Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Bridal Tea—A Birmingham Tradition

tea 058

tea 050The invitations went out a month ago, and on Sunday afternoon I hosted, along with nine others, a bridal tea for my friend Glenda's daughter Anna, who will be married in October.

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.

tea 036tea 037When 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.

tea 052

Connie made the cloth for my table, and we used lots of silver for serving the food.

tea 039

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.

tea 005

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.

tea 008

Small bunches of flowers added a bit of color to the two heart-shaped wreaths on the front doors.

tea 032

tea 055We 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.tea 015

tea 022 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.

tea 017 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.

Cherish Sample - Page 033

New_size_125_tall 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!

38 comments:

Dana and Daisy said...

how beautiful and elegant. I love your tablecloth, and I cannot believe that floral arrangement is not from a professional floral designer. It is spectacular. And the bride is beautiful and she obviously has very elegant taste.

Happy TT!
Love, Dana and Daisy

Sue said...

Hi Kathy....what a lovely party and what a beautiful bride to be...What is more fun then a bunch of ladies....food and presents!!
I sent my friend Cheri over to visit..she's moving to B'Ham and is looking for bloggers from the area....

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Looks like a delightful occassion! Lucky bride!

Sue said...

Me again...she is having a hard time selling her house here in Georgia while her husband is working already in Birmingham....She will be thrilled to find someone else to ask questions to in the area...I have sent her your blog link and the Alabama bloggers link ( which is a fabulous idea..I wish we had such a thing in Ga.).....she's a lovely lady and will appreciate any info you can give her...thanks , Sue.

susan said...

Kathy-I have been looking forward to this post! I should have known in the land of "Southern Living" you girls would know how to do it up right! That cloth is gorgeous, the food looks fabulous, and I am stealing the caladium/rose idea :) What a lucky bride to be!

susan said...

Ps--Meant to tell you Happy Blogoversary!

ellen b said...

Oh how lovely! I really like that tablecloth! Beautiful....

marty39 said...

Stunning. Everything is so beautiful and elegant. What a special way to celebrate a new Bride to Be. All of the serving pieces and food are so beautifully served. Gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

Robin said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I am sure she appreciated the wonderful tea. The food, the flowers, the decor....PERFECT!

{{{HUGS}}}

Robin :o)

Jeannine said...

Your Bridal Tea was beautiful. I love the idea of a "Tea". The "showers" here in California seem to be dull anymore. I like the idea of it being a more formal event. Thank you for sharing.

Eileen said...

Beautiful Bridal tea! All so elegant!
The flowers, the food, the presentation, every detail is just stunning!
All the best,
Eileen

Christi @ A Southern Life said...

Your bridal tea was beautiful. How wonderful of you to prepare such a wonderful and perfect party for the beautiful bride to be. I love how the gifts are whisked away and then presented. The quintessential Alabama tradition, huh? You did a lovely job!

Christi

Just Breathe said...

What a beautiful tradition. All the goodies looked delicious. Glad you had a wonderful day.

ceekay said...

Absolutely gorgeous. I would have been squealing...I know..not too refined or lady like...but I can't contain it...I squeal when I love something...Happy TT!

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

How nice to still have bridal teas! I'm from Alabama and was honored to have one before my wedding.

Everything is so beautiful and the food looks wonderful!

Katherine

Sarah said...

Beautiful home, beautiful party! The food is so pretty and looks yummy. I'll have a cake bite, please!

Hope to see you at Hyacinth For The Soul for a little rooster fun and a toast to Julia Child!

arkie said...

Very pretty! Love the heart on the front door.

Sandy said...

Everything looked just beautiful, I loved all the flower arrangments and the food looked tooo good, my mouth is watering now (at 6:30am).
Sandy

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

How absolutely fabulous!! Does my heart good to see this tradition continue! Beautiful!

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Hi Kathy, I have you linked up for the Rooster Party. So happy to have you with us.

See you at the party!

Barb :-)

Michelle said...

Such a pretty table and bride to be too! I need all new stuff, think I should have a wedding shower!

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Beautiful Tea and beautiful Bride !Pretty arrangements and the food looks yummy too !

LillyB said...

Fabulous post!!!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Wonderful romantic ideas! Lovely celebration and best wishes to the bride to be. I agree with you about Costco being a good resource for flowers, even up here in New Jersey.

Domestic Designer said...

Just Beautiful! You are a beautiful and talented group of ladies!

Beansieleigh said...

Hi Kathy! This is a wonderful post! I would not be surprised if sometime in the near future, my daughter might be proposed to, and I appreciate any help and ideas for any planning that may be necessary in the future! By the way, the cakes and cookies look divine.. (0; I'm wishing I could reach right through my monitor to try one of each! So glad I stopped here today! ~tina

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Hi Kathy, it is so nice to meet you. What a lovely tea for a lovely bride. This tradition is wonderful. I'm afraid if they had any of those in Missouri they've gone by the way-side and I find that quite sad. This was beautiful...hugs ~lynne~

nannykim said...

Everything is beautiful. I love the idea of the flowers in the glass thing--maybe that would keep my cat from eating the flowers!!

ps. I have several blogs--the one for my tablescape is the spindle cottage one;

Sharlotte said...

What a fun time you must have had at your shower. Everything looks so pretty...the fresh flowers are the perfect touch! I also loved the lush tablecloth...thanks for sharing!

Martha said...

A beautiful and elegant tea. As only Southerners can do! It's nice to know that traditions live on!

Martha said...

A beautiful and elegant tea. As only Southerners can do! It's nice to know that traditions live on!

Dining Delight said...

Very pretty and interesting post! I loved hearing about the traditional bridal tea. The flower arrangements are stunning especially the one in the cylindrical vase...want to give that a try!

DD

Rachel said...

Oh my GOODNESS what a gorgeous job you did!!! Everything was perfect and detailed and elegant. I am so impressed!!

DeniseMarie said...

your event went off wonderfully. the cloth is awesome and I remember when you found the fabric. blessings~!

Cass @ That Old House said...

Fabulous! It looks like a perfect event -- from decor to food to presentation. Lovely.

I also loved the glimpse into the wedding traditions in another part of the country. We tend to think that with McDonald's and WalMart spread across the USA, we are all pretty homogenized -- but we are not!

Cass

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Hi Kathy,
This bring back memories of my own bridal showers/teas. I remember the tables with all the gifts displayed. Wonder how all these southern traditions ever got started...would be fun to research back to find out. I would love the recipe for the heart shaped cookies with the raspberry filling. This was a wonderful post...so loved reading all your descriptions!
Susan

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

OK, I hope this doesn't appear twice. My first comment didn't post. This tea looks gorgeous! That tablecloth is stunning, and the floral arrangements are so unique and beautiful. The food and serving dishes are so pretty, and they look like they were so good. I bet the bride was thrilled with this tea. laurie

Anonymous said...

I was looking for ideas for an upcoming shower and I stumbled to your website. Then I saw my dear friend and next door neighbor Jamea Harper! We have both moved away from Alabama, but it was great to see her on your blog :)

gwen clark