I am obsessed with Downton Abbey. I will sit and analyze the plot the way some people dissect politics and world events. Who killed Mrs. Bates, and what happened to Mr. Pamuk? I have theories people, and I love to talk about them.
Fortunately, I have several friends who are also Downton addicts. Two of my friends decided to host a Downton party and were sweet enough to allow me to share the pictures here with you all. Thanks Jen and LaShae! :)
We started off the evening with a traditional high tea. We enjoyed finger sandwiches, lemon bars, scones, shortbread cookies, dried mango, chocolate covered strawberries, and of course, tea! :) Someone suggested we should have had "salty pudding" as a tribute to when Mrs. Patmore accidentally put salt instead of sugar on the pudding, causing quite an uproar at a dinner party, but that didn't sound very tasty. :)
The hostesses combined their mothers' china, which made for a lovely and properly laid out table that I'm sure even Carson could not disapprove.
I must show you the food. Oh, the food! Who knew high tea could be so filling? Tea. It sounds like just a mid-afternoon snack, but we were all stuffed by the end of the evening. Everything was so delicious.
The hostess' husband had traveled to London recently on a business trip, and he came home with jam, shortbread cookies, and tea from the Harrods in London! Our party was certainly authentic! :)
Seriously, how amazing is this tin of shortbread cookies!?! The British do things so much more elegantly than we Americans. I wanted to steal this tin, but it didn't fit in my purse. :)
In addition to the lovely china, cloth napkins, fancy silverware, and amazing food, our hostesses added a seating card to each place setting that had our names, prefaced by the title "Lady." So, I was Lady Sarah, and there was also a Lady Katie, Lady Jennifer, and so on. Such a great idea! Jen had managed to find Downton Abbey wine glass charms which she cleverly attached to the handle of each teacup. Just another thoughtful touch that made everything so special.
The girls got creative with the decorations. In searching on Pinterest, we were all surprised how few Downton Abbey party ideas were available. I love the idea of printing off pictures of the cast and putting them in picture frames on this side table in the dining room. Such a simple idea, and everyone enjoyed checking them out as they arrived.
I hope LaShae leaves these up for a while! Doesn't it look like her ancestors were wealthy, titled people who owned a castle? Maybe she can try and pass them off as relatives if any non-Downton fans come to visit. :)
Sorry, I know this photo is crap. I am horrible at taking pictures in the evening when the lighting is not as ideal, but I had to show you this cute print my friend found on etsy. It reads, "I heart you more than Downton Abbey." I think Mr. Vintage Violet is going to get this in card form this Valentines Day. :)
The Downton decor continued into the bathroom. This picture of Lady Sybil was lovely, but....
I had a good laugh when I saw this picture of O'Brien taped to the top of the toilet!
This picture of Thomas just made my day! So perfect for the "bad guy" to have his picture displayed this way.
Since Downton party decor is rather scarce, the girls kept the theme alive on this dessert table by incorporating more pictures, as well as anything that had a Union Jack (the British flag) on it. The toy cars and statue of the current queen were also brought back from a trip to London and nicely blended the old and the new in British-ish decor. :) I love how they incorporated the Dowager Countess quote, "what is a weekend?" into the decorations. That woman totally makes the show!
Speaking of Dowager Countess/Cousin Violet quotes, most of us prepared for the party by adorning a t-shirt with a snarky comment or two trilled out by the awesome Dame Maggie Smith.
There were some hilarious quotes on those t-shirts. Some were straight from the show: "Don't be defeatist dear, it's very middle class." And some were quite original: "Keep Calm and Marry the Chauffer."
My favorite belonged to our hostess, who is due with her second child this fall. Her t-shirt read, "Mr. Pamuk's love child" with a little arrow that pointed to her belly.
Some of the pics I got of everyone's shirts were too blurry to read. :( But they were awesome! Everyone did a great job!
I went with a simple "Free Bates" for my shirt, and my sister used another awesome Dowager Countess quote, "Oh good, let's talk about money." Again, sorry for the blurry photo. To make our shirts look store-bought, we used this tutorial for freezer paper stenciling. It worked out quite well.
We also played two Downton Abbey games. The first was a quiz of Downton Abbey trivia. Those questions were hard, but I won! Which was great because the prize was this cute little change purse. Then, we all had to take a turn saying the same phrase with our best British accent. Some of the ladies were quite good at that. :)
After eating way more food than was good for us and admiring all the decorations, we all cozied up with afghans to watch the Downton Christmas special and enjoy popcorn prepared for us by Carson... or rather, our hostess' husband, Josh. :) The show wrapped up around midnight and then we all gabbed until well after 1am. It was such a fun party, and I think we're all hoping to do it again when season 3 premieres in the US in January.
January. It can't come soon enough!