Planning the Perfect Wedding Tea

Summertime is traditionally known as the bridal season. One of the most elegant and sophisticated ways to celebrate two people coming together is by hosting a bridal or wedding tea party. Whether you’re planning a traditional Asian tea ceremony or hosting high tea at during a wedding breakfast, a wedding tea party can be the perfect way to bring friends and family together to celebrate the joyous occasion.

Bridal Shower Tea Party

Planning the Perfect Wedding TeaServing high tea for the bride to be can be both simple and sophisticated. Long held as a tradition throughout the British Empire, interest in making high tea a wedding event to remember is enjoying a resurgence today.

A pre-wedding bridal shower can be formal or as casual you wish, depending on the personality of the bride and your own personal taste. A formal tea is the perfect time to show off a collection of your grandmother’s delicate teacups and silver tea service. You can host an intimate bridal tea party in a garden or backyard or as part of a luncheon at a local hotel.

While men shouldn’t be banned from a bridal shower tea event, décor does tend to be decidedly more feminine. To create a garden atmosphere, add bouquets of fresh cut flowers to antique teapots, or cut crystal bowls. You can choose a look that is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, or something straight out of Downton Abbey. Set the table with fine linens and accentuate with tea caddies or carts filled with cakes and finger sandwiches. The theme and color scheme can be those chosen by the bride for the wedding. The theme and color scheme can be those chosen by the bride for the wedding.

The Menu

Planning the Perfect Wedding TeaAt the top of the list of things to serve at a bridal shower tea party is tea, of course! Make sure to have a variety of teas on hand to suit the various tastes of your guests. Some may love the richness of black or Oolong tea, while others are more inclined to green or herbal teas. On hot days, be sure to have plenty of iced tea, both sweetened and unsweetened, to help guests quench their thirst and cool off.

Set up a buffet table so that guests may choose for themselves, and be sure to have tea strainers, slices of lemon, cream, and sugar to match how your guests like their tea.
Have scones with cream as well as other sweet treats like pastries, chocolate covered strawberries, heart-shaped tarts filled with apricot, strawberry or peach preserves and tea cake.
Sandwiches can be watercress, cucumber, chicken salad with tarragon or smoked salmon. Have other finger foods on hand such as deviled eggs, petit fours,

Encourage guests to bring gifts if possible to wish the bride and her intended well on her journey into married life. If you’re a bit at a loss as to what to get, most couples will register at local department stores or favorite online merchants.

Wedding Day Tea

Planning the Perfect Wedding TeaMany weddings throughout the world feature tea as part of the celebration on the big day. Tea can be served as part of a post-nuptial wedding breakfast or reception, or it can be an essential part of the wedding ceremony itself as it is in China, Japan, and other parts of Asia.

Hosting high tea after the wedding nuptials can be an excellent way for the newlyweds to spend time and celebrate after exchanging wedding vows. What could be more beautiful and elegant than enjoying tea, good food and loved ones in a natural setting such as a rose garden or other outdoor setting shaded by trees?

What to Serve on The Big Day

As the bridal shower tea, what you offer to guests is all a matter of personal preference. If your wedding tea is in the late morning, afternoon or evening, you may want to consider serving hot foods in addition to cold finger foods and pastries. Having a full luncheon after tea can be an excellent way to celebrate a wedding day.

The Wedding Tea Ceremony in China

Planning the Perfect Wedding TeaIn China, the tea ceremony is an integral part of the three prayers, which are a part of traditional Taoism. The couple is directed by the priest or officiant to pray to the powers of heaven and earth, then to the parents of the groom and then lastly to each other as part of the wedding ceremony. The tea set that is used in a wedding ceremony is traditionally a part of the bride’s dowry.

After the tea is served to the parents, grandparents, and other significant family members, gifts are presented to the newlywed couple.

The tea that is served by the bride during the wedding is traditionally sweet. Symbolic gifts bestowed include lotus seeds to ensure that the couple is blessed with children and long life.

Japanese Tea Traditions

Planning the Perfect Wedding TeaIn Japan, the tea ceremony is traditionally conducted when the couple announces their betrothal in a ceremony called the yuino. During the yuino ceremony, the parents of the bride and groom exchange a series of symbolic gifts. This includes the konbu seaweed to ensure that the couple bears children, a long piece of hemp to symbolize long life for both the husband and wife, a fan to ensure future wealth, and the traditional gift of money (approximately $5,000) that is given by both parents and enclosed in an envelope tied with silver and gold strings.

While it is traditionally less common to have a tea ceremony conducted on the day of the wedding, it is gaining in popularity among younger Japanese couples who wish to connect with their cultural traditions.

Many major hotels and convention centers throughout Japan have their own tea rooms. The ceremony can be left up to the personal tastes of the bride and groom. However, the tradition is for the couple to express to each other the ideals of the Cha-do or traditional Japanese tea ceremony. These ideals include peace and harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility in one’s new life together.

Resources:

Donaldson, Babette. The Everything Healthy Tea Book: Discover the Healing Benefits of Tea. Adams Media, 2014.
Fellow, Elizabeth. Tea at Downton: Afternoon Tea Recipes from the Unofficial Guide to Downton Abbey. Healthy Wealthy NWise Press, 2014.
Lam, Kam Chuen., et al. The Way of Tea: the Sublime Art of Oriental Tea Drinking. Barron’s Educational Series, 2002.

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