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Great Gatherings: Afternoon Tea

Indulge in this elegant English ritual

Written and produced by Krissa Rossbund
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Karyn Millet

“If you don’t know the exact protocol, chances are neither do your guests,” says Hollis. “Do a little research to get inspired, but feel comfortable incorporating your own twist.”

Vintage silver heightens the splendor of the tablescape, as does sterling flatware with elaborately detailed handles. Antique salt and pepper shakers and tea strainers are ornate, but stainless steel platters and hammered napkin rings provide contemporary balance. The centerpiece features an array of flowers in milk-glass vases, lending an impromptu air.

“Hostesses are latching onto the idea of individual—rather than group—items,” says Hollis. “It’s so much fun when you get to select something just for yourself. It makes you feel pampered.”

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