How to Lay a Tea Table?

Setting a tea table may seem an easy idea, but if you are an etiquette conscious person, someone who likes going by the formal rulebook, then its best that you learn from the expert about the dos and the don’ts, the thumps up and the faux pases about how to lay a tea table!

Afternoon tea

Whatever we do in our life is done to create impressions and so it is with laying down a tea table. Setting a beautiful tea table has nothing to do with owning the most priced china set or silverware to draw your guest’s admiration – rather the whole thing comes down to how you host and present the entire show!

Types of Tea Table Arrangement According To Guests Invited

A sit down table arrangement is preferable when you are hosting a tea party for a smaller group of friends or acquaintances. For larger groups you can simply go for a buffet arrangement without laying out any one specific corner as the tea table. This is an informal way of hosting a tea party where the guests are required to serve for themselves.


For a formal party the table that you select should have enough space to hold the tea serving utensils – teapots, cups and saucers, cutlery sets, tongs, knife, teaspoon, small spoon and other essential tableware as napkins, luncheon plates for serving snacks, delectable knick knacks  and sweet dishes.

The table should not be a high riser rather the holdall should be positioned at the waist level when a guest is seated. If you are laying out a formal table then you need to sort out the cutleries even before your guest has arrived.


Cover the tea table with a properly ironed spread sheet preferably of white colour. You can also use table mats of matching hues to accentuate the look of the table.

Keep the napkin on the left hand side, and place it vertically alongside the saucer with the tea cup. The table spoon should be on the right hand side, followed in the column by the knife and the small table spoon.

If you are serving pastries / sausages / sandwiches then place the serving dish at the head of the tea cup.


Generally because a formal tea party needs the host to ready the servings you need to keep by a seaver by the tea pot. Place a pair of tongs on either side of the table so that you can serve the sugar cubes as and when required.

Apart from laying out all tea table essentials, try and make some space for a decent flower arrangement. Generally all kinds of Chinese flower arrangements go well with the look of the tea table layout. In case you are not aware of how to make one, open a youtube video and learn quickly.


Also if you have an outdoor space its best that you arrange the tea table there (definitely depending on weather conditions) outdoor scenarios add a unique charm to tea parties, it is strictly a British tradition!





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