Anatomy Of A Southern Bridal Tea

Hello, Darlings!

This has been a crazy week as I host my family and my son’s future in-laws for a weekend here in Birmingham, Alabama.  It is Bridal Tea weekend.  I have come to find out this is a “Birmingham” thing.  To help you understand the differences in a Bridal Tea verse a Bridal Shower, I need to explain the “anatomy of a southern bridal tea”.

How Does It Work

Birmingham Bridal Teas are typically held on Sunday afternoons from 1-3 or 2-4.  This is the best time to get maximum participation.  People like their Saturdays.  Saturdays in the fall are sacred as we are knee-deep in football season.  When the Bridal Tea is held on a Sunday afternoon, people go to church, then grab lunch, go home to freshen up their makeup and head out to the tea.

Bridal Teas are also, come and go.  They are more of a reception.  Come meet the lovely bride, drop off your wedding gift, mingle with friends and family, grab a sip of punch and a sweet treat, then out the door. We have even coined the phrase “tea hopping”. This is where you hop from bridal tea to bridal tea because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by not stopping by.  Many girls are having Baby Showers in the “tea” format.  My record attendance in one Sunday afternoon is 5.

The Invitations

Bridal Teas are invitation events.  The prettier the invite the better.  No email invites, that is considered the height of tacky. The front of the invite will list who the tea is held for, the address, time, and where the bride is registered.  The back of the invite may list the names of the hostess for the Bridal Tea or the front may note “given by ladies in the family” or “given by friends”.  It is not uncommon for teas to have a large number of hostesses. It helps spread the cost of the food and invites.  The hostesses many times will pull their money together and give the bride a very nice group gift.

The Gift Registry

Typically the brides will list their top 3 bridal registries on the invites.  Today’s bride is also utilizing individual websites, and sites such as  Amazon is gaining in popularity as a gift registry site.  Many stores now ship gift versus having the products in stock.  This makes is much easier on the bride.  Gift cards are now becoming very popular and allow the couple to combine cards to get larger more needed gifts.  Remember, at the bridal tea, people bring the gifts for the wedding.  If your gift has been shipped, no problem.  It is all about coming to meet the new bride and her family

What To Wear To Birmingham Bridal Tea?

Typically people wear what they wore to church.  As Mother Of Groom I needed to find something special to wear.  I went back to my favorite designer for my body shape, Ralph Lauren, and the line Lauren Ralph Lauren.  My dress was a lovely cobalt blue lace with a racer back and for shoes, I chose Stuart Weitzman Real Deals in Nude.  A pearl bracelet and earrings made the perfect accessories, added a splash of my signature fragrance Bobbi Brown Beach and I am ready to go. Mother of the Bride also went with a Lauren Ralph Lauren dress in a lovely shade of bluish turquoise.

What To Wear To Bridal Tea

The Day Of The Bridal Tea

The Bridal Tea has many moving parts.  This is why a large number of hostesses come in handy. Each hostess is assigned a duty for the Bridal Tea.  As a hostess, you might be assigned to the kitchen to help prepare food and keep dishes clean, food table to keep eye on food and drink levels and fill them as needed.  At a Bridal Tea, the bride does not open the gifts.  Her job is to meet, greet, and mingle.  At the door, one of the hostesses will take the gifts from the arrivals, give it to another helper who will take it to a back room where it is unwrapped, numbered, recorded, and displayed for all to see.

Birmingham Tea

The Bridal Teas are typically held in someone’s home or church.  The hostess whose home the Bridal Tea is held usually serves as the door hostess to meet guest and introduce the bride, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, and other family members.  She is in charge of seeing that the reception line flows quickly and the guest is allowed to enter and mingle with other guests.

Birmingham Tea

You will find a nice table set with lovely silver pieces and finger foods to munch on.  Beverages include ice water, coffee, tea, lemonade, and punch, alcohol is a no-no. A southern punch recipe is sacred and many recipes are passed onto generations.

Finally, it is customary for the Mother of Bride/Mother of Groom/and or Bride to give hostesses a “thank you gift”.  I broke out my favorite weapon for this one. My gifts were entitled “You such a Diva and a little bit High Maintenance”.


Hostess Gift Ideas

Photos of Birmingham Tea

birmingham team birmingham tea

Birmingham Tea



About Nifty 50 Fabulous

Embracing and loving the life of an empty nester, I am a fashion and lifestyle blogger currently living in Birmingham, Al. I enjoy spending my time with friends and family including my sweet miniature schnauzers Gracie and Emma.

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