What is High Tea Etiquette?
High tea etiquette is about more than just proper behavior at a formal tea event. It’s about finding a calm and pleasant atmosphere in an occasion that usually involves people from different backgrounds and upbringings. It’s about making sure everyone enjoys the experience and leaves more knowledge about the occasion itself.
Core Elements of High Tea Etiquette
The core elements of high tea etiquette include:
- Politeness: Always greet your host and anyone else you encounter with a warm ‘hello’ and a friendly smile. Address everyone in the proper manner and avoid using slang or profanity.
- Dress: Dress in a contemporary and appropriate manner. Depending on the occasion, you may be asked to wear a jacket or tie. Darker dresses and suits are often seen as the most professional.
- Seating: Usually the host will determine seating arrangements. Otherwise, it’s polite to keep to the left side of the table and seat yourself based on who is present.
- Food and drink: When served, it’s usual to accept what is offered. Traditionally, high tea includes a selection of tea sandwiches, scones, crumpets, and cakes. Try small amounts of each. As to drinks, regular tea is served with lemon, milk or sugar.
- Conversation: Always stay on topic and try to keep the conversation polite and light. Avoid discussing politics or religion and avoid making any negative or unpleasant comments.
- Leaving: It’s polite to thank the host and other guests for their hospitality before leaving. Don’t forget to take along a small gift or souvenir to remember the occasion.
Minding Your Manners
Observing these polite and courteous steps when attending a high tea event is essential to keeping the atmosphere pleasant and appropriate. High tea etiquette teaches us to appreciate the customs, culture, and traditions associated with it, while still respecting other people. Following these few simple rules will ensure that everyone involved has an enjoyable time.