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It is a truth universally acknowledged that some of the best parties are birthday parties. Since Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is celebrating 200 years of publication, now seems like a great time to throw a literary birthday party—for the book or for yourself! 

First, set the mood with some Jane Austen inspired invitations. If paper is not your thing, create your own e-card—snarky commentary optional.

When it comes to setting the table, pretty plates are a must, but who wants to wash dishes? These fancy looking paper plates and faux silver flatware will impress guests without creating too much of a mess.

(image via flickr)

In my opinion, it can't be a great party without great food. If the traditional Regency white soup is not your thing, there are plenty of other options such as cheesecake, trifle, and lemon ice. For heartier options, try individual pot pies, cold ham, or mince pie. For drinks, tea is the obvious choice. Here are some great tips for making the perfect pot of tea, and bonus points if you have your guests bring their own cups and saucers—great for conversation and clean up, too. Coffee and lemonade are nice as well.

For conversation, get a rousing debate going over which P&P adaptation is best. The 1995 mini-series features a wet shirt Colin Firth and sparkly-eyed Jennifer Ehle, but the 2005 film features an impeccably costumed cast and gorgeous cinematography. Be polite when your guests disagree; this isn't Jane Austen's Fight Club, after all.

What sort of birthday party would this be without presents? Send guests home with their own Mr. Darcy—Mr. Darcy tea, that is.

And if this party sounds a little too tame for you, zombies make a wonderful addition.

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Ashley C. is a part-time actor and full-time lover of princess dresses, Jane Austen novels, and chocolate in all of its forms. She holds a meaningless degree from a well-known university and has lost count of the places she has lived. If she doesn't have her nose in a book, she can usually be found in the kitchen rage baking. You can follow her adventures at www.happyprettysweet.com.