Picture a lush English garden abloom with the prettiest flowers. Picnic blankets are spread out on the grass. Demure ladies in Victorian finery sit shaded by dainty bonnets and parasols, reading books and sipping tea. Ah, for the refinements of that genteel era!
Back to reality, though. It’s the present day and you’re planning a garden-inspired baby shower tea for a dear friend who’s crazy about classic English literature. But everyone’s got a hectic schedule, not to mention a tight budget. So what are you to do? You can recreate a miniature Victorian tableau in a pocket garden and host a moment of English-style leisure for the mother-to-be!
Display a Selection of Vintage Items
Of course, for your friend’s sake, well-loved novels by English authors like Jane Austen are a must. Think Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park. You could also add other period classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and collections of Shakespeare’s sonnets or Emily Dickinson’s poems.
PARTY TIP: For decorations, you can find suitably vintage-looking copies at thrift shops, yard sales, or perhaps even your own home library. Lay them out on a little side table topped with a floral-print handkerchief, an antique lamp fitted with a tea light, and of course pretty nosegays tied with ribbons.
Offer Light Finger Foods in Picnic Baskets
In keeping with the tradition of English garden picnics, set out a charming woven picnic basket of light finger foods for guests to serve themselves. Consider serving crunchy baguettes paired with mini wheels of cheese. Include flavorful sandwiches made with smoked salmon, grilled chicken, and crab. Scones, crumpets, and hot cross buns are a must! Fresh fruits, too, like apples, oranges, pears, and grapes are always welcome at an outdoor gathering—plus they’re such an easy way to bring in pops of bright color!
PARTY TIP: Even store-bought sweets can be made to mimic sweet tea cookies. Simply transfer them from their packaging into glass cookie jars or other quaint containers to suit the scene. Just be sure to choose pretty-looking treats to serve as part of the baby shower eye candy!
Serve Afternoon Tea in Classic China
And of course, how could an English-inspired occasion be complete without a proper tea service? You can actually buy a box of assorted tea bags from Earl Grey to Darjeeling to English Breakfast, set them out on a pretty tray, and pour piping hot water from a vintage porcelain tea pot into matching tea cups.
PARTY TIP: If you’re looking for something cool and refreshing, try serving up iced teas instead!
A Special Gift for the Mother-to-Be
You may even treat the shower honoree to her own special tea basket to be enjoyed at a later time. Dress it up with an original edition copy of one of her classic book favorites, a heartwarming note signed by all present, tea treats, and some freshly-picked irises.
Now that wasn’t too difficult, was it? With some charming vintage decor and serving pieces, light picnic fare and tea, plus well-loved Victorian novels, you can easily create that sweet English garden tableau to delight the expectant mom!