I went to a lovely wedding shower for my nephew’s fiancée in New York a couple weekends ago. The bride’s brother and sister-in-law (she is a pastry chef who will make the wedding cake) hosted it at Alice’s Tea Cup on the upper east side, one of three branches.
First there was a champagne toast and then the staff bought out 3-tiered towers of scones (top level, left photo), tea sandwiches (middle level, bottom photo), and desserts (lower level, also bottom photo).
It was all delicious and there was more than enough for our party of around 20 for everyone to have whatever appealed to them (and you could ask for more of anything you wanted). There were many pretty pots of tea on the table, too, each one labeled as to type, but I had iced tea – what can I say, it was a 90° day outside! (But fortunately pretty good air-conditioning, even in our upstairs room. The place seemed quite busy all afternoon, on both levels.)
And at the end, after many presents were opened to ohhs and ahhs, they brought out a beautifully decorated carrot cake. I took my slice home, since I was already all “sugared up,” and enjoyed it that night after dinner. (A very light dinner I might add.)
The gift that got applause? The hosts presented the bride-to-be with pretty note cards for thank yous and a stack of hand-addressed envelopes with all the guests addresses on them! What a boon for the bride-to-be, and more civilized than handing envelopes to the attendees to address themselves, which I’ve heard is done. (There was a nifty return-address stamp, too, but I believe it is for after the wedding, with married names.)
Regarding thank you notes, I’m starting to believe that if you are there to thank someone in person for their gift that you’ve just opened, you should be off the hook (hey, it’s a new century). But if the gift was opened away from the giver, you really should write a personal note. For casual situations email may do, but otherwise, get out the pen and paper.