Simple afternoon tea wedding menu

November 8 | Guest post by planningahead

Here's Tribesmaid Planningahead's menu that carries with it a great reminder that the ULTIMATE way to have a lower budget wedding is to have an afternoon tea reception instead of dinner catering.

Staging!
This table is ready for an afternoon tea party menu! Thanks to beebebourque for uploading this to our Flickr pool.

We catered our own wedding (with major help from the wedding party). So I whipped up a concrete version of the simple afternoon tea wedding menu that's been running around in my head. I kept this very very simple to spare us stress and cost and time.

So, this menu is not a full-meal-type-thing, just some finger food and cake for a 3 p.m. reception…


Scones

By: Theodore Scott

Plain and lemon-ginger, with clotted cream, lemon curd, and jam.

Tea sandwiches

By: Sheri Wetherell
A few options:

  • Cucumber and cream cheese (maybe with lemon and mint) on white bread.
  • Apple and cheddar (maybe with honey mustard) on wheat bread.
  • Open-faced roast beef (with baby greens and horseradish cream) on sliced baguette.

Berries and sliced fruit

afternoon tea buffet
Our berries and fruit out at our wedding

Cookie or brownie bites

afternoon tea buffet #2
Our cookies and brownies laid out.

Custard or jam tartlets

By: Shanti, shanti

Pumpkin bread

By: Rebecca Siegel

Lemonade and iced tea

By: liz west
By: Eliot Phillips

Hot tea

By: Ryan MacLean

Sparkling cider for toasts

By: Cali4beach

…And, of course, wedding cake!

  1. Love this and the pictures too. Nothing to go cold apart from tea/coffee. but i love afternoon teas anyway.

    2 agree
  2. It looks fantastic!! How did it work? What did people say? I have a dear friend thinking of something very similar and she's worried that people will be hungry. Or expect something more. Tell me everything!!

    2 agree
    • You can probably include that kind of information in the invitation, like "Since this is an afternoon celebration, we will not be serving a full dinner, etc."

      0 agree
    • Back in the day, "Cake and punch" receptions were a pretty common way to throw a low-budget wedding, and the invitation wording would just say something like "Cake and punch reception to follow."

      If you're not doing cake and punch, you could just say something on yor invitations like, "Tea party with light snacks to follow" … although the timing of your wedding is key here, too. A 2pm ceremony sets the expectation pretty clearly that there will not be a full meal afterward.

      7 agree
      • This is essentially what we're doing. Our invitations read, "please join us after the ceremony for a nosh & schmooze." :)

        2 agree
  3. Swoon–This makes me want to jump ship and have a tea reception.

    0 agree
  4. We're having a 2pm ceremony followed by afternoon tea :) The invitations said …."followed by cupcakes and Foxton Fizz" (local soda). We also reinforced the idea on our wedsite by getting people to RSVP to 'wedding and afternoon tea'. Seems to have gone down well so far!

    1 agrees
  5. Thank you so much for this! My wedding party are giving us the amazing gift of providing food for our wedding. This is so simple and elegant while still casual… So yay for being able to point and say… Like THIS please :)

    0 agree
    • Just ran across this comment, so it's a very late answer, but in case anyone needs info in the future — All groceries (including drinks, which were all non-alcoholic) cost less than $200. We fed 30 and there were some leftovers, but not too many. We borrowed some cake stands and teapots, and bought others at thrift shops and on Craigslist (donated or resold afterward). The best part was that a handful of friends got together the day before the wedding to make all of the sandwiches, bake scones, slice cakes, etc. — and we paid someone $50 to plate food and set up the buffet on the afternoon of the wedding, and do dishes. (It's less than she'd usually make for a few hours of work, but it was a favor from a friend-of-a-friend. We also added a tip and several of us joined in on cleanup.)

      2 agree
      • I was thinking of having my tea sandwiches, cheese, fruit, veggie trays catered from my neighborhood grocery. But now that I've seen your blog, I'm thinking of catering it myself. I'm only having an intimate wedding with 20 guests. If I do the sandwiches the day before, won't they be soggy the day of the wedding??? That's one thing I'm worried about. Another question, is it necessary to have chairs for guests to sit on if my reception is only 1hr.?? The church where I'm getting married is allowing me to have access to the patio for an hour following the ceremony. I want my guests to mingle and have a finger foods. Thanks for a great blog. ????

        0 agree

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