A Bridal Shower Tea Party

There aren’t many occasions as happy and special as a wedding. And a Bridal Shower Tea Party is the perfect way to celebrate and honor the bride-to-be. This tea is inherently rather formal; that doesn’t mean staid and humorless though. It is up to the hostess to create an air of warmth and calm.

The menu is geared toward young women who might not yet have reached their ultimate level of culinary sophistication. In other words, everything is familiar and well liked by most people, even a generation that’s grown up on chicken nuggets and pizza.

There are a few unique considerations to throwing a bridal shower tea. Ask the bride for a list of guests she’d like to see. The mother of the bride, as well as her future mother-in-law should be invited, along with the bridesmaids. There are a couple no-nos. It is not proper form for the mother to host a bridal shower—it seems grabby. Do not invite people to the shower who have not been invited to the wedding. This sends the message that the guest is good enough to give a shower gift but not good enough for the bride to spring for the $100 a plate reception. The only exception is when a group of coworkers decide to give a small shower at work.

I’m not a fan of surprise showers. They are never really a surprise; the bride always suspects. It is nice to be able to have some input from the bride for the shower. Just be careful not to let her get too involved; she has enough to plan and orchestrate with the wedding.

Another consideration is whether to set a theme for the gifts. Household items, lingerie and time-of-day showers are all popular. For this bridal shower tea, why not ask guests to bring gifts with a tea theme. Teapots, cups, linens, cookbooks, the list of gift possibilities is quite wide. Do open the gifts at the shower for everyone to enjoy.

For this tea, first choose the colors you’d like to use. Do not try to use the same colors the bride has chosen for her wedding and reception. There is no reason for such matchy-matchy business. Use seasonal colors and ones that go well in your home. Lavender and white with a touch of yellow works well for spring and summer showers. I’ll use those colors to illustrate my descriptions.

Send formal snail-mail invitations to this tea. Remember that the invitation sets the tone of the tea. Use plain card stock with a color border, in this case, lavender. Use your prettiest handwriting on the inside. Don’t fuss with the wording: “In honor of the wedding of Julia Hudson, please join us for afternoon tea, June 15, 2008, at 2:00 p.m., at the home of Anne Lodge, 2355 Locust Lane, Marysville, VA. Please phone 238-283-2736 to respond.” As always, you’ll probably have to follow up with a phone call to those who don’t call to let you know if they’ll be attending or not.

Every guest should have a seat at a table and place cards are a nice touch so guests don’t wander around deciding where they want to sit. A simple white card with the guest’s name written in lavender ink will look pretty. Cover the tables in lavender cloths, use white dishes and mismatched teacups in lavender or yellow. A lighter lavender napkin decorated with a ribbon holding a sprig of lavender would look especially pretty. You might even consider decorating the back of the chairs. Use ribbon of various widths and shades, along with a length of lace, to tie simple bows on the chairs. Keep the ends of the ribbons long and flowing. Use small glass vases to hold purple hydrangeas, lilacs, purple iris or whatever purple or lavender flowers you like. A few yellow roses in the mix make the flowers pop.

You’ll need a separate table to hold gifts and perhaps a dessert or tea table. To make these tables stand out, pin real or artificial hydrangea blooms to the bottom of the tablecloths, all the way around. Cover the tablecloths with toppers of white lace.

Ask the groom to make a CD with all the bride’s favorite love songs. Play this music as guests are arriving and leaving but switch to something purely instrumental during the tea itself.

Give the guests a little favor to commemorate the event and that fits the theme. Tea sachets with the bride’s and groom’s names are available with pretty short notice. One source is here from beaucoup.

Since this post is already quite long, I’ll give the menu for the Bridal Shower Tea tomorrow. Please visit again.