The Golden Rules of Afternoon Tea Etiquette by Eliza Ellis


I mean, we all say please and thankyou, and most of us have a fair grasp of the social niceties, but etiquette?

It's as archaic and outmoded as corsets and mourning dress!

Now, I actually collect vintage etiquette books (dorky, I know), and as delightful as they are to flick through, they're just lost in modern society.

Tea Dances, At Homes and elaborate 10 course dinner parties just aren't done anymore, and manners generally have loosened up so much that most of the old advice would be seen as affected and pretentious.

There are however, some modern occasions were etiquette still has it's place - weddings, christenings/baptisms and debutante balls are a few, and to a lesser extent, afternoon tea.

Taking tea is such a lovely old event, it simply begs for good manners, so I've written today's post of do's and dont's to help keep this little ritual as special as it deserves to be!

So here you have them - my 12 Golden Rules of Afternoon Tea Etiquette!

The Golden Rules of Afternoon Tea Etiquette by Eliza Ellis

1. CHAMPAGNE: Hold your champagne glass correctly by the stem, not the bowl - otherwise it will get warm and go flat.

2. NAPKIN: Remember to put your napkin on your lap. If you have to get up, or when you're finished, place it loosely to the left of your plate - never on your plate, and never on your chair.

3. TEA: Never add both lemon and milk to your tea, it will curdle! Choose one or the other.

4. TEA: Don't clink your spoon against the side of the cup when stirring your tea.

5. TEA: Don't lift the cup and saucer to drink - only lift the cup and leave the saucer on the table or held in your lap.

6. TEA: Don't put your pinky up! This one's an old misconception, but you should keep them down.

7. TEA: Don't cradle your cup in your hand - use the handle.

8. FOOD: There's a certain order to eat afternoon tea in, and this can change depending on where you are in the world, but generally it's sandwiches and savories first, scones second, and petit fours last.

9. FOOD: Don't pile your plate. It's afternoon tea, not an all you can eat buffet, so one thing at a time on your plate.

10. SCONES: Don't cut your scones; break them into bite sized pieces as you would a bread roll.

11. SCONES: And don't keep dipping your knife into the communal jam and cream, just put a spoonful of each on the side of your plate, and add them to one bite sized piece of scone at a time - never the whole thing.

12. SAY THANKS: Lastly, do send a thankyou note to the hostess afterwards - hand written is best, but these days a text or email can be just as lovely.

So there we go. Twelve golden rules of Afternoon Tea etiquette!

Most of these are just general, commonsense manners. Did you know them all? Where there a few new ones you haven't heard of? Let me know in the comments.

All the best,


Get my latest printables and posts in your inbox! Click here to subscribe! //

You May Also Like