Wells Vintage Tea Party

 

CHINA   .   CUTLERY  .   GLASSWARE   .   LAWN GAMES

By Wells Vintage Tea Party, Jun 28 2017 04:15PM



During the Spring and Summer months, afternoon tea in some form or other is pretty much a part of every week for me, but I never tire of it. I still feel the same spark of excitment today when I pack up my pretty trios and teapots to be delivered to someone's special occasion as I did when I first started this journey a few years ago.


But what is it that makes afternoon tea so special? ...


I recently read an article about afternoon in the Neptune Stories for Spring magazine and these words sum up perfectly why it is so special to me.


"When you're invited to afternoon tea at somebody's home, you always know that it is going to be lovely.... It's something to count down to."


It is the build up to afternoon tea as well as the ocassion itself that makes it so special. Whether it is a grand event with lots of guests or a simple gathering with a few close friends, it is a wonderful date to have in the diary. One that will be talked about and looked forward to by both host and guests.


Afternoon tea is an age-old tradition that is loved and shared across all generations. It can be both delicate and indulgent at the same time, and is as formal or informal as you choose.



Planning an afternoon tea does require a bit of thought and time to ensure that the right ambience is created. Simple things like thinking about the presentation of the food (as well as what will be served) will add to the experience for both you and your guests. Why does tea taste so much better when drunk from a bone china teacup?


A few seasonal flowers will elevate it from just tea and cake to something much prettier. If the season and weather permits, sit outside and hang bunting and lantterns to create a wonderful garden party atmosphere.


Whether you are planning an afternoon tea for a wedding, christening, birthday, anniversary, hen do (the list could go on and on...), we would love to hear from you.


And don't forget our new "Mini Wells Vintage Tea Party" package, created to give your little ones an authentic afternoon tea experience.


Photo credit: David Burke Photography



By Wells Vintage Tea Party, Jun 21 2017 04:51PM


Hosting a children's tea party can be great fun and allows you to be creative with the food as well as the decorations. We wanted to share with you some of our food ideas for a Mini Wells Vintage Tea Party.







For the younger child's afternoon tea party, we recommend keeping the food simple. Don't panic, this doesn't make it any less "wow". Here are our top tips ...


1. Make the food bright and exciting.

2. Sandwiches look great when they are cut into shapes (our favourites are mini heart shaped jam sandwiches).

3. Provide a few different mini cakes so that each child can have more than one (just like a grown up afternoon tea).

4. Mini scones are lovely but we definitely recommend pre-filling them. Young children (however neat and tidy) with dishes of jam and cream can, and probably will get very messy!

5. Fill small glass dishes with strawberries and blueberries. Not only are they healthy but they look extremly pretty.

6. Try to avoid putting bowls of crisps on the table. You will be amazed that nobody will miss them!

5. My daughter (age 5) says that jammy dodgers are an absolute must at all good afternoon tea parties. We'll let you make your minds up on that one ...






Example menu:


Fruit cordial served in teapots


Heart shaped sandwiches (keep it simple with jam, ham and cheese)

Mini sausage rolls


Mini cupcakes

Mini chocolate cornflake cakes

Marshmallow ballerinas

Jammy dodgers (up to you!!)


Fresh strawberries & blueberries






For an older child's afternoon tea party, the decorations and food can be more sophisticated and indulgent. Add a hint of 1920s to the styling and give it some glamour. Some of out top tips are ...


1. If you want to serve hot drinls and prefer to avoid tea then hot chocolate is a great option. Add mini marshmallows served in sugar bowls (with sugar tongs for added effect). Other great caffeine free hot drinks are herbal and fruit teas.

2. Mini bagels make a great alternative to finger sandwiches and you can be really inventive with the fillings.

3. Mini savoury pastries are a lovely addition to sandwiches.

4. To give the kids a real afternoon tea experience, serve mini scones with jam and cream in glass dishes.

5. Mini cakes should be indulgent (make it a real treat for them) and there should be a few types for them to try.

6. A couple of glass dishes filled with strawberries & blueberries won't look out of place and will help dilute the chocolate and other sweet treats (a bit!).

7. To complete their experience, older children will enjoy having a cake fork and butter knife to eat their food with.






Example menu:


Hot chocolate served in teapots

Mini marshmallows in sugar bowls, serve with sugar tongs


Mini bagels with cream cheese and cucumber

Mini bagels with humous & grated carrot

Finger sandwiches with smoked salmon & lemon butter

Mini pesto palmiers


Mini scones with strawberry jam & cream


Mini dark chocolate cupcakes

Rocky road bites

Strawberry & chocolate brownie bites


Fresh strawberries & blueberries



We hope that you and your little ones enjoy creating wonderful afternoon teas! We would love to see photos and hear all about your menu ideas ...




By Wells Vintage Tea Party, May 1 2017 08:04PM




My daughter (age 5) loves afternoon tea "with real china" almost as much as I do, so it was no great surprise when she asked for an afternoon tea party to celebrate her 5th birthday. With a little bit of trepidation (ok, quite a lot!), I agreed to let her use my beautiful vintage china and with all my fingers and toes crossed, we hosted our first kids' tea party for eight gorgeous girls.


A bit like her mum, she loves to organise things herself and wanted to choose the colours and styles of the vintage china, the decorations and of cource the menu ... according to a five year old no afternoon tea should be without jammy dodgers!


Despite her birthday being in November she wanted a garden party theme so together we created lots of bright floral table decorations that would bring the outside in.


To cut a long story short, she loved it, her friends loved it and it seems that all the mums loved it too! Needless to say it was then and there that the idea for our Mini Wells Vintage Tea Party package was born.


We have created a basic package with extras that can be added to give your child's party a bit more glamour. These incude our beautiful vintage dressing up trunk - full of vintage beads, pearls, hats, gloves, 1920s style headbands, feather boas, fans & flower crowns - customised 1920s style dresses, table decorations (floral and 1920s themes), rose garlands, handmade bunting and our handmade fabric party bags.


More information can be found on our prices and packages page.


Photo credit: Miriam Ionica


By Wells Vintage Tea Party, Mar 1 2017 01:41PM



If you are planning a glamorous 1920s themed cocktail party (or teaparty), we have put together a few ideas to help you create an authentic event that your family and friends won't forget.


Before you get drawn into the finer details, it is important to understand a bit of the history of 1920s America and the Prohibition. So, here's a very quick history lesson ...


Synonymous with 1920s cocktail parties, speakeasies sprung up all over the US during the Prohibition years of 1920-1933 when there was a nationwide ban of the sale, production, importation and transportation of alcohol. However, despite being enforced by the government, this didn't stop people from drinking alcohol as they simply set up unlicensed bars which became known as 'speakeasies". The name comes from the practice of speaking easy (or quietly) about the bar so not to alert the neighbours or police.


The speakeasy quickly became a big part of American culture at the time. Many were operated by people involved in organised crime, and even though they were often raided, and the owners and patrons arrested, they were so profitable that they continued to flourish.


To enter a speakeasy, the doorman would require a secret password, this was no place for a policeman or secret agent! Owners went to great lengths to disguise their speakeasy and one of the most famous, the "21" club in New York, had four safety switches that could be used during a raid to short circuit and cut the access to all the doors that contained alcohol.


Although the vast majority of speakeasies were in fact dark, dingy places, serving bathtub liquors, there were some like the swanky joints seen in the movies. These select clubs were glamorous, high-class establishments offering drinks, food, singing and jazz performances. This is probably the ambience that you will want to replicate at your party.


CREATING YOUR OWN 1920s SPEAKEASY


Set the scene

It's the roaring twenties and all bars have been closed due to the prohibition. You and your friends are "flappers and dappers" and won't let this get in the way of a good night of drinking, smoking and dancing at an underground joint.


To recreate the secrecy of a speakeasy, make the entrance to your party hard to find. The legendary speakeasies of New York were hidden behind toy stores, or entered through fake phone booths. The less glamorous the entrance the better; there should be no obvious sign that a party is going on. Make it even more authentic and have a doorman (they don't have to stand there all night!). When your guests arrive they should be asked for a special knock, a password from 1920s slang or an object - a popular item at the time was a library book so that if the speakeasy was raided it looked like a reading club. All this must be mentioned in the invitations of course, or your guests won't be allowed in!


To create the intimate and secretive vibe of a speakeasy, the lighting should be subdued, a few table lamps or even candles will be sufficient. Props such as vintage books, print outs of old tabloid newspapers, art deco paintings and patterns, vintage style adverts and framed photos of famous gangsters and movie stars of the time will help you set the scene. Luxurious dark fabrics such as velvet and faux furs will also add to the ambience.


Play authentic music of the time such as jazz, the dixieland sound of the 1900s and swing from the 1930s. If your budget allows, a live jazz band will add a wonderful buzz to your evening.


The Charleston was the popular dance of the time, and was hugely popular with the young and contemporary. For the rest of society (the "drys") it was considered quite immoral and blamed for the decline in moral standards. Needless to say it was banned in most dancehalls for being so outrageous and provocative, but was all the rage in the speakeasies.


What to serve

If possible, have bar tenders wearing some form of uniform. Cocktails must be served in teapots and drunk from innocent looking teacups and saucers. This was an extremely popular way to serve alcohol at a speakeasy so that everything appeared to be above board in case of a raid.


Most cocktails that you choose will fit your speakeasy theme as the majority of the cocktails that we drink today were created in the 1920s to mask the strength and bad taste of bathtub liquors and moonshines. Champagne cocktails were also a big hit. Accompany your drinks with platters of sweet and savoury canapes, served throughout the evening to soak up the moonshine.


What to wear

Ladies

The 1920s saw the birth of a new woman. One who smoked, drank, danced and voted. She was a risk taker and would have cut her hair short and worn heavy make-up. The typical flapper look comprised a short finger waved bob with a feathered headband, a drop-waisted fringed or heavily beaded cocktail dress, over the knee stockings and a pair of round-toed heels. Accessorise with a cigarette holder, a long string of pearls and a feather boa. Flappers often finished their ensemble with a felt bell-shaped hat called a cloche.


Guys

Successful gangsters lived extravagant lives and could be identified by their fashionable silk suits, expensive jewellery and guns. Guys should wear pin-striped suits, black or white ties, a black shirt, two tone brogues, and a fedora hat.

Alternatively, be a bit different and wear a collarless Henley shirt with long baggy trousers and braces. And for a genuine twenties look, add a hat.


So go on get dolled up in your glad rags and have a swell time at your juice joint. And try not to get too spliificated by drinking too much giggle water!






By Wells Vintage Tea Party, Feb 15 2017 01:22PM





Adding a touch of vintage style will add charm and timeless elegance to your wedding day, whatever your style of venue and time of year.


We love all things vintage (well pretty much all!) and want to share some of our thoughts about ways in which you can use vintage china at your wedding; either to add a subtle hint of vintage, or as one element of a truely vintage affair.


This list is of course not exhaustive, and the options are limitless. Be as creative as you like and remember that the key to planning your wedding day is to make it your own and do it your way.



Afternoon tea wedding breakfast

Afternoon tea is loved by all, and let's be honest, what's not to love about tea, sandwiches and cake! Wedding breakfasts are usually taken around 4.30/5pm which by coincidence is the traditional time for afternoon tea.

Imagine the scene as your guests walk in ... Each table set with beautiful vintage china, silver cutlery and handmade napkins. In the centre of each table you might have jam jars or teapots filled with pretty seasonal flowers.

Guests are served delicate finger sandwiches, scones with cream & jam, followed by slices of cake and small individual patisseries on vintage tiered cake stands. Why not also serve a whole cake on each table for added effect. One of our favourites is a simple (but very beautiful!) strawberry and cream filled victoria sponge, which looks stunning on a vintage glass cake stand.

Although the food looks dainty and small, please don't worry that an afternoon tea won't be enough. It is actually very filling and nobody will be left feeling hungry, promise!



Vintage tea & biscuits on arrival at the church/ceremony venue

Guests will often arrive early to a wedding and some will have travelled a fair distance, so inviting your guests for a cup of tea and a bite to eat before the ceremony will be very welcome. And a cup of tea in a vintage teacup will start your wedding day in true style!

Having a pre-wedding cup of tea will not only ensure that everyone is at the venue in plenty of time, but that they are relaxed and ready to enjoy your wedding ceremony without rumbling tummies.

Alternatively, you could serve tea and biscuits straight after the wedding service, before you all head off to the reception venue. What a lovely way to end your ceremony!



Vintage cream tea while the photos are being taken

The time between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast can sometimes feel quite long for guests, especially if this is when the newly weds disappear to have their photos taken. We think that this is the prefect time to serve a light cream tea (with scones) or tea and cake. Scones and cakes are a lovely substitution for canapes and are often a bit more filling.

A great way to involve close friends and family in your big day is to ask them to bring handmade cakes for you to serve. The more varied the cakes the more beautiful your cake table will look.

Why not add some good old fashioned fun with lawn games for both your big and little guests to play while tea is being served.



Chilled cocktails or cordials in pretty floral teacups

Everyone loves a pretty teacup so why save them just for tea? If you are having a summer wedding with drinks on the lawn, what could be lovelier than a summery drink served in a beautiful vintage teacup? Not a lot we say!

We did some research and found some great recipes for tea-based cocktails, which surely call for another article. Watch this space ...



Perfect for mulled wine at a winter wedding

Mulled wine looks glorious served in china teacups and will add some vintage glamour and colour to a winter wedding. It is the perfect warming drink to give your guests after your wedding ceremony, and is a drink saved only for the cold winter months.

If you are getting married in December, why not also serve bite sized mince pies with the mulled wine. What's not to love?


Vintage dinner china for your wedding breakfast

Forget impersonal and uninspiring white crockery, and serve your wedding breakfast on floral vintage china. Of course, it isn't just reserved for afternoon tea, vintage china looks amazing whatever is served on it!

We have a large collection of dinner plates and side plates, as well as vintage table cutlery that will allow you to enjoy a vintage theme without the tea and cake!


Serve tea and coffee after the wedding breakfast in vintage teacups

If you are planning a more traditional three (or more) course wedding breakfast and don't fancy vintage plates for the meal itself, you can still add a touch of vintage by serving the after dinner tea and coffee in vintage china teacups and saucers. They will look beautiful and give a subtle hint of vintage elegance to your table, and the tea can be poured from vintage teapots.



Desserts served in teacups are always a treat

Give your guests something to talk about and serve chilled desserts in teacups on saucers. A vintage silver teaspoon will finish the look perfectly.

Please no frozen desserts as fine bone china doesn't like to get too cold!



Don't forget your evening guests ...

Why save the beautiful vintage china for your daytime guests? Once you have cut your wedding cake in the evening, serve it to all your guests on pretty vintage teaplates along with tea and coffee in vintage teacups.



Vintage themed picnic

For a truely relaxed afternoon wedding, why not treat your guests to an informal picnic. Hampers full of wonderful summery picnic food can be eaten off vintage plates with tea and chilled drinks served in teacups. Finish the look with colourful blankets and picnic rugs, some fun outdoor games and everyone will be happy as Larry!


We hope this gives you some inspiration for your big day x





By Wells Vintage Tea Party, Jan 24 2017 01:55PM



In today's society we are not so governed by rules and etiquette as we were in years gone by. However, a step back into the tradition of afternoon tea can throw up a few questions (and laughs) about the correct way to behave.


I thought that it would be a bit of fun to answer a few of the most common questions about afternoon tea etiquette:


What should I wear?

Nowadays smart casual is common practice even in top hotels. However, many ladies (and men!) see it as a perfect opportunity to get dressed up.


Should I put milk or tea into my teacup first?

This is one of the most debated tea enigmas. It is often thought that the lower classes put their milk in first to stop their poorer quality china from cracking. Therefore, if you had good quality china then you obviously wanted to show it off by pouring the hot tea in first.


Nowadays, it is perfectly acceptable to do it either way and it is a matter of personal taste. Many waiters in top hotels pour the tea first, allowing their guests to add their own milk.


How should I stir my tea?

Apparently, the correct way to stir one's tea is to place your spoon at the 6 o'clock position in the teacup and fold the tea towards the 12 o'clock position, making sure not to clink your spoon against the sides of the teacup! Never leave your teaspoon in your cup but place it on the saucer.


Should I stick my little finger up when I drink my tea?

Absolutely not! Not only is it pointless as it doesn't help to balance the cup, but it also looks quite silly. It is one of afternoon teas most common faux pas.


What is the correct way to eat a scone?

Apparently the most polite way to eat a scone is to break small pieces off and top each section with butter, cream and/or jam. Most peope however, opt to slice their scone in half and top each section.


Cream or jam first?

This really depends on whether you want to do it the Cornish way (jam first) or the Devonshire way (cream first).


We think that the most important rule of all is to have fun and enjoy the special and sociable occasion of afternoon tea!










By Wells Vintage Tea Party, Feb 28 2015 08:43AM


Whatever the occasion, we think that flowers always add a special something to the quintessential English tea party, and what could be better than styling your event with seasonal flowers.


The Homegrown Flower Company is a flower farm and florist based in East Sussex. They specialise in creating wonderful arrangements for weddings and events, which reflect the beauty of the English country garden.


Their flower calendar will help you choose seasonal flowers and foliage to make your event a truly English affair.


March/April

Flowers: Anemone, Tulips, Narcissi, Ranunculus, Hyacinths, Hellebores, Forget-me-nots, Wallflowers

Foliage: Eucalyptus, Pittosporum, Senecio


May

Flowers: Anemone, Tulips, Ranunculus, Alliums, Cornflowers, Geraniums, Orlaya, Delphiniums, Peonies, Aquilegia, Sweet Peas, Stocks

Foliage: Pittosporum, Eucalyptus, Guelder Roas, Mint, Ammi, Cerinthe, Honesty, Sweet Rocket, Cow Parsley


June

Flowers: Cornflowers, Nigella, Astrantia, Achillea, Sweet Williams, Delphiniums, Larkspur, Sweet Peas, Peonies, Roses

Foliage: Pittosporum, Eucalyptus, Mint, Dill, Stachys Byzantinus, Alchemilla Mollis, Senecio, Ammi, Gypsophila


July

Flowers: Most June flowers plus Cosmos, Dahlias, Snapdragons, Astilbe, Zinnias, Scabious, Phlox, Sunflowers

Foliage: Most June foliage plus Bells of Ireland, Sage, Lysimachia, Veronica


August

Flowers: Most July flowers plus Ageratum, Hydrangea

Foliage: Most July foliage plus Eryngium


September/October

Flowers: Dahlias, Zinnias, Ageratum, Cosmos, Snapdragons, Hydrangeas


To find out more information visit their website at www.thehomegrownflowercompany.co.uk