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  • Kate

6 Balls I Want to Go To (costume proms for adults)

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

I love costumes, dancing, and music, yet rarely go to a formal party. The magic of dressing up in a long gown and dancing with someone in an equally fancy costume should not be reserved for high schoolers!

In my city, there are formal dances to raise money for charity. For instance, the Barristers' Ball raises money for law school scholarships. The theme always seems to be "casino formal" and single tickets run around $175. Other charity events range from the $150 to thousands (link to Phoenix list). The Children's Hospital puts on a laid-back fundraiser (this is Phoenix after all) but one of the main Hospitals does put on a formal gala, Pulse of the City Soiree, where one cannot purchase a ticket. They're given or via a very large donation.

With those prices, boring dresses, and mild dancing, going to a foreign city for a formal dance seems more financially reasonable and fun.

The Court House Ball (Dayton, Ohio, USA)

The Jane Austen Society of North America, Dayton Region hosts a regency costume ball. The JASNM has an official program for balls (pdf), thus it is easy to learn the reels and their order well in advance. Other regions, such as the Montreal Region, have hosted near identical balls. Here is a link to the JASNM website. Can search photos on Instagram with the hashtags #oldcourthouseball2022 and #jasnadayton.

The Vienna Opera Ball (Vienna, AUSTRIA)

Based on Imperial Austrian traditions, the ball is at the Vienna State Opera on the last Thursday of the carnival season (sometime in February). The debutantes wear tiaras and the men must wear tailcoats, so it feels like stepping back in time.

You can order tickets for the Vienna Opera Ball 2022 from the Vienna State Opera by email. Cost is about $325. Rehearsal tickets can also be purchased for about $62.

Other Viennese Balls (Vienna, AUSTRIA)

While the debutante ball is the most famous ball, there are many other balls. The blog "Vienna Unwrapped" includes a list of different balls (link). This blogger went to one alone and wrote about her experience (link). Personally, I love the balls that allow you to pair up with a professional dancer.

Prior Attire Victorian Ball (Bath, England, UK)

This costume YouTuber and author hosts a Victorian ball in Bath every year. Tickets are about $116 (link).

George Washington Ball (Williamsburg, Virginia, USA)

Near to Colonial Williamsburg, one of the best living history museums in the world, this American Colonial dance occurs once a year (link).

Greater Bay Areas Costume Guild (Benicia, California, USA)

This past year the GBAC hosted an Alexandre Dumas themes masquerade at the Benicia Historical Museum! Link to website with more details. The French 1840s outfits were great!

The Avalon Ball (Catalina Island, California, USA)

This Art Deco celebration is on the famous island off the coast of Los Angeles. Pub crawl and silent film festival coincide in this weekend of decadence! Link to website Foxtrot back in time!

Honorable Mention - Ahoy Vintage Cruises

While not a "ball" there are vintage fashion themed cruises, notably on Cunard and other transatlantic style boats like the Titanic. Sounds like a ton of fun to step back in time on the open sea!



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