A regal and fun morning tea! Dressing up, fancy hats, petit fours, pastries, cucumber sandwiches and cakes all served on delicate china cups.
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Although traditionally High Tea refers to a substantial early evening meal that includes tea - we use it to describe a regal and fun morning tea! Dressing up, fancy hats, petit fours, pastries, cucumber sandwiches, and cakes all served on delicate china cups.

There is no special menu to follow, as long as it is done with pomp and ceremony! The idea is to remind us all of how things used to be, have fun and provide an opportunity to reminisce.

Examples of what to serve for High Tea :

  1. Tea and sandwiches (see below for cucumber sandwich recipe)
  2. Tea, scones, jams and whipped cream (home-made jams would be wonderful).
  3. Tea, petit-fours, cakes, fruit and sweets.

Queen's Birthday High Tea

  1. It's a good idea to send a personal invitation to all residents you think may enjoy coming along. It makes them feel important. (see below fo sample of invitation).
  2. Don't forget to invite residents' relatives, volunteers and management.
  3. Ask for staff and relatives to bring a plate to share.
  4. If you don't have china tea sets, borrow some from staff and relatives. It's a good idea to have your own, buy when it's on sale and have 3 or 4 tea sets.
  5. Food should be prepared before guests arrive.

Set the Scene

A pleasant atmosphere is very important!

  1. Choose a nice room with windows looking out into nature or a garden, weather permitting. The table should be centrally located with comfortable chairs around it. No one should be 'hidden' behind others.
  2. Get some seasonal flowers and place around the area so your guests can appreciate them.
  3. Use doilies under plates, bowls, cups etc. Use attractive napkins.
  4. Play pleasant soft music to fill the room, nothing intrusive. Baroque music or perhaps Mozart, anything that stimulates relaxed conversation.

Set the Table

  1. Tea pots should be the centre pieces, ceramic or glass. Have at least a couple of types of tea such as 'English Breakfast' and 'Earl Grey'. It is also a good idea to have herbal tea on offer as well.
  2. You will need enough cups, saucers, tea spoons, dessert plates, dessert forks and spoons. Provide a side station if you have a crowd otherwise lay cups at every seat.
  3. Place food on the table buffet style or as you prefer. (Whatever is easier for you!).
  4. Have the table set with great care, use a lace table cloth if possible, display cakes in a festive fashion, everything sould be very appealing. A cream boat, milk jug and sugar bowl with its own spoon; tea strainer, lemon slices, artificial sweetener, a small dish to deposit tea leaves. Having the table beautifully set adds grace and elegance to the occasion.

Start the party!

  1. Greet everyone on arrival and take them to their seats.
  2. Tell your guests the types of tea available so they can choose.
  3. Conversation should be light and happy. Enjoy their company,
  4. Read a little poem or reminisce about other celebrations.
  5. Have some fun with the 'Royal Quiz' and be genuinely interested in what your guests are expressing.
  6. If you have someone who can 'read' tea leaves to add to the fun, all the better.
  7. Take some photos to remember the occasion.
  8. When the party ends, tell your guests how much you appreciate their company.

Have fun!

Recipe for Cucumber sandwiches


  • Half cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped up mint leaves
  • 10 slices of white bread, crusts removed
  • One medium cucumber thinly sliced
  • Sugar


  • In a bowl, mix butter and mint until well blended.
  • Spread the mixture onto slices of bread
  • Place cucumber on 5 slices of bread
  • Sprinkle with a little sugar.
  • Top with remaining slices of bread.
  • Cut diagonally and serve.

Sample Invitation

Dear Betty,

You are invited for a morning/afternoon 'High Tea' to celebrate the Queen's birthday.

The party will take place on Monday the 14th of June at 10:00am in the gardens of Golden Carers/in the veranda/in the Gazebo/in the dining room.

Come and share some special moments with friends over a cup of tea and cakes.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The Recreation staff.

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Comments   Post a Comment

Susan 19th May 2022 Activity Director
Here are some ideas



You can’t have a party about anything really holidays special events a particular person a flower party Favorite food party the beginning of the month or end of the month a season
Really the possibilities are endless just do what your residents like serve food they like sing songs they like
Let us know what you decide to do or if you have any more questions about a specific type of party

linda 17th May 2022
Hello, we are having a tea party for our dementia residents. Does anyone have any suggestions about which activities we can do? Most of our residents can follow directions easily and some need a little more direction with help. Thank you
Susan 15th Jan 2020 Activity Director
At the parties we’ve had we do a lot of singing
Depending on the occasion I always try to say something good about every resident attending
Valentine’s Day is coming up so it is a great opportunity to say something good about each person attending
It makes them feel so good to know that they are good in someway
Dee 15th Jan 2020 Act. Director
Do any of you do any events during your tea? We serve tea and sandwiches and cookies but do you play games?
Solange 15th Jan 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Dee, we always had an activity going for at least half of the break. For instance, True or False games, Quizzes, read a short story, watch a TED Talk, read a few jokes, 'I Went to Market' type of game or reading some interesting Trivia. Having said, we did not interrupt if residents were interacting and the conversation animated.
Talita 14th Jun 2017
Thanks so much for the photos Kim, they look amazing!
Kim 12th Jun 2017 lifestyle
St Patrick's day themed "Special morning tea". We used cut out shamrocks using sparkly paper, twinkle lights and gold coins scattered over the table, green plastic tablecloth and green serviettes. Some residents chose to wear an Irish hat. A very fun day was had by all.
Kim 12th Jun 2017 lifestyle
We hold what we call a "Special morning tea" every Friday morning for our Residents. Once a month we host a larger one that includes our residents and also the Retirement village residents which is huge. We use vintage china and make a runner up the middle of the table using doilies. Place-mats are laminated images of beautiful vintage china found online. On these days we have up to 3 volunteers assist with pouring of teapots and assisting with the hand washing of all the china. I have scoured the local op shops and most of our decorations have come from donations, charity shops and garage sales and now have enough for 70 people. These days are becoming very popular for visiting families and friends as the residents are very proud to show off our beautifully set tables. We also do these with themed days such as Easter, st Patricks day, Christmas, Mad Hatters tea party.
Maria Lidia 4th Sep 2015 Lifestyle officer
can someone please give some ideas with the room decoration ideas for the High tea party.We are about to host one soon .....
Maria 28th Nov 2013

I've planed a high tea for Mother's Day @ the QVB location: Grand Ballroom...and send a invite to the ladies...I'll set the room to suit the theme hope will go ok.
Joanne 16th May 2013 Leisure and Lifestyle Co ordinator
Try the second hand shops for cups and saucers....they are quite cheap and the residents love them. Nowadays you can buy the tiered cake stands quite cheaply. I also got some sandwich plates from kmart and sourced some doilies from ebay....the residents love the effort we go to.
Sunbury Lions Communitty aged care 16th May 2013 Lifestyle Coordinator
We had alovely high tea for Mothers day, we invited Daughters grandaughter and Friends to come and enjoy afternoon tea with are residents, this was enjoyed so much we plan to put it on the calander Monthly.
We also have advertised in are newsletter if anyone have donation of items we could use at are High teas to make it a little more nicer.
Solange 5th Apr 2011 Diversional Therapist
Yes, Urszula, the Ladies High Tea Club is very popular. I can vouch for the one you host, having attended one myself. Beautiful!
urszula 5th Apr 2011 DT
We do have Ladies\' High Tea Social Club as a regular activity every two weeks. We do send a specially designs invitation to our ladies\'.
We do have wonderful china cups,saucers, plates, tea pots and all the fancy things including lacy table cloth, beautiful flowers and more. Our ladies\' love the special tea time organise for them in the most gorgeous garden situated in our nursing home.We do read poems, talk about gardens, fashion, our weddings days, love for beautiful things, we bring interesting objects to talk about, invite guests. It takes a lot of work to organise such an event, the organiser must be well prepared in advance so the ladies\' will have a great time.I do buy cakes from my good local bakeries and also use delicatessen shops.We always have three variety of teas to enjoy. Ladies often receive small presents to take back to their rooms, which are very welcome. They include chocolates, leftover cakes or biscuits always wrap up in nice, fancy napkins. We do love our Ladies\' High Tea events and looking forward to many more.
Lea 4th Apr 2011 Registered Nurse
We are actually doing this for our Residents to celebrate the Royal Wedding of William and Katherine.
Staff are bringing their own beautiful china, lace cloths etc to make this a wonderful day for all.
Joanne 20th Feb 2011 Leisure and Lifestyle Co ordinator
We love having High Teas...we have managed to get some of the tiered cake holders to make it even more special...we are having a special high tea for the residents when the next Royal wedding is on this year...they love it. The residents love it even more when we sit down and join them...of course with a Royal theme we would all need to dress up to the nines...
Solange 7th Sep 2010 Diversional Therapist
I agree with you Jean, if the residents have nice china cups and saucers, freshly brewed tea and fancy napkins they feel special.
jean 7th Sep 2010 ain
We often have a fancy a/noon tea with all the trimmings and eat what we have cooked ie scones biscuits or slices. The residents love to chat around the table when we have the nice china and napkins.
Solange 2nd Jul 2010 Diversional Therapist
I quite agree with that, there is more satisfaction in participating actively instead of being waited upon all the time.However in a High Care facility it is almost impossible. An alternative would be to have those few who can do it plus volunteers and staff making the sandwiches on a double table surrounded by those who no longer can manage doing it.
Shannyn 2nd Jul 2010 Diversional Therapist
We often run high teas and make it an all day event, the residents bake the scones and make the sandwiches in the morning, then sit down to enjoy the high tea in the afternoon.
Some residents have commented that they think it's nicer when they make the food for the tea rather than us buying them small cupcakes.
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