'Downton Abbey'-Inspired Tea Party

Don't get your knickers in a twist Downton Abbey fans, your favorite show just released a trailer  for the upcoming season that begins Jan. 5. With the elegance and the grandeur of the Downton Abbey household, we can't help but to be inspired by the vintage beauty. We simply can't resist celebrating the show a little early, because nothing says fall quite like an alfresco autumn tea party.

Casual tea parties are a fantastic way for an intimate group of friends to gather. Call for your guests to arrive at noon, wearing their Sunday-best hats to get into the spirit. Set up your party on the porch or in the backyard garden for a natural ambiance. Use lower seats and chairs to keep to the tradition of afternoon "low tea." Once you've got your guest list down, hosting an authentic afternoon tea party requires only a few essentials.

Varieties of Tea:
There are hundreds of teas you could serve at a tea party, but for your autumn gathering, try fall flavors like Southern Cinnamon Tea or Apple Jack Chai Tea.

A Vintage Tea Set:
Sure, you can use your modern stove to boil the water, but when it comes to setting the scene, you need to be prepared. Purchase a vintage tea set that will not only come in handy for this gathering, but will serve as an ornate decoration for an exposed kitchen shelf or cabinet. Don't forget to have dainty spoons and serving plates for your menu, and items like a lacquer tray to make hosting easier. 

A Delicate Menu:
You don't have to prep a large array of food for your vintage tea spread. Keep it light and traditional with small cucumber sandwiches, blueberry scones, and petite fours. Of course, you can always serve sweet biscuits paired with assorted jams to keep the fare light and the gabbing going.