How We Had an English Tea Party for the Royal Wedding


Royal Wedding 2018 Party_43_011_web.jpg

What a wedding, huh? The royal wedding that is! And like any die-hard anglophile, you have to go all-out to celebrate it, just like the royal family did, right? So, that’s exactly what my family and I did!

Like most Americans, we didn’t know the ins-and-outs of high tea, afternoon tea, whatever-else tea that the British are well-known for. BUT, Google is a thing, so we figured out what to do. Where would we be without Google, am I right? So, here’s what we did:

We decided we would have two different teas, a variety of biscuits (referring to British biscuits, not American biscuits), a variety of tea sandwiches, potato salad, strawberries, and a chocolate cake. Sounds good, right? If you want to skip to what we used, scroll down to “Review of What We Had”.

 

 
Royal Wedding 2018 Party_54_013_web.jpg

The Table

First, we went over to a local vintage store and got a tiered platter. This would eventually hold strawberries covered in powdered sugar, biscuits, and the tea sandwiches. The one we got was metal with an elegant design. You can get a new modern one or find a vintage one, whatever works for you!

You will want a tablecloth! There is a lot of food, drinks, messes waiting to happen. Don’t ruin your table, please. You can get a cheaper plastic one or invest in an actual fabric one that can be washed and used for any future events! We used a white fabric one with a floral design on the trim. It has been in the family for a while, it has been through a lot! Consider using pastel colors or go with the safety of traditional white.

Royal Wedding 2018 Party_9_004_web.jpg
  • We used two teapots, both from England. These held two different teas.
  • We had three teacups (three people) with trays and teaspoons. The teaspoon is used to mix in either cream or sugar. The tray is to hold the cup and the spoon, but also catches any dripping liquid.
  • We had fabric napkins, which made it a bit fancier.
  • We used classy looking forks for the potato salad. Please note: it was on-hand already, so we used it. I don’t believe it is a traditional staple of an English tea party.
  • We put the sugar in a sugar bowl, with a small sugar spoon to scoop.
  • We used a cute, little cream pitcher for the cream. This made it easier to pour it into the tea.
  • The cake was placed on a short cake stand, which you can find anywhere.
  • We added some trinkets and figurines that we got from our times going to England, Wales, and Scotland. These were put all around the table. Our favorite is the waving Queen Elizabeth!

You can honestly use whatever you have, but the fancier it looks, the more “royal” it’s going to look! That’s why we did what we did. We went all out as this would be the last royal wedding for a while. Have some fun with the design, whether you decide to try this for a party or for the next royal wedding! Now, the breakdown of the food and drinks, and why!

 
Royal Wedding 2018 Party_2_001_web.jpg

The Tea

This is why you’re here, right? It IS a tea party. We used two different teas, a strawberry flavored tea and an English breakfast tea. There was also sugar and cream to add if needed. We used:

No. 66 Strawberry Serenade Tea by Whittard of Chelsea
Found here

Of all the teas I own and have tried, this is still my favorite of all-time. I was so excited to have it at our tea party. It is a great taste (and smell!), especially for summer. I highly recommend it. The tea from this company is about as British as you can get. It’s loose tea (the best kind, imo). I bought it in London, England. The company has been around since 1886! English born and raised! They have a wide variety of tea flavors, coffee, tableware, etc. as well.

More info on the history of Whittard of Chelsea can be found here.
 

Royal Wedding 2018 Party_12_005_web.jpg

English Breakfast Black Tea by Fava Tea Company
Found here

Since I went to college in Wisconsin, had to use a local company’s tea! Loose tea again! This is a basic staple tea. If you want caffeine, but don’t like the buzz or taste of coffee, this is the one you want to go for. Frankly, we were all a bit tired after watching 4-hours of the wedding, so this gave us a good pick-me-up. I suggest this company to everyone. They have a lot of different flavors and get new ones all the time. If you don’t want a basic tea, there are a lot of caffeinated teas that have different flavors. Go check them out!

New to loose tea? Consider switching. There are a lot more benefits that come from loose tea than from prebagged teabags. I’d suggest researching it, but if you want to avoid the chemicals of tea bags, have fresher tea, and have a larger variety, go for the loose!

Convinced? You will need a tea infuser to put the loose tea in, so it can steep without getting leaves and such in your cup/teapot. I’ve used a few different infusers and my favorite is still my one from Whittard that I got when I bought the strawberry tea in London. If you want to invest in a better infuser, I’ve had no issues with this one the past two years. It closes tight, so I rarely get any “leaf crumbs” in my tea. Plus, it has a cute teapot at the end of the chain! If you want to check it out, it can be found here.

 

 
Royal Wedding 2018 Party_38_010_web.jpg

The Tiered Platter

Top:
We got fresh strawberries for the smallest tier. We sprinkled on some powdered sugar to add a bit of interest, and sweetness!

Middle:
For the middle tier, we chose to put the biscuits. A couple days before, I decided to try my hand at making King Arthur’s English Digestive Biscuits. I used the recipe from the King Arthur flour company, found here. They are a good source of fiber since they are whole grain. In fact, according to the recipe’s site, they were created in the late 19th-century to increase fiber in Victorian diets. A lot of us nowadays need this, so these are perfect! They were super easy to make too! I did tweak the recipe slightly by adding a little more milk. This was solely to help make the dough mix together better and become stiffer. They were great to dip into the teas, or even to eat straight. You could always put some fruit on them too!

The other biscuits we used were store-bought. Two of them were from Pepperidge Farms, an American company. We used the oh-so-popular Milano Dark Chocolate (!!!) Cookies and the Chessmen “Sweet and Simple Butter” Cookies with Seasonal Prints. Nummy! These were all great to dip into the teas. They are sweet and quite filling, actually. These can be found here and here.

Lastly, we used the Lotus Biscoff Classic Cookies that started in Belgium. I first had these on a flight, where I fell in love with them. They are addicting, be warned! These are another great dipping biscuit, for both tea and coffee. They have a very unique flavor, great for a plainer tea like the English Breakfast, but they also complimented the Strawberry well. They can be found here.

I could live off of tea and biscuits, but sadly that isn’t realistic. Nonetheless, consider trying biscuits and tea! So many different combos!

Bottom:
Lastly, we did the tea sandwiches on the bottom tier. We did a variety because my dad doesn’t like cucumbers, and I’m a pescatarian. The rest were fine for all. Cucumber sandwiches are a traditional English tea sandwich. You can even use an English cucumber, a longer, skinnier version of the ones we know in America. They can be found at most grocery stores.

Royal Wedding 2018 Party_29_008_web.jpg

There are endless possibilities for tea sandwiches. So many combinations of different flavors! All the ones we made used normal sandwich bread, but you can use what you want. The best way to make them is to put all the ingredients on the bread, make the sandwich, THEN cut off the crust and cut them into their shapes with a bread knife. Don’t do this cutting before, or it tends to get squished more easily. A bread knife makes the cut cleaner and reduces the squishing, as well. Cut the crust first, then cut the sandwiches into squares or triangles. Do both shapes to create some variety and to help with the distinction between sandwiches.

All the recipes were found online, and they are linked below:

Like I said, there is an endless number of flavors. Search ‘tea sandwich’ recipes to try some different ones out! I liked all the ones I tried! Have fun with it!

 
Royal Wedding 2018 Party_37_009_web.jpg

Other:
We used half-and-half for cream, but I’ve found that the British actually tend to use milk in their teas if needed. In my experience, adding cream/milk isn’t common for herbal, green, or flavored teas; but it’s a perfect addition to the English Breakfast, Earl Grey, or any other highly-caffeinated tea. Much like coffee!

Along with this, sugar is common for basically all teas. Both come down to preference. The strawberry tea was great by itself, but the English Breakfast did well with the cream and sugar. Try it out yourself to find the perfect combo for you!

The potato salad was store bought at the deli area. You can do this or make it with your favorite potato salad recipe! Again, please note that this was on-hand already, I don’t believe it is a traditional English tea party staple. It did go well with everything, though!

The chocolate cake was also store bought and was delicious! If you’re having a smaller party like us, go with a smaller cake. It shouldn’t be the focal point. For bigger parties with more people, do a bigger cake. For us, it was easier to buy it, but if you have a favorite cake recipe then go for that! It doesn’t need to be a chocolate cake, but that’s what we chose. Maybe try your hand at a British recipe!

We had a bottle of champagne on the table too, but didn’t end up drinking any. The tea was too good! This isn’t necessary, clearly, so I wouldn’t include it again. You can do whatever you want, though!

 

Review of What We Had

Teas

  • No. 66 Strawberry Serenade Tea by Whittard of Chelsea
    Found here
     
  • English Breakfast Black Tea by Fava Tea Company
    Found here

If using loose tea (suggested!), you need an infuser to put the tea in, which then goes into the heated water. You can always use tea bags in the same way, but I choose not to. My all-time favorite infuser can be found here.

Royal Wedding 2018 Party_3_002_web.jpg

Biscuits

  • King Arthur’s English Digestive Biscuits
    Recipe here. I added a little more milk to help with mixing.
     
  • Pepperidge Farms Milano Dark Chocolate Cookies
    Found here
     
  • Pepperidge Farms Chessmen “Sweet and Simple Butter” Cookies
    Found here
     
  • Lotus Biscoff Classic Cookies
    Found here
Royal Wedding 2018 Party_49_012_web.jpg

Sandwiches

Other

  • Include sugar, and cream or milk, that guests can add if they want.
  • Store-bought chocolate cake, you can use whatever kind of cake you want, but I suggest it not be the focal point!
  • Store-bought potato salad, or you can make it yourself! This isn’t traditional for a tea party, but it did go well with everything.
  • Bottle of champagne was on the table, but we didn’t end up drinking any. I wouldn’t include it again.
 
Royal Wedding 2018 Party_17_006_web.jpg

Conclusion

Seem like a lot? It was actually quite easy once we got the ingredients. Set up the tablecloth, utensils, cups, etc. first. I suggest making the sandwiches the day-of, but the rest can be done ahead of time. We put the biscuits out first, then the strawberries. Sprinkle the strawberries with powdered sugar. Make the sandwiches, put them in the fridge, then put them out right before serving time. Put the sugar and cream out a little before the serving. Lastly, heat up water to make the tea and let it steep for the suggested amount of time. Put the whole teapot out for guests to serve themselves. The cake can go out whenever, but we had one that needed to stay cold, so that went out last. You’re ready! Enjoy! I hope you can try this out, we had a lot of fun!

The Royal Wedding was beautiful! What did you think? Did you celebrate? Have you had a tea party before? Any suggestions are welcome, I’m sure we will do this again!


Cheers!
xx
Katy