Boston Lifehack: Tea isn’t just for tossing into the harbor, it can also set the foundation for an elegant afternoon reception for your New England wedding.
In many ways a “high tea” reception is a cake and punch reception with a bit more spit and polish to it. Both are generally held in the mid-to-late afternoon and focus on providing guests with a variety of light refreshments rather than a full meal.
Both types of reception can also rather neatly intersect with the “garden party” if you have a suitable outdoor venue and in New England late Spring and early Summer are great times for a garden party. The distinguishing factor tends to be the sort of fare served at the different events - cake and punch tends to focus a little more on the sweets, where high tea will have a mixture of sweet and savory items.
For couples getting married in New England, a high tea wedding can be less intensive than a traditional wedding in both planning and execution. Like other alternative receptions, it’s also a budget-conscious way to host a large event, especially since food a drink can sometimes take up as much as half of a wedding’s budget. A high tea wedding is also a good alternative for couples that are looking to have a dry wedding.
What are some ways to add a unique twist to your tea party? Have a variety of tease for tasting and maybe a story about each tea that you’re trying (can work really great if you’ve traveled to a lot of tea-producing regions). Spread around small social games at your tables, there are a number of small box games that can be very quick to learn (and websites like https://www.shutupandsitdown.com/ are great resources), and lawn games like croquet, bocce, or even giant Jenga are grand supplements for garden parties.
Potential Pitfalls: Alternative celebrations are all about managing your guests expectations and making sure they’re ready to enjoy your unique event - describing your wedding as a tea (or high tea, or garden party) will go a long way to set the mood ahead of the day. Couples are frequently concerned that guests may not have fun without drinking or dancing, but when events have a shorter timeline (which is typical with a tea) then people are more likely to stick around for your entire Boston Wedding rather than leaving early (and spreading some games around or having other elements like a photo-booth or some live music could help).
Matching Themes: With garden parties and high tea, it’s easy to reach for classical English themes and maybe notes of the Victorian (or of Alice in Wonderland, perhaps a country fair, if you’re looking for a bit of whimsy). Flowers and greenery are also natural compliments to these kinds of receptions, even if you’re indoors.
Ryan Richardson is a wedding and engagement photographer serving Boston and beyond; including Cape Cod Weddings, New England Weddings, Massachusetts Weddings and Rhode Island Weddings.