The Baby Shower High Tea is Back!

It's the return of everything classic and the tea party is part of that happy tradition. While it's the norm for bridal showers, there are more women that are opting to use it for baby showers as well.

The time is just right, after work just before dinner, so it can serve as an early dinner or a substitute to the coffee break in the afternoon. While high tea is traditionally at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, tea can be served anytime after 2 o'clock if you want to be technical about it.

You need to set aside an area which is pleasant and relaxing as well as private. Make sure your chairs are comfortable (thus the habit of taking tea in the drawing room rather than the dining room) and you have a handy table nearby to pour out that hot cuppa. Flowers are a necessity of course, and only use the flowers in season in a rather casual arrangement that could be done at home. Don't order a formal arrangement for a tea!

Set your tables nicely – your best linens should be on call here, as well as every scrap of lace or crochet work or tatting that you can get your hands on. If you have those embroidered napkins that were handed down to you by your grandmother, use them by all means.

Music is an essential part of high tea. Choose light and pleasant music for this; although classical music on strings is traditional, you don't need to stick to it to make your high tea atmosphere. Any instrumental music that is light on the ears with a minimum of base would be good.

High tea is heavy on the food, it possibly being a substitute for dinner. If possible, don't serve tea in teabags here, only good, loose tea in a large metal tea ball for your teapot. Are you happy with your teapot? It should be one that is heavy enough to keep the tea hot but manageable for you to pour. Keep a tea towel by you in case the tea splashes or drips out of the spout.

Make sure you have enough cutlery, plates, and napkins near you so you don't need to keep going back and forth to the kitchen. These can either be set on the tea table and extras be put in a tea trolley or sideboard for guests to help themselves.

Food is a given here, and it should be quite heavy, although room-temperature finger food is the norm. cold sliced meats like roast chicken or baked ham can be the basis of the sandwiches, with sides of savory fruit salads like a Waldorf. But what most women love about the high tea is its choice of pastries. Crumb cakes, sweet breads, small fruit and custard tarts, even filled puff pastries and buttery cookies are what make up the basics of the tea.

It's a quiet affair that can be a couples' baby shower as well, although you would probably want to add a hot dish to your menu with men about. It's a truly versatile meal that should be welcomed back with open arms.