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Tea time!

Photo compliments of Country Living.

Playing hostess or host is always the perfect excuse to exercise your creativity and show off your flair for setting a stunning table. For a change of pace in entertaining, try throwing a summer tea party outdoors. There’s something so aesthetically pleasing about tea cups and dainty fare. Even without the festivities, the vintage, colorful look of tea ware is the perfect way to dress up a bland table year-round. Here are some eye-catching ideas for getting those pinkies in the air:

Picture compliments of Tumblr user Strawberry Shortcake Xo.

Feminine pastels are utterly tea-worthy. Mix patterns that fit into the color scheme and set up a display on a vintage tray for eclectic table decor. Mismatched pots, cups, and saucers add more interest. Going matchy-matchy doesn’t evoke the Alice-in-Wonderland feel.

Photo via Etsy.

Etsy is a treasure trove for tea cups, tea pots, and saucers. eBay and local thrift shops are also great resources. Floral is always a winner when it comes to setting the table for tea. Pair pretty dishes and cups with a simple white table cloth or use a complementary pattern. To keep with the theme, accessorize with cloth napkins and the silverware you usually reserve for indoor soirees.

Photo compliments of Hostess (with the mostess).

Fresh flowers are the perfect centerpiece for the occasion. For a rustic look, use jars as vases and fill them with wildflowers. Dahlia domes displayed on colorful cake stands have a more modern feel, while roses (below) appear traditional.

Photo compliments of

Seating depends on the ambiance you want to set. Outdoor cushions are a comfortable alternative to seats and add a bohemian style:

Photo compliments of Haven & Space.

A wrought-iron garden chair like the Versa Chair from Anthropologie, would be perfect. You can even mix and match several colors:

Photo compliments of Anthropologie.

Make the party festive with hanging lanterns or simple fabric banners:

Photo compliments of Country Living.

The food is just as much part of the decor as the tableware. Tea sandwiches are a must-have. Egg salad, ham, goat cheese and pecans, smoked salmon, and cucumbers are tasty fillings:

Photo compliments of Southern Living.

Desserts in a range of pastel colors are stylish and sweet at the same time. Cakes and cupcakes iced in buttercream ruffles and various tarts, scones, and pastries spruce up the menu:

Photo compliments of Sweetapolita. The recipe is also available on the site.

Display your culinary delights on pretty plates and cake stands. This blue number from Cake Stand Heaven is fitting:

Photo courtesy of Cake Stand Heaven.

No need to worry about making multiple trips into the house. Give a thrift store tea cart a fresh coat of paint for an adorable way to transport your supplies:

Photo compliments of Haverford House.

Of course, we can’t forget about the tea. Earl Grey is among the standards, but oolong tea, herbal tea, iced tea, and green tea are good additions as well. Brew several different blends to ensure every guest finds one to suit their taste. What are your ideas for setting the perfect tea party table?