TNWC Real Brides: Fern's plans for an afternoon tea reception with homemade scones and cake

Real bride Fern shares her plans for an afternoon tea reception

Fern’s post today is full of lovely recipes (lemon and blueberry drizzle cake anyone?) and some great vintage finds, including an old seed tray her dad has upcycled into a drinks tray for their wedding. Go get inspired!

>> View Fern and Dominic’s woodland bird and country flower inspired wedding here <<

Over to Fern…

Collecting for our afternoon reception

We really wanted to have an afternoon reception rather than an evening one for our guests who will not be attending the whole event to celebrate with everyone straight away. The National Trust have allowed us exclusive use of the Old Stable Courtyard at Montacute House for us to serve refreshments for our guests and park our wedding car, but guest will be free to access the grounds as they wish.

Montacute House

We are planning to serve baked refreshments following our ceremony for our guests while we have photos taken. I have been really inspired by Charlie’s afternoon tea in the garden (and part 2 here) and have spent a lot of time reading and then re-reading the posts about it to absorb every ounce of inspiration. Although Dominic and I are not going for a full English tea party, I really want some colourful vintage china to liven up the rustic picnic and trestle tables we will be using.

Montacute House

I am searching regularly through our local charity shops for vintage china, baskets and cut glass. My ultimate bargain is the green china set which I found for £9 for the lot. I love the beautiful cut glass bird, another charity shop find, who will hopefully find a nice little home for the day.

The other items are a collection of charity and vintage shop finds, were my own already, or I am borrowing from friends and family.

Vintage picnic baskets and crockery

For months, we have also collected jam jars, coffee jars and wine bottles to display our flowers and candles on the day, now filling 2 suitcases. My amazing dad has cleaned up and varnished a seed tray he had for us to hold our glasses for sparkling drinks, I’m blown away with how great it looks, and my parents have also kindly lent us some parasols to keep the sun off on the day.

Upcycled vintage seed tray for wedding drinks tray

Mini scones

No afternoon would be complete without a cream tea, a staple part of a West Country diet. I’m going to be making the scones myself using Mary Berry’s Mini Scone recipe.

These are simply scrummy scones and this recipe has never failed me yet. Each batch makes around 16 scones; we will need nine batches allowing 2 scones per person, plus a little extra.


  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 40g softened butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • about 100ml milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 (200C Fan).
  2. Put the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Gradually add the egg and milk to the dry ingredients, stirring it in until you have a soft slightly sticky dough. Keep a little egg and milk back for glazing.
  4. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out until it is about 2cm/¾in thick. Use a 4cm/1½in fluted cutter to stamp out the scones. Make sure you don’t twist the cutter or the scones will not rise evenly.
  5. Gently gather the trimmings together and pat out again to cut more scones
  6. Arrange the scones on the greased baking trays and brush the tops with the remaining milk.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until well risen and golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

We have chosen Trewithen Cornish Clotted Cream, Leiths School of Food and Wine Strawberry Conserve from Asda, and fresh strawberries to serve with our scones. I’m planning to make a mixture of plain and fruit scones by adapting the recipe. Adding fruit makes the mixture go further, making about 18 scones to a batch.

For Cherry Scones: Add 100g of glacier cherries, cut into quarters, washed and dusted in flour. Add this just before the egg and milk.

For Fruit Scones: Add 100g of sultanas to the recipe just before the egg and milk.


I spent a long time undecided about how much or what cake I wanted to serve. I have gone through Brownies and Blondies, Fruit cake, Lemon Drizzle cake, Lemon and Orange cake, Chocolate and Orange cake and Neapolitan cake. Although it’s been really fun and very enjoyable testing and tasting all these recipes I do feel relieved to have settled on something.

Aside from our scones, my wonderful friend Marie is going to make us some mini muffins in Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate and Raspberry flavours as well as a Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle cake. I found the recipe on Little Button Diaries blog.

This is a fantastic cake, the sponge is beautifully light and very easy to make dairy free for one of our guests and my family had no trouble eating 2 pieces, even the little one. I’m using Waitrose Extra Fine Sponge flour and Pure Dairy Free sunflower spread instead of butter, which unlike most margarine, contain no buttermilk.

I’ve not tried this cake with the frosted flowers yet, but I’m up for the challenge on the morning of my wedding…I think!

>> View Fern and Dominic’s woodland bird and country flower inspired wedding here <<

Images: (1 – 5) Brides own photos


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