Girls just wanna have tea
A hens celebration is a bride-to-be’s final send-off to married life, and consequently, it should reflect the bride and what she values and enjoys the most. Some brides are lowkey, and don’t desire a traditional or formal celebration. Instead, they might like something a little simpler, yet still brimming with class and elegance. Western Australia Wedding & Bride’s Lucy Wadelton speaks with Annie Houlberg, food & beverage manager and executive assistant manager at Pagoda Resort & Spa, to discuss a unique and timeless hens choice – high tea.
Exuding elegance and class, high tea has been a staple of wealthy English society since the 1800s. Similarly, the hens do has been around for a long time – or at least a version of it – dating back to Ancient Greece. But while brides-to-be historically participated in rituals before her wedding day, in contemporary times women prepare for married life in a less serious, more playful manner. The way a bride wants to celebrate her impending nuptials entirely depends on the individual. High tea is rapidly becoming a classy alternative to the common bar hopping and booze bus era, promising an inclusive and fun filled occasion.
TO TEA OR NOT TO TEA?
High tea is an elegant daytime dining experience that offers a delicious selection of savoury and sweets with tea and coffee served on delicate crockery. It is fast becoming a refreshing and unique bridal shower option for its good food and drink, with a lowkey sit down and mingle vibe. At Pegoda Resort & Spa, the Waterfall Restaurant & Bar is a light-filled oasis with floor to ceiling windows overlooking a pool and landscaped garden. And it’s in this picturesque environment, that executive assistant manager Annie Houlberg describes as a “warm and relaxing backdrop to the timeless tradition of High Tea”.
Houlberg believes what makes High Tea a fantastic alternative to other kinds of hens celebrations lies within the flexibility, inclusivity, and variety on offer. Located primarily indoors, hens groups rarely need to be concerned about everchanging weather impacting the special day. Houlberg states that as a daytime event, a high tea is typically “a much more inclusive experience and can be enjoyed by all ages”. This means older family members and friends, parents of little ones and those who don’t drink or enjoy big parties can feel at ease. They’re able to join in on the celebration without the expectation of a late night out.
High tea can also be a highly customisable experience with the ability to alter the guest list and menu to cater to your specific occasion. Houlberg notes that at Waterwall Restaurant & Bar for example, it can cater to any group size of up to 120 people – meaning the high tea can still be a large, bustling celebration, but with a different backdrop and activity. “Many of our High Tea groups range between intimate group of friends and family to the larger groups,” she explains. A bridal party has an array of venues to choose from at Pagoda Resort & Spa which has several options for different themes. Furthermore, there’s always the choice of hosting your high tea privately – perhaps in someone’s home – to enhance a sense of intimacy, while still indulging on yummy food and good company.
LET THEM EAT CAKE
What sets a high tea hens occasion apart from other types of venues is the fabulous array of food and drinks that are on offer – think decadent desserts, sumptuous sandwiches, and a relaxing environment to sip and savour some bubbles. As in the tradition of high tea, Pegoda Resort & Spa offers up its delectable seasonal menu on a three-tiered stand, offering percolated coffee and a fully licensed bar. The food provided includes a highlight of high tea favourites such as freshly baked scones, delightful sandwiches and a myriad of savouries and sweets to ensure full bellies and happy guests.
Bitesize fun can be found for everyone, Houlberg promises, including those with strict dietary needs. “We have a separate menu that is available for vegan, vegetarian or gluten free dietary requirements,” she notes, flagging that almost all dietary requests can be catered for as long as you give a week’s notice.
Pagoda Resort & Spa has several packages available such as Traditional High Tea, Free-flowing Sparkling High Tea, or Champagne High Tea. And if alcoholic beverages aren’t to your taste, Houlberg assures that “all our high tea packages include a selection of premium leaf teas and fresh brewed coffee”, as well as mocktails so that everybody’s thirst is satisfied.
If you’re in charge of organising a hens celebration and love the idea of a high tea, the expert flags that it’s important to consider your numbers and budget even in the initial planning stages. Houlberg also notes that it’s a great idea to delegate roles – such as invites and party games – among those involved so that nobody is forced to do the heavy lifting. The best piece of advice, Houlberg says, is organising the high tea so that it is “planned as a beautiful surprise for the bride-to-be”. There is no greater delight in celebrating the lovely future bride and knowing that the hens do is not only hassle-free for her, but a celebration of the incredible person she is.
A bride and her loved ones are sure to be spoilt for choice when they choose a high tea inspired hens do. And if you choose to engage the help of an expert, this process becomes even more seamless. The team at Pagoda Resort & Spa are there to guide you through every step of the process, and more than happy to provide advice, alterations, and customisations to fit the bride-to-be’s unique style and taste.
The appeal of a high tea hens lies in the experience. “It’s a great way to create a special moment for the bride before her big day without spending a lot and be pampered,” Houlberg affirms. And if you and your guests decide to kick on after the elegant festivities, consider staying the night at Pagoda Resort & Spa. That way the celebration can continue upstairs in your warm and cosy guest suite to relax the evening away.
Image courtesy of Pagoda Resort & Spa