What are the Rules of a Tea Party?

If you’re planning on attending a tea party, don’t be a cheeky guest like The Tiger Who Came to Tea and gobble up everything in sight! While this popular story makes for a great children’s play, it doesn’t showcase tea party etiquette at its best. So here’s how not to behave like a very hungry and thirsty beast.


  1. Avoid putting too much on your plate

From dainty sandwiches and scones to cakes and mouth-watering pastries, tea party food is delicious - but avoid placing too much on your plate. Tea service is intended to be more of a snack than a full meal, so don’t pile up the food. As small plates are usually provided instead of larger dinner plates, try to just enjoy a few delicious treats at a time. You can always go back for more if you’re still hungry, but keep in mind that afternoon tea is more of a refreshment and snack than a full-blown meal. If you have a big appetite, have a hearty breakfast in the morning to tide you over.


  1. Only pick up your saucer if you’re standing

When sitting down at an afternoon tea party, pick up your cup only (not your saucer), being careful not to spill hot tea on delicate linens or beautiful tablecloths. If you’re standing, pick up your cup and saucer together. Hold your cup in one hand and the saucer in the other. Be very careful not to walk around with hot tea in your hand as this could result in burns, especially if there are a lot of people at the party all grouped closely to one another.


  1. Don’t use a knife to cut your scone

Scones are one of the most-loved tea party treats. They can be enjoyed with cream and jam or butter, but avoid using a knife to cut your scone in half as this is not good tea party etiquette. Scones tend to have an indent around the middle. So you should be able to carefully break it open with your hands. Don’t eat the scone using a knife and fork. Scones are a finger food, but it’s a good idea to keep a napkin nearby as things can get a little messy.


On a similar note, don’t simply scoop jam and cream out of the pot directly onto your scone. Instead, place a bit of jam and a bit of cream on your plate. You can then spread them onto the two halves of the scone.


  1. Don’t stir your tea with the sugar spoon

Whatever happens, don’t stir your tea with the sugar spoon and then put it back in the sugar! This will make the sugar all wet and discoloured which won’t look nice for other guests. Always keep your own teaspoon nearby so that you can stir the sugar in your cup. Similarly, don’t put spoons that have been in tea directly onto the tablecloth as this could leave a stain.


If your children love a tea party, don’t miss The Tiger Who Came to Tea theatre production. It’s one of the best family shows of the year packed with interactive moments and plenty of sing-along songs. Children’s shows don’t get much better than this, so book your tickets today and make memories to last.