If you’ve seen Romeo and Juliet, you’re familiar with the masquerade ball. Historically known for the upper class, the masquerade themed party has returned in the celebrity realm of Gossip Girl and Vogue and is predicted to be the hit party trend in 2011.
Women get dressed in fancy ball gowns and men put on their best suits, adorning a mask to conceal their identity. The idea of the party is to create a night of opulence and mystery, to be someone else, and to have fun without revealing who is behind the mask.
We’ve put some guidelines together to assist you in planning your New Year’s Eve party of the year!
1. Most importantly, if you want to create a true masquerade ball atmosphere, you’re going to need to rent a venue like a hall, club, bar or restaurant. Although, having the party at home might be fun, it won’t feel authentic. And don`t forget to consider parking options and accessible public transit routes.
2. Be creative with your invitations whether sending out online or by mail. Invitations are a big part of event experience so tie this into the theme. Start with sending a “Save the Date” card to build excitement around your event. Then follow up a couple of weeks before the date of your event. This is the first visual clue that lets people know what to expect at the event.
3. Your menu must be thought out for the evening ahead of time to ensure you have enough food. Serving a variety of appetizers in a cocktail party format, rather than a sit down dinner, may be easiest and more social. Plan on serving approximately 6-8 pieces per person and 2-3 drinks for a 3 hour party. Serve dry snacks and appetizers in black or metallic top hats turned upside down to add ‘wow’ factor.
4. Use decor to accent the theme of your party whether it`s a classic masquerade ball with black and gold masks with glitter or feathers, or a modern Mardi Gras with bright greens, purples and gold. Create a tent-like appearance by gathering chiffon fabric at a central point in the ceiling, or wrap them around columns, chairs, or stair rails.
5. Music is essential. Make sure to have great background music at your masquerade ball, but don’t hire musicians as the main feature. Plan themed activities to keep your guests occupied. Try a behind the mask murder mystery, a fortune telling station, a Monte Carlo gambling station, or a photo backdrop station for guests to have a formal photo taken. The photographs can be used as a party favour with a personalized card frame to commemorate the evening. And, as is often the main activity of the night, a masquerade ball is never complete without dancing.
6. Party favours are a nice way to thank your guests and will add to the final touch of the evening. Chocolate mask lollipops or harlequin mask key chains can be ordered online or purchased at local stores.