M’lady, you look splendid in your sequins and lace; and you, M’lord, in your white tie and tails. Come join us in the formal dining room, for Mrs. Patmore’s sumptuous 5-course feast. For you have been invited to ‘Dinner at Downton.’
For the Downton Abbey-themed private party recently staged by Nine88 Events, ten guests found themselves transformed back in time, to the grand era of English country houses.
As they looked around, every detail was a reflection of that noble period: the menu selections, the china patterns, the 100% cotton linens, even the stiff attire of the footman serving them. The ‘hostess’ – a hired actress in costume – mingled to offer fun bits of historical context, and even a little gossip.
What made the occasion truly immersive were the formal, period-appropriate fashions that guests had agreed to arrive in. Everyone called each other by the titles they had chosen for themselves; would you care for a cocktail, Lord Buckhead?
The plan was to create not just an event, but an experience. Christa Skinnell, the owner, and chief event curator at Nine88 Events, began by brainstorming ideas with the real hosts. After digging into the research, the team started scouting for everything needed to recreate the world of early twentieth century landed gentry.
A local printer produced period-appropriate invitations, complete with wax seal. Caterers replicated the proper meal presentation details. And to complete the mood, the Downton Abbey theme song was set to play in the background.
Afterward, guests told everyone they knew about the evening they’d never forget. What better measure of success is there for an event?
History-themed events of all kinds are growing in popularity. Why not invite your guests to pull on their boots for an old West roundup, or wrap themselves in togas to celebrate like the ancient Greeks?
You don’t even have to go that far back in time; 50’s sock hops and 70’s disco dances offer the kind of fun that everyone really seems to get into.
Also consider adding a history theme to any other kind of event. A 1920’s New Year’s Eve. A Victorian birthday party. A period murder mystery enactment at a corporate retreat.
The only limit is your imagination. Share your idea with Nine88 Events, and you may be surprised at how far they take it.
They can also help you get the most for your money. Private events typically start at $10,000. But of course, the higher the budget, the less you may have to compromise on the details.
Food is generally the biggest expense. Would a buffet instead of a sit-down meal save you enough to afford a better venue? Would having the event at home enable you to hire a great musician to play period-appropriate songs? An experienced event planner can help you make the right choices, and find the right resources, for a truly transformative affair.
Christa Skinnell has found that “people love to escape.” And there’s no better escape than to join your guests in another era of history.
Which historical period would you most like to revisit? Get in touch with Nine88, let’s toss around the possibilities – and then let’s make it happen. This is going to be fun.