Throw your own Downton Abbey Dinner Party with your own Private Chef

You don’t need a mansion or servants to throw your own Downton Abbey dinner party, but you can have your own London Private Chef to help you with it, for a fraction of the cost they would have paid.  See below on how to throw a dinner party in true Downton Abbey style, we take you through how to set your table, what drinks to serve your guests, the order of dinner and the after dinner entertainment.  Most importantly make sure that your friends understand that only formal attire is acceptable.

How to Lay the Table

Use a freshly ironed white table cloth, the perfect length is to have it hanging midway between the floor and the table.  If you find that the table cloth slips around use a wool cloth underneath to keep it still.  Polish your glasses and cutlery to make them sparkle, see how to lay your table in a formal way using the correct cutlery, crockery and glassware.  When choosing your centrepieces use either fruits or flowers, but not both and ensure that your decorations on the table are symmetrical.  Candles should be the only source of light but make sure that the placing of the candlesticks do not impair conversation, and you can use a side lamp when serving food if it is needed.   Use material napkins and fold them into a Bishops Mitre, see how to do that here.  

Place Settings


When deciding where everyone should sit there are a couple of things to bear in mind, the host and hostess you should sit opposite each other in the middle of the table with the guest of honour sitting to the right of the host.  You are most likely not to have a guest of honour so you could select your favourite guest.  You should not place people next to their partners, separate them to allow people to talk to different people, and males and females should be alternated.  In order to have your guests sitting where you would like them to sit write name cards for your guests and set them at their place setting.

When the Guests Arrive

When your guests arrive greet them with a cocktail or sherry, but do not serve them wine.  Allow around an hour for mingling with cocktails before you head to the dining room for dinner.  When you enter the dining room the host should take the highest ranking lady into the dining room and the hostess should take the highest ranking gentleman into the dining room.  You probably don’t rank your friends, so take the chosen guest of honour in and allow everyone else to follow.

The Dinner


Just as in Downton Abbey they have their own Chef doing the cooking, you too can have your own Private Chef for a fraction of the cost, view our range of Chefs here.  They can create a meal just as they would have had in Downton Abbey, as well as serving the food and doing the washing up.  The usual order of the meal would have been:

  1. Begin with Hors d’oeuveres, served without a drink.
  2. Then onto soup, to be served with Sherry.
  3. The fish course comes next, to be served with Chablis or Graves
  4. Then the Entree, with Champagne or Claret.
  5. The Releve course is next, served with Bordeaux.
  6. Next comes the Roast Course, served with Claret.
  7. Then the Entremets, with port.
  8. Finally Dessert is served, with Port Madeira or Champagne.  

After dinner the men would usually remain at the table to drink port and smoke cigars, while the ladies retired to the drawing room to drink coffee.  We would probably ignore this step and go straight onto the after dinner entertainment.

After Dinner

The entertainment would usually comprise of playing cards and listening to music, if you happen to have a gramophone lying around this is the perfect time to dust it off and play some music in true Downton style.  If not select your favourite spotify playlist and dance the night away, while your Private Chef does the washing up.

Now go and throw a true Downton Abbey dinner party and let us know how it went in the comments below.