What's the difference between "Afternoon Tea" and "High Tea"? The line between the two is beginning to blur these days but traditionally there is a difference. Afternoon tea in the traditional sense refers to a gathering occurring in the early afternoon, typically between 2 pm and 4 pm. Usually along with tea, light snacks like cucumber sandwiches, scones and light cakes are served. High tea, on the other hand, is usually in the late afternoon or evening and heavier foods or even dinner is served with tea.
One way to remember the difference is to think of why it was called "high tea" to begin with. Traditionally high tea is served at a dinner table and afternoon tea is usually served at small tables or low tables like coffee tables. Today more and more you could be invited to a tea party that is called "High Tea" or "Afternoon Tea" that serves a variety of foods to go with not only tea but also all kinds of other beverages too. The setting can be formal or casual as well. Tea parties are becoming more and more popular today to have in place of a regular birthday party, bridal party or baby shower. It may be best to check with the person who invited you as to how traditional the setting will be if it is not clear on the invitation.