It can be difficult to think of exciting, new party ideas. It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of celebrating at the same restaurant for every occasion, or going to the same bar with the same people each time your birthday comes around. Why not try something different this year? Throwing a tea party can be extremely fun to plan and to throw. We’ve compiled an essential list when it comes to planning and throwing the perfect, traditional tea party.

Set the date and invite your guests

This is the absolute first step; you need to decide who to invite and to check that each of them is free on that date. You don’t want to make the date of the party official before finding out whether or not your desired guests are able to attend. Ring around your friends and find out when each of them is free in the coming weeks; alternately, if you wish for your tea party to be a grander affair, send save-the-date cards out, allowing plenty of time for RSVPs to be sent and received. Once you have heard back from everyone, you can begin on the more exciting arrangements.

Decide on your theme

The most obvious tea party theme would be Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is iconic and an excellent starting point for any tea party inspiration. However, it may feel a little cliché and over-done. Why not opt for a more original tea part theme? You could choose a 1920s theme, a 1950s theme or, even, a superhero theme. Whatever you decide on make sure that it suits you, your guests and the visions you had of your tea party.

Decide what to serve

This is the fun bit! Dig your cookbooks out, browse recipes, start pinning delicious looking cakes on Pinterest and decide what you want to serve. Do you want to serve finger sandwiches? Scones? Cakes? Are you going to bake them yourself, buy them or even enlist the help of your guests? A fun idea, which could also save you time and money, would be to ask each guest to bake and bring their favourite cake. Alternatively, if you want to leave all the hard work to yourself and treat your guests, you could bake a selection of your favourite desserts to serve to your guests. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it suits your theme and your guests by taking any dietary requirements into close consideration

Buy the tea party accessories

No tea party would be complete without the floral cake stands, the delicate napkins and the decorative bunting. These small details really set the scene and define a tea part from any other party. Make sure that you have enough teacups, saucers, teapots and plates for all of your guests; if you don’t, you could always borrow crockery from friends, family and neighbours or ask guests to bring their own plate! Whichever accessories you choose, make sure they suit your theme and leave a lasting impression with your guests.