Jan 05, 2013

Tips for Throwing a Downton Abbey Premiere Party {+ Today Show and E! News Videos}

By: Amy Atlas, in Amy's Latest, Great Finds, Videos

Who here was able to get their Downton Abbey fix last night with the season 3 premiere?  We sure did!  The Today Show, E! News and the Daily News stopped by this week to talk Downton Abbey with us.  If you are just getting into the series and want to throw a party Downton Abbey style, be sure to click on the Today Show segment and E! News segments below, and scroll down to see our entertaining tips and pictures of a Downton Abbey tea party.

Watch the Today Show clip here.

Watch the E! News segment here.

And check out the Daily News article here.

Now who’s ready for tea?

Scroll down for more photos...

We shared our Downton Abbey obsession yesterday when we posted this Lady Mary cocktail and these must-have tea party items. Admittedly, the AAE team hadn’t watched Downton Abbey until we received a call to do a Downton Abbey segment for E! News. After deciding to do the segment, we planted ourselves in front of the TV for the first two episodes to learn about the show and characters and then….we were hooked.  The sets and costume design alone are enough to keep you coming back for every episode. After a few days, I personally made my way through the first two seasons. It was that good. The 3rd season of Downton Abbey airs this Sunday so here’s a few fun tips that you can use if you’re throwing a Downton Abbey viewing party. The E! News segment aired yesterday so stay tuned – – we’ll be providing a link soon.  In the meantime, scroll below for some photos (please excuse the photo quality!).

  • Throw a Tea Party – Downton Abbey head cook Mrs. Patmore always makes sure that tea service is served for Lord Grantham and Countess Cora’s guests so it is fitting to have a tea party. Tea sandwiches are not only easy to make, but they are also portable for your guests to walk around with. Good tea sandwich options are cucumber and creme fraiche, egg salad and dill, and smoked salmon sandwiches.  Of course, offer a variety of tea. Currant scones with jam and clotted cream are also good options to serve.
  • Silver and Doilies – If you have silver, this is the time to bring it out.  Silver candelabras and serve ware are always on the Downton Abbey set.  Silver-plated tiered stands like this one works as well. If you don’t have silver, use doilies to line your everyday platters.  Doilies are inexpensive and were commonly used in the Edwardian period.
  • Mismatch – Don’t be afraid to use mismatched plates and napkins. We used vintage tea plates and saucers that we found in a thrift shop for the segment. As long as the plates and napkins have the same sensibility, it will work together. We also cut fabric with a variety of floral patterns to create our own napkins.
  • Brocade and Damask – Dress up an everyday tablecloth by using gift wrap paper that has a brocade or damask pattern for a runner. Many stores have discounted gift wrap paper from the holidays. This DIY runner brings in the Edwardian feel to the table and dresses up even a simple white linen. Simply drape the gift wrap paper over your table horizontally as you would with a runner.
  • Garden Roses – Bring in garden roses. Violet Grantham has a penchant for beautiful flowers and always brags about the roses in her garden, despite the fact that it is Bill Molesley who has the best roses in Downton village.
  • Dress up Tea – Dress up tea tins and give them to your guests to take home. We decorated mini canisters from DAVIDsTEA with floral gift wrap paper and ribbon. This is a fun way to bring in the modern way of serving tea.
  • Bring in Lace! – Lace was often used in the 1900s so we wrapped our Lady Mary drink with lace ribbon trim. This simple detail can elevate a plain glass to a decorative glass.
  • Downton Abbey Drinking Game – Attach flags with the names of Downton Abbey characters to our Lady Mary Drink. Offer your guests the drink when they walk in so that each guest is designated a character for the night. Every time that character’s name is mentioned at the party, the guest who is that character and the person who said the name has to take a drink. I’m going to be John Bates at our party (love him)!
  • A Nod to Millinery – We decorated simple round boxes with gift wrap paper and silk flowers to pay homage to the gorgeous millinery presence on Downton Abbey.  You can fill up the hatboxes with loose tea and tell guests that it is a wedding favor for Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley’s upcoming wedding.
  • Feathers & Fascintators – Add feathers and fabric flowers onto the table.  We attached them to the top of the three tiered servers.  This was a way to pay homage to the beautiful fascinators on the show.
  • Tag It “Isabella Beeton” Style – We love these tags made from a reproduction of famed English cookbook author Isabella Beeton‘s illustrations.  They can be used for dessert tags or gift tags. This gift wrap paper, also a reproduction of her illustrations, can be great for wrapping hat boxes.
  • Puddings, Meringue, and Molded Jelly – Mrs. Patmore serves traditional English desserts like molded jelly, spotted dick, steamed plum pudding and meringues on the show. She also has made Charlotte Russe on a few of the episodes. In addition to the desserts above, we made an easy and modified version of Charlotte Russe by serving lady fingers with piped strawberry buttercream. These are easy to make and simple for your guests to pick up and eat.
Now who’s up for season 3?  We sure are. There’s still time to catch up with a Downton marathon. Hope you all have a lovely Downton Abbey tea party!  xoxo

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