Hosting a Summer Ball

Everyone feels like celebrating summer’s arrival. Why not make this summer particularly spectacular by hosting a swanky summer ball?

The theme of your summer ball is the most important decision because it sets the tone, décor, attire, and guest list. For instance, a debutante ball is a popular spring and summer event because it formally introduces the eligible ladies to society. That being said, if your audience is made up primarily of married couples, another theme might be more suitable.

Good organization is key to a successful summer ball.


Start by organizing a fundraising committee. It will be their responsibility to oversee and delegate all planning aspects of the summer ball, and fundraising efforts.

The duties of the fundraising committee can range from soliciting sponsors for music, catering, and décor, to arranging a venue and creating a guest list.

Choose a date for the summer ball based on your preferred guest list. If you have guests coming from out of town, a long weekend may be an ideal time to choose in order to give guests a reasonable timeframe in which to travel.

Solicit sponsors for the event. If this summer ball is a debutante or school fundraiser, seek out willing parents to contribute to the fundraiser. It is wise to write a note to willing sponsors, accompanied by a specified deadline for donations.

Decide on a budget and be reasonable. Sure, sponsors are nice, but you want to ensure that your budget covers the function along with any advertising, invitations, music, venue rental, etc., just in case you don’t achieve the desired sponsorship.

Create formal invitations based on your guest list. A summer ball has an air of fun, yet it’s still a classy, sophisticated affair. The invitation wording and graphics should mirror the audience you want to attend and the theme you want to create.

It is best to create a sample invitation for committee review before mailing. Invitations to a summer ball should be sent out at least ten days before the date to give guests adequate time to respond and make travel arrangements.

Send out invitations to your desired guests. These may be prominent members of the committee, companies that have expressed an interest in participating in your fundraising efforts, regular attendees of your charity social events, or prominent individuals in your city, such as the mayor and city council members.

The invitations should specify the name of your charity or the organization that the ball proceeds will be supporting.

Set aside a block of tickets to sell to the general public. For instance, you can drum up added interest and charity funds by advertising the sale of tickets on the radio and in the local newspaper. You can also raise additional money with a raffle for tickets through these same media channels. Be sure to specify that all proceeds will go to support a charitable organization.

Things to Consider when Planning a Summer Ball

  • Seek out a venue that is laid out in a large rectangle or square. This will ensure adequate room for dancing as well as a dinner (set to one side) if your summer ball will combine both. A rectangle will offer the perfect space for an orchestra or band in the top or front of the room. If you are combining a dinner and dance, a dining room can be set up at the opposite side so people can talk during dinner.
  • As with any party, your guest numbers will have to be limited by the proportions of the venue. The main purpose of a summer ball is the dancing, and an overcrowded room will spoil the mood.
  • It’s not always possible, but if you have any control over your guest list, try to invite an equal number of dancers that represent both sexes. For example, a ball with too many gentlemen might not result in much dancing.
  • Ensure the venue has a space to act as a cloakroom for guests. Ladies especially will don light jackets or shawls, even in the spring and summer months. In winter, all guests will certainly be wearing outerwear, and will prefer not to have to carry it around all evening. Enlist a volunteer to take coats and affix tickets to the hangers. A duplicate ticket is given to the guest to retrieve their coat at the end of the evening.
  • If you are not offering dinner, but drinks and appetizers instead, a separate room can be devoted to cocktails and snacks. Remember to supply coffee, pop, juice, and water for designated drivers.

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