Peach and White Easter Tablescape Inspiration

"Afternoon tea, that most quintessential of English customs is, the perfect excuse to hit pause midway through your afternoon to enjoy a buttery tea sandwich or jam laden scone and a teaming cup of Earl Grey. While these days, sadly, afternoon tea is a tradition most frequently reserved for the British tourist, for my mum her afternoon ‘cuppa’ is a ritual she has never once missed.

Having lost my Dad a couple years ago, birthdays now take on extra special meaning. This year, I was fortunate enough to have mum visiting me in San Diego on her (82nd) birthday. So, being a wedding and event planner, I decided to throw her a surprise tea party to celebrate, especially since I knew she'd be in England and I wouldn’t be seeing her either on Easter or Mother’s Day.

Under the guise of a photoshoot (since she’s seen many done in my home), I called in for help from a few of my favorite local friendors. I picked our dining room for the party, setting our 10 foot 18th century French farm table with pieces from my vintage tabletop collection – heirloom silver flatware and cut glass crystal next to vintage French tea plates set on top of Wedgwood china, draped with pretty linen hemstitched napkins, entwined with sprigs of vine. A lovely linen I picked up at a local fabric shop made for the perfect runner. We used the tea plates as inspiration for our color palette for the flowers, and with Easter around the corner, the elegant garden themed tabletop came to life with patinaed iron urns filled with lavender, roses, moss and fern, interspersed with tiny baskets laden with (fake) sparrow eggs and daisies. In between, I layered candles – taper, pillar and votive – for height and variation. At each place setting, I placed a pastel macaron on top of an individual mini cake plate as a favor.

The menu was easy: tea for mum, bubbles for the girls, and delicious fruit tarts and petits fours, raspberry cake pops, chocolate covered strawberries and an assortment of dainty tea sandwiches I made that morning, all followed by the yummiest and prettiest lemon birthday cake. Mum was of course completely surprised and moved to tears when she realized the celebration was for her and not, in fact, a photoshoot. Memories are so much more poignant when the meaning behind making them is at the fore, don’t you think? A huge thanks to the lovely ladies, Annette, Cavin and Alicia, who helped me pull mum’s surprise tea party together, and of course, my dear girlfriends who came to celebrate mum.

Inspired to put the kettle on and hit pause yourself this afternoon? Here, I share my favorite tea sandwiches which are the English secret to pulling off the perfect afternoon tea.

Tomato Cheddar - Spread store bought pickle relish (Branston is best) on brown bread. Sandwich with thinly sliced tomato and aged cheddar. Trim the crusts and cut into pieces. I prefer to cut width wise into 3 fingers.

Egg and Watercress - Mix 3 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 3 tablespoons each finely chopped watercress and red onion and fresh dill weed, 2 teaspoons each dijon mustard and lemon juice, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise, and 1 tablespoon of dill weed. Spread on white bread, sandwich and cut into pieces. Triangles look extra special.

Salmon Cucumber - Mix 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. Spread on white bread and sandwich with sliced cucumber and quality smoked salmon. Trim the crusts and cut into pieces. I like triangles with this sandwich."

Wedding Vendors: Photography: Cavin Elizabeth Photography | Venue: Bastide de Bonheur in Rancho Santa Fe | Event Design: HauteFĂȘtes | Florals: Flowers Annette Gomez | Sweets: The Crimson Cake | Handmade items: Creative Candles