Add these Victorian tea party ideas to your entertaining – and you’ll be surprising your guests with this unusual theme.
Unlike other themes, a Victorian party brings friends together over hot drinks, biscuits and cakes (instead of alcohol).
- You can hold it in the day, too, as well as in place of a regular coffee or tea morning
- And, you give everyone the chance to dress up Victorian style
Start planning your Victorian tea party today, with these 5 simple steps.
Step 1, decide invites for your Victorian tea party ideas
Set the scene with these ideas:
Tea Bag Invites — Write your party details on a piece of white card. Then punch a hole in the top left hand corner and tie a tea bag to it – Earl Grey or Lady Grey. Mail in a padded bag.
Cup of Tea Invites — Download a photo of a cup of milky tea. Then add the words “Fancy a Victorian cuppa?", with party details on the flip side.
- Victorian names are fun! Give everyone a name, based on the initial of their first name
- So if there’s a Claire, she’s now a Constance. A Luke? He’s now a Lucian
- Make sure you add the new name to that person’s invitation.
Victorian Tea Party Details — As well their Victorian name, add party time, date, venue and contact info to your invites. Got guests with dietary needs? Ask them to ring you.
Step 2, decide on Victorian fancy dress
This might be a daytime party, but that’s no excuse to have a bit of fun with dressing up, Victorian style.
- For the ladies – think bonnets, ankle-length skirts and corsets
- For the gents – Think neckties, waistcoats and top hats
- Moustaches, side burns and beards were also in vogue for guys back then.
Step 3, plan food and decor for your Victorian tea party ideas
Create a relaxed atmosphere in your party room, by moving the tables and chairs around. To encourage mingling, arrange your seats in a circle, with serving tables to one side.
- A Bit of Sparkle — Hang up fairy lights to give your room a sparkle, like sugar cubes
- Serving Tables — Set up two tables, both in a white tablecloth. Use doilies as place mats
- The tea table – Arrange a teapot, sugar, lemon, milk and a pitcher of hot water. Also include cups, saucers and teaspoons, napkins, and your box of teas
- The food table – Stock this with scones (with jam and cream), muffins and cucumber sandwiches
Ask a friend or two to man the tables, if partying with 10+ people. That way, you can host, while your friends can sort out drinks and replenish the food
A Spot of Victorian Reading — Second-hand bookshops and flea markets are your best bet for finding Victorian novels.
Place them in a reading area or just on display. Try:
- Our Mutual Friends – Charles Dickens
- Vanity Fair – William Thackeray
- Silas Marner – George Eliot
- The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
The Sounds of Victoriana — Play a selection of soundtracks from movies set in the Victorian times – for example, Oliver! The Musical and Mrs Brown.
Step 4, games for your Victorian tea party ideas
No Victorian tea party is complete without Victorian parlor games. I LOVE these games, as none need props.
Although the Victorians invented them for Christmas, you can play them any time of the year.
- Throw a Smile — Select one player to be “it". They’re also the only person allowed to smile. Everyone else? Keep a straight face. The “smiler" now tries to do everything they can to get someone else to smile. As soon as someone does, they become the “it". The player who holds their straight face the longest wins.
- Lookabout — Show everyone a small object quickly, then ask them to leave the room. While gone, hide the object. Now everyone must try and find it. When they do, they must immediately go to the center of the room, sit down and say nothing. The last person to spot the object loses.
- The Sculptor — Nominate a person to be your sculptor, while everyone else stands still. The sculptor now moves between players, putting them into difficult poses. Players must maintain their pose without laughing, moving or breaking it. Anyone who does is knocked out. Last person standing wins.
Need more Victorian games? Check out these parlor games for Christmas.
Step 5, plan your Victorian tea party activities
Watch the Victorian times in Action — From Hell, Around the World in 80 Days and Great Expectations are all movies set in Victorian London. Play these in the background or watch together after your parlor games.
Learn to Speak Victorian — I love introducing friends to period slang. Teach yours to speak the Victorian way with a trivia quiz. Here’s a taster:
A. What are lamps?
- Ear rings
B. I’m buzzing, which means I’m doing what?
C. A crusher is a what?
Answers: A. 3. Eyes / B. 2. Stealing / C. 4. Policeman
Image: Visit Cape May