Convinced that your invitation to the Royal Wedding got lost in the mail? Us, too. But that’s not going to stop us from celebrating the royal nuptials stateside. Instead of purchasing those plane tickets to cross the pond, put the money towards hosting your own reception-themed royal wedding viewing party — tea, crumpets, wedding cakes, hats, and all.
While the coverage of the event begins at 5 a.m. EST on Friday, April 29th, there is no need to disturb your beauty rest or skip out on work to follow along. Simply set your DVR to record the day’s events (then try to avoid spoiling the fun and listening in at work), or tune in to one of the many re-cap shows airing Friday night (TV Guide has Kathy Griffin hosting at 9 p.m. EST).
While your party won’t be at Buckingham Palace, dresses and beautiful hats are a must for the ladies, while gentleman should don their best morning suit (tails optional). Ask guests to bring their own sets of white gloves, or offer a pair to everyone as they arrive.
Start with flowers, as this is a spring wedding and all. White lilies (like Casablancas) are said to be Kate’s favorite flower, so arrange a couple of stems in large vases. Traditionally, lily of the valley is often included in the bouquets at royal weddings; use the white bell-shaped flowers to fill five to seven small vases and place them down the center of the table. And don't forget myrtle, the “herb of love.” Since the 1840s, a sprig of myrtle from a specific bush in Queen Victoria’s garden on the Isle of Wight has graced the bouquet of every royal bride. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Steven.y)
To celebrate the special day, popping open the bubbly is a must! Be sure to stock the bar with lots of prosecco, chilled of course, for people to help themselves. Set up mixers so guests can customize their drink; try sorbet or rosewater syrup for an unusual twist. Or plan to offer two signature cocktails in honor of the couple. Serve Pimm's Cups in homage to Wills' love of polo, while a rose-scented cocktail is a fitting drink to honor Kate, a real “English rose.”
A celebration of the British nuptials isn't complete without tea. Forgo the mugs and instead use your grandmother’s teacups, or find an eclectic mix of vintage cups at a nearby flea market. Brew pots of Harney and Son’s Royal Wedding Tea, a white tea flavored with the aromas of almonds, vanilla, coconut, and rosebuds, specially created to honor the special day. Then serve the subtly sweet tea along with an array of passed orange and almond-flavored petits fours for dessert.
When planning the menu, think royal tea meets upscale canapés. In proper British fashion, plan to serve jam and crumpets, fresh scones with clotted cream, and a variety of tea sandwiches, just like you’d have at a tea party. Set the treats on tiered cake plates and two-level trays, arranged on a buffet table, for added visual interest.
Supplement the buffet offerings with a variety of canapés passed on lace doily-lined silver trays. A simple beet bruschetta is elegant yet easy to make, while deviled quail eggs add a lavish touch. With the wedding’s “Scottish feel,” smoked salmon on toast is a must. And to pair with the Champagne, don’t forget a warm and creamy Brie en croûte and a couple of bowls of salty roasted nuts.
A wedding reception wouldn’t be complete without a wedding cake. Instead of purchasing a grand, tiered affair, create mini tiered cakes using cupcakes. Affix a large marshmallow atop a vanilla cupcake, then carefully frost the top and decorate it with sugar roses. Serve on tiered cake stands on the buffet table.
Complete the scene with just the right music. Begin the night with orchestral music from the London Chamber Orchestra (they will be playing at the wedding that morning). Create your own mix of songs by British artists to play during dinner, choosing from favorites like Elton John’s A Candle in the Wind and The Beatles’ All You Need is Love. Looking for more ideas? Take note of the songs recommended by a former member of U2, then check out the songs the Brits across the pond chose for the happy couple.