Taken from her book Outdoor Living, Selina Lake shares with us her styling tips on how to create the perfect afternoon tea party.
A long table instantly creates a special mood and works well if guests are going to be serving themselves, as they can pass refreshments and platters from one end to the other. It’s easy to create an extra-long table by dragging a couple of classic wooden picnic benches together. These are available from most home and garden stores and are a great investment for the garden. Position the tables in the best spot for early evening sunshine to catch the last rays of the day.
No pretty table outside is complete without flowers – the more, the better. Stems look great in a mix of jam jars and vases and I also like to scatter them on the table. Think about incorporating blooms in other ways, too – perhaps by decorating cakes with flower heads or hanging posies from tree branches using ribbon.
One of my favourite pastimes is collecting vintage china. I simply can’t resist a floral plate from a second-hand shop, especially if it boasts a rosy pattern and a glimmer of gold. Mismatched plates add a certain charm to a pretty table and you could team them with non-matching cutlery/flatware for a total eclectic look.
Continue the mix-and-match theme with your glassware, too. When I see glasses I like, I tend to buy just two or three, instead of a set, and I now have quite a collection of assorted glasses.
Add a few pieces of gold china or candlesticks for a touch of luxury and to reflect the sunlight.