I’m a massive fan of Downton Abbey. I have DVDs of all six of the show seasons, and Lady Mary’s bob may have slightly inspired my own flapper girl chop a few years ago. After the TV series ended I missed keeping up with the Crawleys, so when the movie came out, it was like visiting old friends! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it is SO good, and an absolute delight for fans like me to see how the upstairs and downstairs at Downton prepare for a royal visit. All of the characters are back together in this expansion of the world we know and love from the series. With the launch of the Downton Abbey DVD this week I was inspired to plan a Downton Abbey-themed party. Today I’m sharing how to throw a tea party fit for the dowager Countess herself (well, minus the butler, lady’s maids, and footmen), including food and decor ideas for a Downton Abbey themed tea party. Pin this post for planning your own fabulous tea, and head to Walmart and purchase the new release of Downton Abbey DVD today!
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Fun fact: I was born in England and spent the first few years of my life there. I am a fan of British period dramas, newer comedy shows, studying the history of the Royals, and of course, traveling around the UK. My bridal shower was a high tea party, and now I love the rare chance to throw my own tea party. And what tea party theme could be more fabulous than Downton Abbey? Here are ideas for how to throw a Downton Abbey tea party fit for her Ladyship.
Downton Abbey party decor ideas
I studied some episodes of the show when I was planning the decor for my Downton Abbey-themed party. I was immediately inspired by the part in the opening credits with the white roses in a crystal vase against a dark green wall. I also noticed lots of roses and fresh flowers used in decor, and color palettes of peach, light pinks, and gold. To recreate the look I lined the backdrop with matte green gift wrap from the craft store and placed white and peach roses in glass, crystal-like vases (found at my local thrift store for a steal – shhh, don’t tell Lady Mary).
I recently inherited an antique British China set, and the floral pattern was perfect for this color scheme. If you don’t have a set of your own, I recommend checking your local thrift and antique stores, and even searching eBay. You could also use a newer set, but vintage pieces fit the Downton theme so well.
A metallic or gilded serving tray is a must for your Downton Abbey tea party. I found this one for a great deal at my local thrift store. If you can find pink-toned depression glass platters and cake stands, that would also be beautiful for this theme.
Beverages for a Downton Abbey tea party
For an afternoon tea party, you need an assortment of caffeinated and decaf (herbal) teas. Here is what I recommend in order to have a variety of teas to serve for your party guests:
- Earl Grey (caffeinated)
- English Breakfast (caffeinated). Note: my British friends inform me that they just call this “tea.”
- Chamomile (decaf)
- Peppermint Herbal (decaf)
Downton Abbey party food ideas
If you’ve been to more than one high tea, you’ve probably noticed a similarity in food served and in a particular order. The traditional order food is served at teas are finger sandwiches, other savory bites, scones with jam (and Devonshire clotted cream if you’re lucky), then desserts. Here are some super easy food ideas and recipes for your Downton Abbey tea party.
Finger sandwiches made really quickly and easily with pumpernickel bread and prepared chicken or egg salad from your local deli. I cut the crust off and sliced them into easy-to-grab rectangles.
Savory bites made with cocktail bread (sliced into circles with a small cookie cutter), whipped cream cheese, a bit of caviar, and a sprig of fresh dill. This looks fancy but is actually super easy.
Scones are essential for a tea party. If you’ve got a decent tea room near you, you can save time and purchase from them. I made my own using the base recipe and method from when I first attempted making homemade, authentic British scones, but I added dried cherries, orange zest, and sliced almonds to make them a bit more festive for the occasion. If you can find Devonshire clotted cream, it’s the BEST, but otherwise serve the scones with real cream butter and jam.
Desserts come last for high tea. For my Downton Abbey party I used a shortcut (because I am all about making party planning easier) by picking up a small layered strawberry cake (since the color was perfect with the theme) and prepared petit fours.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of the Downton Abbey DVD today (available at Walmart and on Walmart.com)!