Pull out those fascinators, teacups and crowns — the royal wedding is fast approaching. Entertaining expert JJ Keras is joining TODAY to share a few of her creative decoration ideas and regal recipes to have a jolly good time at home.
And if you're looking to buy royal supplies online, check out our royal wedding viewing party guide.
Scones are the proper English food served at tea, or in our case, the perfect morning treat! But before you go spreading on the jam and clotted cream, consider which goes first, as it is widely debated. The argument over this tea etiquette has raged on for several years between the residents of Devon and Cornwall. Typically, if you are Cornish, the proper order is jam followed by cream. But people from Devon say it is always cream first. Thankfully the queen herself settled this debate and concluded that, indeed, jam comes first.
These bite-sized snacks are also known as a finger sandwiches and are an absolute must-have at a proper tea party. I love serving these because they are easy to assemble, there are many varieties and my kids love when I cut the crust off of anything. They are meant to be eaten in a few bites and to hold one over before a big meal.
English Cucumber Tea Sandwich
When researching traditionally English tea sandwiches, I discovered the cucumber sandwich is the real queen. The key is to use real, unsalted butter, instead of cream cheese.
1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Unsalted butter, at room temperature
Thinly sliced white bread
Sprinkle cucumber slices lightly with salt. Spread one side of each slice of white bread with unsalted butter. Arrange cucumbers on bread and cover with another slice of lightly buttered bread. Press together. Remove the crusts and cut each sandwich in half diagonally and then in half again.
For variety, use different breads on your tea sandwich tray. Pumpernickel bread complements smoked salmon nicely. Just remember to remove the crusts and cut each sandwich in half diagonally, and then in half again. Some smoked salmon tea sandwiches are also served open faced.
Watercress gives the sandwiches a light peppery flavor that pairs nicely with a variety of teas.
If there are two flavors that are the stars of the show for this royal event it is lemon and elderflower — the flavors of the wedding cake made by pastry chef Claire Ptak of London bakery Violet Cakes.
Since it may not be practical to replicate the actual cake in all its grandiose, consider cupcakes. Elderflower, which is derived from the European elderberry plant, is in season right now and when mixed with lemon, the flavors have a delicate, fresh springy taste. For your recipe needs elderflower cordial can be purchased at your local grocery store or online.
For your centerpiece or bar decor, purchase inexpensive gold crowns at your local craft store or online and fill with pink peonies, white garden roses and foxgloves (the actual flowers that will be seen at St. George's Chapel). Also, consider adding a sprig of myrtle to the arrangement as it symbolizes good luck. Including these fragrant flowers dates back to Queen Victoria and it is tradition for every royal bride to carry a sprig of it in her bouquet.
You can also reuse the crowns for a little ones princess theme birthday or carnival theme party. Also, consider purchasing smaller crowns, fill with flowers, and give to each guest as a parting gift to remember the royal day!
As you toast the royal couple, place gold crown stickers on your champagne flutes. This is an easy way to create festive glassware. Before washing glasses, simply peel off the stickers. Another idea is to use a wine glass writer and write each guests name in calligraphy on their glass, as Meghan Markle is known to be an avid calligrapher. Cheers!