Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This is how we do it

"This is how my family does it". I say this a lot. I'm very proud of my family and I'm very much like my family (go figure). People often ask me where I get my interest in baking and cooking and planning events and photography and why I'm such a perfectionist. Well simply - I get it from my family. Last month, my cousin Robin threw a bridal shower for my other cousin's fiancée. Michelle will be joining our family in July when she marries Robin's sister's son, Scott (we are a complicated bunch). Well this was a shower like none other. It was FABULOUS. It felt like we were afternoon tea-ing in a fancy restaurant.

This is how my family throws a tea party

Michelle and my cousin, Scott
Flanked by her parents, sister and brother-in-law

When Robin started planning this shower, she KNEW she wanted to do it "Tea Party" style. Add in there that Auntie Betty and I have been talking for MONTHS about throwing a tea party for our family and it really couldn't have been a better situation.

I get my love of afternoon tea from my family too. Namely these two cousins:
Bride's future mother-in-law, Lorie and her sister, the hostess, Robin

I played but a small part in the hostess duties. I was in charge of dessert. However I don't take this responsibility lightly. I made Martha's meringue cupcakes with raspberry curd. They are SO fabulous I can't even begin to explain... But I'll save talking about those for a future post. Seriously you CAN'T wait for it... so I'll try to hurry.

A sneak peek at the dessert I served - coming soon in a future blog post!

The shower was at my auntie's home in Half Moon Bay. Remember this? I told you I spend a lot of time out there! We got very lucky with the weather though. HMB is typically *very* overcast and cool. But shower weekend the weather was PERFECT (which meant it was like 90 in the rest of the Bay Area).

If there's ever a great reason to have nice china and silver, it's if you entertain a lot... or throw a lot of tea parties! And you'll never believe how many teapots we owned collectively. I think there were 13 fancy teapots there that day!

I think 3 people in my family collectively own this many teapots
We might obsess a little

Our menu for the tea:
  • Mixed baby greens, blueberries, pears and glazed walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Mixed fresh fruit
  • Assortment of four tea breads: date nut, banana nut, carrot and lemon served with lemon curd, jam and butter
  • Various tea sandwiches: egg salad, cucumber and butter, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and roast beef with horseradish
  • Chicken salad filled puffs
  • And a selection of Bigelow Teas: English Breakfast, Constant Comment and Herbal
These cucumber sandwiches were the most amazing and flavorful I've ever had
Gimme MORE!!

Let's not forget that there was a bellini bar on the patio. With no, not purchased flavorings - but homemade: strawberry, peach and blueberry! And finally - favors of white and dark chocolate covered pretzels... YES also handmade!! OK, not the pretzels, but Robin dipped and sprinkled them!

The bellini bar on the deck: strawberry, peach or blueberry purees
mixed with prosecco or ginger ale

Actually, I don't think I need to tell you that EVERYTHING was homemade. Auntie Betty's task was to make a couple breads and she made FOUR. Not to mention she was still sewing cushions for her patio furniture (so that they would match the bride's colors) the DAY before the shower. She made the lemon curd and strawberry jam and the clotted cream - but um, it didn't really "work" so we skipped it and hoped no one noticed.

Chocolate covered pretzel favors ~~ Homemade tea breads in various flavors

Robin did most of the planning and cooking and preparations for the shower - and she did it FLAWLESSLY. The table settings, almost all the food, the planning, the setup, the cleanup, the sewing her own tablecloths so that they too would match Michelle's wedding colors. And let's not forget to mention: the shower ended up being a much larger event than we originally thought it'd be. We had around 35 guests which meant 5 tables in Auntie's dining room and living room. Robin adjusted as the numbers grew and shrank a few times over. And the craziest part? She did all this with not one hair out of place. I would have been sweating and frantic and frazzled and yelling at everyone (a wonderful picture to paint, yes?)

Auntie Betty's living room and dining room transformed into a gorgeous tea room

Gals who won the games got their prizes in these fancy little gift "cups".
Which, by the way PERFECTLY matched the invitations. Robin's touch again!

We mingled outside sipping bellinis, then dined on afternoon tea and stuffed ourselves silly full of chicken salad puffs and lemon pound cake. We played a few obligatory games and then watched Michelle open her plenitude of gifts while I quietly escaped to the garage to assemble my desserts (assembly takes a lot of counter space and diligence). Good thing I brought my own 6 foot table. Ha!!

The day was perfect. The shower was exquisite. Seriously.

Michelle with her hostesses: Auntie Betty, Bossy Lisa and Robin

I joked with my family that I think the few of us together could rule the world. Or at least event-plan the heck out of it!!


  1. Those gift cups are absolutely adorable! Are those paper coffee cups or the porcelain coffee cups?

    And the other photos of the shower are amazing.

  2. holy crap!!! not sure i can say more than that... just... wow... holy crap... (in a good way!)

  3. Sandy: The cups were regular paper coffee cups but that would be a super cute idea to buy the porcelain ones! Tho I guess the decorations might not stick as well. :)

    Hehe - thanks Ames.

  4. Hi Lisa

    I love your idea of a tea party and I love all the effort put into it by your family. It just makes it so much better! I've always enjoyed reading your blog posting (I myself love the tea posting the most!)

    Thanks Lisa. I will have to try the Pho and the Tea recipes

  5. This is unbelievably fabulous! Your family really is amazing! So glad to hear that Bigelow's Constant Comment tea was on the menu at this incredible tea party!
    -Deb for Bigelow Tea

  6. Those gift cups are absolutely the cutest thing going!

    You have a beautiful blog. :)

  7. Where did you get the stands for the food to sit on from?