All About High Tea for Alice

Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

Unmistakable tea & cake stands of fine European china

Exquisitely indulgent, remarkably heirloom, extravagantly refined, decoratively sublime & cheerfully divine stands to fill & feather your own personal wonderland. Curiouser and curiouser, don’t you think?

Beautiful to admire, a pleasure to use… High Tea for Alice tea & cake stands represent a fresh visit to a lost era. Popular in England for generations, tiered stands for sweets & sandwiches have long set the stage for an indulgent, well-deserved break each afternoon. Inspired by this smart tradition & the Brits’ exquisite “Alice in Wonderland”-style stands, we decided to finally create royalty-worthy tea stands & make them available in the U.S. Use them for cupcakes, macarons, tea sandwiches, homemade cookies or whatever you love to see stacked up. Yes, there’s still majesty in presentation…

Life is delicious… make time for tea & tasties!

How old are the pieces of china in each stand?
The incredible pieces of china in our tea stands & cake stands vary in age from as old as the mid 1800s to as recent as much-loved patterns that are still produced today. We adore vintage china! Many of our plates, cups & saucers date to the 1940s & 1950s, with their bold garden-fresh roses, gilt gold edges & sculpted rims. Each stand embodies extreme quality & has unique historic value, as time-honored china patterns are tiered together & reborn, often reflection several eras and/or countries in one 3-tiered tea tray.

Are the pieces in mint condition?
Some are. Especially if we incorporate newer china plates. But most of the dishes in our tiered cupcake towers are in very gently used vintage condition, likely displayed proudly in a cabinet for decades & perhaps lovingly set out on a special occasion for time to time for tea or cakes, birthdays or holidays. By using them in a new way, you are honoring their legacy and the tradition of elegant serving pieces. We select only the most beautiful plates, cups & saucers that we believe are in immaculate condition for their age & will remain stunning for generations to come. Some may have a small scratch here or there or a slight bit of rub to the gorgeous gilt trim on the edges. We believe this adds charm without detracting from their splendid character. If you are particularly concerned about the exact condition of the pieces in a stand you would like to order, please contact us so we can give you very fine detail on each piece. Please note, it is common for there to be a tiny chip in the china near where we hand-drill each piece. These “love bites” are covered by the gold-tone hardware & are not visible when the stand is assembled. Otherwise, none of our pieces contain chips, cracks, or crazing unless specified in the description. All have aged most gracefully…

Where were the china pieces from originally?
Our tiered stands are made almost solely from fine European china. Most come from England, but we also seek out special pieces from France, Germany (often marked “Bavaria”), Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic & other European countries. Occasionally we also incorporate select pieces of vintage china that were produced in the U.S., Japan, China or other locales. The item description online provides country of origin information for each piece, though some antique china plates are unmarked, which is also noted.

What are they made of?
High Tea for Alice cake & tea stands quickly become a prized possession for their owner. They are made of fine china and bone china makers from across Europe. The hardware that allows you to easily assemble, disassemble & conveniently store your stand is made in the U.K. We import these for only the best quality possible.

How are the tea stands made?
Each plate, cup & saucer is lovingly (and carefully!) hand-drilled & assembled to create a one-of-a-kind tea stand. We assemble each stand once to photograph it & once again to do a final check for quality. It is mailed disassembled to arrive at your door perfectly safe & sound no matter where in the world you live.

Why are they so expensive?
It is incredible what just one European china plate or fine bone English china cup and saucer can go for these days! Far from rummage sale cast-offs, each piece is deliberately scouted & purchased individually. We refuse to create a boring stand! Pieces in each heirloom-quality tiered tea stand are chosen from some of the most collectable European china patterns of the last century then shipped from all over the globe to reach our studio. We spend months selecting just the right pieces to design a signature stand that is never duplicated again. It’s a time- & labor-intensive process, to be sure. In addition, our plates are little works of art in themselves, which means they are harder to find & more expensive to purchase. When you choose one of our tea stands, be assured each plate is simply gorgeous! You will want to use your Mad Hatter-style cupcake stand again & again for years, so we create works of pure beauty. We carefully package & ship each stand with quality packing material, upcycling when possible.

How can I find out more about the pieces in my tea stand?
Each of our tiered centerpiece display stands includes a set of china that varies in origin, age & pattern. The maker’s mark from the piece’s original china house often appears on the bottom of each plate, cup or saucer, though some may have been placed in the center where the hole is and some pieces are unmarked. You can learn more by reading about the maker and/or your specific pattern online. A resource I like is this site on antique bone china.

Why “High Tea for Alice?”
Well, you do know Alice don’t you? And it’s easy to have an affection for the wild tablescape of the Mad Hatter’s tea party from “Alice in Wonderland.” So that part is a bit obvious. “High tea” is actually an American term for the long-standing British practice of taking afternoon tea or having a formal tea party of sorts. The “high” implies a level of formality, but to me it also speaks to the height of the vintage china tea stands on which sandwiches, cakes & other assorted tasties are served! Alice never really got to enjoy her tea. Now she will. And so can you.

What do the stands names, all beginning with “Alice,” mean?
Our fictional Alice has a rich fantasy life & many roaming adventures, all inspired by the beauty of each tea & cake stand. The stand names document pieces of her wide-eyed little journeys.

Why and how did you start creating vintage tiered stands?
On a whim. I saw them & became instantly obsessed. (Perhaps you can relate?) The multi-talented Vicky Rowe who hails from the U.K. was a primary inspiration. I have long had a soft spot for vintage tablescapes. And a warm beverage in the middle of the afternoon. And miniature treats served on a tower that’s pretty enough to make me feel like a princess.

Do you ever feel bad about drilling holes in china plates?
Good question! At times I look at a plate or cup that seems so amazing that it is tough to put a hole through the middle, to be honest. But then I remember that I am giving these pieces new life & sharing them in a new way. I genuinely enjoy introducing fine china to people who may never have collected it before. That is a really exciting thing! That overpowers any hesitancy about the little hole. They become so useful & easy to display once they are in a stand; each piece of china is reborn & becomes a work of art when paired with complementary pieces as part of a one-time design.

How do you ship them, how long does it take, & how much does it cost?
Our stands are boxed carefully & generally ship USPS Standard Mail with tracking, though we also use USPS Priority Mail and Fed Ex from time to time. Ready-to-ship tea & cake stands ship within 3-5 days of your order being placed to allow for careful packing. Shipping cost varies with the package’s weight, size and destination.

Do you ship internationally?
Yes, in most cases we do. Please contact us to inquire about shipping our tiered tea stands to your locale.

Do you accept returns/exchanges?
Due to the handcrafted nature of our tea stands & cake stands, we cannot accept returns or exchanges. Each is an artful, one-of-a-kind heirloom. We know you will enjoy it immensely for years to come. Please get in touch if you have any troubles at all with your tiered centerpiece. We want you to be very, very happy with us, like our many repeat customers are.

How should I care for my set?
Rinse your pieces shortly after use if possible. We recommend a careful hand washing piece by piece with a mild dish detergent, a soft cloth & warm water. (The gilt edges are especially delicate when exposed to hot water, abrasive cloths, or harsh detergents that may contain corrosives.) Store each plate separately with a bit of soft cushioning between them. Each set includes assembly instructions. All can be disassembled for easy storage, except the Flower Towers which are meant to stay in one piece.

What if I break one of my plates, cups, or saucers?
Ah, the worst feeling in the world, isn’t it? (One of them, anyway.) And the sound is so sad! If one of the dear pieces in your tea or cake stand becomes chipped or broken, just contact us. We know the feeling. We can try to locate an exact or similar replacement for you and will let you know where to purchase it. Then you can send it to us for drilling.

Can I place an order for a custom color schemed tea stand to match my wedding, party, event or home décor?
Most definitely. We love to scout around for just the right pieces to complement your event or your home. We can usually work within your timeframe, but the longer we have to create your stand, the more possibilities we can explore for you. We prefer at least 90 days lead time. When you’re ready, here’s where to learn more about custom vintage china tiered serving stands and order your custom tea, cake & cupcake stands.

Can you create a vintage cake stand or tea stand from my own pieces of china?
Why, yes! We can. And we’d love to. Please visit our page on custom tiered tea trays from your plates to learn more or contact us for exact pricing and instructions on sending us your china. Please allow about 2 weeks turnaround time once we receive your pieces for creation and shipping—though we usually try to create your stand within several days of its arrival. Please be sure insure them & track them, just as we do. As careful as we are with china, most especially your own vintage pieces, accidents in this world do happen. Please consider this when requesting a bespoke tea and cake stand.

Can I sell High Tea for Alice stands in my store?
Thank you for asking! We would love to be part of your business model. Please visit our wholesale tea stand page to request a wholesale kit and set up an account. If you are a bakery, event planner or boutique where our stands would be a great fit, please contact us & we’ll get right back to you.

Do you rent the vintage tea and cake stands for parties, wedding, and events?
We certainly do. We offer tea and cupcake stand rental in Southern California, Orange County, Los Angeles and beyond. Afternoon tea is a very popular theme for celebrations in the U.K. where they offer “crockery for hire;” now we are thrilled to follow in their footsteps. Visit our tiered cupcake & serving tea stand rental page for details.

Are your vintage tea and cake stands available as props for photo shoots, theater, TV, and film?
Please contact us for rates & information. We’d love to work with you!

Do you sell the hardware to make tea stands?
Unfortunately, no, at this time we do not sell the hardware for tiered tea trays. Drilling china is a time-consuming and, at the beginning, often costly process. If I chose to sell the hardware, I would also feel a responsibility to guide clients through the process, which at this moment I am not set up to do. That’s why I offer a service to drill your plates as cake stands for you, and that way I can assure they will be cared for in good hands as they turn into a beautiful heirloom stand.

Still have questions?
We would love to hear from you… Please call the High Tea for Alice phone number at the bottom of this page or use our contact form.