What It's Really Like to Get Married at Downton Abbey
In honor of the new Downton Abbey movie, we're taking an in-depth look at the entire Downton universe, from a peek inside Highclere Castle (a.k.a. the real Downton Abbey) to the most shocking moments in the show's history. Now, we're revisiting what it's like to get married at Highclere Castle, with a look at a real-life wedding that took place at the historic venue.
Lacey and Aaron Chaus chose to hold their nuptials in the English countryside, after both of their siblings hosted weddings in East Hampton, where their families have neighboring homes. The celebration kicked off at Cliveden House and rehearsal dinner the next day at equally impressive historic estate West Wycombe Park. The ceremony itself was held at Highclere Castle. Below, Lacey, a New York-based interior designer, takes us inside the most spectacular weekend of her life.
THURSDAY: WELCOME CELEBRATION
The wedding weekend began with a welcome dinner and drinks at Cliveden House held on Thursday. The story of Cliveden is about 300 years of power, politics and parties. The house has played host to virtually every British monarch since George I and has been home to three Dukes, an Earl and Frederick Prince of Wales, who created a happy family home here until his death in 1751. Queen Victoria, a frequent guest was not amused when the house was bought by William Waldorf Astor, America's richest citizen.
Wedding attendees had exclusive access to the entire estate, and could partake in a number of activities on the Cliveden House grounds.
CLIVEDEN HOUSE, WHERE THURSDAY'S EVENTS TOOK PLACE
THE BRIDE AND GROOM AT THE HISTORIC VENUE.
A LOOK AT THE ELABORATE GROUNDS OF CLIVEDEN HOUSE.
FRIDAY: REHEARSAL DINNER
Friday's rehearsal dinner was held at West Wycombe Park. Built between 1740 and 1800, West Wycombe Park was conceived as a pleasure palace for the 18th century libertine and dilettante Sir Francis Dashwood, 2nd Baronet. Once again, guests could partake in a number of activities while at West Wycombe Park, including shooting, croquet, garden tours, falconry, and high tea.
Dinner followed on the back porch. Mustard Catering had the ability to serve the most incredible cheese soufflé to 140 guests. "The staff was so meticulous and organized one didn't even realize when a plate was being picked up or set down," Lacey said.
The bride for a Valentino jumpsuit for the evening, along with a head piece by Leah C. Couture Millinery.
WEST WYCOMBE PARK, THE VENUE FOR FRIDAY'S REHEARSAL DINNER.
GUESTS ON THE GROUNDS OF WEST WYCOMBE PARK.
SHOOTING WAS ONE OF THE MANY ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE TO GUESTS.
Attendees could also partake in croquet, garden tours, falconry, and high tea.
THE BRIDE AND GROOM AT THE REHEARSAL DINNER.
THE BRIDE WORE A WHITE VALENTINO JUMPSUIT WITH A HEADPIECE BY LEAH C. COUTURE MILLINERY.
DINNER WAS HELD ON THE BACK PORCH.
The meal was catered by Mustard Catering.
SATURDAY: THE WEDDING DAY
Lacey and Aaron hosted their wedding day at Highclere Castle, the real-life version of Downton Abbey. An Iron Age Hill Fort dominates the landscapes at Highclere and an early Anglo-Saxon charter suggests people have lived here for some 1300 years. Major rebuilding works were carried out in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by the Carnarvon family and the old brick and freestone house was converted to a classical Georgian mansion within a pastoral setting. The major transformation, however, happened in 1838, when the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon brought in Sir Charles Barry to transform his home into a grand mansion.
The ceremony was held in the main hall, followed by drinks in the garden, dinner in the library, and finally, dancing. It was a magical experience to be married in a location with such beauty and history," Lacey said.
The bride wore a custom Alexander McQueen wedding gown, and Lacey enlisted Pamela Baumgartner as her hairstylist. The flowers were by Paul Thomas Flowers, and Barker Evans Fine Art Photographers captured the entire weekend in photos. Stationers Mrs. John L. Strong hand-engraved an itinerary on four-ply stock with gold beveled edges: The rehearsal dinner card was engraved with a partridge from the company's archives, the invitation with a gilded rendering of the majestic Highclere Castle.
THE BRIDE WORE CUSTOM ALEXANDER MCQUEEN.
THE FLOWER GIRLS HAD GREEN AND WHITE FLOWER CROWNS AND WHITE DRESSES.
THE BRIDE AND GROOM TAKE AN ICONIC SHOT IN FRONT OF HIGHCLERE.
FLORIST PAUL THOMAS FLOWERS ADDED GORGEOUS BLOOMS.
LACEY AND AARON CHAUS ON THE GROUNDS OF THE PROPERTY.
THE BRIDE AND GROOM KISS IN FRONT OF HIGHCLERE.
DINNER WAS HELD IN HIGHCLERE'S LIBRARY.
SPARKLERS LIGHT UP HIGHCLERE CASTLE IN HONOR OF THE WEDDING.
MRS. JOHN L. STRONG HAND-CRAFTED THE INVITATIONS.
*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors