When I think of a bridal shower, I see a very elegant event. And little is more elegant than an afternoon Victorian tea. This is a wonderful way to honor the bride-to-be in luxurious surroundings.
For this type of bridal shower, turn to fine linens, china dishes and silver. If you don’t have any of your own, check with your female friends or a rental equipment business. Also, this type of shower works best with a limited guest list. Too many guests will destroy the cozy and elegant atmosphere you get with afternoon teas.
Invitations to your Victorian tea bridal shower should be custom-printed — and don’t forget to include an RSVP card. Also, consider ordering matching thank-you notes for the bride-to-be at this time.
Simple But Fragrant Decor
Fresh flowers are the best decoration for a tea. But avoid an overbearing abundance of flowers; one large bouquet on your main table and perhaps a couple smaller bouquets on side tables is all you need.
What to Serve Your Guests at a Tea
Victorian teas traditonally serve an assortment of finger sandwiches with the crusts removed. Sandwich fillings such as chicken salad, tuna salad or egg salad are typical at teas. Beverly Clark in her book Showers also suggests using cream cheese with walnuts, avocado and diced olives and sliced hard-boiled egg and cucumber. Lunch meats such as ham, roast beef and turkey are not usually served.
Other than sandwiches, the only other food served at a tea is dessert. Try a cake and several pastries, such as eclairs, scones, madeleines, individual tarts and fancy cookies. Choose a brand of tea which is favored by connoisseurs, such as Earl Grey or Darjeeling. Have cream, sugar, lemon, and an artificial sweetener on hand for the tea. It’s also a good idea to provide some kind of punch, just in case some guests prefer a cold drink rather than hot tea.
Drawing on Themes
Since a bride-to-be usually is given several bridal showers, it’s good to choose a specific bridal shower theme. Examples include kitchen shower, lingerie shower, linen shower, etc. In keeping with a Victorian tea, suggest to your guests they bring shower gifts that would help the bride-to-be host her own afternoon tea. Items such as a teapot or creamer, sugar bowl, serving trays or silver serving utensils are natural choices. Check with the bride to see if she’d prefer china serving dishes or silver.
One last suggestion: If the weather permits, consider having your tea party outside in the garden. Warm sunshine, a gentle wind and beautiful flowers make a wonderful setting for an afternoon tea party shower.