Masquerade balls are reminiscent of the Renaissance era and opulent Venetian affairs, but they were especially popular in England during the 18th century. These parties represented the high life of entertainment. Even though the theme could be different, they all shared one thing: masks. Throwing a masquerade ball is a fun opportunity for guests to dress up in elaborate costumes and hide their identities. Organising a masquerade ball will take time and requires a great deal of planning.
Determine the size of the party. If you are planning a huge affair, you need to begin planning at least six to nine months in advance. If you are hosting a small masquerade ball, give yourself at least four months to get everything organised. Put together a guest list immediately.
Organise your budget, breaking down the elements for your party. It should include big costs such as venue, food, entertainment and decorations. Be realistic as your organise your finances. If you are throwing the party with friends, include them in the budgeting process and the planning.
Examine your budget sheet. Do price comparisons by calling venues, caterers, musicians and local stores. Adjust your budget according to the price evaluations. If you want to save costs, enlist your friends and family to help out with decorating, cooking or other tasks. Consider a pot luck. If you have five friends and they all bring two platters of appetizers, you don't need a caterer. The party can be at a friend's house or backyard, sparing you the expense of renting a venue.
Pick a theme. Common themes include Mardi Gras, gothic, Halloween, Carnival, Vampires and the Renaissance. Once you select the theme, incorporate it into other elements of the party. For example, if you are doing a Mardi Gras theme, serve Cajun food. Offer appetizers and champagne for a Renaissance party.
Book a venue and caterer immediately. You'll need to lock in these elements six months in advance of a big party, four months in advance for a smaller function. Provide the caterer with the number of guests you are expecting so he can give you a cost estimate and finalise menu ideas.
Send out invitations two months in advance. You can purchase them, make them yourself or send them by e-mail. Tell your guests what kinds of costumes to wear. Do not send the invites at the last minute. Guests need time to put together costumes and find masks.
Research local bands and DJs in your area. If you are looking to save money, contact your local high school and speak to the band teacher. Ask if she knows any talented student musicians willing to work at a lower cost. Make sure you hear the students play before hiring them.
Write up a contract for the band or DJ. The contract will protect both of you in case there's a time conflict or money issue.
Save money by putting together centrepieces yourself. Organise a group of friends to help you. Depending on the theme you could use feathers, beads, coloured tablecloths, fresh flowers, vases, lights, and candles.
Planning these types of parties can be stressful. If you have a large, dependable group of friends designate groups to take care of elements such as decorating, food and music. Just make sure that everyone understand the vision and the budget.