Inspiration For My Quintessential Afternoon Tea Wedding

Hello to all our lovely readers! As sisters, who are both real foodies and have a love for afternoon teas, this is THE most perfect blog for us to write. 

Afternoon teas are sooo quintessentially English, traditional, dainty… ooh la la. A cup of Earl Grey with a scone. Mmm, there’s nothing more delicious. 

Based in Sandgate (Folkestone), we’re in the perfect location in Kent to have tasted a great many delicious afternoon teas. But, what about afternoon tea at weddings? We think you can’t go wrong.

You might have been invited to an afternoon tea birthday party, or anniversary. But can you have it on your wedding day? We’ve been fortunate enough to play at some of the most beautiful afternoon tea weddings in Kent, the garden of England and across the UK. All totally different and styled with a theme in mind. Vintage, Disney inspired, Alice in Wonderland……

One of our favorites is a spring inspired afternoon tea wedding at Mount Ephraim, where the decor was all pastel yellows, accented with splashes of colour, and the bride wore a vintage three quarter dress – stunning. 

As the No. 1 Kent based, internationally acclaimed, award-winning musicians, harpists and vocalists, we’d love to share all some of the best wedding ideas, handy tips and ideas with you, and to provide some real inspiration, whatever your afternoon tea budget. 

What is an afternoon tea wedding?

We all know what an afternoon tea/or high tea is made up of the freshest finger sandwiches with no crusts of course, homemade, still oven-warm scones with delicious homemade strawberry jam and dollops of clotted cream, plus some divine miniature fondant iced-cakes and maybe even some macaroons?. It makes us hungry just thinking about a traditional English afternoon tea. Popular as it is, it really is no wonder that it’s one of the most popular choices of food at weddings all over the UK and even abroad. 

An afternoon tea wedding is usually a more informal, relaxed affair, than your classic wedding. That’s what makes it such a ‘go to’ for wedding couples, trying to make the most of the outdoors. Although the theme of a classic afternoon tea wedding usually includes hints of vintage, rustic, boho and shabby chic styling, there are many alternative ideas – you can even do a modern chic take on it! 

The summer months often bring days of glorious sunshine, which makes it the ideal time to eat your afternoon tea outside under a canopy, or the shade of trees, giving it that real garden party feel or in an Orangery. 

Why should I include music in my afternoon tea wedding? 

Afternoon tea and high tea weddings are all about having a relaxed atmosphere with a less formal feel. Music is the key to bringing that laid-back vibe you are dreaming of. Not only that, live musicians such as a harpist or harp and vocal duo can really add a touch of class, sophistication, and elegance. Plus, you can surprise your guests with covers of popular songs everyone knows on the harp as they sip their Earl Grey tea. 

How do I include live music in my afternoon tea wedding? 

Booking a musician to perform live on your wedding day is the perfect way to include music without the worries of power and electricity (especially if you’re having an outdoor wedding) and keeping the music continually playing on your iPod playlist. In fact, you can have exactly the music you’d like but made even more magical performed on an acoustic instrument. 

As harpists who have bespoke made harps, we know exactly how to make live music magical outdoors. Because our small harps come with specially made stands, we can perform easily outside. Even for large outdoor weddings where amplification is needed, there are no extensions or trailing wires when we perform. We come with our own battery powered system which lasts for hours and hours. If you would like to know more about our harps here, here is a link to our blog https://2ofharps.com/2020/04/03/2760/ 

Handy Tip: When booking your live musician, you may want to chat about the practicalities with them. Such as, can they perform outdoors, because even though we do, some live musicians choose not to but those that do might also need cover/shade. 

When should I have music during my afternoon tea wedding? 

There are several main parts to your wedding day where music is a MUST:

The ceremony

As guests begin to arrive and are seated ready for your wedding ceremony, some light background music makes all the difference to the atmosphere and ambiance. It’s important to choose an incredibly special song or music track for when you walk down the aisle. This can be something personal, or traditional, it’s totally up to you. Once you have said your vows, it will be time to sign the register, where your photographer will also take photos. It makes for a beautiful touch to ask your harpist or acoustic musician, to play a couple of pieces you have chosen for this moment. As you both exit the ceremony area, to the applause and cheers of your wedding guests, we recommend that you choose a song that’s more up-tempo. 

The drinks receptions and photos

As you and your guests enjoy some refreshments and maybe some canapés, why not book a musician to perform some background music during your cocktail hour? It’s fun to compile a playlist that fits your theme. 

The afternoon tea wedding breakfast 

It is so important when guests sit down to eat that music is playing or it can feel a bit awkward. However, what you play really depends about what kind of afternoon tea wedding you envisage. If you’re planning a Disney inspired afternoon tea, then tracks from the most popular and romantic Disney movies are a must. Here are a few suggestions 

‘Tale As Old As Time’ from Beauty and the Beast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ0ODCMC6xs 

‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ from The Lion King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25QyCxVkXwQ 

‘True Love’s Kiss’ from Enchanted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDutMRSmKVE

‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ from Tarzan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=git6DCXSqjE

‘Once Upon a Dream’ from Sleeping Beauty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXbHShUnwxY

If you’re planning a more vintage afternoon tea, then classics like these are perfect.

‘Unforgettable’ by Earl Grant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs_-AQUWZwg

‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?’ by Bing Crosby https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiaAkUTVvOk 

‘Love That Boy’ by Dinah shorehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4e32ZwXBOo

‘I’m Yours’ by Billie Holiday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJkS5kse9EA

‘My Love For You’ by Frank Sinatra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DwYOpXTJN0

‘Hold Me’ by Peggy Lee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4t7AvDMBGk

Here are our top ten choices to include in your perfect afternoon tea wedding playlist if you’re looking for a more modern feel without Disney or vintage music. These are perfect for performing on harps, or with a harp and voice. Think relaxed and dreamy, perfect for the unique resonance of the harp. 

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Sleeping At Last https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU81DihqD0c 

Songbird – Eva Cassidy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTNLYeaL7No

Flightless Bird – Iron & Wine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGVmhrfQqzg

When We’re Old – Ieva Zasimauskaité https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvG3sdGdGUA 

Skinny Love – Bon Iver https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrMmr1oMPGA

Yellow – Coldplay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKNxeF4KMsY

Real Love – Tom Odell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZLYp-jgx-I

The Power of Love – Gabrielle Aplin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNpeK7sDLzE

Beneath Your Beautiful – Labrinth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iD7SHWM_Y0 

Yours – Ella Henderson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAjKZJarlwk

If you’d like to find out what type of music can be played on the harps for your wedding, here is a great blog https://2ofharps.com/2020/01/06/what-type-of-music-can-be-played-on-the-harp/

The first dance

The most beautiful first dances are often songs that couples love to listen to together,or have a special meaning. You could choose a slow romantic ballad to sway to – a safe option if you’re not confident on the dance floor. Or if you are wearing a vintage three quarter length dress, why not make the most of it with an upbeat jive number (a popular up-tempo ballroom dance)! 

Whatever you choose, ask your harpist to play their cover, so you can get a feel for the tempo (speed) of the music. Some of our couples ask us to record the song on their phone during their virtual meeting with us. A great idea if you want to practice leading up to your day!

Handy Tip: One thing to bear in mind when booking musicians for your special day is where they will be positioned when performing.  For instance, you need to make sure that there is enough space in your seating plan for them to set up for your ceremony and wedding afternoon tea is essential. Musicians don’t like feeling like they are in the way.  Sorting this in advance will mean less worry for your wedding planner/venue staff on the day. During your drink’s reception, the musician will want to set up near your guests. 

What else can I do to make my afternoon tea extra special? 

Wedding favours

There are pros and cons to wedding favours. One difficulty is that finding a wedding favour that all your friends and family love, and more importantly use and keep, can be a challenge. But there are many positive wedding favours for an afternoon tea.  And, with this in mind,we have created the perfect wedding favour for music lovers and a keepsake everyone can cherish.

We can produce for all of your guests, a CD or USB that captures 10 tracks in advance of your special day that might include your walking down the aisle track, your sitting down to dinner track, or even your first dance. 

Here are some more ideas to inspire your afternoon tea wedding…

If you have a small budget and think that wedding favours are out of the question, there are lots of cute wedding favours for under £1. There’s even a Vintage Style Tea Wedding Favour! Have a readhttps://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/wedding-favours-for-1-or-less/ Also think about having DIY afternoon tea wedding favours. 

If you’re looking for some really quirky ideas, you might want to check out notonthehighstreet.com where you’ll find some pretty unique items. Herb growing pencils, handmade chocolate fish and chips, sleeping unicorn cake pops and much more https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/weddings/styling-your-day/wedding-favours

Looking for something TOTALLY unique? If you want your guests to be intrigued, there are some fantastic ideas on wedding-venues.co.uk. A midnight snack at the end of a long exciting day can seem ingenuous for those hungry guests heading home, for those hot summer temperatures, a handy fan (personalised!) is just what everyone needs and even individual hankies ‘to catch the happy tears’! https://www.wedding-venues.co.uk/wedding-ideas/2018/19-quirky-wedding-favours-your-guests-won’t-have-seen-before 

Cake Stands

There are so many different choices when looking at cake stands. Dainty porcelain, mismatched floral designs, paisley patterns, modern glass, and even quirky options like these mini picnic benches on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/807163800/mini-picnic-benches-squirrelbird-feeder?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=afternoon+tea+stand&ref=sr_gallery-1-7&col=1

Paper pompoms 

These ‘Lets Teapartea’ pompoms are irresistible. You could use them for decorating the inside of your wedding venue or hang them from trees (although make sure to take them down!). https://partypieces.co.uk/collections/tea-party/products/tissue-paper-flower-pom-poms

Traditional bunting 

There’s nothing that screams ‘afternoon tea’ like traditional floral bunting. https://postboxparty.com/Afternoon-Tea-Floral-Bunting If you have time, you could even make your own!

Tea pot flower arrangements 

A trend that won’t be going anywhere soon. Tea pots make the perfect vessel for your wedding flower centerpieces. You could opt for mismatched floral designs, or pretty pastel shades. Here’s a beautiful blog from Fifty Flowers all about the hot topic. https://www.fiftyflowers.com/blog/trend-alert-teapot-arrangements/ 

Where else can I find out more about planning my own afternoon tea wedding?

We have read some fabulous afternoon tea wedding blogs which are ideal if you’re thinking of planning your day around this theme, or just like looking at amazing wedding photos. 

Are you dreaming of a traditional afternoon tea wedding, with a church ceremony? Then, this is your perfect blog about a real couple who got married in Surrey. The bride wore a white polka dot 1950s style dress with a short veil and the couple arrived in style at their wedding venue in a VW camper. https://whimsicalwonderlandweddings.com/a-sweet-homemade-afternoon-tea-wedding/

Tea bag shaped cookies dipped in chocolate (to look like tea) as favours? We know! Paige and Kaci celebrated their wedding tea party in style with a ‘moss and gold’ theme. Dainty and elegant, floral yet minimalistic. Have a look https://equallywed.com/moss-gold-tea-party/

Charlotte and Rob tied their knot at the first venue they ever looked at! They chose the Ashes https://theashes-venue.co.uk which is a barn wedding venue, perfect for their vintage afternoon tea wedding, complete with vintage accessories and a stunning ruffle dress. 

An Alice in Wonderland Inspired Tea Party Wedding? No problem! We’ve found the perfect inspiration on Rock My Wedding. This most stunning photoshoot will have you falling in love with heart shaped Victoria sponge cakes, big colourful blooms, decadent china cups and floral inspired floor length wedding dresses. https://www.rockmywedding.co.uk/tea-party/ 

Natalie and Ross married in August, the peak of the summer wedding season. Their barn afternoon tea wedding was had rustic styling and was full of dainty finishing touches. Floral wedding bunting, dainty mismatched jam jars and will flowers. A truly quintessential wedding. https://www.lovemydress.net/blog/2014/03/a-cup-of-tea-and-a-slice-of-cake.html 

Have you been inspired by this blog? If you’d like to know more about music for your afternoon tea wedding, contact 2 of Harps here https://2ofharps.com/contact/ but don’t forget to save a few sandwiches, scones and cream cakes as you now know we really are fans of Afternoon Tea Weddings!

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