Behind The Blue Door

Afternoon Tea | March 23, 2016 |

Taking tea with the bride-to-be

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If you’’ve been tasked with organising a pre-wedding celebration for a bridal party, consider theming it around afternoon tea – there’’s something for every bride.

Food-lover’’s bridal shower

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Ideal for the bride with a refined palate. If she loves spending time in the kitchen, call in a professional chef to deliver a cooking lesson.

Companies such as School of Food host cooking parties in your own space or a venue of your choice: select from themes including truffle making, sushi masterclasses, Italian small plates… or suggest one yourself.

Round off the class by taking tea and enjoying the delicious treats you’’ve just made as a group.

For a more culinary-adept bride, head to a top British restaurant for the ultimate masterclass. Claridges runs private group sessions in carving, fish, British pudding and afternoon tea. Learn century-old recipes in the ambience of deepest luxury and follow up with afternoon tea in The Foyer.

An artful affair

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For a bride with an eye for design, organise an arty activity for the primary event of the bridal shower. Get hands-on with a painting, drawing or sculpture class; arrange a jewellery-making session or take a flower-arranging course. Or, if she prefers to admire art, rather than make it, host a party in a gallery instead.

For the tea itself, set the theme around the bride-to-be’’s favourite artist. Colours inspired by Frida Kahlo are wonderful, with bold, floral centrepieces and Mexican accents.

Let each guest take a vibrant mug away as a favour: the Archive at Wedgwood collection is perfect for mixing and matching extra special gifts to suit different tastes.

Literary tea party

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You can really have fun with a book-lover’s tea party: aesthetics and food based on famous literature. Here’’s a few ideas:

Naturally, the tea of choice is an Earl Grey (Sherlock Holme’s’ favourite) – and literature-inspired cocktails are wonderful, too. There’’s James Bond’’s vesper martini, Daisy Buchanan’’s mint julep and the exotic End of the World Delight from Kurt Vonnegut’’s Cat’’s Cradle.

For canapés, try crab-stuffed avocados, inspired by Sylvia Plath’’s The Bell Jar. US blogger Cara Nicoletta has a recipe, together with a beautiful description of her own early encounters with Plath’’s work.

Eating a madeleine is famously an important moment in Marcel Proust’’s À la Recherche du Temps Perdu – this honey, lavender and dark chocolate recipe by Bee’’s Bakery is a delicious version.

Create a theatrical atmosphere with an array of decadent colours, turn a typewriter into the centrepiece of the spread and set up a mini library as a party favour – allowing guests to pick their favourite book.

Or if you don’t fancy staying in, why not head out to an afternoon tea hotspot? Our favourites include Chatsworth House and The Langham.

Points to remember

Whatever your theme, remember these tips:

  1. Don’’t plan the entire thing yourself. Enlist other members of the bridal party to give input, ideas and help out too. Get everyone together before the shower to assign duties to those involved – perhaps over afternoon tea? Any excuse.
  2. Select a date early on. The shower may be a good while away yet, but it’’s always best to pick a date in advance. Find out the availability of the bride’’s immediate family or VIPs first, then work those dates around the schedules of other guests.
  3. Send shower invitations. Once the logistics are solid, create and send invitations – even if most of the guests have aided in the planning. Two months before is the latest you should probably leave it – the earlier, the better.
  4. Have a schedule. No need for military precision here, but having a general idea of what you’’ll do throughout the day can help, in case there’’s an unanticipated lull in the party. Of course, the essence of pleasure is spontaneity – so set the tone with a relaxed energy and let the good times roll.

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Unforgettable days call for extra special souvenirs. The Archive at Wedgwood is ideal for creating a unique take-away gift for guests.

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