Perhaps the most common idea of all tea party centerpieces is a bouquet of flowers but according to the Victorians, this would not be appropriate. Fresh flowers were never placed near the food on the tea table during Victorian times because people believed that the competing scent of the flowers negatively affected the aroma of the food. If you are planning a centerpiece of flowers, be careful to choose flowers that have a light fragrance which won’t overpower the smell of your food. Also, keep the arrangement small enough so that guests can look across the table without straining to make conversation with those across from them.
You could use dried flowers instead for the centerpiece and reserve fresh flowers with a strong fragrance for side tables. For something a little different, use a teapot or antique tea tin as a vase and sprinkle flower petals around the table to dress it up. Potted plants including greens, herbs, and flowers are both attractive and cost effective because they will survive long after the party is over. Use pretty pots and vary the plants or the size and heights of the pots to create an interesting arrangement.
Edible tea party centerpieces can be both striking and functional, saving you both time and money. An attractively frosted layer cake on a pedestal stand or a three-tiered serving platter with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets definitely deserve the center spot on the table, as long as they are within easy reach! Fruits arranged in an attractive bowl can also make a great centerpiece when chosen to match the party’s overall décor. Some good fruits to use are lemons, limes, pears, pomegranates, apples, and clementines. Either mix fruits with complementary shades or use only one type of fruit for a uniform color. A bowl of assorted unshelled nuts have a nice earthly color, perfect for the fall. Encourage guests to dig in by placing a couple crackers around the bowl on small pretty plates for the discarded shells. You could also scatter the nuts around the table.
If you’re hosting a tea party in the evening, candles could be the perfect tea party centerpiece. For something special, find a flat round mirror to use as a base for candles arrangements including tall candles in cylindrical glasses vases or small tea candles. The reflection of the candles will sparkle in the dim lighting in addition to the flame itself. Or if you’re hosting an afternoon tea party when candles wouldn’t be appropriate, simply scatter a handful of flower petals and buds over the mirror for an elegant centerpiece. And when it fits your theme, try combining all of these elements by filling a cylindrical glass vase with water and floating flowers, petals, or tea lights inside. Also use some smaller mirrors with tea lights and experiment with varying sizes and shapes of mirrors, candles, and flower arrangements.