A Gentleman’s Guide to Attending a Gala for the First Time

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The city of London is home to the most opulent — and lucrative — charity events in the UK. Anybody who gets to receive a “save the date’ invite must have a lot of luck on their side. Mainly because galas are often filled with stunning night pleasures from nibbles and champagne glasses to formalistic dances, socialising with high-profiles, and (of course) great fundraising opportunities.   

With summer about to end, we say goodbye to long weekends spent on the beach and welcome fall with some stunning night galas to attend to. If gala-going is getting on your new horizon and you want to master the art of it, the first thing you have to do is to get yourself clued up about the important things like what to expect at a charity ball and what to wear to this kind of social function.

For first-time goers, prepping up is usually the most overwhelming part. But, no pressure! In this blog, we make everything easier by lining up a quick rundown of tips that will help you make the best of the big night.

Dress up accordingly.

Walking on a red carpet in bespoke suits is the name of the game for gentlemen heading to a gala. As a general rule, the hosts will provide attire guidelines on the invitation cards and it is wise to show up in a relevant outfit — not just for the sake of the event but also for a great photo op.

Traditionally, it’s a black suit and tie unless there is a specific theme to follow. Have your suit readily tailored for you at least a week prior to the event so that your tailor will have enough time to make a few adjustments to your desired fitting and style.

Plan your transportation ahead of time.

An essential part of your preparation is getting your vehicle ready. Whether you go with a limousine or a taxi, make sure to plan ahead for your transportation to and from the venue. This way helps you escape the inconvenience of waiting for hours in your “suit and tie” just to get your car from the valet.

It’s better to be “fashionably late”.

If you hate the embarrassment of stepping into a big, empty room with barely anyone else around and nothing louder but a soundcheck, the best time to arrive at the venue is at least 15 minutes late. No need to fret. It’s not like they are going to commend you for being an early bird nor judge you for being late. By that time, the party is likely to come alive.

Observe table etiquette.

Before you have a seat, make sure to take some of your time to thank the host for inviting you to such a wonderful event. Very often, first-time goers will be sitting next to unfamiliar faces from various businesses so be prepared to introduce yourself. But, that is not yet the right time to hand out business cards. Remember table manners.

When the dinner is served, make two drinks a maximum. You don’t like to be the last person you want to have conversations with; so keep your alcohol moderated.

Grow your network.

Here’s the best part and probably the main reason why you’re here: to socialise! You can always start a conversation but remember not to talk too much. Keep your conversations light yet interesting. At the end of every conversation comes your chance to give out your business card and start building connections. Also, there will be dignified people making speeches — ofttimes the long and boring ones. Pay attention or at least pretend you do as a courtesy.

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