Although a cocktail party is often preferred for an engagement announcement, many brides still delight in the charm and tradition of the gracious and old-fashioned engagement tea. The popularity of formal teas waxes and wanes, but never seems to disappear entirely.
The decorations at an engagement tea can be more sentimental and frilly than at other teas, and you will want to think of an attractive way to divulge the news. Some of the same ideas as for a cocktail party can be used, such as imprinted napkins, photographs and door decorations. Use your creativity!
For a large engagement tea, the invitations might state a time to cover a two- or three-hour period, for example from three or four until six o’clock. There is usually a receiving line with the bride-to-be standing between her mother and future mother-in-law. The hostess honors several close friends and relatives by inviting them to pour for half- or three-quarter-hour periods. (At a small tea, one invites friends to come at a specified time, and the hostess pours.) Service for pouring tea and coffee is set up at one or both ends of a dining table. Candles may be lit after five o’clock, or earlier if the day is a dark one. Food can include bite- size tea sandwiches, cookies, candies, nuts and fruit such as stemmed strawberries dipped in chocolate or served next to bowls of powdered and/or brown sugar and sour cream for dipping. If it is summertime, punch or iced tea is a welcome addition. Be sure that food platters are constantly replenished, as guests will come and go during the party. Plan on six to eight sandwiches per person (caterers may say fewer), in four to six varieties. Keep the tea and coffee hot, and be sure the used china is taken to the kitchen immediately.
A Morning Coffee
Everything that applies to the format of a tea also fits the plan of a less-formal morning coffee party, except the hours and the menu. You will still decorate the house with flower arrangements, and have a receiving line or not, as you wish.
Set the hours from ten until twelve o’clock, or nine- thirty until eleven-thirty.
Think of original ways to incorporate morning-type food into your menu: small ha in sandwiches, deviled eggs, sausages or chicken livers in a chafing dish, coffee cake, blueberry muffins, English muffins, doughnut “holes,” sliced mini-bagels with an assortment of flavored creamed cheese, melon slices, strawberries.
I hope all the preceding information on giving parties and teas will serve you in good stead throughout your married life.
Contact Your Local Newspapers
If you wish, you may have a photograph taken of you and your fiancé for your local newspapers. Contact your papers as to how they prefer to announce engagements, if they do so. They may send you a form to complete.