Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to Plan a Perfect Afternoon Tea!

Our first 2018 video!

We decided to combine a "d for delicious" and "c for craft" video together~ Valentines day is coming and the idea of a non-traditional Afternoon tea date rather than a dinner date would be really cute.

We thought it would be perfect for anyone even singletons or a "Galentine" cream tea gathering or even family bonding time!  Nobody should be left out on Valentines day, everyone should feel loved :)

So... we are here to present our ultimate guide to a perfect cream tea scenario. Just a few steps and it will transform your ordinary get-together into a chic, "bougie" and Instagram-worthy party!

*These steps work for a lot of different party scenarios, just keep in that in mind so you can elevate any party/get-together you are hosting or planning.

(ps. We have another post about planning a theme party - you can read it here to get more tips)

This is going to be quite a long one so, get a drink and get comfy!

British Cream Tea

First, you have to think about the "event" you are planning a "pre-plan".
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before starting.

*We are going to use Afternoon Tea as the "event" as an example, because this is an Afternoon Tea guide after all so feel free to "sub" your own event and go through the process with that kept in mind.

Q1. Do you have time for an elaborate "all-out" Tea party? or are you aiming for a quick get-together but still want it well put together and not too shabby?

This question is a basic guideline on how much time you are willing to put into it. But time does not equal to results. Even if you chose the latter, you can still create good results with making smart choices.

Q2. What budget are you aiming for?

In our opinion, budget is not the most defining thing of the "scale" of the event. It more defines how much effort you can "spare". An all-out high budget event can be extravagant, anyone can shell out tons of money and make a good party, so we will not be focusing it.

After answering the above 2 questions you can start actually planning the event.

If in Q1, you've answered the first choice, you can start planning by choosing a "theme/colour scheme" of sorts. For example, vintage floral, pastel-y or neutrals etc.

Going all-out means you are going to coordinate everything to the theme. You may have to spend time to find matching stuff or spend money to buy matching sets. It depends on the budget you have answered in Q2. Having a lower budget doesn't mean you can't have nice stuff, you just need to put more effort into it. It is the difference between buying everything matching / DIY-ing everything to match.

If in Q1, you've answered the second choice, our video is exactly how it sort of came out. We need it to be fast because filming takes a lot of time and there is not a lot of time in 1 day when we get together to film. We also have to keep the budget low as ad-revenue of the videos we produce for our youtube cannot sustain themselves so it is basically out of pocket money. For us, budget = the lower the better. *Just a side track knowledge to give you more perspective on our budgeting of an event 

In this scenario, you can't really afford to choose a "theme" but you can work with what you have. Pull out everything you have kept in the dusting cupboards for ideas and "props"/ utensils. Not everything must be matching but they have to make sense. Added in some DIY components and you will get decent results.

not the best Champagne flutes, but works!

Now you have those two mindsets in mind, just follow our 1-8 components guildline and I promise you that your event will not come out shabby at all.

#1. Tablecloth
Tablecloth is really crucial in a nice setup. It gives a subtle impression of classiness and helps to cover an ugly table or a plain jane table.

- All-out mode: Usually if you have a theme to match, the perfect "backdrop" will be an all white tablecloth. White tablecloths brings out the colour in your centrepiece, food, utensils. If you are feeling a bit more fancy, you can do a white on white embroidery. You could also do a pastel/light colour of your main theme colour. For example, floral tea sets that are bright pink and white with flamingo-coloured flowers, you can go for a light pink tablecloth to match.

- Skimp on time mode: At this instant, all our platings are white ceramic with silver utensils so we chose a patterned tablecloth as it adds some interest into the setting. Because ours is a all white plates, they would be perfect paired with a fancy tablecloth. I imagine if you do it with a wine red tablecloth and switching out silver for gold, it can instantly be turned into the most romantic setting add some candles and you got the vibes. Anyways, rambling to much, back to choosing tablecloths. If you are going for a mixed and matched patterned plates and teacups,from your dusty closet or borrowing from friends and neighbours, you can do a plain pale pastel as tablecloth to pull the setting together. If you are on a penny pinch, you can get great options at the thrift store or just find something in your home to work with, get creative and surely something will fit. Real tablecloth, curtains, non-fitted bedsheets (find a thicker fabric), raw fabric, these all can be turned into tablecloths. Our tablecloth came in raw fabric and we just hemmed the 4 sides, done.


#2. Centrepiece
Having a centrepiece will let your guest have a focus on the table, it adds interest and brightens up the table, basically it is the decoration of the table. It can be any sort of centrepiece - flowers, candy, fruit, fairy lights, candle trays etc. Choose something not too complicated.

- All-out mode: Choose something that fits your theme and you are good to go. It really depends on the theme you have, so you might have to rely on instincts a bit. Fresh flowers are "easy" centrepieces, it usually goes with most of the settings, so if you really have no idea, go to a florist and tell them your theme, find a couple reference photos on the internet and ask them to do it.

- Skimp on time mode: Buying pre-made centrepieces that are reusable is a good choice but doing a simple flower arrangement would smell good, feel refreshing and most likely impress your guess in your "taste" and "skill" which both of them you can easily fake *lulz* Below is how we did the one in our video and some tips and tricks for a easy floral centrepiece that can be done within 20 min.

How to: Floral Centrepiece

For a simple floral centrepiece, you need at least 3 elements, 1. main flowers 2. filler flowers/secondary flowers and 3. some sort of foliage.

Main flowers should "pop" be big-ish stands out alone. We chose a white Eustoma flower to match our non-theme and they look beautiful with an affordable price tag.

Secondary flowers/fillers are sort of the "side cast" of the bouquet, they are important to make the bouquet great but never gets "top-billing" They need to have their own characteristic that adds texture and depth to the piece but not so overpowering that it steals the spotlight.  We chose Sea Hollies as the secondary plant because they have a slightly blue hue that matches our tablecloth and the mild blue colour works really well with our main white Eustoma flowers.

After choosing the flowers (you can totally have more types of filler flowers but we are trying to keep it simple) you need to have some foliage to be the "extras", to fill in all the gaps, to make the bouquet complete. Our choice of leaves is Eucalyptus which also have a blue tinge *so statisfying*


Main flowers
Filler flowers
Overnight tap water

Florists shears / Sturdy Scissor

1. Fill your vase half full with overnight tap water
2. Pre-cut all the stems to the highest height you want your bouquet to be in a slanted angle with the shears
3. Lay out the flowers in categories for easy visualization
4. Start with the tallest stalk you want and work around the vase, cut down more of the stem if need be
5. You can shift and rearrange if you feel the need to, to get a more cohesive look
6. Using the "french" style of flower arrangement makes it simple and cute


#3. Custom Menu
Hosting an "intimate event" like friends get-together or a couples date, menus are absolutely redundant almost an overkill when you are just prepping this yourself but this is what makes it a little "formal", a little more "professional" and a little more "put together". It gives the impression that you hired someone else to do the work and it is part of the package it came with. Suddenly, everything looks bougie with a simple detail.

- All-out mode: Keeping in the theme, choosing a frame and stand for your menu. Using a nice frame to frame up your menu keeps it up right and eye catching. You can colour or decorate the frame to your theme. As for the menu inside, you can print it or write it yourself. If you want it nice and have a little more budget, finding an Etsy calligraphy artist and buy a custom menu would be a good option too.

- Skimp on time mode: Menu's can be simple and still look good, printing/ writing on pearlescent card stock have a minimalistic look to it, making it simple and elegant. If you are going to print your menus and don't have thicker card stock, we suggest you can print small individual menus and put it in their napkin.

How to: Simple Custom Menu

Pearlescent cardstock
Black fountain ink

Bone folder
Calligraphy pen nib and handle

1. Fold the card stock in half and score the crease with the bone folder
2. Write your Menu on the inside of the card and let it dry
3. Write "Menu" in the front of the card and let it dry

I. Using a pearlescent base card stock is a nice and easy way to make the "menu" look chic
II. You can mix and match the colours like using a black pearlescent card stock with gold fountain ink to match the theme you have going
III. Don't know how to write pretty? Digital printer and a fake calligraphy font is the way to go


#4. Table Setting
Setting up a table is crucial for a well put together event. It conveys the idea that you know what this is about. It tells guest what they should expect and how they should "act". For close friends/family, it says that you put a lot of thought into it, that you appreciate them much that you try to impress them.  For an Afternoon Tea table, there is a list of things you need to include.

*0. 3 tiered plates
1. Main plate
2. Napkin and napkin cuff (optional)
3. Fork
4. Butter spreader
5. Teaspoon
6. Waste dish
7. Teacup and saucer
8. Water Glass
9. Champagne flute (optional)
10. Place card (optional)

* 3 Tiers Serving plates are essential for plating your food, but you can use different things to make them. For example, a jewellery box can me a makeshift 3 tier stand, you can stack cups and plates to make a tiered stand. Use some creativity, different household items can be made into a cute stand!


#5. Food
The food and the tea is the spotlight of the event, your guest should be enjoying it during the event.
Depending on the event, the size, the variety and the quantity of the food should be considered. As we are using Afternoon Tea as the example, all foods should be finger food sized. You should have 3 tiers of different varieties of "snacks" and each person should get 1 of each variety with the exception of fruits.

Traditional Cream tea should have scones with jam and clotted cream

Some Savoury Tea Sandwiches and an array of desserts and sweets.

You can totally buy them in the store and plate them on a nice little tray, This way you can save some time but you may not be able to choose the size you'd like. Or you could opt to make it yourself to save some money and customise it to how ever you like it. Or a mix of both, buy some and make some. That way you can control your time spent on the food and the quality of it.

We are going to link future recipe posts soon where we have elaborate "How to-s" on making the list of food below:
Tea Sandwiches
Purple Sweet Potato Tart

How to: Chocolate covered strawberries
Fresh strawberries
Dark chocolate

1. The day before making them, prep the strawberries by washing and drying them with a kitchen towel
2. Let the strawberries air dry for 1 night
3. Gently melt and temper the chocolate for dipping
4. Hold on the stalk of the strawberry and dip the strawberry into the chocolate 3/4 way
5. Tap off the access and lay it on a silicone mat to set

I. If you do not temper the chocolate it will not set crisp
II. If you choose to use compound chocolate, it does not need to be tempered but it will not taste as good
III. Let the strawberries air dry will prevent the strawberries from breathing moisture into the chocolate


#6. Serving Tea
Tea!Tea!Tea! Its all about Tea. Cream Tea's are there for you to enjoy the tea so serving the full experience with a well made tea tray is the way to go! You need all the essentials to make up the tray.
Tea leaves, Tea pot with hot water, sugar, lemon, milk, tea towel. Guest can add their own fixin's to their taste! Even if you are an all-out/skim on time, you should have a tea serving tray!

How to: Glam-up Tea Tray

Cheap wooden tray
White acrylic paint
Marble contact paper

Paint brush
Box cutter
Cutting mat

Other items needed
Milk server
2 "dishes"
Tea towel

Tea bags, assorted
Boiling water

1. To "fancify" the wooden tray, paint on white acrylic paint and leave the surface that will be covered by contact paper unpainted, let it dry overnight
2. Measure and cut the marble contact paper to the size of the surface
3. Remove a part of the backing paper and align the edges
4. Slowly pull away the backing paper while your other hand it smoothing over the top to ensure there are no air bubbles
5. Set tray a side and start on the tea serving tray setup
6. Cut lemon into wedges, ideally 8 wedges per lemon and arrange it on the plate
7. Choose an assorted range of tea bags so your guest will have lots of options, hold it in 1 of the dishes
8. Transfer some sugar cubes/sugar granules in the other dish paired with a tong/teaspoon
9. Pour milk in milk server and boiling water into the teapot
10. Arrange all the above items into the tea tray with tea towel under the tea pot
11. You are ready to serve~

I. You can use loose tea leaves with a strainer for better tea, we like teabags because it offers choices that guest don't have to drink what they don't enjoy
II. Do the hot water in the tea pot last, this way the water will be still hot for serving


#7. Champagne (Optional)
Champagne is totally optional! You have it? Great! But if you don't? No big deal! My friends are not fans of alcohol so we've mimic the vibes with a non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice. Adds a little pizzazz to the whole bougie experience.

- All-out mode: Get a bottle of nice champagne and chill it thoroughly. Break out your nice precious champagne flutes or get a pack of 6 at ikea, they look nice too.

- Skimp on time mode: Skip the champagne!! lol. Nope, I am not here to tell you that~ Ikea have nice affordable champagne flutes but if you still want to lower the cost, picnic champagne flutes are a perfect choice, just choose one that has a decent "realistic" shape. Picnic flutes are plastic so prices should be in the budget but if you are planning to host more than 3 events/dates/parties/get-togethers a year, buying Ikea flutes will be more cost effective. Thrift stores are good options too but to save you the hassle Ikea really has some cute cheap flutes. Serving mimosas are also a great choice of alcohol for the table, they have a cute vibrant colour, you can use a lower grade champagne as it is a cocktail and you will use less champagne overall for each drink, money saved!


#8. Misc. (Optional)

- Dresscode
- Invites
- Sunshades for outdoors


Links to get stuff for an Afternoon Tea party:

Omg, this is such a long-winded post and it is all over the place. Hopefully it is not too confusing and after such a long read that you have learnt something "new"from it or at least got entertained by it.

Below is the condensed video of this post, you most likely have watched it if you came from youtube but if you stumble upon this randomly, enjoy~ and maybe subscribe to our channel, we have tons of fun stuff, not always these long-ass posts *hahhahaha*

Hope you guys enjoy this weeks [How To's]

See you next week :)

 xo D

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