Lydia's Champagne Tea

12:01 PM













While cleaning out my photo files I found some nice photos of several parties that never became actual blog posts.  I think for this party I might have been thinking I'll add some recipes and then forgot and never got around to it.  So no recipes today, but I'll tell you how my friends and I throw showers.  We've got it down to a science.  For the most part, when hosting a shower, we like to have several hostesses go in together to share ideas, resources, the work, and share the expenses.  Four of us gave this wedding shower for a young woman who attends our church and whom we have known since she was a little girl.  She is marrying a young man whom all four of us have also known since he was a little boy.  All four parents are good friends to the four of us.  It was only natural that we would throw a shower.  If you are new to shower giving, I'm not, and below is my fool-proof advice on how to throw a great shower:

After choosing the the date and location, and since it would be at my house, I asked the bride to send me a list of her guests, plus their email addresses as we had decided to send e-vites.  I asked her where she was registered, and while it seems OK to put registry info on the actual invitation these days, I'm just old-fashioned enough to hesitate.  On the e-vite, there was a place where guests can click to get "more information", and that's where I added the registry info.  I felt that was a nice compromise.  As for registries, I am a firm believer in them and rarely, perhaps never, shop off-registry.  I think it's an American thing.  I also asked the bride her wedding colors so I could incorporate them into my decorations.  As for decorations, I prefer to keep everything simple.  I make sure my house is spotless and then I'll add fresh flowers and call it decorated.  Lydia's colors were bright sherbets: pinks, oranges and corals, perfect for my home. While you're talking to the bride, don't forget to ask if she has any food allergies!

The size of the guest list will determine what type of shower I'll give.  I'll tell the bride how many I can handle in my home; that's important for her to know.  If it's a small group it can be a sit-down lunch or an afternoon tea, but if it's a larger group, it has to be a tea--I just don't have enough tables and chairs for a sit-down lunch for a large group without renting, and that's often not an option.  You have to know the space in your home and how it works.  Most showers tend to be larger and a tea is more practical for me.  It's a girl thing I know, but I have never met a female who doesn't love to circle around a pretty tea table with a little plate in her hand, taking a bit of this and a bit of that.   I do not make hot tea, it's too much work, and instead serve champagne, and plenty of it, and iced tea.  I like teas to begin at 2, and usually everyone is gone by 5ish.  Beforehand I ask the bride to invite her young man to stop by at the end to say hi to everyone.  Sometimes he'll bring his best man or father.  The young men are a little baffled by the whole shower thing, but it's very charming and the women love it.

The four hostesses got together for coffee the week before to choose the menu items.  We decided to each make two savories and one sweet.  That would be eight savory items and four sweet items which seemed like a perfect tea offering for a group of 20.  Important: all the food is prepared ahead of time--at home!  Since the helping hostesses will bring their prepared food to my house ready-to-serve, they only have to arrive 15 minutes early.  I like to use my own trays and platters for continuity on the table and it takes just minutes to transfer the tidbits and put them on the table.  We limited savories that had to go into the oven to two.  With four hostesses, there is always someone to welcome guests and take the coats, pour champagne, keep the food flowing and tidy up here and there.  We like to hire a helper, but my regular helper was out of town so we opted to go it alone and it was fine.  I don't like to use paper anything!  I prefer silver, glass and linen; I've been married a long time and have a lot of things.  I do use paper cocktail napkins.

We had a short half-hour cocktail time, no one wants to drink too much in the day.  We then invited the guest of honor to the tea table first, and everyone followed.  In advance I show the bride where she will sit, and invite the mothers and grandmothers to sit next to her.  I had extra chairs set around, and people perched where they could and the younger women don't mind sitting on the floor if they have to, thank goodness.  After we eat, we passed a few trays for seconds,  poured more champagne, started to clear plates, and asked the bride to open her presents.  Her bridal attendants help out by handing her the gifts, writing down what she received from whom, secreting the trash away, and crafting the ribbons into a paper plate bouquet for her rehearsal.  I rarely bother with shower games, but during the cocktail hour, I asked 3 young women if they would eat first and then help me out with a project.  While everyone was eating, I put each woman in a back bedroom with a roll of toilet paper, a roll of scotch tape, and a handful of  safety pins.  They each had one helper and ten minutes to fashion a bridal gown of TP for a fashion show, and each team had their own room for creativity's sake.  It was hilarious to see what they came up with and was a highlight of the shower.  And now I know why I was waiting to post this--pictures of the TP gowns!  Oh well, you'll have to trust me, it was funny.

For party favors we gave out giant home-made hand-sized cookies.  The cookie cutter has an imprint of a heart and I use royal icing to affix a giant rock candy diamond on the ring fingers.  The tip of each finger gets a pretty pink nail made of royal icing.  The cookies are a tradition around here and just wouldn't be a wedding shower without them!  Here's the recipe, I've made them for years and it's the best.

After everyone said goodbye, it took no time for four women to clean up.  I was going out of town the next day, so all the leftover food and flowers were given to guests and hosts who could use them.  One friend was having out-of-town guests arrive that evening so we loaded her up!  We then divided the cost of the champagne, flowers, iced tea, paper goods, (and a helper if any), four ways.  I think the grand total came out to $40 per hostess; very inexpensive for such a nice afternoon.  I hope you won't shy away from hosting a shower if the occasion comes up.  They are so fun, and if you have helping hostesses like my friends and I like to do, it will be a lot more fun and a lot easier too!  Remember my motto:  Keep It Simple!

Have you entered my Elizabeth Bradley giveaway?  You should!  One of my readers will receive the cute mini pansy kit shown below, valued at $84, complete with printed canvas, detailed instructions, fine British wool, and a needle.  Go to this post to enter.  Good luck!





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shown below, valued at $84, is complete with detailed instructions, printed canvas, fine British wool, and a needle and will be given to one of my readers.  Don't worry if you are new to needlepoint, this is a perfect project for all skill levels. - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.ca/#sthash.YFr04Dqy.dpuf
shown below, valued at $84, is complete with detailed instructions, printed canvas, fine British wool, and a needle and will be given to one of my readers.  Don't worry if you are new to needlepoint, this is a perfect project for all skill levels.  - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.ca/#sthash.YFr04Dqy.dpuf
shown below, valued at $84, is complete with detailed instructions, printed canvas, fine British wool, and a needle and will be given to one of my readers.  Don't worry if you are new to needlepoint, this is a perfect project for all skill levels.  - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.ca/#sthash.YFr04Dqy.dpuf
The cute mini-pansy kit shown below, valued at $84, is complete with detailed instructions, printed canvas, fine British wool, and a needle and will be given to one of my readers.  Don't worry if you are new to needlepoint, this is a perfect project for all skill levels.  - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.ca/#sthash.YFr04Dqy.dpuf
The cute mini-pansy kit shown below, valued at $84, is complete with detailed instructions, printed canvas, fine British wool, and a needle and will be given to one of my readers.  Don't worry if you are new to needlepoint, this is a perfect project for all skill levels.  - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.ca/#sthash.YFr04Dqy.dpuf
The cute mini-pansy kit shown below, valued at $84, is complete with detailed instructions, printed canvas, fine British wool, and a needle and will be given to one of my readers.  Don't worry if you are new to needlepoint, this is a perfect project for all skill levels.  - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.ca/#sthash.YFr04Dqy.dpuf

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4 comments

  1. What a nice shower! I think your recommendation of keeping things simple is perfect and is crucial to my style of entertaining these days. I'd rather spend my time with friends and family, than slaving too much before or after a party. I think having a clean house and flowers is beautiful. I love your style, girl!

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  2. Sounds like a great party! I had forgotten about the ribbon paper plate deal!

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  3. You give the best parties of all kind,,,,,

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  4. Pretty party. I feel I'm right at home in your house now with all your pictures over the years!

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