I’ve been to quite a few afternoon tea baby showers over the past few years, two of my own and others for friends. I really do believe afternoon tea is the best way to celebrate. I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person who doesn’t like afternoon tea and when you are pregnant it’s far more appealing than going to a hot spa or crowded bar. So what is it that’s so perfect about afternoon tea when it comes to baby showers… well, where do I start; a relaxed gathering of your closest friends who have come to join you in spending the afternoon eating cake and drinking copious amounts of tea! Here are my top tips when planning a baby shower afternoon tea celebration.
THE AFTERNOON TEA VENUE
Whether you are hiring a hall, borrowing a friends beautiful garden or using your own home as a venue, it needs to be a relaxed environment. Ideally, remove all men and children from the event as this really is a chill out afternoon you are planning. Obviously small babies are an exception but try your hardest to ensure that the mum-to-be and guests are fully off-duty when it comes to the event. This event is to shower your close friend with well wishes and to spend quality time with her before the baby arrives. If you have booked a venue, try not to rush the event. Perhaps book the venue for longer than you think is required; this is supposed to be a relaxing afternoon for everyone!
THE EVENT LAYOUT
Are you planning a buffet style service or will the guests be seated around large tables with the afternoon tea served to the tables? If you have enough space, the latter suggestion is the most luxurious option, however it’s a good idea to have serving staff to keep topping up the teapots and attending to your guests needs. If you are going for the more formal seating arrangement I would suggest 1 x 3-teir cake stand per 2/3 guests. A buffet style afternoon tea is great for informal mingling, just ensure there is enough seating for all guests. Buffets have come along way these past few years and they really do allow you to go full on with the creative styling.
THE AFTERNOON TEA MENU
When planning your afternoon tea event, start by finding out if there are any guests with dietary requirements as you will need to consider this when planning your menu. Assuming there’s not too many restricting dietary requirements, I would suggest the following:
Finger Sandwiches: 2 meat, 1 fish and 2 vegetarian options. Cut into delicate finger sandwiches. My favourite artisan bread finger sandwiches are made by A Question of Thyme Catering, based in Kent.
Scones: a variety of mini scones is much more appealing than a plate of huge scones. Scones can be very filling and when it comes to afternoon tea, your guests will want to try as much of the offering as possible. Scones should be served with a pot of clotted cream and a preserve of your choice (I’m a firm favourite of Tiptree Strawberry Preserve; who can also supply miniature pots with personalised labels and Rhoddas clotted cream).
Sweet treats: The top tier of a 3-tier cake stand is for the sweet treats. I’m sure you will agree that this is never enough space for the ‘desserts’ so additional offerings on glass cake stands will be appreciated by your guests. Cakes and cupcakes by Little Boutique Bakery look amazing and are perfect for a cake table. Small cakes for the top tier of a cake stand should ideally be bite size or as small as possible. Classics I would suggest are: Mini Victoria sponge, chocolate opera slice, lemon or strawberry tart and macarons. If you wanted the addition of a cake station, I would highly suggest a few larger cakes such as a lemon drizzle loaf, carrot cake or a Victoria sponge. Royal icing decorated biscuits are also a great addition and I especially love these by Little Fancies.
AFTERNOON TEA CROCKERY HIRE
There are lots of tableware hire companies out there, but if you are creating a luxury afternoon tea baby shower, then in my eyes it has to be gold gilt vintage crockery. The teacups should have a matching saucer and the cake stands should have matching tiers. Obviously if you really want to mis-match the sets then that’s totally your decision, it just reduces the ‘luxury’ element. When it comes to ordering your tableware, here’s a list of the essentials you will require…
Teapots, teacups & saucers, teaspoons, sugar bowl, milk jugs, sugar tongs, 8″ plates, 3-tier cake stands, glass pedestal cake stands, cake slice, pastry forks, starter size/butter knives, preserve/cream spoons, napkins, water jugs and water glasses. And perhaps champagne saucers if you are having a sneaky glass of fizz.
BABY SHOWER DECOR
Decorating your venue can be so much fun. The most obvious is to go with a colour scheme as to the sex of the baby (if known) or to stick to pastel shades and metallics. Peach Blossom have some lovely garlands (I love their blush one) and decorations for baby showers. They are based in Brighton but you can order online. Another favourite is Balloonista for their epic balloon displays – these really are beautiful and will change your opinion of balloons! Vintage furniture can be used for cake displays such as this beautiful sideboard styled by The Timeless Stylist. Hiring a stylist can also be a great idea if you have a venue requiring full styling.
Anyone who’s had a baby shower appreciates the fact their friends have come together for them. There is no right or wrong gift you can but a mum-to-be as you will know her better than anyone, however these are my favourites. My lovely friends gave me a box of Mama Mio products and my goodness this was the best cream EVER; definitely a winner. I also love this NEW MUM LOVE BOX by Out of The Box Gifts – it’s full of ethical goodies. Its also a nice gesture to get a few pieces for the new baby. While nappy cakes are very popular, they aren’t often made with the correct size nappy for a new baby and most mums have a preferred brand they would like to use. I always prefer to give a hamper such as this one by Regency Hampers. If you think the mum-to-be has everything already then a John Lewis gift card is always appreciated.
I do hope this has been of use to you and I hope you have fun planning your baby shower. If you do require vintage crockery for your event, feel free to send over a quick request for a quote. My quote includes the delivery, washing up (hoorah!) and collection however if you would like me to set up your tables, just ask and this can also be added to the quote.