How to Throw an Elegant Masquerade Ball

Posted on May 03, 2013 by Vivo Masks | 19 Comments


If you're reading this, you've either: 

A: Been tasked with throwing a masquerade ball of some sort and you’re looking for ideas on how to do it.

B: Are trying to figure out what kind of party to throw and this magically popped up in your Google search.  

C: Been randomly sent to this website by us, because we reaaallly think you should consider throwing a masquerade ball.


Either way, read on because by the end of this article you’ll be throwing The. Chic-est. Party. Ever. p.s. If you're planning an upcoming masquerade ball, let us know. We'd be happy to supply you with discount masks for your event.



My motto when picking a theme is Keep It Simple. Seriously. When you’re first tasked with picking a theme, it can be daunting. So you spend hours online google-ing and pinterest-ing and facebook-ing and by then you’ve got about a hundred themes in mind and you want to do all of them. I mean, why not throw a masquerade ball where it’s Tudor-themed yet contemporary with a focus on paying homage to ‘90s grunge and the irony of social media in the 21st century? And everyone can wear red! And there will be a thousand flying swans!

Sound familiar? 

Hold your horses. Take a deep breath. Close that Pinterest page you have open in the other tab. Now read on.

Pick one theme. Just one. No, not two. Fusing two ideas can sometimes work, but if this is your first big event, don’t risk it. Besides, elegance is simplicity. And you want elegant, not crazy/confused/tacky. And who says it has to involve Venice? Just because it’s a masquerade ball doesn’t mean it can’t be different or contemporary.

Here are some ideas for elegant themes:

-       A color theme. This is great because all of the dresses will create a huge visual impact and while people are restricted in what colors they can wear, they can have total freedom with their masks. A few ideas:

o   black and white

o   all white or all black

o   jewels: (sapphires (blue), rubies (red), emeralds (green)

o   flag colors (America would be red, white, and blue, for example—great for a 4th of July party)

-       Old Hollywood Glamour. The ladies will love you for it— who doesn’t love slim-cut dresses, drop-waist skirts, and beautiful hair? And the gentlemen will get the opportunity to look very dapper.

-       Mardi Gras. Perfect for a more relaxed, but still very elegant, event.



This will be largely determined by two things: your budget and the weather.


When is your event? Summer? Winter? If it’s too cold (or too hot) have it indoors. But if it’s during a temperate season, outdoors is a great option (just make sure you have a backup plan in case it rains—i.e. a marquee).


If you have a large budget, then this makes things slightly easier. Think of beautiful venues that you’ve been to or heard of around town, and go view them. If you are on a tight budget, then ask around about alternatives. Sometimes large B&Bs or Inns will let you rent out the entire house for a small fee, and many are quite beautiful and with lots of character. Or you could host it in your own home or garden, or someone else’s home.

Things to look for in a space:

  • -       the capacity to hold the number of people you expect to come
  • -       high ceilings
  • -       a staircase (if possible) great for dramatic effect and for people walking into the venue
  • -       both an indoor and outdoor area –if the weather is good
  • -       easy access from where your guests are arriving
  • -       good valet and taxi service—you don’t want people queuing for hours
  • -       someone from the venue who will help you coordinate the other elements i.e. catering, entertainment, décor. This is particularly helpful on the day of the event. As you’ll be busy on the day of, it’s always good to have someone who can give directions, sort out last-minute logistical issues, and show your suppliers where to set up. 



Remember, you are going for elegant. So put away any tinsel, balloons, or streamers, because that will not be happening. Nope. Really. There’s three things you want to use to transform your space: fabric (and lots of it), flowers (fresh), and lighting (to set the mood).


If you’re hiring a venue, look around. What do the walls look like? Are they a relatively inoffensive color, or tastefully decorated with art? If the answer is yes, great! You've just saved yourself some time and money. If the walls are, however, unattractive then you want to drape them with fabric, floor to ceiling. We don’t recommend you do this yourself unless you’re particularly handy, but there are companies out there that do this relatively inexpensively. Ask the venue if they know of someone. They likely will if they’ve ever hosted a wedding.


Using fresh cut flowers is the easiest way to decorate a space. If your budget allows it, work with a florist to create custom arrangements to fit your theme. Go for elegant flowers in rich hues and simple compositions.


Lighting can really set the mood for an event. You want soft, yellow lights rather than harsh white lights. If it is safe, use candles (always in candle-holders, and place them where they can’t be knocked over). If that’s out of the question, lots of stores now stock battery-operated candles which can look very realistic, and create a nice glow. Golden fairy lights can also look beautiful hidden in topiaries and flower arrangements. For main lights, speak to your venue organizers and find out what kind of lights they have available.



Food at a masquerade ball can be tricky. Masks are not always the easiest things to eat in, so you want to make sure you serve small canapés. Go for quality over quantity, and select 3-4 savory options and 2-3 sweet options. Ensure that the food fits your theme (for example, if your theme is Mardi Gras, then you want typical New Orleans fare—in mini form). Always ensure that you have at least one vegan/vegetarian option and one item that is gluten-free.

What’s also a really good idea is to have a couple of live food stations as well as canapés. This could be little sweet and savory crepes, or a station that serves tiny bowls of upscale fries infused with truffle, parmesan, or caviar. Again, make sure it fits the theme, and remember: people get cranky when they get hungry, so feed everyone!

Want some specific ideas? Check out some of our masquerade party food ideas.




The main event at a masquerade mask is the unveiling at midnight, where all guests remove their masks and reveal their identities. But, since this doesn’t happen until midnight, you might want to keep your guests entertained in other ways.

A live band is always the best option for musical entertainment. If you are going with a formal theme, you may want a string quartet or a harpist. If you’re going with Mardi Gras, you’ll want something a bit jazzier. Think of your theme, and find someone who can play music to represent that theme. If a band is out of the question, then a reputable DJ who understands the mood you are trying to create is a good option.

Games can also be a way to entertain your guests. Set up a card table for a little game of poker (proceeds can go to charity), or maybe hold an auction. This can be a silent auction, or you could ask guests to volunteer to be auctioned off for a dance at midnight. 



If this is a really big event, and you’re more than a month out from the event date, send a Save The Date. This serves two purposes: one, it tells your guests to pencil in your party on that day and two, it serves as a teaser for the party. If you hint at what’s to come, people will be giddy with excitement—and curiosity—once you’re ready to send the actual invite.

For something like this, we believe in paper invites. You want something that looks good but also feels good to the touch. A heavy, textured cardstock is perfect for this.

Now, if you really can’t do paper invites, then e-mail is ok. Just make the invite look as nice as you would’ve if it had been paper. No plain text in an e-mail; nothing about that is special.

Make sure to give as much information as possible in your invite. For example, date, time, venue (and a location map if the venue is obscure). You also want to include the theme, dress code, entertainment, and whether there will be refreshments. The more information you give people, the better. 

Enjoy the party!

If you're planning an upcoming masquerade ball, let us know. We'd be happy to supply you with discount masks for your event.

And for more masquerade party planning resources, check out our complete list of masquerade party planning guides >


Posted in how to throw a masqueade party, masquerade party ideas, planning a masquerade ball

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19 Responses

Koelsum Wolmarans
Koelsum Wolmarans

August 08, 2016

Good day I have an ECD centre and I need some ideas for a theme on hosting a ball in November. I have a very low budget to plan. Please can u be so kind to assist me I will highly appreciate it. Thanks in advance


April 29, 2015

so I’m having a birthday party and love phantom of the oprea so had a great idea that i should have a masquerade would that go


August 15, 2014

I have almost 2 years to plan a masquerade ball, but with so many options it is difficult. Also, the fact that I have no idea what the budget is, nor a place around where I live in. I dont know why they gave me so much time with so little information for me to use, to plan with. Any suggestions?

Marie Wessels
Marie Wessels

July 30, 2014

I want to have a masquerade ball for the hostel learners of Sonitus School for the hearing and learing impaired learners. We are having the ball on the 21st October 2014. I would like some ideas how to do the invitation cards. We are doing it on a very low budget so I would be glad if you could send me some ideas (diy).

Megan D
Megan D

July 11, 2014


I’m thinking of having a Masquerade ball for my 14th and I want it to be big but I need lots of ideas and this page helps alot but would it still be appropriate if it was held on the beach?


May 03, 2014

Im trying to plan a party and i gave myself 7 months to plan it so i can space out my spending for the supplies i need, any ideas for what i need to get first?


March 20, 2014

I am trying to host a masquerade party in October as Libra event..I need all the help I can get as far as the theme..but I love the Colors of black and white…the venue has high ceilings but no clam…please help


March 05, 2014

I would like to use this idea for our church agape ball theme for 2015, we are looking at valentines day. I like the black and white color theme elegant . What type of games can we play and what type of food would be on the menu.


December 16, 2013

we were told to get ideas for our youth fundraising and i thought of this one…im gonna do some more digging for a presentation to see if it can work…maybe it might be alot of fun to actually help young men and women to have fun…anyway, i needed more infor in the matter..any advise


October 21, 2013

Hi I’m looking to throw a Valentine masquerade party for about fifthy people live singer. Help I have never thrown a party before


October 18, 2013

Hi I’m in charge of having a Masquerade party for my job Christmas party any ideas

misty boarman
misty boarman

October 08, 2013

Me and some of my daughters friends want to throw her a sweet 16 masquerade ball,any ideas

misty boarman
misty boarman

October 08, 2013

Me and some of my daughters friends want to throw her a sweet 16 masquerade ball,any ideas

Shannon Lindsey
Shannon Lindsey

September 23, 2013

I am really grateful that I fell upon this blog. My family is trying to plan a party for next year and you just gave us a starting point. What is the website for the discount masks.


September 05, 2013

Hi Monique – I sent you an email about our sponsorship options. For anyone else, sponsorship information can be found here:



September 02, 2013

Hosting a NYE Masquerade Dinner Party .. what is the website to view the masks that you have at discounted prices? Thanks for the tips.

Gia Budrick
Gia Budrick

August 19, 2013

I am thinking of having a nite of the living dead masquerade party for october. Any help is appreciated!

Dave Richard
Dave Richard

August 10, 2013

Thanks for the insights. Planning a ball/party at our restaurant in Ukiah. I manage a large 10 k foot Italian Steakhouse and Stella Artois will be hosting it with us. Any discount items would be appreciated as Stella will not be picking up the entire bill.

Also FYI you have a typo in the fabric section “you’re” should be " you’ve"
Thanks again. :))


July 14, 2013

Hi, I came to look at your page because I was thinking of holding mardi gra masquerade ball as the reception for my quinceñera, do you think this would be appropriate for that occasion?

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