Are bridal shower and kitchen tea the same?

Kitchen Tea Ideas

There has always been a lot of confusion when it comes to planning a kitchen tea or bachelorette party. Do you know the difference between the two? Some brides request to have these as separate events, or some choose to combine the two. Maybe it would be wise to look at how these events are different in order to decide which option is more suitable for you – or perhaps you need both!

Traditionally, a Bridal Kitchen Tea is just that – an afternoon tea in which guests bring a gift for the bride suitable for the kitchen only. A Bridal Shower, on the other hand, sees guests bring a gift of any description to “shower” the bride with. At either event, it’s usually only close female family and friends invited who are there to help support the Bride to Be and prepare the marital home before the wedding. It also allows guests from both sides of the family to get to know each other before the big day and to do so in a more relaxed environment. The Kitchen Tea or Bridal Shower is traditionally held 2-3 weeks before the wedding.

Along with the excitement of a wedding comes all the events and parties that lead up to the big day. One of the most popular pre-wedding celebrations is the bridal shower. Or is it the kitchen tea? They are similar, but there are a few differences.

Kitchen teas are more common in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, whereas the US, UK, Belgium, Netherlands and a few other countries in Europe tend to host bridal showers.

The kitchen tea is a time to celebrate the bride-to-be, and guests bring items that can be added to the newlyweds’ kitchen as gifts. It is typically hosted at the bride’s or her mother’s house. Female friends and family are invited – kitchen teas are typically attended only by the women in the bride’s life. It is usually quite a relaxed environment and can involve fun games.

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Bridal Shower & Kitchen Tea

Depending on where you live, Australia and New Zealand are more likely to use the name Kitchen Tea, whereas our American friends will call it a Bridal Shower. Whatever name you use, it is virtually the same event!

Typically the bridesmaid must organise a Kitchen Tea for the bride. Hosted around delicious food for either a brunch, lunch or afternoon tea, the guests present the bride with kitchen goods such as tea towels and crockery. It is a celebration of love and friendship. It’s the perfect time to treat the bride to a lovely day as she moves into the next chapter of her life.

With the increasing number of couples living together and setting up home before they wed, the contemporary kitchen tea is slowly taken over by the phrase bridal shower. It is less about getting a new sandwich press and more about toasting champagne with friends and family. These days, guests can bring just about anything, not just kitchen items. Hence many people interchange the terms kitchen tea and bridal shower.

Kitchen Tea Ideas

Kitchen tea or bridal shower – what’s the difference?

Along with the excitement of a wedding comes all the events and parties that lead up to the big day. One of the most popular pre-wedding celebrations is the bridal shower. Or is it the kitchen tea? They are similar, but there are a few differences.

Kitchen teas are more common in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, whereas the US, UK, Belgium, Netherlands and a few other countries in Europe tend to host bridal showers.

The kitchen tea is a time to celebrate the bride-to-be, and guests bring items that can be added to the newlyweds’ kitchen as gifts. It is typically hosted at the bride’s or her mother’s house. Female friends and family are invited – kitchen teas are typically attended only by the women in the bride’s life. It is usually quite a relaxed environment and can involve fun games.

The bridal shower is a party hosted for the bachelorette. Her guests’ shower’ her with gifts of any kind, that can be for her personal use or her and her future spouse’s home. Brides-to-be may create a gift registry for their guests to help with ideas. The bridal shower provides the perfect opportunity for both sides of the family to mingle!

There’s no need to keep things too traditional, though. You can mix it up a bit by having a theme. You can even customise the party according to what the bachelorette likes. For example, a bride-to-be who enjoys the outdoors might appreciate a hike or scenic route, or a bachelorette with a creative streak may love a cake-decorating party.

Who hosts and covers the cost of a kitchen tea or bridal shower?

The maid of honour and bridesmaids hosts both the kitchen tea and the bridal shower. The event can also be held at the bride or mother of the bride’s home, or even at a café or hotel if you’d prefer the event catered. Generally, the bridal party or the mother of the bride cover the cost of these events, but it is also now commonplace to ask guests to bring along food to share and contribute towards the celebration.

Stuck for Hens ideas? We’ve got you covered. Check out our extensive list of Hens Party Ideas for your bestie.

Who is on the invite list for a kitchen tea or bridal shower?

Close female family and friends are on the invite list, allowing for guests from both sides of the family to get to know each other before the big day. Often a few games will be played to break the ice between guests. It is common for guests to bring along a favourite recipe the kitchen tea which is then collated into a keepsake recipe book for the bride.

Now we can get on to the exciting part. Today’s post aims to introduce you lovely readers to a couple of activities that can help spice up whichever event you choose:

Add a theme

Often such parties can be themed, making way for added enthusiasm and “breaking the ice” between the two families. How about a baking party? Garden, bedroom or entertaining theme? With the entertaining theme, guests then bring gifts to help the newly married couple entertain such as coffee beans, wine, cheese platters, glasses etc.

Location location!

Either the Kitchen Tea or Bridal Party usually takes place at the home of the mother of the bride, the Maid of Honour or the Bridesmaids. How about instead you opt for a trendy café or restaurant, day spa or beauty salon? Try something new!

I’ve got a hunch she wants a brunch.

Afternoon tea is becoming a thing of the past with yummy delicious brunch overtaking it in the popularity race. This new trend sees the Bridal Party organise a Brunch at a hotel where the guests can spoil themselves on a feast of a brunch-style buffet in honour of the Bride to Be. The cost is usually covered by the Bridal Party and/or Mother of the Bride.

Make her a recipe book

On each invitation, ask each of the guests to bring along their favourite recipe, which they can type, write or decorate on an A5 piece of paper. This is kept hush from the bride. As the guests arrive, the recipes are collected by one of the Bridesmaids who have pre-prepared a beautiful blank book to display the recipes from all guests, such as Grandparents, Mothers, Aunts, Sisters, Cousins and friends. Whilst the guests are enjoying their afternoon tea, the Bridesmaids paste all the recipes in the book. The book is then presented to the bride at speech time, as a token from all the females that are present at the Kitchen Tea. Something that cannot be bought and a truly unique gift!

Pass the parcel

Embrace your inner child and include a Pass the Parcel – but not just any old Pass the Parcel. This one is strictly for Kitchen Teas! This is how it goes. On each wrapped layer is written a question and everyone has to decide who it suits. The winner gets the prize from the next layer. The questions might be: who has the best-painted toenails? Who is the tallest? Who has the longest hair? Who is wearing the most jewellery? Who has the highest heels? And the list goes on with many more questions that Bridesmaids will have fun writing. The game brings out competitiveness in a fun way, and some of the comments from the older guests, especially are usually priceless!

Check out our post on What is a good gift for a bridal shower?

Bridal Shower Games

Bridal Shower Games are a fun part of the lead-up to your big day. Of course, be prepared to be embarrassed – there’s no way you will avoid that!

The bridal shower (sometimes called kitchen tea) is put on by the bridesmaids to prepare the bride for her impending marriage. Tradition has it that a bride would be preparing to set up her own home for the first time and so her bridesmaids, friends, mothers and relatives would ‘shower’ her with home-ware type gifts.

While the tradition of a kitchen tea is not traditionally necessary these days, any excuse for a good party and lots of cool gifts in the form of kitchen tea games is always welcome. After all, you can never have too many kitchen goodies!

Also, it’s a great opportunity for some female bonding and perhaps learning a few pearls of married life wisdom from the ladies who have already been married and experienced their kitchen tea.

The Purse Raid

A scavenger hunt that uses each guest’s purse or bag

What You Need to Prepare: Before the Bridal Shower, you will need to create a list of standard items you and your guests might have your bags and purses. From this basic list work your way up to a more random – or risqué – list of items.

You will also need small prizes to hand out – such as candy or gift cards.

How to Play: The shower host calls out the items on the list and the first guest to pull the object from their purse or bag, wins!

The Nearly Newlywed Game

Just like the game show, put the bride – and/or groom – in the hot seat to answer questions about their fiancée and see how the answers compare. A similar game is wedding jeopardy where guests can answer questions about the couple – or weddings in general – instead.

What You Need to Prepare: Before the shower, interview the fiancé (or both bride and groom in the case of Wedding Jeopardy) with questions about the relationship in general. For full effect, you can record the answers to play them back!

How to Play: At the shower, ask the bride – or guests – the same questions – and see if they answer correctly!

Two Truths and A Lie

Bridal Shower guests try to decide what’s the truth and what’s a lie while practising their poker faces.

What You Need to Prepare: Prizes for the winners.

How to Play: Each guest introduces themselves and tells three stories about experiences they’ve had with the bride. Two stories must be true, and one must be false. The guests who correctly pick the lie win a point.

Wedding Movie Charades

The classic game of charades, the only stipulation is that you must keep to the theme of wedding movies!

What You Need to Prepare: Label note cards with a range of wedding movies. Make sure you change it up with a range of options from classics, to chick flicks to obscure films—prizes for the winners.

How to Play: Divide the guests up into teams. Players pick a card from the pile and act out a scene from the film for their team to guess. But remember, no talking! The team must guess within 3 minutes.

Wedding Pictionary

Just like the original Pictionary, only wedding themed.

What to Prepare: Place strips of paper with different wedding-related themes and phrases on them in a bowl, basket, or bag. A whiteboard, markers and easel, or notepads and pens or pencils.

How to Play: Divide the bridal shower guests into teams. Each team member takes turns to blind-pick a theme to draw. They have 60 seconds for their team to guess before the other team/s can guess. The winning team is the first to guess 10. Prizes for the winners.

Vow Mad Libs

Like traditional mad libs games, however, the aim is for the group to create a set of silly wedding vows.

What to Prepare: Clipboards, pens, and paper.

How to Play: Tell the guests they’re going to help write the couple’s wedding vows. Pass out the clipboards, one with the header “I [name] take you [name] and promise to” and the other with the reverse. Each guest should write their vow and then fold the page over before handing it to the next guest. Once both clipboards have circulated, read the vows aloud.

Celebrity Who Am I?

The classic guessing game!

What to Prepare: Cards filled out with celebrity names and tape. Or headbands to clip the cards too. Prizes for the winners.

How to Play: Without the guests seeing their cards, go around the room and tape – or affix with a headband or clips – a card to each guest’s head. The card should be visible to everyone else, but the guest is wearing it. Each person asks a yes or no question – such as “am I female?”. If the answer is “Yes” they can ask another question. If the answer is no, the next person can guess who they are. For an added twist, mix the names of the bridal party in with the other celebrities!

It doesn’t matter what you call it. Still, a bridal shower is usually an elegant event where you can invite close family friends and relatives to an environment that is more PG-rated than many bachelorette parties or hens parties. Many ladies opt for a high tea or luncheon, but you can keep it casual with a bring and share or barbecue in the backyard. This is often held in the week before the wedding when friends and family are in town, but some choose to hold it a couple of months earlier to keep the week a bit less busy. Either way, kitchen tea or bridal shower invitations are usually sent out around the same time as wedding invitations.

A bridal shower or kitchen tea is traditionally an event for women only, similar to a baby shower. These days, though, it is becoming a little more common for the bridal shower to include guys (in this case the word ‘bridal’ would be replaced with ‘wedding’) where you can celebrate with all of your friends. Why not?

Both bridal showers and kitchen teas are usually daytime events. Bridal showers originate from Europe and the US and are centred around giving the bride gifts like household items, lingerie or something special that is personal to her. Kitchen teas are part of Australian and New Zealand culture and are typically a ladies-only afternoon tea where the bride receives gifts specifically for her home. This may not be practical if a couple has already been living together, so then general gifts or a wishing well to help pay for the honeymoon can be helpful (this would usually be called a bridal shower, not kitchen tea). If you would prefer no gifts, you could ask each lady to contribute a tried and true recipe to a homemade recipe book that you can compile after the event. Guests usually end up spending a fair bit of cash around wedding time, so a personalised thank you note for each gift at the bridal shower is a must.

At the end of the day whichever you choose out of a Kitchen Tea or Bridal Shower, the overall aim is for the two families to enjoy some relaxing time away from the stress of organising a wedding. They share some stories and food, along with a few memorable activities, leaving everyone talking about the event for a long time, including at the wedding!

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