In Birmingham the bridal tea is traditionally a gift giving occasion, but nowhere on the invitation do you see the word "shower." You have read the fine print at the bottom of the invitation where it says "Registered at…" and make the appropriate assumption. I learned this when I first moved to Birmingham. Those who have grown up here already know the rules.
When the guests arrived, I greeted them at the door and directed them to the guest book. At the same time Angel, Jamea, Debbie and Louisa took their gifts and whisked them back to the master bathroom where they unwrapped them while Janice recorded each gift in "the book." The gifts were then displayed on tables in the master bedroom for the guests to admire.
We did let Anna open her gift from the hostesses before the tea started, but for most of the two-hour party, she stood near the front door with her mother and mother-in-law-to-be, visiting with friends and family.
Connie made the cloth for my table, and we used lots of silver for serving the food.
Costco is a great place to buy fresh flowers. I had plenty of greenery in my yard, and Connie did a beautiful job arranging it all.
Take a look at this clever arrangement for the coffee table—caladium petals swirled around the outside of a tall cylinder with roses tightly bunched in the center.
Small bunches of flowers added a bit of color to the two heart-shaped wreaths on the front doors.
We continued our color scheme by accenting the wreath of fresh greenery at the punch bowl with more of the pink roses. Karen made a gorgeous ice ring with colorful fruit that complimented the flowers.
Here's a hint. You can make your greenery wreath the day before and then put it in water in your bathtub. It stays fresh, and you can place it around the punch bowl and add the flowers at the last minute. My co-hostesses wanted you to be sure to notice the damp paper towel keeping the food from drying out. Click on the small picture to enlarge.
Every bridal tea offers both sweets and non-sweets, and for years the petit four was a staple in the sweet department. Recently cake bites have become popular at bridal teas in our area. Ours came from Moonlight Cakes. We used a tall silver compote and a silver cake stand for a tiered look.
Susie made her special linzer cookies for our other sweet. These delicious raspberry-filled cookies take two days to make, so it was a real labor of love. The dough has to be chilled, rolled out, cut, chilled again and then baked before the cookies are ready to sandwich together with raspberry preserves and dusted with powdered sugar. If they are not handled gently, they will break. They are definitely worth all of the hard work, and the heart shape makes them perfect for a bridal tea.
We were fortunate to have Anna's Aunt Jean as one of our co-hostesses. Jean is a former foods editor for Southern Living and has also edited cookbooks for Oxmoor House, so she was bound to be a great cook. She offered to make the chicken salad for the phyllo cups, and we also served her homemade cheese wafers.
Jamea made pimiento cheese sandwiches on small pumpernickel bread slices. Hint: Jamea says you can't make pimiento cheese any better than Fresh Market.
Balancing all of these goodies was easy with these cute snack plates and matching glass cups.
So that's your complete "How To" for a traditional Birmingham Bridal Tea. If you're still with me, be sure to head over to Between Naps on the Porch for more Tablescape ideas. As always Susan will have a beautiful tablescape to show you, and there will be plenty of others for your idea file.
Also, Life in the Slow Lane was one year old on Tuesday, and I'm having a give away. You can check it out HERE. BTW, this is my 200th post. Whew!