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As with any party, choosing which guests to invite to dinner is very important. Whether it be family, old friends, or new friends, giving ample time for them to save a date is the most polite thing to do.

If I were to host a dinner party for “Come and Dine”, one of the first people on my list of guests would be my dearest Norwegian friend, Karine, along with her lovely yellow Labrador, Finse, of course! She, along with Viking Cruises, has so kindly offered to provide the flights for the lucky group of eight to travel to dine at Highclere Castle. As “Downton Abbey” has become a household name over the last few years, so has Viking Cruises, so what a wonderful opportunity to reminisce about the six series that were filmed at the Castle.

Viking Cruises were of course the sponsors of “Downton Abbey” in America. More importantly, Karine and I are friends, related through our dogs (she has one of my puppies) writing children’s books called “Dogton Abbey” together to support the Viking Education Foundation, whilst also planning various tours to Highclere for her Viking Cruise guests.

Using the invitations sent out for formal events at Highclere Castle as inspiration, we have created some helpful templates to send out for your party invitations and RSVPs. I don’t think any of us keep enough records, as our parents and grandparents did, so this is a lovely way of keeping something tangible along with any photos or letters from people later on who have enjoyed themselves. To personalise them for your event and guests, just add to the blank fields. You can write your guests’ names by hand or, if it’s easier, just type them out. Here are examples of how your invitations and RSVPs should look, and what to include:

Guide to using the invitation/RSVP template:

  • Open here
  • Type your name into the first field
  • Either type your guest’s name into the second field or leave blank to write in by hand
  • In the third field add the location of your party e.g. “at Highclere Castle”
  • Add the date and time of your party to the fourth field e.g. “1 February, 2018 at 8pm”
  • Under “RSVP” give either your address or phone number so that guests can return the RSVP or give their response
  • Under “Dress Code” give your chosen dress code and perhaps guide times for your guests
  • Repeat for your RSVP, allowing guests to delete the response as appropriate
  • Ideally an invitation or RSVP should be printed onto card rather than paper
  • Print off double-sided to include the Castle logo on the reverse, if not, only print page one