Good Question: Fresh Ideas for Tea Sandwiches?

Sarah is getting married in May, and she and her family are throwing a casual yet elegant afternoon reception with tea and sandwiches. How charming! She has a question, though, about updating tea sandwiches with a more modern flair. Can you help?

The problem I have is with the tea sandwiches. I think they're cute, but they seem a little dated, and I worry that the usual chicken/ham/egg/tuna salads will seem underwhelming. I love to cook and would like to know if there are easy recipes that are a little more impressive than just cream cheese and cucumber.

Sarah, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Please bear with me as I give you a piece of entirely unsolicited advice, to start things off. As everyone else has probably already told you too, do not under any circumstances plan on doing anything with the food yourself on the day of the wedding. I say that as a bride who baked my own wedding cake and made ice cream too; it was only by the sweet graces of my friends and catering company that those were decorated and served up on the day itself. Work up until a day or two before the wedding, but then make sure you have trusty hands to take over completely.

OK, now that I've got that out of my system, how about putting an Asian twist on tea sandwiches? I turned to Martha (of course) and found these sushi-inspired sandwiches that are very elegant and inspiring.

Sushi Bar Tea Sandwiches - Smoked salmon is mixed with the unexpected: shiso, fresh roe, sesame seeds.
"Sushi" Surprise - Just soft white bread wrapped around cream cheese and vegetable matchsticks.

Make sure to check out the rest of the links in that Martha Stewart slideshow; there is a lot of inspiration there for a tea-inspired party. It's all geared towards a bridal shower, but you could easily adapt it for a reception.

If you go this route, how about serving a shiso cocktail, too, and perhaps a chicken salad dressed up with black sesame seeds:

Straight Up: Using Shiso in Cocktails (Mojitos and More) - A peppery, fresh herb that would give a unique twist to a signature wedding cocktail.
Recipe: Dill and Yogurt Chicken Salad - This chicken salad is easy to prepare, and it will sit very happily in the fridge for several days before serving.

Other ideas for Sarah? Good luck, Sarah! Please report back with your DIY wedding reception; we would love to see photos!

Related: Good Question: Wedding Finger-Foods on a Budget

(Images: Martha Stewart)

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