Wedding Ideas for Tea Lovers
Do you love tea? Do you think it's possible to use it as a wedding theme?
You could say I'm a budding wedding planner who lacks the networking skills...And also a huge tea addict. Born of this combination is this tea themed wedding idea, free for someone to use - in fact the point of writing about it here is that I hope some fellow tea-obsessed couple will take this wedding plan and run with it. I never thought of this for our own wedding, despite the fact we planned it all ourselves and both loved tea a ridiculous amount. But later, I couldn't stop with the wedding planning bug, and eventually I ran into a picture of a teapot wedding cake, and felt like my brain would explode. Perhaps someone has done this wedding, certainly people have used elements of the idea in their weddings which is why I was able to piece it together by trawling Pinterest searching for different small tea-related elements that people had used. But as far as I can tell, if someone has done an all-out tea theme (and by that I mean incorporating every possible tea-themed element) they weren't someone who felt inclined to post online about it. Coffee themes are out there, and some of the ideas here come from a beautiful simple coffee themed wedding which is written up here: http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/real-weddings-melissa-michaels-coffee-themed-backyard-wedding/ I am putting these elements found elsewhere together to show how I would do things if I could go back and do my wedding all over again with a tea theme, and I sincerely hope that someone out there who loves tea will find this and be able to run with it as an almost ready-made plan for a DIY tea wedding.
Time & place
A warm season, either mid-morning or mid-afternoon, in a garden
Use of a family garden or local garden venue saves on cost while fitting the theme well
Food & Drink
Tea-party food: Sandwiches, sweet treats, cheese platters, cake
Easy to self-cater
In the ceremony
Tea ceremony or tea sharing, making a tea blend, ring bearer teacup, tea poem or saying
Tea is a great symbol of coming together
Blind tea tasting, photobooth, tea concept map, lawn games
Keep your guests occupied and have fun activities you can join
Your special tea blend, op-shop chosen teacup, homemade jam, sweet treats, teacup-potted plant or teacup candle
Simple tea-themed, inexpensive
Simple garden flowers with a sunny feel, herbs and daisies, teapots as vases and decoration, hanging teacups/tea cutouts, teacup candles, photo timeline/family tree
Flowers can be grown by you or by family, fits summer garden theme, all decorations are easy to collect/make yourself
Tea-length, summery, comfortable. Bridesmaids in summery colours or floral patterns, groomsmen free to choose, tea-related jewellery
Less expensive, comfortable for games and summer
Times and places
The wonderfully simple and exciting thing about a tea themed wedding is that a back garden with a nice lawn and bit of shade can provide a perfect venue. Not only that, but morning or afternoon tea are the most appropriate meals to serve, and much simpler to cater for than dinners or cocktail hours especially if you and your family are going to make the food yourselves. Think about it - maybe you don't have a large enough garden, but do you have a relative who does, or is there a local venue, reasonably priced that has a special garden area and means of boiling a kettle? I'm a big fan of ceremonies and receptions in the same location, saving you and your guests lots of travel - even better if you are able to stay the night in the location beforehand and don't need to worry about how you will arrive. If you do want to make a big entrance, just go out for a morning walk or bike ride and cycle, walk or perhaps even outrageously roller skate in after your guests have assembled.
- Be sure to choose a warm time of year when it's okay to be out in the garden enjoying the sunshine
- Mid-morning for ceremony, allowing for a late morning tea reception or
- Early afternoon for ceremony, allowing for a late afternoon tea reception
- Got a lovely garden? Why even leave home?
- Does your mum, Aunt, Grandmother, or best friend have a lovely garden? Well there you go.
- Do any of your relatives have a home that has been in the family for generations, with a nice garden, that has some sentimental value to everybody? Definitely go there then.
- None of the above? Look around your local area. Is there someone with a farm nearby, who would love to let you hire their lawn and kitchen? Is there a bed and breakfast you could book for a day which has a garden out back? Is there a beautiful community garden with a spot to access electricity for a kettle or a nearby community hall where tea and food can be kept? Remember all it takes is a nice garden area and somewhere to brew your tea and keep your scones.
Tea themes in your ceremony
Wedding ceremonies are very personal, so I won't be suggesting lots of ideas for yours, as its content should be directly relevant and special to you and your partner. However there are a few ways you might like to incorporate your tea theme. An obvious one is to include a tea ceremony. I don't know a great deal about these but there are certainly people who would and who would be able to either conduct one for you or teach you how. Another idea is simply to incorporate the drinking of tea as a symbol of togetherness at the end of your ceremony; bride and groom sharing their first pot as a married couple, or tea from the same pot being poured and handed around to all family members to symbolise them becoming one family. You and your partner could also make your own special tea blend on the spot, by each bringing a jar of your favourite tea leaves, and mixing them together in a new jar as a new blend, which you could then let your guests take some of to taste or keep.
In addition small details involved in your ceremony can have to do with tea, such as the container used by your ring-bearer (a tea tin, teacup or a little box filled with tea leaves on which your rings rest), jewelry worn by the bridal party, or a quote read out by one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen.
Food and catering
So it's all about tea... Well then you know what the main drink you'll be providing is! If it's warm, which it will probably need to be for a garden party, you could have iced tea too. Do remember that some of your guests might not be tea drinkers though (shock, horror!) so you will need to have a couple of other options. Keep them simple. Some kind of bubbly for toasting and perhaps some punch which will fit in nicely with the garden atmosphere - you can float edible flowers in it and it will become a source of decoration as well as drink. You could also make a non-alcoholic version with juice and ice and fruit. Then turn your thoughts to simple food for a high tea. Sandwiches are acceptable at tea in a garden, scones are definitely expected and various sweet treats and fruits. It can be tricky to think of enough savory options, but a cheese platter and a bread basket, perhaps with some salad available too, can have it covered. If you want some savory baked items, mini quiche or pies are easy for your caterers. Enlist your friends and family who like to bake to bring the different items you would like. They are not too difficult to make or time-consuming, and in my experience, people love to be asked to contribute something to the wedding; it makes them feel more involved and invested in the fun of the day.
- All kinds of tea of course! You will need a large teapot collection, and some teabags for the unadventurous. Set your teas up as a kind of buffet and let people make small pots of their preferred type to share in a small group.
- Iced tea - you can make this yourself too - not the bottled variety, but chilled, pre-brewed tea with some added herbs, lemon and sweetner such as honey
- Some kind of champagne-like bubbly for toasting and for those who really can't do without alcohol at a wedding
- Some alcoholic punch and non-alcoholic punch
- Chilled water in a fountain
- Scones, whipped cream and jam
- A variety of home-baked cookies
- Wedding cake and cupcakes of your choice (suggestions later)
- Mini quiche and other savory pastries
- Simple sandwiches
- Bread basket
- Cheese platter
Foods to fit your theme
Baking cookies? Do a search for teapot and teacup cookie cutters on Etsy. There are quite a lot. How difficult is it to cut out a teabag shape from cookie dough and poke a hole to tie a pretty ribbon through? There are a lot of great examples of tea-themed cookies and cupcakes (pun intended - see cake pictures) out there on Pinterest and elsewhere.
Your wedding cake and your tea theme
There are two directions I think one could go with a tea-themed wedding cake. One is to have an actual tea-flavoured cake, such as a green tea chiffon cake, and decorate it for your garden theme with edible flowers and cream. The other is to actually have a teacup or teapot-shaped cake and make your cake whatever flavour you love. I have also seen some really lovely simple cakes decorated with the edition of a teacup containing flowers or similar on the top as a cake-topper. Some examples are shown in the pictures with the sources linked for you to check them out.
Cake inspirationClick thumbnail to view full-size
Entertaining your guests
What to do, after your ceremony, when you want to have some photos but your guests are all hanging around at your lovely garden venue? You don't want your guests to get bored, of course. It's also nice to have some activities you can join in with your guests to add some fun to the day besides eating drinking and being merry. So here are some ideas for activities that fit with a tea and garden theme.
- Garden games: There are lots of lawn games you could lay out for your guests to play with, such as skittles, chess sets, hulla hoops, frizbees and balls to throw, croquet or sacks for sack races. A good selection are suggested here: http://rusticweddingchic.com/ top-ten-lawn-games-for-your-wedding and here: http://www.thepinkbride.com/ best-yard-games-for-your-wedding/
- Blind tea tasting: Get a relative who doesn't need to be in lots of photos or a trusty tea-loving friend to get this started for you while your photos are taken. It's also a great photo opportunity in itself. We ran a blind tea tasting for my 25th birthday, and my tea-lover friends loved it. You just need a selection of teapots in which to brew lots of different teas, and your friend or family member in charge should know which teas are which but no one else should. Write the names of the teas on a blackboard and have participating guests (and yourselves later) try to guess which tea is which and write it on a little card. You can have a prize for the person who correctly guesses the most teas (it should be tea, of course, or a good tea accompaniment!).
- Wishing tree: Make some scraps of paper or pretty little cards with ribbons or clips attached (you could cut out teapot or teacup shapes for these). Get guests to write wishes or messages on the cards and tie them onto a specific tree in your garden to decorate it. Later you can put these into a box to keep like an extra guest book.
- Reading tea leaves: You could either use some real information on reading tea leaves or make up your own humorous version, and write up a little description of what different patterns mean. Have a teapot without a strainer set aside especially for guests to get good tea-leaf filled cups, and let them interpret one another's tea leaves. You could also leave a blackboard and chalk for them to write down their interpretation and take their photo with it and their teacup
- Photobooth: Following on from the previous suggestion, it's always great to have a photobooth as a wedding reception activity. In the decorations section I will discuss a great idea I found for decoration that could act as a great photobooth backdrop if you set the camera up near it. Photobooth equipment is hire-able, but it's quite likely you have an acquaintance with a camera and tripod that can be used in this way, so ask around first. Give guests a blackboard to write you messages, and some props to dress up with when taking their photos. Moustaches and extra tea paraphernalia suit the tea theme. You can also get moustache cookie cutters, and offer edible photobooth props.
- Video photobooth: Have a second camera set to video, and allow guests to record short messages, toasts with teacups, etc, for you to watch back later.
- Tea-themed guestbook: There are a number of ways you could make an additional tea-themed guestbook. One way is to have a conventional guestbook, but have a lucky-dip or collection of tea quotes that guests can add to their messages, and tea stickers or stamps that guests can add to decorate, so that they are creating a kind of tea-themed scrapbook for you as well as writing messages. You could print your tea quotes on little teacup cutouts, or have some there for guests to write on. Another way is to have a paper tablecloth, and pots of pens on the table, so that guests sign the paper by where they are sitting, and can draw pictures and add colours etc. You can make a collage-style guestbook, by having an expanse of paper or a canvas pinned up, and teapot and teacup cutouts for guests to write on and stick onto the page. A variation on this is a frame and wooden cutouts which guests write on and drop into the frame. Finally, guests could sign a tea-related object, for example, purchase a large plain white teapot and ask your guests to sign it in a fine permanent marker, so that you end up with a usable household object related to your theme that carries your guests' messages for as long as you use it in your home. You could also have a cup and saucer each, which guests can write personal things to each of you on, and messages for you as a couple on the teapot. It never hurts to have more than one guestbook-style item. Guests can write different things on each, and for those who get stuck for words, providing some tea quotes or suggesting that they write about a tea-related incident or a reason they love tea can help.
- Tea-lovers' concept map: Hang up a sheet of paper or place one weighted down on the lawn with a board behind it so that guests can write and draw on it. Draw a nice large teapot in the centre with the words 'why tea is amazing' on it. Add some categories, if you want to guide your guests a bit, coming off from your teapot, such as 'social benefits' 'health benefits' etc, and then let your tea-appreciating friends go nuts adding their reasons for loving tea, to make a giant concept map. You can then have photos with the finished product.
Photo opportunities with tea
Your theme provides numerous photo opportunities for you and your bridal party which don't require you to spend separate time away from everyone to take them: These opportunities will come up during the course of your garden tea party naturally. Pictures of the bride and groom holding pretty teacups or pots make great portraits and could be taken as part of a more formal shoot. However great interactive shots of the couple pouring one another tea, or bridesmaids or groomsmen serving tea to the bride or groom, cheers with teacups, or quiet moments reflecting over the steam, can all happen while you enjoy the food and drink and games.
Guest Favour Ideas
You want your guests to have something to take home. Well there are lots of options that fit in with the tea theme (and some the garden theme too) that aren't too expensive.
- One that they can use on the day and in photos in the photobooth is their own special teacup. You can op-shop for these rather than buying lots of new expensive crockery, and choose something a bit different for each person. Teaspoons also work similarly.
- If you make your own tea blend as part of your ceremony, or at another time as a general symbol of coming together, you can give your guests little tins or jars of this tea.
- If not everyone likes tea (oh no! Ain't no friends of mine!) you could use an edible favour that goes well with tea for those who do and can be used with coffee for other people, such as a homemade jam, local honey, or a little basket of scones and jam to accompany them.
- If you want your garden theme incorporated too, succulents or herb cuttings potted in teacups look beautiful. You can also set candles in teacups, an idea which I will show in the decorations section, but which can also be a nice favour.
- And if you haven't liked the sound of any of those, you can be fairly confident most guests will appreciate some other kind of baked goods to take home, such as teacup-shaped gingerbread cookies, or macaroons held in a pretty cup.
Decorations and flower suggestions
At a high tea garden wedding you want three kinds of decoration:
- Simple, fresh, garden flowers
- Decorations relevant to tea
- Decorations relevant to the couple
For the first, my suggestion is to aim for a 'sunny' look by using daisies in light yellows and whites and wild flowers. You can connect this to the second by using teapots or tea tins as vases. Chamomile daisies are great because they fit in with this flower theme, they can be used to make tea, and they are edible, so you can put them on cakes and float them in punch without a problem. Lavender is also nice for similar reasons, and will give your wedding tables a nice scent as well. Use flowers that you can grow or that grow around your neighbourhood - it saves a lot on cost if you don't have to use a florist.
For the second, just collect some pretty old-fashioned teapots and cups from op-shops or from your Grandmother, and use them as centrepieces, with flowers or candles in. The photo of the teacup candles to the right has a link to a DIY site for setting candles in cups. You can also hang old teacups on strings of yarn from a tree or trellis to make a hanging wall of teacups (you could also use teaspoons) as a photobooth backdrop. If you aren't comfortable hanging up crockery, cut out some teacups and teapots from cardboard in your theme colours, and hang those instead.
For the third suggestion, one of the easiest items to create is a photo timeline of your history as a couple, or your separate histories from childhood up until when you met. A picture of my wedding photo timeline is shown on the right. If you are using your own backyard or that of a friend or family member, you can use the actual washing line and decorate it with strips of fabric or pretty ribbons on the ends, with your photos pegged up in between. You can also hang items with sentimental value and curiosity value for your guests; for example, I had my first pair of shoes hanging on our timeline. Guests can use little strips of paper with their name and a description of the occasion to add when they first met you to the timeline. Another nice gesture towards your families is to have a tree or table used to display a family tree in photographs or to show pictures of ancestors or family members who are no longer with you. Candles alight during the celebrations can symbolise the presence of those people.
Some brief suggestions for dress
Your clothing on your wedding day is of course very much a matter of personal taste. The main thing is to pick something you love, and that you feel comfortable wearing in the setting that you've chosen for your wedding. I have some basic suggestions that I think would work with the setting and the theme. Keep it simple. You're outdoors, in a garden, drinking tea. You don't want to be in a corset that you can't move to play skittles in, or be covered in gems or sequins that get caught on everything. A 'tea-length' dress is highly appropriate, allowing you to comfortably move your legs, and you want it to look light and summery. It doesn't necessarily have to be white, but it can be too. Your bridesmaids could go along with the sunny or flowery theme, or choose their own mismatching tea dresses that fit your colour scheme. Groomsmen could be dressed in super smart high tea outfits or in very casual, rustic-looking clothes, depending on your preference. It's worth having a look on Etsy for tea-related brooches or necklaces, and making little touches fit in with your theme. If you go with the chamomile bouquet, why not have some in your hair too, to highlight the summery garden feel.
Some final remarks
I'm a strong believer in incorporating your hobbies and passions into a wedding theme, especially if you and your partner share a love of something. Tea is something my husband and I share a passion for and which I think ties many families and couples together, and therefore, although this theme won't be used for my wedding, since it has been and gone, I think that perhaps some of you out there might like it. Tea in our family connects generations, with both my husband and I having been introduced to tea by our maternal grandmother. Perhaps that is the case for you too. A pretty comprehensive list of tea quotes, poems and sayings that may be of use to you in your ceremony or as inclusions in guest activities can be found on these sites:
I hope that this concept will be of use to fellow tea-loving couples and am very happy to try to help with any tea-themed wedding planning questions you have that I haven't covered here if you post me a comment.