Why not have an afternoon tea wedding party

Why not have an afternoon tea wedding party

If you’re planning a daytime celebration, there’s an easy way to add a level of elegance and festivity. Turn your reception into a tea party! Like weddings themselves, tea parties can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Go prim and proper Victorian style with silver tea sets and strictly formal dress. Host a Turkish style tea with tapestries, pitchers of spiced milk, and strong black tea. Go whimsical with a “mad tea party” and invite your guests to attend in costume. Or mix and match your favorite styles with a “shabby chic” reception on as many types of china as you can find. There’s no one way to design your wedding reception–just make sure it fits you to a “tea!”

Perfect for Afternoon Weddings

While a good tea party can be enjoyed any time of day or night, it’s the perfect thing to liven up your afternoon reception. Guests don’t tend to dance as much during daytime celebrations, so a tea party gives them something to do while they mingle. You’re also off the hook for providing an expensive open bar, since one of the advantages of daytime weddings is that guests won’t want to drink as much alcohol. By providing an enjoyable, ornate tea service, your party will be fully satisfied and you may not need to serve harder drinks at all.

Location is important. Find a beautiful garden or a bright, sunny room that matches the type of tea party you’d like to have. Manicured rose gardens with evenly mowed grass and flat, paved areas are perfect matches for proper tea parties where the guests will be expected to employ proper etiquette. If you’re intending to host a more whimsical, creative vibe, look for a setting with a more offbeat atmosphere, like a renovated barn or a clearing in the middle of the woods. Avoid areas with too much wind, such as beachside tea parties, without softening the breeze with a rented tent or canopy.

For a seated affair like a formal tea party, your guest list is of the utmost importance. Set your RVSP date early so you have plenty of time to tailor your reception to your number of attendees. Remind guests who haven’t RSVPed with friendly phone calls until you have an exact head count. The size of the party determines the size of the table, which will determine the size of your venue. Select a room that’s too big, and your tea service will seem small and insignificant. Select a room that’s too narrow, and your party will feel as crammed as a tempest in, well, a teapot. If you have too many guests for one table, arrange two parallel tables or form a large, hollow circle so guests can gaze across at each other.

If you want to avoid the formality of seats altogether, you can host a mingling tea party with trays of mini-scones and other bite-sized delicacies that guests can sample as they walk around. For large parties, this is an excellent way for everyone to get to chat with everyone else.

For seated parties, hire waitstaff to keep the tea at an optimal temperature and to keep guests’ cups always filled. This is essential if you want to create a seamless experience. You don’t want guests bolting up and down every few minutes, and you don’t want to have to do it yourself. If you’re holding a standing tea party, you can skip the hired help and simply present the tea attractively on a central table.

Entertain Your Party

When choosing your reception entertainment, consider options that are low-key, elegant, and share a touch of the old-fashioned charm you’re serving up along with your tea. An upbeat swing band playing classical covers will give your reception a deliberately retro feel, while a violinist, harpist, or pianist will bring out the soft notes you’d expect of a tea party in an earlier century.

If you’re expecting a lively crowd, consider hosting some old-fashioned parlor games like Forfeits or Look-a-bout, which will bring a Victorian sense of family-friendly mischief to your party. You may also want to station board or card games at each table.

Offer an Exciting Selection

With tea parties, variety is the key to excitement. Don’t just set out one type of tea or snack. Instead, offer a “flight” of teas so guests can sip different tastes. Don’t forget to give guests a new tea cup for each sample.

Black tea is most commonly served with cream and sugar, although you can spice it up by offering hazelnut or vanilla syrups and flavored soy or almond milks as other options. Black tea can also be infused with fruit flavors such as strawberry, peach, or even mango. Smoking the tea leaves can result in a sophisticated “burnt” flavor such as Russian Caravan. Serve black tea with traditional British tea snacks like fresh-baked scones, butter, and berry jam.

Green tea provides a lighter taste with a lower caffeine content. It can be enjoyed in a number of ways. Instead of combining green tea with milk or cream, it can be infused with jasmine petals for a perfume-like aroma, roasted with brown rice for a rich, nutty taste, or combined with dried tropical fruits for an exotic sip. Serve green tea with sweet red bean pastries for an Asian-inspired snack, or with small plates of dried fruits and dark chocolate as a healthier twist.

White tea is the most delicate of the teas, with low caffeine and a lighter color. It is made from the tenderest leaves on the tea plant and is generally more prized and expensive than the darker teas. Serve white tea at a slightly lower temperature than black tea; adding boiling water directly can spoil the taste. White tea is delicious served on its own, but can also be enhanced by infusing it with fruits and floral flavors like lavender. Serve it with light, delicate lace cookies or meringue kisses.

Herbal teas have no caffeine at all and can be made by combining nearly any herb, flower, or fruit with hot water. From spicy cranberry-apple-cinnamon teas to tangy rose-lemon teas to mint-lavender-rosemary teas that carry the fresh scent of a garden, herbal teas allow you to enjoy any combination of your favorite flavors. Skip the plain ol’ sugar and sweeten your cup with honey or a splash of fruit juice for an extra treat.

The best bites at tea parties are the dainty ones that are easy to eat. Crusts off and pinkies up! Making tea sandwiches is actually a very affordable way of feeding a lot of people; the cheaper the bread, the better it works. Save the multi-grain goodness for another luncheon and stock up on 100% white, fluffy loaves. Popular sandwich fillings include: cucumber and butter, watercress and cream cheese, apple and brie, and ham and grilled shrimp.

Always serve more food than you think you’ll need. When snacks are small and cute, as they are at tea parties, people eat more than they think they’re eating. If you’re serving triangle quarter-sandwiches with the crusts cut off, for example, plan on 6 to 8 triangles per person. Serve large platters of fruit and cookie selections so everyone can find something they love.

 A Mad Tea Party

Love Alice in Wonderland? There’s no better opportunity to host a mad tea party of your own. Name your tables after beloved story characters like the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, and, of course, the Mad Hatter. Provide a selection of funny hats by the entrance and encourage your guests to wear them. You can include your favorite Lewis Carroll quotes in your Wonderland-themed wedding invitations or programs. Don’t forget to promise a prize to the guest who can best explain why a raven is like a writing-desk!

Your tea party reception should reflect your personality. There’s no right or wrong way to host one. From flawlessly formal to wilder than Wonderland, keep your guests happy and keep their cups filled. Your wedding reception is sure to be tea-rrific!