Hosting & Styling a Bridal Party Reveal Afternoon Tea
I recently got more excited (instead of overwhelmed) about planning my big day and it started a couple months ago when I began organizing a bridal party reveal/proposal in which I would ask my girlfriends to be apart of my bridal party. Although the wedding date isn't for another couple of years, I like to be ahead of the game to give everyone time to prepare since I have a couple girls that live out of the country, that'll be getting married next year or are having babies! It's definitely going to be a whirlwind for everyone leading up to my wedding day, so here's how I asked my girls!
I was inspired to host an afternoon tea inspired event to incorporate my fiancé Scott's English heritage because who doesn't like a tea setting? I immediately knew that I needed at least three elements to create an enchanting, whimsical table setting: lush flowers, vintage china/tea sets and colored glassware. As I had experienced a proper afternoon tea with Scott while we were in London this past April, I infused bits of a traditional tea service with surprise gifts and fun activities to create a unique bridal tea experience for my guests. Typically the cuisine enjoyed during an afternoon tea consists of scones with clotted cream and jam, an assortment of mini cakes and pastries and simple sandwiches. To minimize food preparation time, I purchased frozen macarons and other desserts from Trader Joes that just needed to be thawed and plated; and for more substantial bites, I picked up wraps and veggies from Costco. I brewed three different Teavana floral and fruity teas served in vintage teapots along with chilled bottles of Bella Conchi Brut Rosé in champagne buckets sprinkled within the table decor. For additional beverage options, I had a selection of Izze Sparkling Juices in a galvanized tub and cold water in silver pitchers. Instead of having the food displayed on tiered platters on the table, I had it off to the side on a separate table. To execute my vision, I brought a creative group of beautiful, talented and inspiring women together to bring the tea to life:
Floral Design by Shawna of Bleudog Floral
Photography by Shawna of Bleudog Fotography
Tablescape Styling with China, Glassware, Serving Ware and Cutlery by Cheryl + Sam of Lily Oliver Vintage Rentals
Lettering Designs by Electric Eunice
THE REVEAL / PROPOSAL
I wanted to keep the intention behind the event a secret as much as possible (I also invited my mom and mum-to-be so they could be included) because I didn't want to ruin the surprise, so on the invitation I just stated that I was having a bridal tea celebration and that I wanted them all to join me. Although Jen, my maid of honor was aware since I had personally asked her when she attended a family engagement bbq and I needed her assistance in setting up. I created mom, maid/matron of honor, bridesmaid and flower girl gift boxes that included a card asking if they wanted to be apart of my bridal party. I'll be sharing a separate post with the exact items (beauty/skincare, lifestyle, culinary, accessories and jewelry items) I included in the various types of boxes and how you can create your own boxes. I tied up each box with a strip of lace and a watercolor place card, then set each box on a seat. After everyone arrived I had them open up their boxes, and I popped the question on a kraft paper tag with a necklace attached to it. It's safe to say that everyone said yes, I unfortunately was missing one other flower girl and bridesmaid, but will be giving them their gift box at a later date.
Along with Shawna (@bleudogfloral) arranging the event flowers, she also facilitated a flower crown workshop for the girls. She displayed flowers in buckets, which would be cut to be used in the crowns. Each lady was given a wire to fasten greenery together, then additional pieces of cut wire to add in flowers to the greenery crown. The method of creating the crowns is simple enough to follow and the finished product is a beautiful one. The flower crowns took approximately 40 minutes for everyone to put together and added a whimsical touch to the tea.
INSTANT PHOTO STATION
I created an instant photo station with props and a Fujifilm instax camera. I also had a mini scrapbook with gel pens, stickers and tape dots so that if the girls wanted to, they could affix the instant photos into the scrapbook and decorate the pages. This is a creative way to document the event and also give the guests a memento if they want to take photos home with them.
I've been seeing fun kawaii style embellished sunglasses everywhere and thought it would be a great activity for everyone to get to decorate their own pair of zeroUV sunglasses with flat back resin rosettes and rhinestones. I purchased a couple different tubes of E6000 industrial strength glue and had to give the ladies a disclaimer that the glue can be finicky while applying, and it's also very strong glue so it had to be used with the upmost care. For the resin rosettes and rhinestones, I purchased bulk packs off of Amazon; and I made sure to embellish a pair of sunglasses as an example and will share a DIY post soon!
SNAPCHAT EVENT GEOFILTER
Jen gifted me with a snapchat geofilter for the duration of the afternoon tea. She set everything up through her phone and the filter worked seamlessly. You have the option to use your own filter design or customize a pre-made template (there are a variety of filters for all kinds of occasions), then you add in the event date, time and address (with parameters) and submit for review and approval (I would do this at least a week prior to your event date). All filters start at $5 and is an added amenity for your guests while documenting and sharing an event!
I created a pinterest board including pastel colors, dainty florals and all things tea set decor related as well as bridesmaid gift box options and ideas. I focused on the colors blush pink, golden yellow and a couple shades of green with accents of tarnished silver and yellow gold. To create a fresh, garden party atmosphere, I hung all white tissue pom poms and lanterns then draped white voile fabric from the patio beams (which looked quite nice when the wind picked up the fabric and it flowed in the air) and covered all the foldable chairs. I haven't seen many bridal party reveal/proposal events but I think they will become a popular occasion alongside gifting the bridal party with gift boxes. If you're not the crafty type, etsy has a plethora of bridal party everything - gifts and pre-made proposal boxes. You can host an bridal party reveal with any theme your heart desires; although I didn't know exactly how everything would turn out until I finally saw all the design components in front of me, seeing visual examples and creating a mood board really helped - it also doesn't hurt that I was working with individuals that really know what they're doing! Thank you to everyone that helped make this event visually stunning and a great success!
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Photos taken by Bleudog Fotography