As originally featured on Inside Weddings:
This feminine tablescape, titled “Afternoon Tea with Lady Charlotte in the Grounds of Bluebell Castle,” was inspired by wedding event designer Charley Izabella King’s upbringing in England, her love for Downton Abbey, and her father. “We wanted to do something with the name ‘Bluebell’ because it’s the [nick]name my father gave me. Whenever anyone says ‘Bluebell,’ I think of my dad. He passed away and I wanted to make an afternoon tea tribute to him,” shares Charley of Bluebell Events.
To create the look of an elegant high tea, Charley covered a round bistro table with Luxe Linen’s “Lismore Garden Mineral” floral linen. “[The exquisite fabric] spoke to me because I’m British and I’m homesick at the moment,” she admits. “I’m totally in love with Downton Abbey, so when I saw this linen, I had to [use it] because it reminds me of home.” The table was placed beneath an arch constructed of greenery, to bring the look of the outdoors in, and bedecked with cherry blossom branches and a crystal chandelier.
A large urn centerpiece covered with fresh moss and topped with blush roses, pink tulips, lilacs, and cherry blossom branches decorated the table. An assortment of teacups and teapots showcasing ladylike flowery designs were filled with vibrant peach and lavender blooms and placed around the towering arrangement. Each place setting featured stacked botanic-print china in light blue and golden hues from Dish Wish adorned with hemstitched napkins, lace, and fresh flowers.
Since guests of English afternoon teas are traditionally served small sandwiches and sponge cakes, The Butter End Cakery created Victorian sponge cakes for the shoot because “they are very British,” smiles Charley. The decadent confections were topped with fresh strawberries, blackberries, and lovely ivory anemones with violet centers. Menus featuring a bluebell motif were nestled into white hemstitched linen napkins wrapped with delicate lace or coral table napkins fastened with florals. Name cards featured the same bluebell design, as an ode to Charley’s late father.
Brides and grooms who love this look for a bridal shower or post-wedding afternoon tea can create a similar design by pairing vintage-style flower prints with sophisticated china decorated with a complementing motif. Welcome guests to your sweet soirée with a large framed mirror featuring event details written in elegant calligraphy. Bistro chairs can become a decoration element in and of themselves when embellished with moss and topped with classy large-brimmed hats as wedding favors. By bringing in lush blooms, topiaries, hedges, and cherry blossom branches, it’s possible to achieve a garden ambience, even in a ballroom setting. “I wanted to bring the [outdoors] in,” explains Charley of the beautifully feminine floral theme, “and make it feel like a fantasy English secret garden.”