Elegant Entertaining

Definition of Society Ball

gentlemen and four ladies

Hosting and Planning a Ball

So you might host a ball? Good on you! Here is a continuation of “Definition of Society” and How To Be Classy series where I go through the steps of planning the society ball.

Definition of Society

Planning The Ball

If you would like to host a private ball, it is quite similar to planning a wedding.

The host and hostess assume the responsibility for every aspect of the event and just like a wedding, they usually get the help of florists, caterers, musicians, waitstaff, and in many cases, an event coordinator and planner.private ball

The easiest way to do it is to hold the ball in a club or hotel which have all facilities and people to help throw the ball. They can provide the service, the food, the drinks, the tables and chairs, the sound system, the air conditioning. Some may even provide decoration services and subsidize your invitations by putting using their custom hotel invitations.

If the ball is held at home, you may use a caterer will provide the same services. Often they have aliases with table and chairs rental companies, sound systems etc.

You may use a florist will to see to decorations, or there are some even decorators which you can use. You might want to do the decorations yourself!

In Charity balls, dances and galas, there are social secretary and events planners available who can help with the lists, invitation and overall plans.

Things To Do:

  • Book your venue. Speak to a manager of a hotel or club.
  • Decide on whose help you need and book your caterers and florists etc.
  • Engage the best orchestra you can for the chosen evening.
  • Remember the main activity of a ball is dancing so you cannot give a ball or dance if you have poor music.

  • Invitations are sent about 4-6 weeks before the even.
  • Definition of Society

    Invitation For A Ball Samples

    Titles are always used on formal invitations.

    Private dances and balls:

    society dances invitation

    private society ball invitation

    private society ball invitation

    To A Debutante Assembly

    Debutante Ball invitation

    Public Ball:

    Society Benefit ball invitation

    For A Benefit:

    public society ball invitation

    When a ball is held in honour of a benefit, in other words, a charity ball, the expenses are to be covered by the sale of tickets.

    The invitations are sent with a card stating the amounts (donations) and where it should be sent.

    Names of debutantes (if it is a debutante ball), committee members, patrons, sponsors are printed inside the invitation.

    According to Peggy post from her book, “Emily Post Etiquette,” she says that the word “ball” is seldom used except in an invitation to a public one, or at least a semi-public one of some sort.

    Response cards, list of patrons and sponsors and other information depending on the ball are invited in these invitations.

    You do not need to “r.s.v.p” a refusal because if you wish to attend the ball, you simply return the response card with your details filled in.

    Definition of Society

    Dress For A Ball

    Traditionally, the dress code for any ball is the most elegant one: white tail. That constitutes for a man the white tie and the tailcoat.
    Formal dressing used to mean white tie, but now as society has gotten more casual, a formal dress code now also accepts black tie, which means your tuxedo for men.

    So when do I wear a tux (or my partner) and when do I wear a tailcoat?

    If the invitation says “white tie” must one wear a tailcoat, otherwise, you may wear a tailcoat or a tuxedo.

    For women, ball gowns, gowns or long elegant evening dresses.

    A ball is also the best time to go all out and dress up. Take out your best jewelry, shoes, your gloves, wear your hair the most elegant. Even the youngest guests dress up with little dresses that reach the floor.

    “The attraction of a ball is that it is very special and very elegant, and every person there should cooperate in appearance in behavior and in graciousness to keep it that way.” Peggy Post, from Emily Post Etiquette.

    Also, a man should always escort a lady to the ball.

    Definition of Society

    The Receiving Line

    A receiving line is formed on the stroke of the hour specified in the invitations, in other words, the time written at the invitation.

    The purposes of a receiving line is to enable for the hosts to personally greet every guest and offer a personal welcome. The hosts and hostesses will also be able to at least exchange a few sentences with each and every guest in any case during the ball there may not be any other opportunity.

    The receiving line is formed in front of the doorway of the ballroom where guests enter the hotel passing through the receiving line, greeting the hosts of the event. After shaking hands, they enter the ballroom.

    Nowadays, sign in registers or guest books and in some cases, the guest list manager takes places of the receiving line. That way, hosts will also keep track of attendance despite not being able to greet everyone face to face.

    I much prefer the personal and traditional receiving line, don’t you?

    Definition of Society

    Who Dances With Whom

    How do men become gentlemen at a ball?

    gentlemen and four ladies
    definition of society

    The book, Emily Post Etiquette says there are at least three women any man attending a ball should dance with.

    Every man should dance with

    • the hostess giving the ball,
    • the hostess of the dinner he went to before the dance (i.e. the woman whom he had dinner with before the ball)
    • and the women he sat between at dinner.

    Naturally, he dances the first dance with his wife or date for the evening.

    As a lady,

    You shouldn’t refuse any dance if a gentleman asks you to. It’s three minutes of your life, and it was very kind of him to walk over to approach you.

    If you refuse to dance with a gentleman with “Thank you very much but not right now, I’m resting”, when you have decided to dance again, you should go back to the first gentleman to dance with instead of ‘picking and choosing your dance partner’.

    In the modern day, it’s supposedly a “right” to choose, but it does feel a little discriminating and insulting to the gentleman who asked you.

    Traditionally, or historically, it is common for another gentleman to cut into a dancing couple. He simply taps the shoulder of the gentleman and waits. The dancing gentleman has to stop and hand over the ladies’ hand to let this gentleman have her dance.

    The former gentleman either cuts into other couples or goes back to the ‘waiting area’ until the music stops.

    It is rude and not acceptable to cut into the dance of the gentleman after him. If he wishes to dance with that same lady, he has to wait till the music stops or for another gentleman to cut in.

    As for ladies, you basically dance with your partner until someone cuts in or until the music stops.

    Definition of Society

    Supper Is Served

    Since most balls begin in the late evening, after the dinner, a late buffer supper is served usually at midnight.

    Small tables are provided so that the guests may sit down to eat, wherever they choose to sit. They are not meant to be ‘hogged’, as it is assumed most would want to resume dancing.

    Supper may consist of cocktail food, finger foods, tapas including a variety of sandwiches etc.

    There will be at least one open bar serving liquor and soft drinks throughout the evening. You might want to include some hot drinks too.

    As a gracious guest, gracious guest etiquette applies. When you are ready to leave a private ball, you find the host and hostess and thank them just as you would at a smaller party.

    Thank you for reading “Definition of Society”!

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