A color theme. This is great because all of the dresses will create a huge visual impact and while people are restricted in what colors they can wear, they can have total freedom with their masks. A few ideas:
o black and white
o all white or all black
o jewels: (sapphires (blue), rubies (red), emeralds (green)
o flag colors (America would be red, white, and blue, for example—great for a 4th of July party)
– Old Hollywood Glamour. The ladies will love you for it— who doesn’t love slim-cut dresses, drop-waist skirts, and beautiful hair? And the gentlemen will get the opportunity to look very dapper.
– Mardi Gras. Perfect for a more relaxed, but still very elegant, event.
This will be largely determined by two things: your budget and the weather.
When is your event? Summer? Winter? If it’s too cold (or too hot) have it indoors. But if it’s during a temperate season, outdoors is a great option (just make sure you have a backup plan in case it rains—i.e. a marquee).
If you have a large budget, then this makes things slightly easier. Think of beautiful venues that you’ve been to or heard of around town, and go view them. If you are on a tight budget, then ask around about alternatives. Sometimes large B&Bs or Inns will let you rent out the entire house for a small fee, and many are quite beautiful and with lots of character. Or you could host it in your own home or garden, or someone else’s home.
Things to look for in a space:
- -the capacity to hold the number of people you expect to come
- -high ceilings
- -a staircase (if possible) great for dramatic effect and for people walking into the venue
- -both an indoor and outdoor area –if the weather is good
- -easy access from where your guests are arriving
- -good valet and taxi service—you don’t want people queuing for hours
- -someone from the venue who will help you coordinate the other elements i.e. catering, entertainment, décor. This is particularly helpful on the day of the event. As you’ll be busy on the day of, it’s always good to have someone who can give directions, sort out last-minute logistical issues, and show your suppliers where to set up.
Remember, you are going for elegant. So put away any tinsel, balloons, or streamers, because that will not be happening. Nope. Really. There’s three things you want to use to transform your space: fabric (and lots of it), flowers (fresh), and lighting (to set the mood).
If you’re hiring a venue, look around. What do the walls look like? Are they a relatively inoffensive color, or tastefully decorated with art? If the answer is yes, great! You’ve just saved yourself some time and money. If the walls are, however, unattractive then you want to drape them with fabric, floor to ceiling. We don’t recommend you do this yourself unless you’re particularly handy, but there are companies out there that do this relatively inexpensively. Ask the venue if they know of someone. They likely will if they’ve ever hosted a wedding.
Using fresh cut flowers is the easiest way to decorate a space. If your budget allows it, work with a florist to create custom arrangements to fit your theme. Go for elegant flowers in rich hues and simple compositions.
Lighting can really set the mood for an event. You want soft, yellow lights rather than harsh white lights. If it is safe, use candles (always in candle-holders, and place them where they can’t be knocked over). If that’s out of the question, lots of stores now stock battery-operated candles which can look very realistic, and create a nice glow. Golden fairy lights can also look beautiful hidden in topiaries and flower arrangements. For main lights, speak to your venue organizers and find out what kind of lights they have available.
Food at a masquerade ball can be tricky. Masks are not always the easiest things to eat in, so you want to make sure you serve small canapés. Go for quality over quantity, and select 3-4 savory options and 2-3 sweet options. Ensure that the food fits your theme (for example, if your theme is Mardi Gras, then you want typical New Orleans fare—in mini form). Always ensure that you have at least one vegan/vegetarian option and one item that is gluten-free.
What’s also a really good idea is to have a couple of live food stations as well as canapés. This could be little sweet and savory crepes, or a station that serves tiny bowls of upscale fries infused with truffle, parmesan, or caviar. Again, make sure it fits the theme, and remember: people get cranky when they get hungry, so feed everyone!
The main event at a masquerade mask is the unveiling at midnight, where all guests remove their masks and reveal their identities. But, since this doesn’t happen until midnight, you might want to keep your guests entertained in other ways.
A live band is always the best option for musical entertainment. If you are going with a formal theme, you may want a string quartet or a harpist. If you’re going with Mardi Gras, you’ll want something a bit jazzier. Think of your theme, and find someone who can play music to represent that theme. If a band is out of the question, then a reputable DJ who understands the mood you are trying to create is a good option.
Games can also be a way to entertain your guests. Set up a card table for a little game of poker (proceeds can go to charity), or maybe hold an auction. This can be a silent auction, or you could ask guests to volunteer to be auctioned off for a dance at midnight.
If this is a really big event, and you’re more than a month out from the event date, send a Save The Date. This serves two purposes: one, it tells your guests to pencil in your party on that day and two, it serves as a teaser for the party. If you hint at what’s to come, people will be giddy with excitement—and curiosity—once you’re ready to send the actual invite.
For something like this, we believe in paper invites. You want something that looks good but also feels good to the touch. A heavy, textured cardstock is perfect for this.
Now, if you really can’t do paper invites, then e-mail is ok. Just make the invite look as nice as you would’ve if it had been paper. No plain text in an e-mail; nothing about that is special.
Make sure to give as much information as possible in your invite. For example, date, time, venue (and a location map if the venue is obscure). You also want to include the theme, dress code, entertainment, and whether there will be refreshments. The more information you give people, the better.
WHAT TO WEAR TO A FORMAL MASQUERADE BALL: 7 STYLE TIPS FOR WOMEN
1. Take a cue from the dress code stated on the invite
If the invite says cocktail, wear a cocktail dress. If you’re unsure about the dress code, or the invite doesn’t say, don’t be afraid to call the hostess and ask. You can casually slip this into conversation when you call to RSVP: “So, is this a cocktail dress, high heels kind of party?”
2. Rather than going for trends, choose a dress in a classic cut that suits your body shape
It’s easy to get caught up with what everyone else is wearing—what’s on the runways in fashion capitals, what celebrities are wearing, and what the fashionistas in your town are currently donning. But don’t get too caught up in a trend. Trends come and go, but classic cuts (and colors) never go out of style. If you are going to a formal event that requires a ball gown, you may want to invest in a designer piece that is versatile and that you’ll be able to wear in years to come. If you’re unsure of what to wear, choose a black dress; simple and versatile, a beautiful black dress can be accessorized in a multitude of ways to yield different looks.
3. Pick a mask that’s easy to wear
Not all masks are created equal. Once you know what you’re wearing, pick a well-made, authentic Venetian mask. These are handmade with the finest materials, and the way they are crafted ensures breathability. If you want to be able to eat, dance, and be able to use both your hands throughout the evening, we recommend a Colombina with satin ties.
4. Wear stylish, but comfortable shoes
All you ladies who’ve endured evenings of agony while standing in too-tight shoes that pinched your toes or sky-high heels that hurt your calves know exactly what we’re talking about. Now, we’re not suggesting you sacrifice style, but pick a shoe with a heel that’s not too high, a platform for added support, and that allows you to walk (and stand) comfortably. If you don’t think you can endure an entire evening in heels, then choose an elegant low wedge, or a sparkly flat sandal. Either of those options is sexier than a cranky girl who can’t wait to sit down and take her shoes off.
5. Accessorize at the very end
Given that you’re already wearing a masquerade mask, you probably need very little accessorizing. We always recommend elegant earrings and bracelets (or a cuff). We recommend wearing a necklace only if it doesn’t detract from your mask. Simplicity is best, so remember Coco Chanel’s famous words: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”
6. Your hair and makeup should complement your outfit…and your mask
If you’re planning on wearing a masquerade mask, you want to carefully plan your hair and makeup around it, as it will alter the perception of some of your facial features. Here’s our top makeup tips:
- Choose long-wear makeup: this will avoid you having to do any touch-ups, and won’t smudge when you put your mask on.
- Pick a neutral blush color: there will already be a lot going on with your mask, and your cheeks will likely be hidden anyway.
- Match your eyes to your mask: If you’ve chosen a blue mask, for example, go with a blue eye shadow.
- Pick a bold lip color if your mask is a neutral color, and pick a nude lip color if your mask is colorful.
- Your hair style will also need to be considered carefully if you’re wearing a mask. You’ll need to think about where the mask ties, so you can ensure your hairstyle (particularly if it’s an updo) allows the ties to sit comfortably at the back of your head and not slip off. The other thing is you’ll want to make sure your hair is away from your face. This serves two purposes; the first is to better showcase the mask you are wearing, and the second is so that it doesn’t get in your face. There are few things more annoying than a woman who is constantly struggling to keep her hair under control—or who whips her dance partner in the face with her unruly mane.
7. Store essentials in a stylish clutch
If you are attending a formal event, the only acceptable type of purse is a clutch. A clutch is a teeny tiny handbag (without a strap) that one clutches in their hand. Clutches often fit very little, so our recommendations for masquerade ball essentials are: lipstick (in the shade you’re wearing); hair pins, band aids, Advil (just a couple, not the whole bottle), blotting papers, and wet wipes. And your phone of course.
Masquerade parties or masquerade balls are elegant, and fun occasions, where you get to dress up, and wear something completely different. Masquerade balls and parties are events that have a certain dress code. Masquerade balls first emerged as part of the carnival festive season in the 15th century. After this, masquerade balls became more popular and were simply held as part of public festivities.
Choosing an Outfit for a Masquerade Party or Ball
Outfits are the most important part of any masquerade party, as they are essentially the main focus of the event. Choosing an outfit for a masquerade ball can be difficult, but it is much simpler, once you know what the essential items for a masquerade ball are.
The most important part of a masquerade party outfit is the mask. Masquerade masks are available in a number of different types, styles and colours, and you can find masks with various features on them, such as diamantes and feathers. You can find stick masquerade masks, which usually only cover the eye area. These feature a mask with a stick, which you use to hold the mask over the face. They look great, but they are a little less practical than other types of masquerade masks.
You can also purchase half face masquerade masks, which cover half of the face. These feature a bow, which you tie around the head to keep the mask in place. Half face masquerade masks are arguably the most practical type of mask. You can also find full face masquerade masks, which look great, but are arguably the most impractical type of mask, and eye masquerade masks, which cover the eye area, but feature holes for the eyes, and a ribbon that you tie, to keep the mask in place.
Outfit: The outfit you decide depends on two things. Firstly, it depends on how formal the masquerade party or ball is, and secondly, it depends on what colour your mask is. If you are going to a high end masquerade ball or a classic masquerade party, it is a good idea to wear a floor length, vintage-style dress. If you are attending a masquerade party, then you may run with a knee high dress, or even a corset and a skirt. Make sure that the dress you choose isn’t too short. When choosing your dress, make sure that it compliments the colour of your mask.
Shoes: Heels should be worn for masquerade parties and balls, as they look stylish and elegant. Keep your shoes simple, yet stylish, as you already have a dramatic mask, and an elegant dress, so you don’t want to make your outfit look too fussy.
Outfit: Men should wear suits and ties to masquerade balls and parties. If you are going to a masquerade ball or a formal masquerade party, then you may want to wear a pocket square as well. Make sure that you choose a classic style suit, which is in a neutral shade, such as grey or black.