For rent: Vintage china, perfect for a tea party

Vintage English Teacup lets you rent plates, cups and saucers, teapots, cake stands, and soup bowls
Rentals start at $2 per plate, with a minimum of $400 and fees for delivery and cleaning.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Marietta resident Vanessa Gilbreath—a native of Guildford, a town just south of London—found her calling when she invited a few friends over to watch Prince William’s wedding, assuming that only a devoted Brit would get up in the middle of the night for tea. But by 4 a.m. her street was lined with women in hats. She took it as a sign.

“Even when you’re poor in England, you still have a tea set,” she says. “No one here was using real china. I figured that I knew how to do this, so why not give it a go?”

Since then Gilbreath has collected hundreds of plates, cups, and saucers, plus dozens of teapots, cake stands, and soup bowls—which her company, Vintage English Teacup, rents for events, from private dinner parties and corporate meetings to weddings. Tea and coffee stations are popular uses, she says, although clients sometimes pour cocktails from teapots. White-and-gold and navy are the most popular color schemes, but Gilbreath prefers mixing patterns for a more updated look. Check out her 16,000 Pinterest pins, most of them showing her own inventory sorted by color and occasion.

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.