Black tie gala ideas

Updated November 21, 2016

Whether it's a high school reunion or charity fundraiser, a black tie gala is one party that encourages guests to dress their best for an elegant evening together. When planning one of these formal events, make the night as glamorous and fancy as possible within your budget. Every attendee should feel special throughout the night through features including the black tie gala's theme, decorations, food, drinks and entertainment.


Make a one-of-a-kind gala by incorporating a theme into the black tie event. This theme can be anything elegant or exciting, such as a wine tasting, black-and-white or nautical focus. Host a masquerade gala by providing feathered and beaded masks for guest to wear, or host a movie star-themed night by inviting guests to walk the red carpet. Whatever theme you choose, make sure to incorporate it into all of the event's decorations, foods and entertainment.


Make the gala a night guests will never forget by dressing up the venue with decorations. Begin with centrepieces to add beauty and drama with plush bouquets in glass vases or candles reaching from the arms of a candelabra. Use matching table linens, including napkins, tablecloths and table runners. Add decorations to the ceiling and floors, too, by draping fabric sheet overhead and sprinkling glitter on the ground. Various lighting techniques make unique decorations and set the mood, such as paper lanterns strung across the room or twinkle lights wrapped in tulle.

Food and Drinks

Guests are expecting elegance at the gala, so give them food that is as fancy as their apparel. Hire a professional chef or restaurant to prepare the food. Serve appetizers while attendees are first arriving to the event. For dinner, select dishes most people will enjoy, such as pasta or meats, and adorn them with plenty of side options. Additionally, create a bar for guests to enjoy cocktails, wine and beer as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Incorporate the theme into these foods and drinks. For example, if you're hosting a Western-themed night, serve the finest barbecued meats with a few options of whiskey.

Entertainment and Activities

Keep your guest having a great time the whole night through with entertainment and activities. Most galas include dancing, so ensure you have a DJ or live band and a dance floor. Along with dancing, hire entertainers who can carry the theme, such as a photographer to pose as paparazzi as guests walk down the movie-themed red carpet or a mime for a French-themed event. If the event is a fundraiser, include additional ways for people to donate money, including with a raffle and silent auction.

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