Throughout history, people have been creating specialized rituals for different events in their lives from birth to coming of age, marriage and even death. Some of the special events that we are drawn to in a D/s bend are the more “everyday” form of formal behavior and on occasion, a ceremony that comes from other parts of the world.
Note: Only select relationships require this level of protocol and service. It’s always interesting to learn about these formal events and so I encourage you to browse the information below with an open mind.
I have worked to gather online and other resources that may help you learn more about some of the more common forms of formal ceremony that submissives gravitate towards, High Tea, Japanese Tea Ceremony, and Formal Dining. I do not have experience with any of these so I rely on the information I have found to talk about each of them in turn.
High Tea is a different form of Afternoon Tea because it involves heartier meat dishes served with the tea. It was also served as dinner.
Afternoon Tea or Low Tea
Also known as British or English Tea Service this is how I would imagine the Royal family in England has their tea every afternoon. Traditional service dictates that the tea be served from ornate silver tea pots and delicate china cups while the sandwiches and scones arrive on a tiered china cake stand.
A lovely history of Afternoon Tea can be found on What’s Cooking America. The link also includes tea etiquette and recipes for brewing tea.
Norische has done an excellent set of essays about formal tea service, with preparation and recipes for common tea blends as well as how tea is to be served and with what accompaniments.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The whole process of a Japanese Tea Ceremony is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one's heart.
is dedicated to the Japanese Tea Ceremony and includes history, theory, materials and forums to discuss it.
Another lovely article about serving tea can be found on the Holy Mountain Trading Company site.
And for those of us who love to watch a Tea Ceremony, you can find several on YouTube.
Books: Chado the Way of Tea: A Japanese Tea Master's Almanac - Does not teach how to serve but is an excellent detailed reference guide if you want to advance your skills.
Formal Dining and Formal Dinners
Formal dining runs the gamut of variations and differences depending on where in the world you are or want to re-enact from. Formal dining does not have to be done in a dinner party situation. You can set up the same atmosphere and serve only your Dominant if you’d like.
Books: Protocol Handbook for the Leather Slave has an extensive formal dining section in it. New Dinners For All Occasions With Instructions for Formal and Informal Dinner Service is an old book but if you can find it used it is a treasure.
Each of these ceremonies has a common thread. The service is done with grace and measured care. There is an inherent slowness about the occasion as if every stir of the spoon, every placement of silver is to be noted and perfect. You can take this notion of grace and careful movement and apply it to any part of your current service to your Dominant. I promise that it will bring a level of ritual or connection that you haven’t noticed before, just by simply paying more attention to your every move and twitch of you body.
I hope you have enjoyed this exploration into some special occasions in which you can learn to serve.