Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Handmade wedding - table centres.

I love a good cup of tea and a nice piece of cake. The tea is best when served in a vintage china cup and saucer, preferably when I can choose my teacup from a selection. I would probably have Earl Grey tea.The cake is best when homemade, I'm not fussy what flavour it is, although it is hard to go wrong with some version of chocolate. I like my cake on a proper cake plate, served from a larger cake plate or cake stand. I don't mind if my plate doesn't match my teacup, in fact I often prefer it as I get to see more beautiful china that way. Maybe add a doily or two. Always have milk in a jug. Make it an occasion and enjoy. Add some fabulous friends. Have a good conversation. Appreciate the moment.

So, when I was thinking about how I would like my wedding to be I realised that I wanted to have afternoon tea because it is my favourite way to combine the good cup of tea, the china and the nice piece of cake. Plus you get to add in fancy sandwiches and possibly a scone (or two). Our venue enjoyed turning my idea into reality. Several members of staff made the cakes - mini battenburgs, a super chocolaty brownie, carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake. We had fruit scones with butter and jam and cheese scones. The sandwiches were coronation chicken, local ham and salad, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise (because it reminds me of children's birthday parties , happy times) and hummus and grated carrot. It was served on cake plates and cake stands, with cake plates and teacups. Nothing matched, though some tables had a set of china, but it was all beautiful.
The place names were handmade by a fabulous and talented friend.
She hand painted each one.

I was ready to beg and borrow china from friends and family and seek it out for myself. Despite Mr O's belief that I could supply a cafe with my own collection it would not stretch to a wedding, even a small one. However, the venue then managed to purchase someone else's china collection. I don't know how they let it go although I am thankful that they did. So my china stayed safely with me and we enjoyed seeing more.
I was mulling over decoration ideas, as you do, and realised that there was a very happy way to combine my favourite pastimes of cake eating and knitting. Yes, knitted cakes on cake stands for the table centres! When I did my craft badge as a Girl Guide I knitted a battenburg cake and a jam waffle and they looked fabulous. This obviously stayed in the back of my mind and came out as wedding decorations. I stumbled across a fantastic book full of patterns for knitted cakes and that was it, ready to go.

I have to say at this point that I was not responsible for any of the knitted cakes. I delegated so that I could make other things! So huge thanks go to my great friend and bridesmaid and to my mum. My friend, who had only knitted in garter stitch before, surpassed herself and made the most beautiful array of cakes. She began on the swiss rolls as they were easiest and worked up to angel cakes and heart shaped raspberry cakes. I was amazed. My mum is a great knitter so she got the harder patterns from the outset and produced beautiful doughnuts and slices of fruit flan. The fruit flans were quite a late addition so my dad and sister were roped into a production line to cut out the cardboard bases, stuff and sew!

Between my mum and myself we had enough cake stands to have one on the centre of each table. Each table got a selection of cakes arranged on the stand. I stood the stands on a tower of ladybird books which I had been collecting up with a half formed idea that they would be part of the wedding decorations, although I was not quite sure how until about the week before. I should have said that the ideal tea and cake scenario would also involve reading a good book so I wanted my love of reading to be reflected in some way.
I loved them. Mr O loved them. Our guests loved them (except the guest who picked one up to eat thinking that they were real!). They proved to be a great conversation starter and added a lovely handmade flavour to our afternoon tea.

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