Host a Downton Abbey-Inspired Bridal Shower

Can't get enough of the Crawleys? Go back in time by hosting a Downton Abbey tea party to celebrate the bride-to-be. 

By: 
Kristen O'Gorman Klein

  • Setting the Scene

    Setting the Scene

    The first step is finding the right location. Since hosting it at Highclere Castle is probably beyond your budget, search for a historic building near the bride's hometown instead. For this bride's shower, Teaberry's Tea Room — a Victorian tea house located in the quaint town of Flemington, New Jersey — provided the perfect backdrop.

  • Setting the Scene

    Setting the Scene

    Re-create the infamous Downton dining table for your guests! Drawing inspiration from the show's elaborate dinners, the table was dressed with three candelabras — one tall five-arm and two short three-arm versions — and flowers in vintage vessels. Custom menus and place cards stood at each seat. 

    If your room has a fireplace, be sure to follow the etiquette of the era and place the most important person at the table (in this case, the bride) in the middle of the table with her back to the fireplace. This was known as the "hot seat" in the days before central heating. The next most important person (her mother or maid/matron of honor) should sit to her right. Fill out the rest of the table with bridesmaids and/or family members, with other guests sitting at smaller tables surrounding the long one if all guests can't fit at one table.

    In the background, play the Downton Abbey soundtrack.

  • Setting the Scene

    Setting the Scene

    This chic damask and stripe invitation from zazzle.com set the tone for the party.

  • Décor

    Décor

    A five-arm candelabra from Godinger

  • Décor

    Décor

    Two shorter three-arm candelabras from wayfair.com surrounded the larger candelabra in the center.  

  • Décor

    Décor

    A mix of candelabras and flowers in vintage vessels decorated the additional tables.

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  • Décor

    Décor

    Springtime flowers in the bride's wedding colors.

  • Décor

    Décor

    One of the side tables featured vintage silver candelabras from Teaberry's owner's personal collection.

  • Décor

    Décor

    Vintage china and artwork decorated the room.

  • Décor

    Décor

    A rolling tea cart held a vintage set. 

  • Décor

    Décor

    Hats inspired by the 1910s and 1920s were placed on racks around the room for guests to wear throughout the day.

  • Party Guests

    Party Guests

    The bride chose this fun floral hat.

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  • Party Guests

    Party Guests

    The bride and a few of her bridesmaids in their party hats.

  • Party Guests

    Party Guests

    The bride with her mom (left) and mother-in-law (right).

  • The Details

    The Details

    Two-sided menu cards listed the food courses on the front with the tea options on the back. As shown on Downton Abbey, each place setting had its own menu card displayed upright in a silver stand. 

    Menu card, Wedding Paper Divas; menu holder, American Metalcraft

  • The Details

    The Details

    After narrowing down the tea selections from Teaberry's extensive menu, each option was renamed after a character in the show, based on their personalities.

    Luncheon Teas

    Dowager Countess of Grantham's Silver Jubilee: Flavored white tea with chamomile, almond, vanilla, and cardamom
    Lord Grantham's Earl Grey with Jasmine: Unexpected and delightful blended black tea
    Lady Cora's Crown Jewels: Enchanting white tea with rose, lemon, and vanilla
    Lady Mary's Her Royal Highness: Sweet and full-bodied honeybush herbal tea with hazelnuts
    Lady Edith's English Breakfast: Brisk blended black tea, fit for morning or afternoon
    Lady Sybil's Cinnamon Delight: Flavored black tea made perfect with cloves and orange zest
    Matthew Crawley's Green Nutcracker: Intriguing green tea with buttery toasted walnuts and almonds

    Dessert Teas

    Mr. Carson's Royal Marzipan: Dessert in a cup, as rich as the candy itself
    O'Brien's Lady Godiva: Flavored black tea with chocolate and raspberries
    Mrs. Patmore's Vanilla Cookie: Irresistibly paired with flavored black tea
    Daisy's Peachberry: Summertime peaches and strawberries blended black tea

  • The Details

    The Details

    Each guest was given the title of "Lady" for the tea party. 

    Place cards, Paper Source; calligraphy, Calligraphy by Michele; place card holders, Advantage Bridal.

  • The Details

    The Details

    The bride-to-be was elevated to "Princess" status for the day.

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  • The Details

    The Details

    An adorable teapot-shaped lamp dressed up a side table.

  • The Details

    The Details

    Tea cozies kept the brews warm throughout the day.

  • The Details

    The Details

    Each brew was marked with a DIY tea tag.

    Plum cover stock, Paper Source; paper punch, Paper Source; ribbon, Michaels

  • The Details

    The Details

    Teaberry's wait staff got into character by replicating the uniforms of the show's servants — white aprons over black dresses. 

  • The Details

    The Details

  • The Details

    The Details

    Mix-and-match china.

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  • The Details

    The Details

    Custom napkins from ForYourParty.com featured quotes from the show:

    "Now stop talking and kiss me before I get cross." —Lady Mary Crawley
    "I'd rather have the right man than the right wedding." —Anna Bates
    "All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite." —Dowager Countess of Grantham

  • The Details

    The Details

  • Party Favors

    Party Favors

    Each guest received a favor packed with tea treats.

  • Party Favors

    Party Favors

    Two personalized teas — Branson's Brew (Irish Breakfast Tea) and Mrs. Hughes' Special Blend (English Breakfast Tea) — were created by ForYourParty.com

  • Party Favors

    Party Favors

    To go along with the custom teas, each guest also received one of these tea bag holders from Distinctive Decor

  • Party Favors

    Party Favors

    The bride's mom made springerle cookies, using cookie molds from House on the Hill.

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  • Party Favors

    Party Favors

    The bride's aunt baked and decorated these gorgeous iced teapot and tea cup cookies that matched the bride's wedding color palette.

    Cookies, Baked with Love by Donna (732-225-5276); cookie cutters, Candyland Crafts

  • Party Favors

    Party Favors

    Each cookie was packaged inside a customized cellophane bag from ForYourParty.com that fit the theme. 

     

  • Party Favors

    Party Favors

    Topping off the favor: A silver crown (a nod to the Crawleys' nobility) and a customized favor tag.

    Favor tag, beau-coup.com; crown charm, weddingstar.com

  • On the Menu

    On the Menu

    For the first course, guests enjoyed assorted tea sandwiches.

  • On the Menu

    On the Menu

    Up next: Scones with clotted cream, lemon curd, and raspberry preserves.

  • On the Menu

    On the Menu

    Guests were floored by this amazing cake by Palermo's Bakery, which featured a hand-painted (edible!) teapot and tea cups on top of a fondant-draped tier. Sugar flowers — which the bride saved and reused on her wedding cake — cascaded from top to bottom.

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  • On the Menu

    On the Menu

    Inside the cake: Vanilla with raspberry mousse filling.

  • On the Menu

    On the Menu

    Bite-size desserts were also served on tiered trays and china platters.

  • On the Menu

    On the Menu

  • Gifts

    Gifts

    Guests got in the spirit by giving the bride some Downton-inspired gifts, like this "What is a weekend?" tote from Wonder Shirts

  • Gifts
  • Gifts

    Gifts

    And no shower is complete without a bow hat!