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WE RECOMMEND:

A Tea Time Bridal Luncheon

Whether it’s for your lifelong best friend or your favorite niece, you want her bridal shower to be pitch-perfect. She might be a flip-flops and beer girl on ordinary days, but as she prepares for her wedding, just about every bride likes a little pampering. Here’s how to go all-out elegant at home.

Bridal Luncheon

Even if you haven’t hosted a tea party since you were 9 and have since given up your dolls, this full-on-frills fête is a cinch to pull together. Set tables with china and fresh flowers for an instantly festive look. Our tea menu is much easier to manage than a plated multi-course luncheon. “Tea” foods are essentially lots of small (but satisfying) appetizers and tiny, scrumptious sweets. You can make most of them in advance and just heat or add final touches as the party starts.

Bonus: Catering to individual tastes and dietary restrictions is a breeze at tea time. Low-carb dieters, gluten-free guests, vegetarians—you’ve got ’em covered.

The Setting: Beg, Borrow and (Pick Things Up for a) Steal

Don’t have a tea service for 25? Who does?! A little scavenging is part of the fun: Ask friends if you can borrow a few cups and saucers; check your mom’s cupboards for teapots; scour flea markets for plates without mates. Do the same for serving platters, cake plates and tablecloths. It doesn’t matter if the table is mismatched—a mix of patterns only adds to the charm.

Tea sandwiches and sweets make the biggest splash when piled on tiered serving trays, like these from cooking.com: 

Three-Tiered Server

Cupcake Party 3-Tier Stand

TIP: If you’re not up for the investment, you can get the same look by stacking cake stands in graduated sizes.

Go for the Bloom

Fresh flowers are really the only other decoration you need:

  • Set out one large arrangement on each table or slim vases with a single stem at each plate.
  • Florist-shop blooms eating up your party budget? Pick some wildflowers in the yard or sub tissue-paper blooms for the real thing. You can even pick up some oversized paper flowers at a party store and hang them like lanterns.

The Menu: Savory Bites and Sips  

You’ll want to plan for six to eight non-sweet offerings per guest, since this is the heart of the meal. You can put simple sammies together early and broil the cheese ones right before serving—watch how fast they go! Include some non-bread picks, like light canapés and mini cups of soup.

A variety of breads and fillings create an open-face sandwich smorgasbord!
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Making grilled cheese for a crowd is easy with four ingredients, including cocktail rye bread. Have them ready in less than 30 minutes!
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The Sweets Course

It wouldn’t be a tea party without pretty pastries and scones. Set out little dishes of butter, jam and clotted cream, and your Anglophile guests will swoon.

Delicious warm or cool, these pretty scones are wonderful served with clotted cream, crème fraîche, flavored butters or cream cheese.
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Bite-sized citrus cakes are drizzled with a sweet apricot icing then topped with sliced almonds and orange peel.
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They may be small, but with a fruity raspberry filling and decadent ganache, they're big on flavor!
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Prize-Winning Recipe 2010! Cream cheese adds the richness to this poppy seed cookie made easier with a sugar cookie mix.
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Fruit

Lighten things up with fruit salad.

Fresh fruit and toasted almonds star in this quick-to-fix 5-ingredient salad.
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Fruit

Lighten things up with fruit salad.

Peach nectar makes mimosas even more celebratory! Make them upon request in only 5 minutes.
full spoonfull spoonfull spoonfull spoonempty spoon (9 ratings)     Member Reviews (0)
5-minute and 5-ingredient recipe! Raspberry juice lends fruity flavor to everyday tea.
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No One Leaves without a Favor!

  • Collect mismatched teacups and fill them with candies or bite-size tea cookies.
  • Fill clear cellophane bags or jelly jars with a favorite loose-tea blend.
  • Set out small boxes of chocolates at each plate—some fine chocolatiers even make tea-infused chocolates for a surprisingly yummy nod to the theme.
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