BAFTA Tea Party Chooses Intimacy Over Spectacle

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles's pre-Emmy garden fete was a casual affair that felt rather like a quaint English house party.

By Irene Lacher September 17, 2007, 12:48 PM EDT

British tea time in Emmy's honor.

Photo: Alex Berliner/Berliner Studio/BEImages

BAFTA/LA and the Television Academy's Emmy Tea Party
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Award season is all about bigness—big awards, big bashes, big red carpets, and big audiences. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles's pre-Emmy garden party is the rare exception: a casual, intimate fete that feels like a party at someone’s home. That’s, in part, because it is. BAFTA/LA’s fifth annual Primetime Emmy nominees tea party moved to Wattles Mansion and Gardens, a quaint Mission Revival house in Hollywood that was built for an Omaha banker in 1907.

Saffron Burrows and Joely Richardson were among the 400 British and American performers and entertainment industry-ites who gathered at the group’s party on Saturday afternoon. Under the supervision of Donald Haber, BAFTA/LA's executive director and C.O.O., and Laurel Whitcomb, vice president of marketing for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Michael Teta Associates coordinated the event, which was designed and produced by Siobhane Flynn. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was the cohost.

The guest list wasn’t the only thing bringing together the U.S., U.K., and Commonwealth countries—the party was a high-profile branding op for companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Waterford Wedgwood provided cut-crystal vases for the venue’s ubiquitous white roses, as well as its own brand of tea and crystal frames designed by Vera Wang for the gift bags. British perfumer Jo Malone set up fragrance bars in a back room and beneath a tent that it shared with American companies Dove and Beaulieau Vineyards, which teamed up to offer guests wine-and-chocolate pairings.

British Bartenders, whose card offers to “posh up your party,” poured plenty of Grey Goose vodka, while guests perused such overseas culinary wonders as Scotch eggs, beef pasties, sausage rolls, and fish and chips served in paper cones rolled in faux newspaper.

Of course, no tea party would be complete without teapots. A large table just past the entrance was topped with more than 30 pots decorated by stars of The Office, American Idol, CSI, and other shows, which BAFTA/LA and the TV academy are auctioning off.

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