With the winter seeming to never end, what better way to pass the endlessly cold nights than by throwing an extravagant, Downton Abbey themed party for your closest friends? Dinner parties can sometimes get a little standard and boring, so try something new by going all out in the style of the roaring 1920s – the well-off certainly knew how to party back then. You can impress your friends with your classy style and culinary know-how, all while pretending to be in an era from long ago. Although not all of us have the budgets of our favorite characters, the Crawleys, using your creativity and your resources at hand can help you create a rather convincing rendition of a Downton Abbey soiree. What do you need to know to throw your very own Downton Abbey themed party?

The Location

The location for your dinner party will dictate many of the restraints you have to work with in planning your night. If your dining room is large enough to seat all of your proposed guests, there is no reason to look for another venue. If, on the other hand, your dining table has no hope of seating all of your guests, it may be a good idea to look at co-opting a friend’s space. This is an important first step to planning the evening because, unlike any ‘ole dinner party, a Downton Abbey party needs to be extravagantly classic – meaning that all your guests should be able to have a seat at the table with all of the dishes, silverware, and extras you can muster. If you have a few kids hanging around the house or even the neighborhood, you can convince them to help serve your various courses in little homemade uniforms like Downton Abbey’s servants, to really give your party an authentic feel.

The Details

You probably don’t have dozens of pieces of antique china laying around the house or shining silver cutlery hiding in your cabinet – but that is okay. Improvise. If you are really lacking in acceptable dishes and cutlery, ask friends to borrow a set or find out where you could rent some pieces for a night. These are the details that will really add authenticity to your party. It is not so important that you have the most expensive or intricate pieces on the table, but that you try to recreate the feeling of having several separate pieces, multiple courses, and an overall bounty of food and wealth. No one will complain if one of their forks doesn’t match another fork, but it will take away from the overall feel of the evening if they are provided with only a single set of silverware.

The Music

In a real Downton Abbey party, a solo musician would be found gently serenading your guests throughout the pre-dinner courses. Unless you happen to have a child or relative with a musical gift that can be convinced to help you with your party, no one expects you to bring in a pianist just for the night. Instead think about hiring a DJ for the night. They can sync up the style of the music to the correct times in the evening and, even better, transfer to traditional dance music at the end of the night if your guests get a little angsty playing proper Downton Abbey roles.

Don’t get held down by this neverending winter. Entertain yourself and your friends with a unique Downton Abbey themed party fully equipped with “servants,” music, and incredible food to beat the cold!