Downton Day: And How to Throw Your Own

Downton Day is officially my favorite unofficial holiday. Once all of the excitement dies down from Christmas and New Years and all we can think about is how much we ate and how much we don't actually want to accomplish our New Years resolutions, Downton Abbey comes in to save the day. 

If you haven't seen Downton Abbey before, then I truly and honestly can't explain it to you in a way that makes it sound as good as it really is. You just have to watch it.

Anyway, with all of the anticipation surrounding the season premier of the series each January (shout out to Britain which airs it in September), my friends and I have, for the past two years, celebrated the start of the show with a killer tea-party. Yes, I know the words "killer" and "tea-party" aren't usually used in the same sentence, or paragraph for that matter, but just trust me on this one. 

It's a really great group of girls, all who have at least some interest in the show, plus we are all running teammates from back in high school. Some of us (ie. me) are die-hard Downton fans, while others are just casual watchers. And while sometimes we have to pause to explain things to those who aren't so knowledgeable, it's always a good time watching the show together.  

Last year's group photo.

This year's group photo- and just as classy.

My party this year was a huge success (with extensive help from my mom, of course). So if you want to throw your own Downton party (it doesn't just have to be for the season premier!), here are some tips from a two-time pro: 

Plan Ahead // Take an afternoon to look through all your cookbooks, research recipes, and write a grocery list. It's difficult to have a party run smoothly if you don't take the time to think about it beforehand. If you don't, you'll be running around at the last minute realizing you forgot to buy chives and don't have enough paper napkins for everyone.

Take Inspiration from the Show // But don't replicate it exactly. Be realistic about what you can and can't make. You can find good ideas for recipes in The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook or even on Pinterest. While the Lords and Ladies of Downton did eat fancy food, don't put pressure on yourself to make a five course meal. Remember: we're not all Mrs. Pattmore. And most of us don't live in a multi-million dollar estate and have butlers waiting on us hand and foot. But if you do, please marry me.

Choose Wisely // Going off of the above tips, make sure to create a composed menu for the evening. Our menu is always based on British high-tea. We pick a two of three finger sandwiches, and a few sweets that are reliably good- like cucumber sandwiches and chocolate covered strawberries. We may also add a few new recipes in the mix. But, all in all, it's important to keep the menu as simple as possible or you'll be stressing out during a night that should be fun.

Chocolate covered strawberries are super easy- and always a crowd favorite!

Some simple tea sandwiches. 

Dress Up // This is certainly not required for every Downton Day, but I think it really sets the mood for the night. If you're eating fancy food, why not wear fancy clothes? I'm not talking ball gowns and tuxedos, but putting on a tasteful dress that Lady Mary might wear can make you feel as if you're a member of the Crawley clan.

Pop Some Bubbly // And finally, when the show's about to start, grab some champagne (or, in my case, sparkling apple cider), and sit back and enjoy all of the addictive drama that Downton Abbey has to offer.

Here are a few more photos from the night!

A last minute decision. I don't even like eating meringues but I thought they were too pretty not to use!  

Last year we made chocolate mousse and this year we went for boozey trifle. 

Certainly not Mcvities, but the next best (homemade!) thing.

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