- Do use classically British teas, such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey.
- Don't use teabags - a proper High Tea uses strainers
- Do have an assortment of savory and sweet treats to choose from
- Don't have crusts on the sandwiches!
- Do use china teacups and saucers, serving trays, and an antique teapot if you can find one - go all out
If having tea with the royals you would wait to begin after they started drinking and eating, and you would stop as soon as they did. Some classic tea party foods include tea sandwiches - cucumber or smoked salmon, for example - scones and clotted cream, and of course biscuits (British speak for cookies, people), such as shortbread or madeleines. My favorite part of tea time when I was in the U.K. was all the little pots of jam and dishes of sugarcubes and such that were served with the tea itself - presentation is everything! (Just don't overdo it on doilies. Gross.)I never really knew what a crumpet was, so I looked it up and discovers it's what we call here in the States an "English muffin." So apparently I've been having tea and crumpets for years, I just didn't know it. How pretentious.
If the tea party concept isn't your style, then you could throw a bash with British food for your theme instead. Now before you get all nervous, having the commonly-held notion that British food is crap, let me enlighten you to the tasty foods that British people actually eat today:
Digestive biscuits: they're delicious and filled with fiber - how great is a culture that embraces food that's widely known to make you go?
Cadbury's: chocolate that melts on your tongue and comes in every form imaginable - once you've had the real stuff you'll never go back to Hershey's, trust me.
Oh and pub fare, obviously - "chips" (fries) etc.
If you're going for the real deal - and if there's one thing I learned about British people when I lived in London, it's that they know how to drink - then stock your party with an authentic bar. Snakebites are always a crowd pleaser, a shandy made with lager and cider, and often served with a dash of blackcurrant cordial to make a "snakebite and black" - these are lethal and good. So stock up on Ribena, don't worry about chilling the beer (it's just how they drink it to better taste the flavor, they say ...) and be sure to wear a tiara. Cheers.