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4. The Night

Once you’ve begun to get a handle on the theme and the money, the next thing to consider is when you’ll actually hold the ball. There could be a number of deciding factors and it’s almost a certainty that not everyone will be able to make it to the ball. However, if you plan right and do it early enough, you should be able to get good deals and ensure that many of your friends can make it.

Prior commitments

The prior commitments of the ball planning team and your guests will be the most important factor when deciding on when to hold your ball. It’s no good if it’s going to clash with other events run by your group or major sporting events or holiday, and only the most foolish will attend if it’s the night before some big exams!

Venue Availability

After prior commitments, venue availability will be likely be the next deciding factor in when to have your ball. Fridays and Saturdays popular (and thus often the most expensive as you’ll be competing for services), balls held on a sunday are often more chilled out & relaxed affairs and balls held midweek are often the cheapest to run, though be aware that people might not be able to unwind in the same way if they know they’ve got to be in class the next day.

Call up the venues you have in mind and see when they’re available. Tally that with prior commitments and you should be able to come up with a suitable date.

Most good venues book up months in advance during peak seasons, some even as much as 18 or 24 months, so speak with them and get booked in as soon as you can.

If you build it, they will come

Once you’ve got the date fixed, be sure to let people know as soon as possible, even if you don’t have anything else booked yet. As long as you get the venue booked at least 2 or 3 months in advance you should have plenty of time to get everything else sorted.

Preparation

On the day of the ball it’s a good idea for the team to spend all day at the venue (and possibly the day before for larger events) to supervise set-up, sound checks and to deal with any last minute issues. It’s worth considering this when deciding which day to hold the ball.

Running order

To give you some idea of how to time your event, here is a typcal schedule for an evening.

07.00 pm – Arrival and champagne reception, with string quartet. People have time to mingle & get photos taken.
08.00 pm – Seating for dinner, DJ playing background music.
09.30 pm – End of dinner, Band comes on to play, people may have photos taken, dance, enjoy other entertainment or just sit back and enjoy the music.
10.15 pm – Awards ceremony (if you’re having one), follwed by a DJ set.
11.00 pm – Another band set.
11.40 pm – Another DJ set. Band leaves
12.00 am – Entertainment pack away and leave.
02.00 am – Lights up, taxis / buses for guests.
02.15 am – DJ & Organisers leave.

Please note the time between guest arrival and seating for dinner – plenty of time must be allowed for travel delays etc. It is inadvisable to leave anything less than 45 minutes.

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