Your bridal shower party could be your one good excuse to indulge. For just a few hours, take a break from fast-paced, efficient, practical modern life—and host a romantic Victorian-inspired bridal shower tea party! Transport your guests back to that more genteel time and place that came to bear the Queen’s name, England in the mid-1800s to the early 1900s.
The prospect may seem overwhelming. But remember that a shower party is usually for an intimate group of 8 to 10. So you can decorate even a cozy nook in your home with Victorian touches, prepare light party fare and lovely guest favors—and you’re ready to be a proper tea party hostess. (*this post contains affiliate links)
Romantic Table Décor with a Victorian Inspiration
It all begins with a table display that immediately evokes an air of romance, the Victorian way. This means lace elements and floral patterns rendered in delicate hues, such as dusty blue and powder pink, set against white. But beyond simply frilly and feminine, the aim is to elevate this look to Victorian-era elegance. And the key to achieving this is the use of period elements and accents. (Hint: You can always borrow items from family members and friends, or chance upon great finds at a flea market!)
Choose a tablecloth in an antique-look fabric, like blue and gold damask. Set out dinnerware with a lacy trim and traditional sterling silver cutlery. For the tea service itself, prepare dainty porcelain ware with pink floral patterns, accompanied by a sterling silver teapot and matching creamer and sugar bowl.
Special Victorian-style finishing touches would be lace liners for the table napkins, lovely fresh roses in crystal vases, and—for a truly stunning statement—a pair of ornate silver candelabra draped with faux pearl strands and satin ribbons.
A Light and Savory Tea Party Menu
Victorian tea party fare is traditionally light, and as pretty to look at as it is delicious! To do justice to your teatime treats, then, continue the frilly and lacy look to the food presentation. Use attractive serving containers like this silver cookie basket with delicate cutwork or doily-lined plates atop antique style urns.
As for the food itself, tea party fare includes a range from savory finger sandwiches to petite pastries and sweets. Treat your guests to a little of both types:
Bite-size tea sandwiches – Prepare light and delicately flavored fillings such as smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg salad, liver paté, watercress, curried chicken salad, and tuna with dill mayonnaise. Serve these in white or wheat bread with the crusts trimmed off and, for a special touch, cut into dainty shapes using a cookie cutter.
Mini cakes, pastries, and cookies – Take your pick from Victorian tea party mainstays, such as scones served with clotted crème and jam, and Jubilee Cake made with Cherries Jubilee (originally used to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897). Add other irresistible treats like meringue cookies called Victorian Kisses, jam-filled pastries, macaron de Paris, frosted lemon cupcakes, mini bundt cakes, crème puffs, éclairs, and savory tea cookies such as pecan shortbread cookies.
Hint: Don’t hesitate to combine traditional tea party fare with modern menu items. Just keep in mind the key qualities: light, delicately flavored, pretty to look at!
Proper English Teas – and More
Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Black Tea—the names alone almost recreate the distinct flavors and aromas of these fine English teas. To suit every taste, set out a selection of these and other varieties in tea bags, with sugar cubes, cream, and lemon wedges on the side. Have piping hot water ready in an elegant sterling silver teapot, and guests can then choose and brew their own individual cups of tea.
Should you have avid coffee drinkers among your guests, a pot of freshly brewed coffee would be a thoughtful gesture as well. Great choices would be a bold French Roast or a flavorful Italian Roast. And for a special surprise: a small bottle of bubbly champagne to toast the bride-to-be!
Guest Favors that Recall Another Era
It’s only fitting that your guests also come away from this tea party with gifts reminiscent of Victorian England. Beautiful pomander bags or mini tulle purses are some elegant choices. Fill these with fragrant potpourri to serve as stylish drawer or closet sachets at home. Or fill them with nostalgic sweets such as buttermint candies. Another lovely favor idea would be footed porcelain boxes painted with dainty roses and trimmed with gold. Have them hold grown-up treats, like chocolate balls, Jordan almonds, or chewy nougats—irresistible even after that scrumptious tea party menu!
Victorian-inspired Tea Party Invitations for a Bridal Shower
This romantic theme deserves just as swoon-worthy invitations. So we’ve chosen a selection that will give guests a preview of the pink hues, floral touches, and dainty teapots and tea cups that will grace this occasion. (*this section contains affiliate links)
1 – Pink Vintage Teapot Bridal Shower Invite – from Purple Trail
2 – Charming Tea Cups Bridal Shower Invitation – from Purple Trail
3 – Chalkboard Flowers Elegant Tea Party Bridal Shower Invitation – from Purple Trail
4 – Classy Vintage Bridal Tea Party Card – by NB Paper Co, via Zazzle
5 – Pink Peony Bridal Shower Invitation – by Jinaiji, via Zazzle
Tea Party Food, Sweets and Drinks for a Vintage Bridal Shower
The shower menu is another key area where the vintage theme can shine! Since this is a tea party, light fare is in order. Perfect choices would be single-serve savory items such as mini quiches and hand pies, tea sandwiches with egg salad, salmon, and cucumber fillings, and meat-filled croissants.
For sweets and petite desserts, set out macarons on pastry stands or inside cut-glass jars or glass cloches.
Croissants filled with chocolate or jam, along with ladyfingers and frosted pastry bites would make the prettiest “centerpieces” displayed right on the tea party tables.
A side table can hold a sweet array of confections and candies for guests to choose from, with bunches of fresh flowers providing the romance.
Even simple glazed donuts can find a spot on the dessert display, accompanied by blooms in floral-patterned tea cups.
Finally, treat your guests to a selection of fine teas – from Earl Grey and English Breakfast to chamomile, ginger, lemon, peppermint, and green tea – served in a vintage silver teapot and delicate china tea cups.
We’re Back with Even More Planning Ideas!
Such a romantic theme deserves to be extended to all the bridal shower elements. So to help you do just that, we revisited this popular post to add lovely inspiration for Victorian-style confections, period attire and accessories, games and activities, and vintage gifts for the bride.
Victorian Inspiration for Your Bridal Shower Cake
Apparently, sponge cakes were a favorite confection during the Victorian era. The simple base cake was topped or drizzled with a glaze. Then fresh fruit or berries were often used in the inner layer or as pretty garnish. Make one for the bridal shower and charm your guests!
1 – Angel Food Cake – Make your favorite angel food cake recipe for this, then use a cake comb like this one from Acorn Online for party-perfect slices each time!
2 – Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake – recipe from Epicurative
3 – Naked Victoria Cake – recipe from Sainsbury’s
4 – Victoria Sponge Cake – recipe from TESCO Real Food
5 – Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes – recipe from PBS
To really play up the theme, why not encourage your guests to come in Victorian-style blouses and dresses? Then, you can have vintage accessories like hats and purses for them to wear at the bridal shower and pose for souvenir photos!
- Blouses are romantic and frilly, often with a high neckline around the throat.
- Dresses feature floral or lacey fabrics with ruffles, sometimes an empire waistline or a nipped in waist and a full skirt.
- Hats are trimmed with velvet ribbon, feathers, silk flowers, or antique brooches, and sometimes have a short mesh “veil” over the brow.
- Purses are mostly made of fabric, like velvet or lace and trimmed with intricate beadwork, small crystals and faux gems. The handles are either drawstring type or short metal chains.
You can find these dresses, blouse, and accessories at vintage stores or even through online vendors. Thrift shops are also a great place to find vintage items.
Parlor Games and Activities
Typical Victorian parlor games included cards, word games, and board games like chess. They also passed the time sewing and doing embroidery, reading, playing the piano, and singing.
For a modern take on these activities, we found some fun party products that could be worked into the Victorian theme of your bridal shower. (*this section contains affiliate links)
1 – Victorian Bridal Shower Word Scramble Game Card – available from Zazzle
The items below are available from Amazon:
2 – “Posy” Cross Stitch Kit (Including Embroidery Cloth with Color Pattern, Bamboo Embroidery Hoop, Color Threads, and Tools)
3 – Victorian Fashion: An Adult Coloring Book with Women’s Fashion, Floral Dresses, and Historical Portraits for Relaxation, by Jade Summer
4 – Marriage Advice and Well Wishes, 50 Sheets Floral Cards –
6 – Victorian Lady In Black Silhouette Dress and Umbrella – Greeting Cards (set of 6)
7 – Pewter Cake Pull Charms (set of 9)
Vintage-inspired Gifts for the Bride
Finally, wouldn’t it be lovely if even the presents given by the guests to the bride-to-be are in theme, too? So, we did some shopping and found these elegant gift items. (*this section contains affiliate links)
1 – Sterling Silver Prayer Rosary – From the Bellenza SHOP, this could be a special present from the bride’s mother or godmother.
2 – Diamond Vintage Inspired Teardrop Earrings – A gorgeous accessory to be worn on her wedding day, available from Blue Nile.
3 – Sterling Silver Victorian Spinning Locket – Another typical piece of jewelry for Victorian ladies, available from Blue Nile. This can also be used as an accessory for a bridal bouquet that adds a sentimental touch.
4 – Silver Vintage King George VI Minted Sixpence – This is a traditional Victorian wedding keepsake for the bride, available from Amazon.
5 – Storybook-inspired Ring Bearer Pillow – From the Bellenza SHOP, this heirloom-quality ring pillow makes a wonderful keepsake for the bride to start a new tradition.
6 – Floral Wedding Embroidery Lace Handkerchief – You could have this personalized with the bride’s name and the wedding date, available from Amazon.
7 – Emily Dickinson Deluxe Note Keepsake with Box – So reminiscent of that romantic era, the bride would love this keepsake gift available from Amazon.
Recommended Books to Plan a Perfect Tea Party
Afternoon Tea Parties (Hardcover) by Susannah Blake (Author)
Scones, Muffins, and Tea Cakes: Breakfast Breads and Teatime Spreads (Hardcover) by Heidi H. Cusick (Author)
Tea with Friends (Hardcover) by Elizabeth Knight
Our suggestions above indeed prove that you can host your own romantic bridal shower tea party. Have any ideas of your own to add? We’d love to hear them!