A kitchen tea is similar to a bridal shower. It is essentially a pre-wedding celebration in which women who are friends with or related to the bride to be will gather together, traditionally at the bride or her mother’s home, and celebrate her upcoming wedding with games, food and drink. Are you getting frustrated by searching for the best hens ideas? Let Magic Men handle it.
Traditionally, a kitchen tea suggests that guests may bring the bride a gift for the kitchen so they can assist her in setting up her marital kitchen/home. However, in a modern context, many brides have lived away from home for a while or may already live with their future spouse and have therefore acquired all the necessary items for their family. In this context, the focus of a kitchen tea is more about celebrating with loved ones and playing some games instead of emphasising gift-giving.
Table of Contents
- 1 Can you have a kitchen tea and a hen’s night?
- 2 Are there any alternatives to kitchen tea?
- 3 The Kitchen Tea Vs The Bridal Shower
- 4 Kitchen tea or bridal shower – what’s the difference?
- 5 Kitchen Tea Ideas: The Ultimate Guide!
- 5.1 START YOUR KITCHEN TEA PLANNING EARLY
- 5.2 CATCH UP WITH THE BRIDE
- 5.3 WHAT TYPE OF CELEBRATION IS SHE AFTER?
- 5.4 WHEN DOES SHE WANT TO HAVE KITCHEN TEA?
- 5.5 WHO DOES SHE WANT TO INVITE?
- 5.6 SAVE THE DATE!
- 5.7 START BRAINSTORMING
- 5.8 SET A BUDGET
- 5.9 DECIDE ON A LOCATION
- 5.10 SET A THEME
- 5.11 SEND YOUR KITCHEN TEA INVITATIONS
- 5.12 MAKE HER A RECIPE BOOK
- 5.13 PLAY SOME GAMES FOR A KITCHEN TEA
- 6 FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLANNING A KITCHEN TEA
Can you have a kitchen tea and a hen’s night?
To put it simply, yes. A bride may choose to have neither, or she may just pick one – it is ultimately up to the bride.
Some brides may even choose to host both a kitchen tea and hen’s party on the same day or weekend. The bride’s older relatives or friends that don’t want to go out in the evening may prefer to attend the kitchen tea, and any guests who can’t make it to both events can choose which celebration suits them.
Are there any alternatives to kitchen tea?
A bridal shower is an alternative to a kitchen tea, as the events are quite similar but not traditionally the same. The slight difference being that kitchen teas are usually more focused on helping the bride set up her marital kitchen. In contrast, the origin of a bridal shower relates to ‘showering’ the bride with gifts for her entire home, as well as items for the bride herself.
Many brides may create a gift registry for their bridal shower to provide their guests with some gift suggestions. Modern brides may choose to have either event or have both a hen’s party, which is perfectly fine.
What games and activities can you have at a kitchen tea?
The games at a kitchen tea tend to be less raunchy than at a hen’s night, but some of them can be quite similar. A popular game played at kitchen tea parties is to quiz the guests to see how well they know the bride, with questions about her childhood, likes and dislikes, and even her future spouse. Another popular game involves asking each guest to write some words of wisdom/marriage advice on a sticky note, and the messages are collected for the bride to keep and read through.
Games can also be a little more hands-on, such as breaking your guests off into small teams and getting each group to adorn a chosen guest in a makeshift wedding dress made from toilet paper. Adult versions of children’s games work well at kitchen teas too; try ‘pass the parcel’ with elegant wrapping and the prizes can be anything from lip gloss to potato peelers, a journal or planner, or even a recipe book.
The Kitchen Tea Vs The Bridal Shower
A Bridal Kitchen Tea is just that – an afternoon tea where guests bring a gift for the Bride suitable for the kitchen onlyOn on the other hand, a Bridal Shower sees guests get a donation 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 do so in a more relaxed environment. The Kitchen Tea or Bridal Shower is traditionally held 2-3 weeks before the Wedding.
Kitchen tea or bridal shower – what’s the difference?
Along with a wedding’s excitement 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 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 generally are 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 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.
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!
Kitchen Tea Ideas: The Ultimate Guide!
START YOUR KITCHEN TEA PLANNING EARLY
The best tip I can give you is to start your planning early! Whilst it may not appear to be, organising a Kitchen Tea is quite the job. Every task, no matter how big or small, adds up. Meaning if you want to create a beautiful, thoughtful event, you will need to put in the time and effort. At Magic Men, we have the best hens packages to make your party a night to remember.
CATCH UP WITH THE BRIDE
Before you start to plan anything, it’s a great idea to have a chat with your beautiful bride to make sure you’re both on the same page. At your catch up, it’s essential to get an idea of the following:
WHAT TYPE OF CELEBRATION IS SHE AFTER?
Before you go ahead and plan a lovely kitchen tea, make sure it’s what she wants! You don’t want to go to all of this effort only to find out that she was hoping for a bridal shower, or even a hen’s party.
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 or Mother of the Bride.
WHEN DOES SHE WANT TO HAVE KITCHEN TEA?
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!
Once you’ve established that it’s a Kitchen Tea she’s after it’s time to work out a date! It’s best to let your bride-to-be pick a day and time that suits her.
On the one hand, wedding planning is HUGE, so she’s likely to be pretty busy in the lead-up to her special day (meaning hosting the Kitchen Tea at least two weeks before her wedding is ideal). On the other hand, if you host the event closer to her wedding, it’s more likely that guests from out of town will be able to attend.
Let her weigh up teach scenario’s pros and cons and decide that works best for her situation. Then pop it in the calendar!
WHO DOES SHE WANT TO INVITE?
Traditionally, a Kitchen Tea is reserved for female friends and family members; but in this day and age, there’s no reason close male friend/s and family can’t attend as well (if the bride-to-be wishes, of course!). A Kitchen Tea is also the perfect type of celebration for all generations, with grandmothers and children alike finding it an enjoyable occasion.
With all of this in mind, it’s best to have your bride-to-be write out a guest list for you. This means that everyone she wants to share this special day with has the opportunity to attend!
SAVE THE DATE!
Woohoo! It’s time to put the word out to those lucky enough to score an invite! By sending out a ‘Save the Date’ early you’re giving everyone a greater chance of attending (babysitters can be organised, work can be moved around, etc.).
Thanks to your new intel (from the bride-to-be herself!), you now know when the party will be, who is invited, and the fact that it’s a Kitchen Tea she’s after. With this information at hand, it’s now time to move to the next stage of your planning – brainstorming!
If you haven’t already, get in touch with the other bridesmaids (and family members helping to plan the Kitchen Tea). An email thread or group conversation on Facebook is a great way to connect.
Chat about everything from themes, games, activities, food, drinks and gift ideas to prizes, favours and unique ways to personalise the day (e.g. by ordering bunches of her favourite flowers to use as part of the decorations). By putting your heads together, you’ll be able to come up with an event tailored to your bride-to-be; one that is well thought out, meaningful and so memorable!
SET A BUDGET
Now that you have a few ideas rolling around, it’s time to set a budget (a realistic one!). Unlike hen parties, guests attending a Kitchen Tea or Bridal Shower aren’t asked to make a monetary donation towards the day (because gift-giving is involved). Instead, the host pays for it all.
It’s essential to keep this detail in mind; you don’t want to stretch yourself financially. The overall costs can be split between bridesmaids and family members if they are helping to host the event.
DECIDE ON A LOCATION
Despite the name suggesting that a Kitchen Tea is to be held in, well, a kitchen, when it comes to the venue, the possibilities are pretty endless!
Depending on your budget, a Kitchen Tea could be held at home (bridesmaids, Maid of Honour, or Mother of the Bride’s houses are all fabulous options) or a hired venue. You could also book a table at your bride-to-be’s favourite cafe/restaurant, or venture into the outdoors; hosting the celebration at a park, near the beach, in the forest, or a backyard.
SET A THEME
Not essential, but an exciting little surprise for guests and bride-to-be alike! Sweet and classy Kitchen Tea themes such as Mad Hatter Tea Party, Boho, Vintage, White, Her Favourite Colour, Pastels, Fairytale, Handmade, Flowers, Winter, Summer or even Tropical are all popular options. Keep it simple and elegant, with a touch of fun!
Such parties can often 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 fun theme, guests bring gifts to help the newly married couple entertain such as coffee beans, wine, cheese platters, glasses etc.
Tip: I find it easier to decorate when I have a theme in mind. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Even picking a few colours (e.g. white, light pink and light purple) makes everything much more comfortable.
Here are a few creative kitchen tea ideas:
‘Mad Hatter’ tea party
Host a kitchen tea party in a garden with a theme such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party. You can set up a long table with an array of classic high tea items such as scones with jam and cream, and play on the theme with mismatched crockery and tea sets! Even go a little step further and ask everyone to wear a hat or dress up.
Host a kitchen tea with a floral theme – you can ask guests to arrive wearing something floral or just a colour the bride likes. You can decorate the space with bunches of fresh flowers and even have flower crowns made for guests to wear and hand them out as the guests arrive.
Traditionally a kitchen tea is held in a home; however, modern brides opt to host a kitchen tea in whatever location suits them. An outdoors kitchen tea idea could be a picnic at a local park – or only in the bride’s backyard.
Ask guests to each bring a dish or a bottle of wine. You can sprawl out on the grass with dozens of picnic blankets, and share and enjoy cheese, fruits and wine with all your nearest and dearest. Even go a step further and arrange for an outdoor cinema to screen a movie for your guests as the festivities are winding down.
Head to a rooftop, or a venue which boasts excellent views, and enjoy the scenery whilst you and your guests have some yummy food and drinks to celebrate your upcoming nuptials.
If you love to cook, you could host a kitchen tea party with a theme of cooking and food. You can ask your guests to each bring their favourite recipe. Go and step further and organise to have a group cooking class on the day and plan lots of kitchen related games.
SEND YOUR KITCHEN TEA INVITATIONS
Now that you have an idea of where the celebration will be, whether or not it will be themed, and what (if any) activities you’ll be participating in, it’s time to tell the guests! When putting your Kitchen Tea invitations together, make sure you include the following points:
- What the event is, and who it’s for
- The date of the celebration and the time it will start (you may wish to include an approximate end time as well)
- Where the event will be held (house, cafe, restaurant, garden)
- Whether or not the Kitchen Tea details on this invite are kept a secret from the bride-to-be – meaning you can surprise her on her special day!
- Whether or not guests have to bring anything (i.e. a kitchen gift for the bride-to-be, notes for the time capsule, etc.)
- RSVP date and time, alongside your phone number and email
Suppose you decide to do one or two activities and wish to let the guests on these plans don’t forget to put this information on the invites. For example, if you’re hiring a musician for the day, let guests know when the performance will start so that everyone arrives in plenty of time. Want to have the best Melbourne hens party? Magic Men has you covered.
That being said, it can be fun to surprise guests as well – imagine arriving at a celebration and, surprise, finding live acoustic music in the lounge-room!
MAKE HER A RECIPE BOOK
On each invitation, ask each of the guests to bring along their favourite recipe to 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 present at the Kitchen Tea. Something that cannot be bought and a truly unique gift!
PLAY SOME GAMES FOR A KITCHEN TEA
Whether they’re used as ice-breakers or to add a bit of lighthearted fun to the day, having a few Kitchen Tea games up your sleeve is a must!
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 most extended 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! Need help deciding your theme? Check out our hen party themes blog post.
Create your very own trivia game, based entirely on your best friend! To organise, have a chat with your bride-to-be about her fun, weird, exciting and silly quirks (the ones she’s happy to share), and makeup questions to go along with her answers.
At the Kitchen Tea, separate guests into groups and, one by one, make your way through each of your pre-written questions. The team who gets the correct win a prize!
HE SAID SHE SAID
First things first – you need to come up with some super cute couple questions to ask the bride and groom! These can be anything from ‘who met the future in-laws first’ to ‘who proposed?’. Tailor these to your friends as best you can. Print off your questions and head on over to your fave couples house; asking them to fill out their answers.
At the party, hand each guest (or team) a piece of paper and a pen. Now, slowly read out the questions to the group; asking players to write down their answers as you go. When you’ve finished, have your bride-to-be read out the real solutions. One point is awarded for every correct answer; with the person/team receiving the most points at the end being the winner/s.
MR & MRS QUIZ
This game requires a little bit of organisation (but it is worth it!). A few weeks before the party, ask the soon-to-be husband to answer some questions about himself, his soon-to-be bride, and their relationship. When coming up with these questions, be mindful of the guest list at this Kitchen Tea and guests’ age. Keep it classy and fun!
On the day of the Kitchen Tea, sit your beautiful bride-to-be down and, one by one, ask her the very same questions. See how many the couple answer the same!
Tip: Film the groom answering each question. You can then play each of his answers back on the TV after your bride has given her answer. This is a sweet way to tell the party whether or not she was correct.
RECIPES FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE
This sweet game (that doubles as a keepsake for the bride-to-be!) can be played in one of two ways:
- Set out a bunch of wooden spoons and permanent markers next to a printed/framed sign (saying something along the lines of “please write your recipe for a happy marriage on a wooden spoon!” – That’s not very creative by me, but you get the gist!).
- Place a bunch of homemade ‘recipe cards’ (i.e. a page with the heading ‘recipe’ followed by empty lines) next to a box or chest. Once again, set up a sign letting guests know what to do (e.g. “please share your favourite recipe for a happy marriage”).
From here, it’s up to guests to share their words of wisdom. At the end of the celebration, your bride-to-be can take home and read these ‘recipes’ in the lead-up to her special day!
WHAT AGE WAS THE BRIDE?
This is such a cute game! To get it ready, print off at least five photos of your bride-to-be from different points in her life. Be sure to write down her correct age in each image and keep these little details in a safe place (you will need to know this information on the day of her Kitchen Tea!). Display these pictures as you wish (stick to the wall, frame each photo individually, frame photos as a collage, pin to a pinboard, etc.). When it comes time to play, ask each of the girls to guess what age they think the bride-to-be was in the photographs. The person who gets the most right wins!
Tip: This game can also be played with photographs from the bride and groom’s relationship. Guests can then guess the order these big (or small) events in their lives happened or where they were when the photo was taken. Alternatively, share photos of baby husband and baby wife – guests have to try and guess which baby is!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLANNING A KITCHEN TEA
Phew! That was a lot of info to digest, but hopefully, it will make your planning that little bit easier (and a lot more fun!). I’ll keep adding to this article as more ideas come to mind. Likewise, if I’ve missed any inspiration, you feel others would LOVE, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts via the comments section below or on our socials.