Ten Teatime Etiquette Tips from Lisa Richey

Left: A table set for afternoon tea features a silver centerpiece spilling with white roses. Right: Lisa Richey raises a cup to teatime.

For some, the technicalities of teatime can be a daunting mystery. But, for Lisa Richey, these customs are a beautiful way to build and express confidence. After a corporate career, Lisa became acutely aware of how manners impact one’s self-assurance, and she launched a business teaching children and professional adults the importance of etiquette. In this exclusive web feature, she answers ten questions about how to properly approach the occasion of afternoon tea.

  1. What are the differences among various types of tea occasions?

Tea is a wonderful opportunity to create a feeling for your guests to enjoy. And there are several types of tea occasions from which one can choose, but the names are not interchangeable. Afternoon tea is served in the late afternoon. High tea is often eaten at higher tables, closer to five o’clock, and typically is served with heavy meats and cheeses. Royal tea features Champagne in addition to the classic tea beverage.

  1. When I’m invited to afternoon tea, what should I wear?

Use the occasion as an opportunity to be your best self. Put on a pretty sweater or blouse that gets you in the spirit of afternoon tea—and even a hat if you so choose! Dresses are often perfect for this occasion, as well. And one can always direct dress code questions to the hostess for more details on the specific gathering.

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