Monday, March 4, 2013

The Ultimate Guide to a Downton Abbey Viewing Party

Who doesn't love those Crawley's and all their oh so British shenanigans?  Which is why, for my birthday, I thought there could be no better way to spend the day than in a hat watching season one with good food, drink and of course, awesome people.

In this post, I want to go through the details of the party and maybe help inspire your own.  Of course, there is no one right way to do anything, but hopefully some of my ideas may spark some new ones of your own!

Let's start with my invitations.  I LOVE getting actual invites in the mail and these days, you only get them for weddings and showers.  I wanted real, actual invites and loving paper the way I do, I knew I was going to be making them.

I used the following pieces all wrapped up with a pretty doily.  Here they are, feel free to borrow the wording:
     -Main Invitation
     -Response Card and Stamped Return Envelope
     -After party card

I needed a hat next and as my head is GIANT, no ordinary chapeau would do.  I find the best place for hats is antique malls or etsy.  Or you can get one from Target and doctor it up.  I took a simply straw cloche and split it up the side to inset to sashes in duchess satin to either side.  Fold it up and secure with a vintage brooch and boom.  Downton Awesome Hat:

Making people wear hats is so fun!

Invites, check.  Hat, check check.  Now time for fun and games.

I included the following fun and activities:  A Downton Lottery Scratch and Win Ticket, A Downton Mad Lib, and a Lady Mary Drinking Game!

Let's start with the Lady Mary Drinking Game.  Generally a group of people will watch for specific things and then take a drink when it happens.  As there are SO MANY things that could be watched for and with a large group, that gets really crazy, I thought maybe assigning everyone a Lady Mary mannerism to watch for would be easier.  When said mannerism appears on the show, the person holding the card can pick someone in the room to take a drink!  The birthday girl got a lot of those drinks, btw.

I came up with a list of 20 Lady Mary-isms (Lady Mary rides in a car, Lady Mary is the subject of her parent's pillow talk, Lady Mary wears red, Lady Mary flirts, etc), printed them on small cardstock and then attached them to playing cards.  Hand out to guests and watch the fun ensue.

As for the Mad Libs, I created a little story and then detracted words.  It turned out so fun!  Feel free to use the wording.  The cream cardstock is postcard size and backed with double sided pattern cardstock.

And finally, I knew I wanted to hand out favors/silly little Downton themed gifts.  So I created lottery cards from this awesome tutorial.  I used paint chips for the base layer as they're FREE and also a good weight.

For the prizes, I used the amazing CitraSolv method of image transfer and made Free Bates Totes, a Haters Gonna Hate Thomas and O'Brien straw cup and a Dowager Countess Apron.  I also mixed it up with a few boxes of tea, and these amazing print out paper dolls from Vulture.

Here are the images I created in Photoshop Elements.

Ahhh, now on to the food.  This is totally my party planning downfall as I'm not so good with cooking.  But I pulled it off and there were some super tasty things.  I tried to get a good mix between sweet, savory and boozy.

For Savory, I served the following:
-Cucumber Cups with Chicken Salad
-Caprese Bites
-Bacon Olive Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches
-Ham and Herb Spread Tea Sandwiches
-Veggie Tray
-Shrimp Salad Served with Melba Toast
-Bruschetta served with Melba Toast
-Bloody Mary Butter with Celery Sticks
-Blue Cheese and Fig Tarts

For Sweet, I served the following:
-Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing
-Fruit and Nutella
-Easy Scones with Devonshire Cream and Fruit Jams
-Shortbread Cookies
-Lemon Creme and Blackberry Shooters with Gluten Free Ginger Snaps
-Marinated Melon and Proscuitto
-Bailey's Irish Creme Fudge

For all recipes and details, go to my pinterest board for everything in one place!  I also hoped that people would want recipes, so I printed up little cards to hand out that sent them to the above pinterest board that has ALL the details.  Best of luck with your own party and if you want any help or have questions, just let me know!