatter's tea party, swan around the garden with floral accents for the table or transform your corporate dining room into a British-style affair with plenty of gold and royal blue decorations.

The vintage look is one of the easiest to create and perfectly suited for your backyard or verandah. Use mismatching wooden chairs for seating, hang decorative birdcages from the trees and fill old glass jars with sprigs of dried flowers. A lace tablecloth completes the scene perfectly.

Setting the table

The ‘must-haves’ for your high tea table include a teapot or three, teacups, serving utensils, a sugar bowl, a milk jug, trays or dessert stands, serviettes and a theme-appropriate tablecloth. Most of us don’t have cupboards full of tea sets these days, but if you can’t borrow grandma's, a trip to the local op shop should provide everything you need for that traditional feel.

For an office gathering or corporate event, why not put a new spin on your high tea table? Using stainless steel teapots, cake stands and serving bowls creates an instant modern look. Blend them with bold colours, like red, yellow and orange cups, and use a black tablecloth for a dash of sophistication.

Feeding your guests

Lastly, but oh so importantly, is the food. There’s no need to panic about making the perfect tiny sandwich - all you really need is a wholesale relish supplier in Sydney. With a jar of sweet green relish, corn relish, or bread and butter pickles, you’ll transform all sandwich fillings into gourmet treats. Just make sure you shape sandwiches into triangles and cut the crusts off, if you want to adhere to tradition!

Rather than serving just one tea, place a selection of tea bags in a bowl, so your guests can choose their favourite flavour. A coffee pot never goes astray, for those who prefer it. A glass bowl of punch is an easy and decorative option if you want a beverage that’s cold and refreshing, with a splash of sparkling wine for a twist.

As for sweets, everyone loves cupcakes or scones and of course they look great on your dessert stand - just don’t forget the jam and cream. However, if you don’t like baking cupcakes, or don’t have the time, just pop down to the local bakery. We promise we won’t tell anyone!