The settings were meticulously placed, the tables ornately decorated and the wall art serving as a stark reminder that you are in fact in a business that has deep British ties.
It’s exactly what the guests of The Silver Teapot wanted Friday morning when they turned out to see a taping of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton while enjoying the trappings of traditional English tea – from the artfully crafted food included in the high tea to the loose leaves caught in the tea strainer while serving a particular blend.
And being that it has been 30 years since the last Royal Wedding occurred in London – when Prince Charles exchanged vows with Lady Diana – those in attendance Friday morning were glad to be witnessing a historic event.
“I was 11-years-old when the last Royal Wedding took place, and I remember staying up late with my parents to watch it,” said Jennifer Settlemoir – a regular at the downtown tea shop tucked away on Maple Avenue. “I’m glad that I get the chance to be here today with my daughter and my mother to see this again.”
The Silva family – consisting of Bill, his wife Marion and their daughter Heidi – came up with the idea for the special event about a month ago, and figured it would be a chance to bring a slice of London to the heart of Manteca.
While Bill hustled around the tables seeing that the glasses were full, Heidi Silva entertained guests as they filtered in and made sure that everybody was comfortable while watching the formal festivities as they unfolded on three television sets that were broadcasting a tape-delayed feed from the BBC.
“We’re British and all of our customers are like our extended family and we wanted to share this special event with them,” said Heidi – who stayed up all night just to get a glimpse of Middleton’s dress before coming into the business to get everything prepared. “It’s a really big deal to the people of England and British people around the world because this hasn’t happened in 30 years.
“Prince William is second in the line of succession, and this is a big event for the Royal family.”
And of course it wouldn’t be a wedding without a gift. In keeping with the new couple’s wishes, the Silva family elected to donate a portion whatever they made off of the high tea served Friday to the charity that they started – asking for donations instead of gifts.
For those who wandered around the shop, pictures of Big Ben and the River Thames, and tucked away alongside a baker’s rack were three framed sets of postage stamps and coins that Bill Silva had collected while living in the United Kingdom – including one that displayed the envelope commemorating the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. A coin of the couple and one of Queen Elizabeth the Second, issued by Barclays Bank, only added to the previous chapter that being rewritten Friday morning.
It was that sort of detail that made guest Delores Britto happy to be where she was.
“This is the most wonderful thing, and you couldn’t have had it in a better, more beautiful place,” she said. “It’s a beautiful ceremony, and as far as I’m concerned this place really makes Manteca – it adds a little bit of class from England that you don’t usually find.
“I’m happy to be here.”