This party was a blast!
Quite a few people were interested in coming (even friends who weren’t familiar with the books). We searched the internet and found some great ideas, and then added some of our own to create this one-of-a-kind evening.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by the lilting melody of “Meryton Townhall” from the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack as they stepped out of their vehicles, I mean, “horseless carriages”. :) We requested that each guest bring a name card for their introduction from the vestibule. Two of our guests came as nobility (a duke and a duchess), and both were introduced with a “red carpet” for them to enter upon.
Everyone attending the party was required to wear a Regency Era costume. Of course, we weren’t strict on how authentic the costumes were. One of my sisters wore a dress that had previously been used for a German costume, and one of the men came as an American patriot (saying he was traveling from America. ha ha!). Some of our guests had homemade costumes, while others pieced together clothes from home or from thrift stores.
- Mr. Collins (above far left)
- Jane, Elizabeth, and Mrs. Bennet (below)
- Mr. Darcy & Miss Georgiana Darcy
- Margaret, Elinor, and Marianne Dashwood
- Mr. Palmer–He had his phone hidden behind the newspaper so he could check the football scores. (We’re still in the twenty-first century, y’all!)
- Miss Catherine Morland
- Miss Jane Austen
We had several activities for our guests–some planned and some not! :)
-The “Did You Know?” Game-
Each guest wrote down on index cards at least one unique fact about themselves. My mom (the hostess) mixed the cards and read them one at a time to us all. Everyone would then guess who wrote down each fact.
Here are some examples from the party:
- “Did you know…I did karate in a frozen waterfall?”
- “Did you know…I weighed 2 lbs. 6 oz. when I was born?”
- “Did you know…I can do push ups on my thumbs?”
- “Did you know…I played Beethoven on the piano in Paris?”
- “Did you know…I have never tasted soda?”
- “Did you know…I drove an army truck into the corner of a roof?”
It was quite amusing and surprising, especially because most of our guests had never met before.
Lively dance music from the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack was playing for this game.
The men had their own round of Musical Chairs, since many had such well-bred manners and dare not steal chairs from the ladies.
-Regency Era Trivia-
We found some interesting facts to share about Jane Austen and the time she lived in.
- Jane Austen lived to be 41 years old. She published Pride and Prejudice at age 37.
- The Regency Era was from 1811 to 1820. England was at war with the United States from 1812 to 1817 (the War of 1812).
- Parmesan cheese-flavored ice cream was a favorite!
- “Pineapples were very exotic and so expensive that hostesses used them as centerpieces on their dinner tables to show their wealth. They were hardly ever eaten as they were too precious and were often passed from hostess to hostess to use as decoration until they rotted.” (source)
- “It cost at least £15 – an average working man’s yearly wage – to light a ballroom with wax candles for one night. Candles were sold in four-hour or six-hour burn lengths, and they dictated the length of the ball.” (source)
-Pianoforte Performances & Singing-
We requested that whoever so desired would grace us by playing the pianoforte. What talent!
Since only one young man played the pianoforte, I requested that the gentlemen sing a song for us all.
-English Country Dancing-
Lady Katherine de Ross so kindly led us in an impromptu dance.
Not to be outdone, Mr. Darcy surprised us by procuring an inkwell and quill later in the evening.
Several prizes were awarded to our guests (character names used below). There was also a prize for our photographer and for our guest who traveled the furthest.
Best Costume (Female) went to Miss Elizabeth Bennett, with her homemade linen dress.
Best Hairstyle (Female) went to Miss Catherine Morland (below, on the right).
Best Actress went to Her Grace the Duchess of Lambshire (below, second from the right).
Best Costume (Male) went to Mr. Quincy (above, far right).
Best Hair (Male)–a spur of the moment request from the ladies–went to the American Patriot (below, on the left).
Best Actor went to Mr. Collins (above, left) and Mr. Darcy (below).
Food & Beverage
The day before the party, we ladies of the household (including a dear friend who was visiting) made the pastries. The leaf details on the jam tartlets brought a seasonal flair to the array (picture taken before the tartlets were baked).
For drinks, we served tea and apple cider (hot or cold). Most everyone requested apple cider.
My brother designed these bookmarks for the ladies and the gentlemen as party favors. Feel free to print and use! (Four bookmarks are printed on each page.)
Click for printable PDF: Lady’s Bookmarks
Click for printable PDF: Gentlemen’s Bookmarks
I’ve also saved additional ideas on a Jane Austen Party Pinterest board.
It was truly an honor to host this party for so many lovely young ladies and gentlemen. Everyone enjoyed it, and one guest said it was the most fun they’d had in a long time. Knowing that it brought so much joy to their hearts was a gift to us.
Thank you to our photographer, Miss Read, for bestowing her talent in capturing this memorable evening.
And thank you to my family and friends who made it happen.
It was a blessed time, for sure!
Which is your favorite Jane Austen book? Have you ever attended a Jane Austen party?