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Weddings and private celebrations are by far my favourite types of events to plan as the general cheerful atmosphere and emotional moments shared by everyone involved make them a joy to be a part of.

Here at LT EVENTS we constantly search for ways to make those special moments unforgettable and are striving to offer our clients fresh ideas and interesting alternatives for their special day.

While at an event in London recently, I’ve come across an amazing flower display at one of the exhibitor stalls, a masterpiece of floral arranging which caught my eye due to its unique composition of foliage, blooms and what I, clueless when it comes to knowing about plants and flowers, would deem weeds and grass. The arrangement was so special and beautiful I just had to find out who the artist was.

In comes Rob Hedderwick, one of the friendliest people in the industry and the mastermind behind Flower and Flour. His floristry career started in the flower rooms of The Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh, before moving to London and working for some of the Capital’s leading florists, including Shane Connolly and NB Flowers. In his spare time trained at Le Cordon Bleu and subsequently refined his patisserie skills at the Lanesborough Hotel, Knightsbridge and at the Michelin star Yauatcha restaurant in the heart of Soho.

Beautiful flower arrangements and desserts

Beautiful flower arrangements and desserts are obviously a must for every wedding, but what is special about Flower and Flour is their use of mostly home-grown flowers and cakes and pastries fit for wholesome grandma’s baking (a very posh and fancy grandma, but you know what I mean 😊). And while afternoon tea is nothing new for the British, the rest of us don’t really seem to know much about it and incorporating what is a slightly “exotic” tradition for us continental Europeans into weddings we’re planning seemed to be an interesting idea.

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DO’s & DONT's, food and décor of Afternoon Tea

I’ve asked Rob to write a few words about the origins, do’s & dont’s, food and décor of Afternoon Tea and what his recommendations would be. If you’re interested in finding out more about his work, hop over on his website linked in this post or get in touch with us to have us create an amazing wedding for you by linking our extensive knowledge of planning weddings anywhere in Europe with his creativity.

Enough from me, now let’s find out more about Rob’s thoughts.

Firstly, let’s find out about Afternoon Tea:

“Tea has been around since the 1600s, brought over with King Charles II’s Portuguese Queen Catherine of Braganza. With Samuel Pepys noting in his diary, in 1660: 'I did send for a cup of tea, (a China drink) of which I had never drunk before.' It soon developed into the official court drink, bound up with ultimate wealth and privilege; as well as being highly taxed, it was utterly out of reach of the common man. For me it doesn't get really deliciously interesting until the 1830’s. So let’s take ourselves back to the 1830’s, around the time Queen Victoria succeeded the throne from King William IV. Luncheon was served at around noon and the evening meal was being pushed back later and later as it was becoming easier to light all the grand houses well into the evening, with polite society having supper at around 8 to 9pm. Anna Russel, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, would become rather peckish in the late afternoon (who could blame her) and she would ask for a tray of tea and light food (often biscuits and bread and butter) to be brought to her private apartments. She began to entertain her guests around this time of day, so the idea of what we today call afternoon tea began to catch on (that famous phase “the world marches on its stomach” comes to mind). She took her place in history and was credited with beginning of afternoon tea. I would also like to add that the afternoon noon tea takers need to also doff their caps to The Earl of Sandwich, who had had his own moment of hunger a few years earlier and invented the sandwich. However, that’s another tale. By the 1880s the practice of taking tea had become a fashionable event, undertaken by ladies who would send out invitations for a given day and over the course of an afternoon guests would drop by. With invitations being issued throughout the week the ladies could keep up to date with gossip and scandals from all of the finest drawing-rooms across the county and the land. The trend spread and, as tea became more affordable, everyone got in on the act. Tea-pouring etiquette became a hot topic - milk first or last? The fine-bone china used by the aristocracy was not affected by the sudden temperature shock caused by the boiling liquid, but for those who couldn't afford this luxury, the heat made inferior china cups crack and break. Pouring the milk in first cooled the tea enough and solved the problem. If you’ve decided to indulge in this historic meal, the big questions are what sort of tea you should go for, what type and style of food and how best to decorate the tables. Here are some tips to guide you through. Whether or not your milk goes in first or last, the tea you choose for your special occasion or wedding spread should be the best your budget allows. Day to day, a mug of builder’s with a good dash of milk does nicely, but when you’re choosing something to partner smoked-salmon, cucumber sandwiches or delicious buttery scones you’ll need a more refined option, and ideally more than one. There are five basic categories of tea; black, green, oolong, white and Pu'er or pu-erh . Black tea is the most common type of tea, stronger flavor. This tea can be consumed with sugar, milk or lemon. Green tea tastes light and grassy. It is best consumed without any additives, although some people may prefer to add lemon or a sweetener but not milk. Oolong teas produce a golden or light brown drink with a very delicate flavor resembling green tea, yet due to the oxidation process the taste is less grassy and smoother. The aroma tends to be floral. Stronger oolongs have more honey and sweet notes with some cinnamon or caramel. White tea produces a very lightly colored infusion with mild flavor profiles, expect sweet honey notes and lightly vegetal flavors like floral and grass. Pu-erh tea is a special type of tea that comes from the Yunan province of China and is known for its earthy flavor. Whatever you choose, opt for loose-leaf tea instead of tea bags. The leaves infuse best when they can move around the teapot. Consider doing a tea tasting when planning the food. Think about what type of food you will be serving and this will help you find the perfect tea to match. When serving tea have some fun with the presentation, why not label all the teas on the table with all their tasting notes, and what would taste best with accompanying patisseries, sandwiches or cakes. This would really get your guests talking.”
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Rob Hedderwick
Afternoon tea expert - Event Designer at Flower & Flour
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Great, now we know where this tradition comes from and what tea to go for. Now what about the food?

Whether we mark it simply with a mug and slice of cake or with friends and family and go the whole hog with scones, sandwiches and delicious patisserie delights. These days, afternoon tea is no longer the preserve of elite country homes and hotels - it is an increasingly popular choice for weddings, with a spread of patisserie and savory bites replacing the classic three-course wedding breakfast, laid out on beautifully decorated tables with stunning floral arrangements. It’s brings guests a refreshing satisfaction and is a delicious treat. What will we eat? One of the reasons I started Flower & Flour was because I wanted to create lavish but intimate teatime events. I recommend a good balance of traditional touches and new twists. The must-haves are cucumber sandwiches on crustless white bread, smoked salmon and cream cheese, perfectly seasoned with black pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice, on brown. Then why not try rare roast beef with horseradish or pastrami with cream cheese, horseradish and rocket? It would be sacrilege not to include scones with deliciously rich clotted cream and strawberry jams, in one-inch rounds, perfect for a bite size. The cakes are what I love to have fun with. There are no rules here. You can go small and dainty with individual pastries such as eclairs, petit gateau and entremets, or go big with a couple of ‘sharing’ cakes on each table, such as fantastic croquembouche perched on an iced sponge cake and the same with delicious macaroon towers. The food should be sensational both to look at and to eat.
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Rob Hedderwick
Afternoon tea expert - Event Designer at Flower & Flour
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And finally, the flower arrangements I’ve seen from Flower and Flour look so natural and pretty and the sent of them transports you to blushing meadows of the English countryside. Here’s what Rob told us about his choices when creating his beautiful arrangements.

Flowers can transform and enhance a table or a room, you would be amazed at how distracting it can be to see a display of flowers that really do work, it can quite literally stop you in your tracks. The key things to remember with flowers are scent, flower type, foliage and overall style. I love to work with home-grown herbaceous flowers and try not to use Dutch imports where possible. Flowers bought from a florist or from the flower markets generally won't have any scent. This is because the flowers are grown to last and all their energy has to go into the bloom. A rose grown in Africa or Ecuador may spend any time between 48 to 72 hours in transit, then they will often sit with the florist, waiting to be used. With home-grown flowers, however, you can afford the trade-off between longevity and scent. Let’s be honest, if you were to have a glorious afternoon tea, inside or outdoors, it wouldn't be the same without the heavenly smell of Roses, Sweet Peas, Lavender or Sweet Williams. Don't forget in this country we have an abundance of beautiful foliage for example Viburnum, Guelder Rose (a stunning vivid green with delicate white lace cap flowers in spring, turning to vivid red/yellow berries in autumn), oak and silver birch. Mix in Alchemilla Mollis and Cow Parsley to get an English country garden feel. Herbs too, like Sage, Bay, Rosemary and all varieties of Mints, will undoubtedly help to create the perfect arrangement.
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Rob Hedderwick
Afternoon tea expert - Event Designer at Flower & Flour
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Afternoon Tea can definitely be and interesting addition to your wedding celebration; why not go for a welcome afternoon extravaganza on the first day of your wedding? Or maybe replace the traditional sit-down meal with a shorter and sweeter Tea Time, allowing for more time for a good dance and a party with your loved ones?
Whatever you choose we can guarantee that the collaboration between our LT EVENTS team and the amazing Flower and Flour will give you the wedding of your dreams.

by Tjaša Vulič
LT EVENTS
Director

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