How To Throw A Garden Tea Party

Summer Soiree Evening Tea Party: the perfect summer soiree evening with fresh flowers, tea party menu, tea mocktails and cocktails and lots of tea party ideas.

Summer Soiree Evening Tea Party: the perfect summer soiree evening with boho decor, fresh flower crowns, a tea party menu and tea cocktails.

My oldest daughter turned 16 last week, and because of Covid and having to have a small family gathering we decided on a on backyard summer soiree evening tea party.  It was pretty magical and I’m excited to share all the fun details with you.  

This garden tea party is full of ideas that you could use for a baby shower, bridal shower, book club, afternoon tea party, or birthday parties.
how to throw a summer soiree

Tea Time

We wanted to have the party in our backyard under the pergola, and enjoy all the pretty lights when it started to get dark outside.  We had lovely weather and the garden was the perfect setting for our tea party.  Tea parties are traditionally in the afternoon between 3 -4 pm.  We decided to turn our tea party into an evening get together and used the afternoon tea party menu as our dinner.  It was a really good idea, and everyone really enjoyed it. summer soiree

Tea Party Decorations

We wanted to decorate for our tea party birthday party, with lots of floral patterns, lace, and vintage tea sets.  We started with draping the pergola.  To decorate the pergola we used a bunch of lace ribbons in white and off-white.  Lace and ribbon seemed like the perfect romantic, vintage tea party decoration.  My sister is a florist and used wire to secure the ribbon and drape it towards the solar lanterns in the middle.  It created such a beautiful setting.  I love how it all turned out, and how much drama it added to the space.  

Most of the lace ribbon was a lucky second hand store find.  This is a great idea for creating this look inexpensively.  I did add is some new ribbon and lace.  They really make the most beautiful party streamers.  I love that they’re reusable too.  Prepare to see lots of lace and ribbon streamers at future parties and every special occasion.  This lace detail seemed like the perfect tea party touch, and a unique idea that turned out so well.

If you were hosting your tea party inside, you could do something similar by attaching the ribbons to the corners of the room.

how to throw a summer soiree

ribbons hanging from a pergola

summer tea party

ribbon party streamers

Tea Party Tablescape

evening tea party 

We were going for a pretty boho tea party vibe for the tablescape.  As our color scheme for the table we used lots of white and off white, with some pink and a little purple.  We laid a macrame runner on the beautiful concrete table -see how we made the table here.  The macrame adds some lovely texture to the table.  A lace runner would work well here too.

summer soiree

Lights and Candles

Then used lots of candles and fairy lights to create a magical feel.  The candles were some brass thrift store finds with a dipped paint effect -see how I made them here.  We also used some vintage glasses as tea light holders.  As the evening continued and the sun went down, the candles and fairy lights were so magical.

summer soiree evening tea party

garden flowers


The fresh flowers were all from my mom and sister’s garden and looked so beautiful.

sweet 16 summer soiree

evening boho tea party

Place Settings 

For each place setting we used some pretty vintage pink depression glass tea cups, with beautiful gold cutlery.  The vintage tea cups really added a special touch to the table.  we also added a teaspoon for stirring your tea.  Since everything we served was finger food, there were no forks necessary.  The knife is for spreading your scone with butter, jam, and cream.

Menu Cards

Paige made the individual menus for each spot.  The menus are such a nice addition for a personal touch at an elegant tea party and a lovely keepsake afterwards too.  We used Canva to design the menus, and then printed them onto cardstock and made the layered cards with the colors of the party color scheme.

boho tea party

Flower Crowns

When we first talked about Paige’s 16th birthday and asked her what she would like to do, she mentioned the Summer Soiree in the Anne With An E television series and how beautiful it was.  So we came up with the idea of a backyard garden party.  One detail she really wanted to incorporate from the show was to have flower crowns.  Luckily my sister used to be a florist, so we called in Auntie Heather and she did an amazing job at making flower crowns for the guest of honor and the girls and each floral arrangement on the table.  She asked each of the girls what they were wearing and tried to incorporate the flowers in colors that would go with their outfits for the party.   The flower crowns were so fun and festive, and perhaps we should use them instead of birthday hats for every birthday party.

flower crown

flower crown

They were so pretty, and the girls are all drying them now as a pretty keepsake of the evening and our floral tea party.

Tea Mocktails and Tea Cocktails 

For our summer soriee we decide on a tea party menu, but since it was the evening we updated it a little with tea mocktails and cocktails.  

tea cocktails and mocktails

My girls love to get a fancy ice tea drink at Starbucks, so we took some inspiration from their menu and came up with a passion tea lemonade and a peach white tea lemonade option.  For some of the grownups we added a shot of vodka.  

tea mocktails and cocktails bar cart

To make our iced tea drinks extra special we used edible flowers from our garden and froze them in the ice cubes.  It was such a pretty and simple way to incorporate more flowers and our party guests loved all the extra special details like this.  This was one of my favorite tea party ideas.

tea mocktails and cocktails

The ice tea drinks and cocktails were really delicious and the perfect way to kick off the tea party in the garden as a welcome drink for the evening.

Hot Tea

We also served traditional hot tea too.  It’s nice to have a few different types of tea.  We offered traditional orange pekko as well as earl grey and some herbal tea options that guests could choose from.   Even in warmer weather, every good tea party needs a proper cup of tea.  Have a few different tea pots available and tea bags.  When guests arrive be sure to boil the kettle, and make more tea as needed.

It’s said that tea tastes best when served in porcelain and there is something about having a proper cup of tea, brewed in a tea pot, and served in a proper tea cup that can’t be beat.  If you need extra tea pots or tea cups, be sure to look at second hand stores for them.  It’s fun to mix and match the vintage ones, and they’re almost always available at thrift stores, and usually cheaper than antique stores.  It’s a great idea to set up a tea table on the side with all the tea fixings, and different tea bags, so it’s easy to keep serving hot tea throughout the party.

summer soiree

summer soiree

Tea Party Menu

We had a lot of fun putting together an evening tea party menu.  We did all our favourites for an traditional afternoon tea and then added a few extra special treats so that it was more than a light menu of finger sandwiches, and a little more substantial.  Along with our savory bites, traditional tea sandwiches and classic scones, we also included lots of sweet treats.

tea party food 


Since it was dinner we wanted to have quite a few options for our guests.  One of the great things about tea parties is you can get it all ready ahead of time.  We made the sandwich fillings earlier and then just assembled the mini sandwiches right before the party.  Our guests loved sampling all the small savoury options.  Finger sandwiches are one of the tea party essentials for good reason.  They were delicious and so easy for guests to eat and enjoy.

garden tea party

summer soiree tea party menu


tea party menu ideas

evening tea party ideas


We’re a big fan enjoying scones as part of the perfect high tea party.  We made the scones in the morning of the party.  There were plain scones, and raisin scones.  We served with the traditional toppings of butter, jam, and cream.  


One of our favourite additions was some floral inspired lollipops.  We used this homemade lollipop recipe.  We flavoured them with raspberry flavouring and added dried edible flowers that we collected from our garden and pressed earlier.  They were so pretty!  We had so much fun adding lots of floral details to our tea time.

We made some of the homemade sweets the day before the party and some the morning of.  We also picked up some sweets at our favorite local bakery.  This is such a great idea for your next tea party.  We found an assortment of mini cakes, pastries, and macarons.  They were so delicious and easy way to round out menu of sweets for this great occasion.

Tea is traditionally served on tired trays.  Usually the bottom layer is for sandwiches, the middle layer for scones, and the top layer for pastries and desserts.  Since we were serving so many people we used platters and cake plates and passed the different courses around the table for everyone.  This worked out really well for a larger gathering.

what to serve at a tea party

Tea Party Favors

It’s always nice to send your guests home from a birthday party with a small party favor.  Our guests went home with a little take home pack of fresh scones, a small jar of jam, and box of speciality tea.  We also added in some of our homemade floral lollipops.  We did one gift bag per family, which was perfect.  For the non-tea drinkers, we put a bag of our special tea mocktail supplies together as well as the recipe cards.  These were a big hit with everyone, and helped the good feelings of our magical evening together to keep going.

We had such a fun evening together Paige’s Sweet 16 birthday tea party.  It was a perfect evening to celebrate our girl.

summer soiree evening tea party

We sat and enjoyed ourselves and many cups of tea until long after dusk, under the lights of pergola, and with the candles flickering and we had such a wonderful time enjoying family and good friends.  This was such a great way to celebrate.

summer soiree

With a Sweet 16 Summer Soiree Tea Party, life really is a party!

More Tea Party Inspiration

You might also like Christmas Tea Party here.

Christmas Tea Party: a British inspired Christmas tea party menu, complete with recipes and decor ideas for high tea.

Also check out the Valentine’s Day Tea Party here.

You might also enjoy the Fall Tea Party here.

Also check out How To Host A Tea Party here.

How To Host A Tea Party: ideas on what to serve at a tea party, including some recipes, and tips about hosting.

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