As Season 3 ends for Downton Abbey and the Crawley family, we can learn a variety of wonderful party and celebration tips from the hit BBC show.
Lesson 7. Always dress for the occasion.
White tie for dinner may seem a bit much, but the Crawleys are always dressed properly for dinner. And isn’t a dressing gong just a marvelous idea? Dress well for your party or event. Formal never goes out of style.
Lesson 6. Seating arrangements matter.
We know that one had better think through who will be sitting next to the Dowager Countess or who might be sitting next to his Lordship. Leave nothing to chance and assign seats based on creating an interesting dinner conversation and thought provoking discussion while avoiding conflict among those who might be looking to gain social advantage of the moment.
Lesson 5. Having a butler can be of a great advantage.
Imagine if you had a Carson or a Mrs. Hughes to help you with your party planning. Things might be a bit easier! In our day, there are a variety of wonderful event planners willing to help and bring the pieces together for you. Or appoint your children to new roles in the household “staff” to help with party execution. Little Johnny can be a magnificent footman serving the guests! Just don’t forget the white gloves!
The Crawleys would never mix the flight of wines to be paired with dinner or use an inappropriate piece of silver in the service, so you should do the same! Be attentive to the small details from the moment of arrival to the time of departure. Have you planned for coats and galoshes? Have you planned for after dinner drinks in your drawing room? Have you thought about games and activities for the group? A lovely game of charades is always a favorite! Show your guests you have thought about the little things and you will be lavished with praise!
Lesson 3. Be welcoming to all.
One never knows who might arrive at Downton for dinner on short notice. Be prepared with extra food and drink for all events and welcome everyone who might attend. Who knows, they may bring news of newly discovered family or riches you have not yet imagined!
Lesson 2. Have friends with an accent.
It just seems so much more exotic and refined to have guests with a lilt or different language. Throw in a guest or two from the British isles or elsewhere in the Empire and your party and event will seem new and refreshed! If all else fails, put on an accent yourself for the evening and see how it goes.
Lesson 1. Garden parties rock!
Whether you have 10,000 acres or just a humble backyard, the Crawleys know that a garden party is both refined, relaxing and wonderfully proper. Guests will enjoy the outdoors, a canapé or two and a delightful strong quartet on the lawn. As spring approaches, plan your garden party with tea and crumpets.
What thoughts or lessons have you learned from the show to share with us?