American fans of Downton Abbey have been salivating over the start of Season Three ever since Matthew got down on his knee and proposed, making Mary an honest woman. Starting tonight, we’ll finally see how that plays out. But even if the upcoming nuptials have their share of bumps (note the storm clouds in the photo, above), there’s nothing keeping you from planning your own masterpiece of a wedding.
Downton Abbey isn’t merely shot on a real location, it’s shot on a location that is more than happy to accommodate weddings. At Highclere Castle, west of London, you can descend the grand staircase, marry in the library, have a reception in a marquee, and use the Saloon for dancing. There’s even a wedding coordinator on site.
Unless you’re marrying a UK citizen, a legal wedding here requires a fairly rigid 22-day residency. Assuming you don’t have quite that much vacation time, the solution is to have a civil ceremony at town hall back home, then fly over to Britain for the pomp and pageantry.
The only thing missing: Maggie Smith crying into her handkerchief.