When Downton Abbey’s final episode airs this Christmas, it will bring the curtain down on one of British television’s biggest success stories. The Julian Fellowes-penned period drama, which details the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants, has been a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, sparking a loyal legion of fans.
The show’s six series cover the tumultuous period of 1912 to 1927, with world events such as the sinking of the Titanic, First World War and Spanish Flu forming the social backdrop to the events. Yet the drama in and out of the fictional Yorkshire country house has sparked a renewed interest in the lifestyle of the period. Website kate & toms reckons Downton Abbey has inspired a trend of couples looking to tie the knot at large estates while embracing vintage style.
So, if you’re a fan of the show and want to add a splash of vintage glamour to your big day, how do you go about it?
Venue: First things first, you need to get the venue right. As the kate & toms article rightly states, the ‘Downton effect’ has seen a spike in interest in the use of grand homes as a backdrop to a wedding. Many of these have built-in chapels for the ceremony and grand rooms to cater for your meal and reception, making them ideal to handle the whole day. Of course, for the ‘full Downton’ experience you could just go ahead and book Highclere Castle, the real life Berkshire home that doubles for the Crawley’s estate on screen. It costs about £20,000 to hire for the day.
Style: Die-hard fans will remember the wedding of Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley and you could use that on-screen event for inspiration to faithfully replicate some of the details for your big day. From the expensively created silver-lace-tabard-on-silk dress to the Bentley & Skinner diamond tiara to the morning suits with grey gloves and top hats – there’s much to match. The flowers were a simple bouquet of long-stemmed white Calla lillies while a black horse-drawn carriage would ensure you arrive in the right style too.
Accessories: If you want to truly recreate the ‘Downton look’ then that means a lot of attention to detail. Plan well ahead and scour the pages of http://howtospendit.ft.com/ for high quality vintage items to kit out your venue. You’ll have great fun shopping for the right items too.
Music: The soundtrack to your day is an important – and underrated – part of creating the right atmosphere. Why not hire a band to play some of the music used in the show or, at least, from the same period? This could be a subtle way of adding some of the style to your day without having to go for the full experience.
Filming: Many professional companies can now capture your big day on camera – offering a much more professional outcome than the home movies of yesteryear. Why not get them to edit together a package in the same style as the ITV drama? Although, hopefully, life will go a lot more smoothly for you than it does for the Crawleys.
Fun: Perhaps you’d rather your love for Downton was just a small, fun part of the day? Many couples choose to hire photo booths for their wedding day to keep the guests entertained and this could be your chance to take inspiration from the Crawleys. Hire Downton-inspired costumes and encourage your friends and family to embrace the occasion with some memorable pictures using clothing and props. You could also name tables after elements of the show or incorporate the theme in your stag or hen parties.
Much depends on how much of a Downton flavour you want on your wedding day. You can embrace the clothing, venue, music or luxury accessories associated with the aristocratic lifestyle on the show, or you can have them all. You can have a fun Downton-themed photo booth or a period drama-style film of the day too.
Your wedding day should be special to you. Incorporate themes and mimic styles to enhance your experience – and Downton Abbey offers rich inspiration for this – but don’t lose sight of the fact that it is your day.