Friday, March 30, 2012

My Birthday Party, and Why It Was Awesome

In a word (two words.  Yes, I know), "DOWNTON ABBEY!"

You know what it is.  That PBS surprise hit featuring the Dowager Countess We All Want To Grow Up To Be, Lord Grantham (or He Who Strides), Lady Mary Grantham (Who Went Up The Hill a Bit@h And Came Down Halfway Decent), Bates the Valet (basically a basset hound in valet form), Anna The Maid (the girl we all wish lived in our basement, making our beds and helping us do our hair), and a variety of Turks, Americans, and Scullery Maids.

"But how, Kate?  How does this figure into your party?"
Oh, silly, silly reader.  It was a Downton Abbey Party.

First, I polled the potential attendees.
 "EAU MAH GAH!  I love Downton!  Don't you?"  If they responded, "Where down town specifically?" I mentally put them on the B List.  But those who crooned, "OH, BAAATES!  Love him!  And Matthew?  Such eyyyyyes!" I knew had to be invited.

Second, I had to plan the viands (fancy Downton-speak for food and drink).
I ordered a plethora of petit-fours (those adorable little decorated cakes), procured Mimosa-makings (orange juice and champagne), made a heap of Gougeres (little cheesey puff pastry thingies), and so on.  (OK - also I ordered a few dozen tacos from this COMPLETELY dive-ish place that is fantabulous; I bought 2 boxes of wine and some vodka, a bunch of frozen mini spinach pies, and lots of hummus and veggies).

Third, attire had to be considered.
I made the appropriate headgear.  Fascinators.  Those are little mini hat type things that are attached to headbands.  Mine were feathery (black feathers plus peacock plumes) with sparkly things on little wires, and turquoise, black, and pale blue ribbons.  I HOT GLUED until my fingers looked scary.  But I must say, the headdresses were AMAZING.
Example 1
My daughter, modeling Example 2

Entertainment needed to be arranged. Of course, I planned to show some episodes from D.A.  But how to involve the guests?  A-HA!  Downton Abbey BINGO!  I created BINGO cards for the attendees, and instead of the squares containing numbers (B3! G27!) they contained actions that might occur during an episode. "Dowager Countess verbally smacks someone down," or "Lord Grantham strides into/out of a room."  "Daisy gets yelled at," and "A bell is rung."  Each BINGO card was different, and as we watched the episodes, we'd cross out our squares until we scored a BINGO.  Our prizes were little jeweled hair clips that attached to their headbands.  They were gaudy in the extreme.

The stage was set.  I pulled out all of my finest china (Limoges, naturally), crystal goblet, flutes, and bowls.  I pulled out the beautiful lace-filled linens and silver candlesticks.
Like this, but green instead of blue.

My friends began to arrive, and they chose their feathery headpieces in a flutter, sat on the couches, the floor, the chairs, and poured mimosas and vodka tonics.  We ate Brie, nibbled the endive-wrapped Bleu cheese salad, filled up on Indonesian spicy tofu/shrimp coconut stew.  We laughed and laughed and oohed and ahhed over the Grantham girls' clothes

and we sighed over Bates and Carson and Matthew.
Oh, Mr. Bates. 
And SIGH.  How could Mary have been so stupid for so long?

It should be noted that I have thrown myself big festive birthdays exactly ZERO TIMES before this.  (I have had parties, but never one I planned and executed myself)  It was DELIGHTFULLY fun.  I enjoyed the planning and preparation and shopping nearly as much as I did the event itself.

The moral of the story is that we should sometimes put our money where our mouths are and CELEBRATE ourselves and our friendships.  And Dame Maggie Smith.

Do not forget the Dowager Countess.  Remember what almost    happened at the flower show?  You don't want to mess with her. 


Josi said...

I'm so happy that you had such a wonderful birthday! It sounds like much merriment was had.

smalltownme said...

I am ever so jealous!

Jessie said...

I hope you don't mind if I steal this idea! Love it and glad you had a good time!! said...

Bassett hound? Don't dis my Mister Bates!

Has anyone ordered the DVDs from Amazon yet? Which version did you get? Is there one with more minutes than PBS? (my local PBS seemed to have all 8 episodes of Season 2, including the Christmas special.)

Great party idea, birthday girl! Sounds like another fine excuse to watch it all again.