At our Mother's Day Tea we had a large variety of food which was presented on the individual tables. They were placed on stands or serving platters, depending on what was available to each hostess. We had finger sandwiches. Popular items are chicken salad; cucumber, cream cheese and dill; etc. Scones with stawberry jam, lemon curd, and Devonshire Cream are the second course. Lastly, sweet cookies and cakes decorated with delicate flowers or drizzled icing round out the choice of delectables.
We served water in crystal goblets and hot tea. With a large group of people it is easier to just offer these two choices. This is a tea, after all. I know that most tea aficionados will prefer loose tea to tea bags, but for various reasons we chose the tea bags. We purchased a variety of teas from Bigalow Teas, which included decaffeinated as well as regular. There were black teas, green teas, and herbal teas. Some folks like fruit flavored teas and some do not. Also, it is easier to just keep hot water flowing and pour from that pot, rather than steeping and straining tea. I provide tea caddies or tea tidies as a part of my table decor so each lady can put her used tea bag aside, without soiling the table cloth. The only thing resting on the tea saucer then is the tea spoon. We also provided sugar, honey, lemon, Splenda and milk for addition to the tea by each individual, according to her taste. (Use milk, not cream. Cream will curdle.)
Keep centerpieces low enough so the ladies can see over them. This aids in conversation around the table. I have a pretty small tea pot which is in the shape of a rose. ( The picture above is the tea pot with roses at a luncheon tea we had at work.) For the Mother's Day Tea I raised it on a cake pedestal and put a small arrangement of small pink roses in it. It was very delicate and pretty. I purchased the roses at the grocery store for under $10.00.