How To Host A Downton Abbey Tea Party | British High Tea Etiquette | Hey Y’all


(fanfare music) (bell ringing) The Queen is coming to “Hey Y’all”. Just kidding, but she really is coming to Downton, and in much anticipation of the “Downton Abbey” movie, I have my friend Olivia here to experience a very proper 1920s style British high tea. Is this your first tea experience? Yes, this is my first tea experience, I really I do like tea, and I really like the “Downton Abbey” show, so I’m excited. I am so pumped to have you with me, because I’ve never done high tea before, so we’re going at this together. First things first, something is very much wrong with this picture. It’s 1920s style tea, I think we’re in the wrong outfit. The Dowager Countess would have a conniption if she saw what we were wearing. She would not approve. Let’s go change. (upbeat music) Now that we’re dressed to the nines, I think next thing on our list of the proper English tea is setting our table. Yes. Do you know how to set a table? I remember which side the fork goes on, because it has four letters, and so does the word “left.” Three forks.
Three forks? They’re all different sizes though, so. Hey, this is the dinner fork. Dinner fork, we work from the outside in. So, I think it goes small to large, and then same with the spoons. Now, here’s the thing– The knife and the spoon ran away to the moon? Oh, they go on the right but which one’s first? This is why you used to have such gigantic tables, to fit all of this. So, I have this book, “Tea Fit for a Queen.” Oh. It’s written by an English historian, and she tells us all about how to have the proper English tea. And then the queen of all etiquette, Emily Post. This is one of the first editions of “Etiquette”, her book. I have some dogeared pages on tea parties and table setting. Okay. Now that we’ve properly set our table, we double-checked it with Emily Post, I think it is time for tea. Let’s ring in Carson, shall we? (bell ringing) Anything from the trolley, dears? Thank you Carson, that will be all. Yes, you’re so welcome. I really wish we had a real Carson, not that you weren’t great, Shelby. Okay, now here’s the thing about tea, I don’t know, I don’t do tea.
Okay. I’m from the south, I do, you know sweet iced tea, so I don’t know if I’m supposed to pour water for your first or the teabag, but I’m gonna go with it.
Okay, okay. Ideally, we would have Carson do this for us. Yes, now, Ivy, are you serving me, because you’re the host?
Yes. Is that how that works? I’m pretty sure based off of tea etiquette, that the hostess pours the tea. I think you executed that very nicely. Oh, I’m so glad. Okay, now the fun part, which tea do we want to have? What are our options? Harney & Sons, Early Grey Supreme tea sachet, black currant tea with black currant flavors. What’s a currant? Sick, I don’t know. No, currants are kind of like small grapes. Okay. “Downton Abbey” estate blend. It has the Dowager Countess, herself, on it. Very on theme. I might go with this one. I might be adventurous, and sample the currant. Oh, have at it. At what point do you think we have to lose our gloves? I’m not sure. Maybe now?
Maybe now. Pinkies up. Pinkies up. Do we, we probably don’t toast. Do we cheers? They definitely didn’t cheers. I don’t know if I like the flavor of this. Slurping probably isn’t lady-like either, I should not do that. Not for me. We might switch to iced tea in a minute. Iced tea.
Let’s make our plates. Okay. What did they normally serve at tea? Well, I have it referenced here in our book. Things people eat at tea. So the typical variety would be one plate of cake, one of sandwiches, and one of hot bread. Do we have that here? We have most of it. Okay. Many provide no more than crackers, or wafers, or cookies, so it sounds kind of like you can do whatever you want, but it looks like everything is in items of three, so. Well we have that covered. Okay.
Scones. Scones.
Sandwiches. Okay. This whole time we have to do posture check. Yes, I’m not good about that. Me either. Is this my teaspoon? Sure that’s what I’m using as my tea spoon. Okay, okay. Are you happy with your selection that you made? About that.
Pinkies up. Oh wait, we can’t cheers, that’s incorrect. No. I don’t ever recall seeing Lady Mary do, pinkies up. Yeah, me either. I wonder where that came from. That’s gotta come from something, it can’t just be made up. Okay, then that’s not historically accurate. We probably shouldn’t do that.
Who knows? There’s an episode, a special extra episode of “Downton Abbey” where they have a historical expert in the field who watches every single filming. If they’re slouching too much, they’re like, “cut, cameras, no slouching.” And I recall one scene from that was a toast, they wanted to toast their glasses, and for some reason that wasn’t historically accurate. Tea sandwiches. Okay we’re gonna fix our plate. I think so.
Do we use our fingers? Why not at this point? Oh, blueberry scones are my favorite. I love petit fours.
Me too. They make me feel so fancy. Okay, what about biscuits, isn’t that common? Now are you talking about cookies, or like Southern biscuits? Well in England, apparently biscuits are cookies, so how about we compare the difference between a biscuit and a biscuit. Sounds wonderful.
Let’s bring in Carson. ( bell ringing) Let’s.
Carson. Y’all rang? Thank you Carson, that will be all. Yeah, I don’t think so. (bell rings) Carson, before you go this hot tea is not doing it for me, could we have some of the real stuff? Thank you.
Oh, you’re so welcome. Thank you, Carson. Now Carson, that will be all. Oh, thank you miladies. We can cheers these glasses.
We can y’all. Cheers Can I interest you in a biscuit? I would love one. This is the biscuit I know. Okay, how should we go about this? Proper eating. Small bites.
Yes. Emily Post says small bites. Small bites. Blueberry scones. Now I’m gonna try to eat my petit four. Do I use a fork? I feel like that’s the most ladylike. I think I’m using my salad fork. You go for it, I’m gonna ask this lady right here. Okay. Correct use of dessert fork and spoon. Hold the petit four with you fork, cut and eat it with the spoon. Oh, my dessert fork? Ha, who knew? Cut, wait, cut with a spoon? So, you would just use the spoon like it was a knife. (classical music) That’s strange. It is strange, but that’s what she says to do. Okay, but I don’t know that I’d eat cake with a spoon. I like eating with spoons sometimes but this sounds. Okay, but they how do– Then, I think you let this down, there are a million rules in the book about the placement of the fork. Splendid. Oh, delightful! Let’s talk about “Downton Abbey” for a minute. Yes. Okay first, posture check. Carson would say that the seat backs, we’re not even supposed to use them. Did you know, I read somewhere that nannies used to put knives in the back of their chairs, y’all. Imagine if you’re mom wouldn’t let you sit with the chair back, and you’re like this. Okay, so deep breath. Okay, I think we’re ready. Let’s talk about Downton. My top three, Matthew Crawley, Lady Mary at times, but sometimes I really just wanna punch her in the gut, and even though she is so terrible sometimes, the Dowager, she rules the roost. I feel like the Dowager always comes through with a good snappy punchline. Which is exactly what my grandmother would do. Fun fact, Dowager Countess, who also plays Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter, she looks pretty much identical to my grandmother. Does she? Oh yeah I’m sure at this point, we will like slide in a picture of my grandmother side by side with the Dowager Countess. It’s a spitting image.
That’s neat. My nana might be offended. Okay so who are your favorite characters? Big fan of Sybil, I love that she’s kind of a female powerhouse. Matthew Crawley is a heartthrob for sure. Yes. So big fan of him. I also really love Anna and her relationship with John Bates. They’re the cutest. They really are. I root for them the whole time. The two of them definitely go through some hard knocks, which I think makes their love story even more beautiful and powerful. Everyone else has it so easy. You know, like they have their live made out for them, but Anna and Bates, they just, they don’t, and that’s the life of everyone back then. Yes, what do you think, maybe if some of the people from “Downton Abbey” were here right now, they would think of our tea party that we’ve put on. They might be somewhat impressed that we are trying with our etiquette, but there’s one part where Lady Mary is so offended about the thought of marrying Matthew Crawley, and she says “I just could not see myself marrying “a gentleman that doesn’t even know how to hold a knife.” and that’s kind of what I feel like she would say about us. Right, probably so. There’s this quote that I love that the Dowager says, again why she’s one of my favorite characters. She says “Nothing succeeds like excess.” That is the quote that I live by in my life, because you know why be boring when you could just be extra? Takeaways from today after this proper English tea. I really would like to incorporate the posture more into my everyday life. I think one of my biggest takeaways from today that I would like to incorporate into my daily life is having a bell that I could ring, and Carson could come bring me whatever I want, whenever I want. Cheers.
Cheers. Thank you for coming, this was a blast. I had so much fun, thank you for having me. You’re so welcome as a fellow “Downton Abbey” superfan. If y’all throw your own “Downton Abbey” tea party, I would love to read about it. Put it in our YouTube comments. If you don’t subscribe already, be sure to click the bell so you can get notifications when Hey Y’all’s posted on YouTube, but as always you can find us on Instagram and Facebook. We’ll see you next time on Hey Y’all. And that’s the tea. (classical music) (bell rings) Carson. That will be all. Nothing succeeds like excess. (bell rings)

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33 thoughts on “How To Host A Downton Abbey Tea Party | British High Tea Etiquette | Hey Y’all

  1. Very bad on the TEA custom,  NEVER use tea bags !!!! Also, High Tea is a meal. Tea or low tea is tea and a light fair, mid day. The Lady that pours the tea is " Mother " and  one uses hot water in the tea pot and adds the leaves to the hot water, then let the tea steep till golden and ready. Oh, so much to learn about a Proper TEA. The saying goes, if your going to do it, do it right. So, do the Tea custom properly and you will enjoy it more.

  2. Very cute and fun! My mother and I are going to see the movie next Friday. It's September 20th, which is my brother's birthday. He passed away 13 years ago , so we try to do a date on that day every year to celebrate his life. We are going to a victorian B and B nearby to have lunch in the tea room then going to the movies. I can't wait!!

  3. Is this really affiliated with Southern Living magazine? I'm surprised at the lack of research about a true High tea as well as how to brew a pot of tea.

  4. How delightful! Y'all are cute. So funny.
    As a Southern Lady and a Matriarch of a USA Southern family I approve of your fun except,
    polish that silver my darlings. ; )

  5. This is so fun! Love these Southern girls having fun and trying out a British tea. But pass me the iced tea and real biscuits, too! Love this.

  6. Isn't pinkies out from Spongebob? I'm a southerner that loves tea. Not iced. All kinds. Drink it all day no matter how hot and humid it is.

  7. You girls are so much fun! Your high tea may not have been "proper", but it was too cute! Keep up the fun, you're a breath of fresh southern air!

  8. Glad you had a wonderful time, however, if you are going to educate others about tea custom and etiquette, it doesn't hurt to do some research or ask someone in the know lol NEVER stick out your pinky – it's so de mauvais ton. Also, high tea is what american tourists get suckered into because it sounds "fancy". Our afternoon tea is what you are referring to. High tea is a full meal that working class practiced. Nonetheless, most importantly, you had fun.

  9. It's nice you had fun, but so much wrong information. Sticking one's pinky out while holding the cup?? Tuck that pinky in 🙂 It's provincial and the opposite of cultured.

  10. In addition to the other comments, I'm wondering why you're placing your food into soup bowls? Why do you have soup bowls on the table at all? This is a very strange video for Southern Living!

  11. Using your own individual tea spoons to dip into the sugar bowl is unsanitary and wrong. There should have been tongues for the sugar bowl. Also, as many people have already said, pinky's up is low-class and not at all proper etiquette.

  12. Ladies, your video was very entertaining…but you made mistakes.'
    #1. You never serve tea bags at a proper tea party. Only loose tea is acceptable.
    #2. Keep your pinky down not pointing at everyone. This is much too phony.
    You re off to a good start Keep learning and practicing.
    #3.

  13. ? ? ? those outfits are absolutely unacceptable for a proper British Tea Party, also Downton Abbey took place in the Edwardian era (1900 1910s). To make tea you put the bag in the tea pot with the hot water so it steeps. Your hair shouldn’t be worn down in public or at the table. There’s a lot more but I’m not trying to go on forever ♾ ? ??

  14. Re Downton Abbey, I LOVED when Edith gave Mary what-for and called her a [email protected], because she (Mary) was one – all the time. So smug and arrogant – my least favorite character, can you tell? Their mother failed in making those two sisters love and respect one another. IRL, some lady in England saw the writer, Julian Fellowes, in a store(?) and pleaded with him, “Just let Lady Edith be happy!” And he did. Two thumbs up for your party and DA.

  15. Good thing this is 2020 and not 1820; very easy to see where the hostess stands in some of her comments.  In addition, this is "Afternoon Tea", not High Tea and executed incorrectly.  I do not expect all young people to understand the etiquette of Afternoon Tea, however, Southern Living certainly could have chosen more wisely… some young adults may take this as the right thing to do.

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