Kitchen teas in the traditional sense have long since expired. There was a time when every young lady spent years in preparation of her home that she would create upon marrying the love of her life. The point of a kitchen tea used to be to give small, yet useful gifts for use in the kitchen that would contribute to what she had already collected herself and to help set up her home. However, as time and traditions have evolved, this is no longer necessary.
Bridesmaids and maids of honour now find themselves having to be a bit more creative when arranging the Hen Party as well as the Kitchen Tea. And so over time, the kitchen tea has become the more ‘civilised’ party for the bride and the Hen Party, the ‘let down your hair and have a great time’.
In planning the kitchen tea, even if you do decide to hold it in a venue such as a favourite restaurant or at home, it’s a great idea to arrange a few events which will help to create an enjoyable afternoon and also helps guests to overcome any feelings of awkwardness through not knowing each other.
- It sounds crazy, but name tags are such an easy ice-breaker and of course, assist in everyone remembering each other’s names. When your guests arrive, give them their name tag with a couple of ‘pull tabs’ with the word ‘wedding’ on them. During the course of the afternoon, whenever anyone mentions the word ‘wedding’ remove one of their pull tabs. The last person to lose all their pull tabs at the end of the party, wins a little gift.
- Ask each guest to write a little poem about how they met the bride. Mix them up in a hat, let everyone choose one from the hat. Take turns in standing up to read the poem and let everyone try guess who wrote it. If the poem is that bad that no-ones gets it, make the person who wrote it down a shot or serve everyone for the rest of the day. Reading a few poems throughout the afternoon, will make the day more interesting and give a few people an opportunity to take over serving the guests.
- Make each guest bring a roll of toilet paper. Divide your guests into groups of 3 and let them dress one of their team members up as a bride using their toilet rolls. The most creative team wins a little gift.
- Have each guest produce the strangest item they have in their handbag. Each person can have a turn to show off their strange item and explain why it is there. A prize may be awarded for the strangest item.
- Ask those guests who are unable to make it, to send you a video message. Take a few moments either at the beginning or somewhere through the afternoon, to play the messages to your bride. This is a fun way to entertain your guests as well as create a space for those who were unable to attend.
Most importantly, guests need to be made to feel welcome and comfortable. Having great food and paying attention to how your guests are seated will definitely make the afternoon much easier for everyone. Having a long table of guests is not the best idea, it creates little groups of conversation and not everyone gets to interact with each other. If at all possible ask the restaurant or venue to set up a round table to accommodate everyone or even two or three round tables. If you’re hosting the kitchen tea at home, try placing furniture so that everyone is seated facing each other.
Then, just allow the afternoon to flow. Don’t try to control too much, you’ll land up being exhausted at the end of it all. Remember, it’s all about having fun!