While social formalities were reportedly easing a little by the 1930’s, hosting an afternoon tea still required some rules of etiquette to be observed.

And in her widely acclaimed book Etiquette and Entertaining, Lady Troubridge offers advice for the hostess on the subject of afternoon tea.  Importantly she makes the point that “drawing-room tea is not intended to be a filling meal for hungry people, but a dainty snack to accompany tea drinking” – something modern day afternoon tea party hostesses should take note of!

As well as the cups and saucers necessary for afternoon tea, Lady Troubridge refers to plates of brown and white bread and butter, a plate of savoury sandwiches and a home-made cake as well as either smaller iced cakes, shortbread biscuits or other small cakes.  In addition “there will also be jam in a glass jar, and, if it is winter, muffins, scones or buttered toast in a covered dish.”

Afternoon Tea v High Tea

Anything more substantial and it becomes a high tea – an altogether different affair “very farmhouse in details, with a big brown teapot and not your favourite tea-set but a gaily patterned, thick tea-ware instead.”

While afternoon tea is all about fine china and dainty bites, high tea is a heartier affair.  Lady Troubridge suggests sizzling sausages or scrambled eggs mixed with flaked haddock are “just the right foods to offer at the high, six o’clock tea, when nothing but a light supper will follow.”

With afternoon tea remaining an extremely popular choice for celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays today’s hostesses are fortunately not bound by 1930’s etiquette!

And there’s nothing wrong with beefing up a traditional afternoon tea in order to keep guests going until later.  Popular finger food additions to the traditional afternoon tea menu include canapés (anything from filled mini Yorkshire puddings, to bruschetta and sliders), sausage rolls, vol au vents and quiche squares.

The key to hosting a successful afternoon tea is to consider the time of day and the likely appetite of your guests – bearing in mind that alcohol may also being served!

Afternoon tea served on vintage china is, without a doubt, a fabulous way to celebrate a special day – and the wonderful thing is that with Pineapple Vintage

at your side, you don’t have to lift a finger!

Vintage Afternoon Tea

Vintage afternoon tea



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