Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight:  A fun, fabulous and affordable tea party bridal shower.

As New Jersey wedding officiants for 30 years, we have seen that a tea party bridal shower is refined, romantic and easy on the budget. These affairs are feminine and elegant, with a fun girly element. Picture an English tea with beautiful teacups and scones and pastel colors; very proper and dainty. Set the tone with your invitations: Choose a formal, feminine font on heavy paper.

One great thing is that tea foods won’t break your budget. Feature light, delicate fare and a selection of desserts. One suggestion is for the girls and the mothers of the bride to try their hands at making tea sandwiches. Think cucumber sandwiches. Carry the theme through with chocolate accented cookies shaped like tea bags for a festive finish.

Some delicious recipes are: Cucumber sandwiches – Take thin sliced cucumbers (seeds removed) and arrange on pressed bread with a little butter. Tea bag cookie ingredients – ¾ quarter pound of unsalted butter at room temperature, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 3 ½ cups all purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 3.5 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces.

“Proper” beverages to serve: Select you and your guest’s favorite hot tea flavors as well as chilled lavender or chamomile teas. A bellini cocktail made with peach nectar and champagne is wonderful. Also a traditional kir royale made with champagne and raspberry liqueur topped with a fresh raspberry. Put out sugar cubes, not regular sugar, and rock candy sticks to use as stirrers.

As far as tea party logistics are concerned with size and time, you can have groups of 50 to100 people, or you can keep your shower very intimate. For a larger crowd, do a fabulous tea buffet on a dining room table.  Use three tier tea stands on which you can arrange your sandwiches and pastries. Traditionally, tea is served at 4pm but noon or 1pm is just as good.

For tea party décor, if your Mom has a silver tea set, go for it! Or maybe someone has crystal goblets or a cake stand you can borrow. Use a nice linen or a lace floral design for a tablecloth – nothing that looks contemporary. Tie each napkin with a beautiful ribbon bow. For centerpieces, fill antique style teapots or teacups with one type of flower (a few pink or white tea roses, for example). For single use, silver plated is an inexpensive option. Another affordable idea is to go to an event rental company for vintage style three tier stands and dishes (plastic or paper are fine) for an appropriately old world effect.

And the perfect finish could be tea party favors. Small individual boxes with a variety of teas, or little potted plants in teacups are perfect. The ladies will love them!