The final flourish of the table you set for a tea party is the centerpiece. Tea-themed centerpieces are a good start when you're looking for ideas, such as tucking sweetheart roses into a tea cup or filling a teapot with a bouquet of flowers. If your tea party has a theme, use that theme as your starting inspiration. The key to planning a centerpiece is simplifying the elements in it. You are choosing a container or decorative piece, a main item to fill it and one or two accents to complement the main item.
For a bridal shower tea party, simulate a bridal bouquet with a cascading bouquet of flowers that "pours" from the spout of a pitcher. If your party is in the garden, look for a galvanized metal pitcher for a rustic look. A white- or cream-colored antique pitcher offers a vintage look, and a floral porcelain pitcher lends an elegant accent while resting on a lace tablecloth. Hold the flower arrangement inside the container using floral foam, available at craft stores.
Valentine's Day Glow
Bring romance to the tea table on a raised cake stand. Load it with pillar candles, using at least three different heights colored in creams, reds and pinks. Scatter red rose petals, available from a florist, around the edge of the platter and below it. An alternative to a cake stand is a gold tray that will reflect the warm glow of the candles. Plastic gold-colored trays can be purchased at party supply stores.
Mother's Day Elegance
Let the sunlight filter through a beautiful cut glass crystal bowl holding floating candles and a few of your mother's favorite flowers. For a less formal gathering, use a plain glass bowl for the floating candles. Another fill idea in a glass bowl is fruit, in particular lemons. Use a wooden bowl for a simpler gathering and fill it with natural elements (acorns, pinecones, etc.).
Use what's already on your table as a centerpiece when you accent a two- or three-tiered tray with ivy. Loosely wrap real ivy or silk garlands around the side of the tray. An alternative to ivy is a sweet pea vine. Other garlands sold at craft stores offer a variety of textures and colors to accommodate any theme. Hold the garland or plant to the tray using either floral wire or tape, available at craft stores.
For a Christmas tea, place a wreath made from greens (evergreen, holly, boxwood, etc.) around a large hurricane glass with a pillar candle inside. Use a red, gold or silver candle. Garnish the wreath with pinecones, red berries or small flowers in a wreath used at a different time of year.
- Betty Crocker's Entertaining Basics; 2001
- Tea Party: 20 Themed Tea Parties with Recipes for Every Occasion, from Fabulous Showers to Intimate Gatherings; Tracy Stern; 2007