7 Elegant High Tea Table Setting Ideas and Recipes

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Have you ever wanted to host a high tea but don't know where to start? From selecting tableware to preparing delicious treats, it can be quite an undertaking. But don't fret; we've got you covered!

Drawing from the rich history and cultural significance of this quintessentially British tradition, we'll share seven elegant high tea table-setting ideas and delectable recipes that will impress your guests and make your event truly memorable.

Dive into the world of Minimax and explore our expert style tips for creating a stunning table setting that exudes class, sophistication, and mouth-watering treats to indulge in.

7 Elegant High Tea Table Setting Ideas and Recipes | Minimax Blog

High Tea Table Setting: The Art of Elegance

High tea, a quintessentially British tradition, dates back to the early 19th century when Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, introduced the concept of serving tea with light snacks in the late afternoon to fill the gap between lunch and dinner.

Initially a private affair, it quickly gained popularity and became a social event for the upper classes, while the working classes enjoyed a more substantial high tea meal. The tradition has significantly shaped British etiquette and since spread globally, symbolising elegance, refinement, and social connection. An elegant table setting reflects the tradition's sophistication and enhances the overall high tea experience, making it a memorable occasion for all.

With the rich history and cultural significance of high tea in mind, let's delve into seven exquisite high tea table-setting ideas and recipes that will elevate your event and leave a lasting impression on your guests.

1. Choose a Stunning Centrepiece

Create a Focal Point with Flowers

A beautiful centrepiece is the heart of any high tea table setting. Consider using fresh flowers to create a focal point that will draw the eye and add a touch of natural beauty to your table. You can't go wrong with classic options like roses, peonies, or hydrangeas, or be bold and creative with unique flower arrangements.

2. Mix and Match Your Tableware

Blend Vintage and Modern Pieces
When it comes to the tabletop, mixing and matching different styles can give your table a unique and personal touch.

Combine vintage teacups, such as the Wedgwood Wonderlust Teacups & Saucers, mugs with eye-catching patterns, like the Wedgwood Wonderlust Mugs and Wedgwood Wonderlust Plates, with modern cutlery such as the Stanley Rogers Chelsea Cake Set, for an eclectic yet elegant look. This approach allows you to showcase your style while maintaining a cohesive theme.

Or, if you prefer matching cups and saucer sets, check out these three gorgeous high-tea sets from Wedgwood Wonderlust:

Alongside plenty of colourful mugs for coffee, tea or whatever you prefer:

3. Embrace Colour and Patterns

Express Yourself with Bold Choices

Don't shy away from using colour and patterns to create a vibrant high tea table setting. Incorporate bold hues and intricate designs through your tableware accessories, linens, and even your centrepiece. The Wedgwood Wonderlust Cup & Saucer Primrose and the Wedgwood Wonderlust Orient Cup & Saucer Crimson (or Midnight) provide the perfect opportunity to bring an explosion of colour and pattern to your table. This adds visual interest and lets you personalise your table setting to reflect your personality.

4. Layer Your Table Linens

Add Texture and Depth with Linens

Layering your table linens can instantly elevate your high tea table setting. Start with a classic white tablecloth as your base, and then add a patterned or coloured runner to introduce some visual interest. To create a polished and inviting look, top it off with coordinating napkins alongside placemats and coasters.

5. Utilise Elegant Glassware

Raise the Bar with Sophisticated Glassware

No high tea table setting is complete without elegant glassware. Choose delicate champagne flutes or wine glasses to complement your tableware and add a touch of sophistication to your event. Remember, it's all in the details!

Elevate your high tea with the elegant and sophisticated Royal Doulton Highclere Flutes. The refined detailing and sparkling crystal make these glasses a genuinely stylish addition. And why not take things up a notch with the matching Royal Doulton Highclere Wine Glasses? The Royal Doulton Highclere Tumblers will be perfect for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages. Fan of the Highball? Royal Doulton Highclere has you covered there too.

6. Pay Attention to the Details

Personalise Your Place Settings

Give your guests a personalised experience by adding thoughtful touches to their settings. Consider using name cards, customised napkin rings, or individualised menu cards to make each guest feel special and appreciated.

Delightful High Tea Recipes to Impress Your Guests

To make your high tea experience even more memorable, why not try your hand at these scrumptious homemade treats? Here are seven delightful high tea recipes that will surely tantalise your guests' taste buds and elevate your event to new heights.

Indulge in these delectable bite-sized cakes, featuring a raspberry jelly coating and a dusting of desiccated coconut for a heavenly combination of flavours and textures.

Delight in the aromatic and delicate flavours of rose and pistachio in these buttery shortbread biscuits, perfect for a sophisticated high tea spread.

Savour this moist and flavourful cake with a harmonious blend of juicy figs, tangy raspberries, and nutty almonds.

Treat your guests to a rich and decadent dessert with layers of chocolate, raspberry jam, and coconut for a captivating experience.

Enjoy the sweet simplicity of these sugar-dusted plums, a timeless treat that will bring a touch of nostalgia to your high tea table.

Elevate your scones with this luscious homemade strawberry jam, brimming with fruity goodness and the perfect balance of sweetness.

Add a taste of Australia to your high tea with this traditional bush spices damper, a rustic and flavoursome bread that pairs wonderfully with your favourite spreads.

Servingware: Let Them Have Cake!

And remember, the right tools make all the difference when serving your high tea treats.

Master the Art of High Tea Table Setting

Over the years, high tea has evolved to cater to contemporary tastes and preferences, with modern high tea events often featuring creative themes and menu items. The tradition has also become more inclusive, with establishments offering vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. As high tea continues to adapt to modern sensibilities, it remains a cherished symbol of sophistication and an opportunity to celebrate special occasions and connect with others.

With these 7 elegant high tea table setting ideas, you'll be well on your way to hosting a memorable and stylish event. Remember, it's all about combining beautiful tableware, thoughtful details, and a welcoming atmosphere to create an unforgettable experience for your guests. So, why wait? Start planning your next high tea event with Minimax today!


Q: What is the difference between high tea and afternoon tea?

A: High tea, traditionally served in the late afternoon or early evening, is a more substantial meal that includes savoury dishes, while afternoon tea is a lighter affair featuring sandwiches, scones, and sweets, typically served mid-afternoon.

Q: How should I arrange the food on the table?

A: Arrange your food on tiered cake stands or platters, with savoury items on the bottom tier, scones in the middle, and sweets on the top level. This allows guests to easily reach their desired treats and provides a visually appealing display.

Q: Can I use a theme for my high tea table setting?

A: Absolutely! Choosing a theme for your high tea event can help guide your décor and table setting choices. Popular themes include garden parties, vintage-inspired tea parties, and seasonal celebrations, such as Christmas or Easter.

Q: What types of tea should I serve at a high tea event?

A: Offer a variety of teas to cater to your guests' tastes. Classic choices include Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Darjeeling. Additionally, consider offering herbal and flavoured teas like chamomile, mint, or fruity blends.

Q:How should I prepare the tea?

A: For the best results, follow the recommended steeping time and temperature for each type of tea. Generally, black teas should be steeped for 3-5 minutes at 95-100°C, while green and herbal teas require a slightly lower temperature of 80-85°C and a steeping time of 2-3 minutes.

Q:What is the etiquette for serving and drinking tea at a high tea event?

A: When serving tea, pour it into the cup first, followed by any additions, such as milk or sugar. Guests should hold their teacup by pinching the handle between their thumb and forefinger while their middle finger supports the bottom. To avoid spills, gently stir the tea in a back-and-forth motion rather than a circular motion.