Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I am a lifelong tea lover. My love affair with tea started when I was a child with sweet sun tea, and as an adult I love the way a cup of tea warms my entire body on cold winter days or soothes me when I'm sick.
If you enjoy tea as much as I do, consider incorporating it into your wedding plans.
Choose a beautiful location and host an afternoon tea for you and your bridal party. Whether you have it in a backyard garden or a fancy or casual restaurant, a bridesmaid's tea is a fun way to connect with your friends prior to the big day.
Set a beautiful table using your best dishes, flatware and linens. Serve finger sandwiches, scones, desserts and appetizers buffet style, so you can maximize time with your friends and family. Research and serve out-of-the-ordinary teas, like yerba mate, a South American tea known for antioxidant properties. For a little extra fun, try tasseography, or tea-leaf reading, a type of fortune-telling that interprets patterns in tea leaves.
If you are the maid of honor, consider throwing a bridal tea in place of the bridal shower. You can have the same activities as a regular shower, but tea would be the underlining theme.
Add tea sets, teapots, warmers, cups, mugs, storage tins, tea kettles, trivets, a mate gourd and straw, tea ball infuser, tea scented candles or a chest of tea to your bridal registry.
Some companies offer tea-of-the-month clubs you can join in order to try different types.
For weddings, the Chinese perform a traditional tea ceremony to honor and express gratitude toward the elders of the family. For the ceremony, the bride and groom serve tea while kneeling at the feet of family members. The older members of the family are served first, working down to the youngest. Parents and relatives usually place a red envelope on the serving tray for the couple, after they have taken a sip of tea. The envelope symbolizes good luck and is usually filled with a monetary gift. The ceremony itself is about acceptance into a new family and respect and honor to parents and in-laws.
Many wedding vendors offer favors of individual wrapped tea bags with the bride and groom's name and wedding date printed on the packaging. Consider creating your own using inexpensive round tins or small cellophane bags, bulk tea bags or loose tea, and personalized labels made on your computer.
Consider setting up a tea bar at your reception. Provide a selection of regular, decaffeinated, flavored and exotic tea bags for your guests. For that extra touch, put out special add-ins like pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, flavored syrup, honey, sugar cubes, orange and lemon zest, crystallized ginger, orange or lemon peels, agave nectar, Amaretto liqueur, simple syrup and chai powder. Don't forget about the milk and whipped topping, some people prefer a creamer tea.