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How to run a ball or event

How to run a ball or event

I have been asked on numerous occasions, what does one need to think about when, you have said yes I will organise that and suddenly realised that there is more to a ball or charity event than you think. To help I have put together a check list which is by no means complete but it should get you most of the way there.

What to do for a ball.

Pick an organising committee

  • Find around 5 people to begin your committee
  • Elect a chairman
  • Find others that you can add and form sub groups
  • If it has been run before get details from the last committee
  • Establish a central file with all details preferable on a computer- it’s easier to give to anyone and email.
  • Determine what is your purpose of the Ball or dance

o Social

o Fundraiser

o Celebration

  • Decide on the numbers you would like
  • Look at the local calendar of events and try and make sure it does not clash with anything else.
  • Check school calendars, golf clubs, other local charities, check what’s on in papers or local websites.
  • Once you have a date and numbers start to look for suitable venues
  • Give the job to two members of the committee and ask them to

Set a date

Get a venue

o Ring venue and check availability and capacity

o Arrange to visit the venue and meet coordinator

o Check all facilities – size, kitchen, dance floor, access, parking etc

  • If you are having a marquee get at least three quotes

Once you have a purpose, venue, the date and a committee you are ready to start

Create a budget

  • Appoint a member to run the finances
  • Let the chairman delegate various parts to members of the committee
  • Each team to get the relevant prices
  • Set a number of guests
  • Set a budget which will help you get to a ticket price

o Venue

§ Location

§ marquee

o Tickets – printing and design

o Drinks reception – will you provide one

o Food/ Caterer -cost per head

o Glass hire

o Crockery hire

o Decorations – balloons, flowers, themes

o Bar – licence

o Band

o Entertainment – magicians, vodka luge, string quartet, harpist etc

o Photographer – Attendance or all inclusive package

o Speaker – after dinner speaker

o Sound system

o Raffle – books, prizes

o Programmes – printing and design

o Insurance

o Advertising – this should help increase profits

o Sponsorship

  • Once you have these cost and possible contributions you will know an overall cost this will give you a base cost per ticket add your profit element and you have a ticket price.

Create teams

Get the chairman to divide up the jobs and then create teams to do these

  • You will need regular meeting to report back
  • Work back from the event and plan monthly then weekly meeting as required
  • Divide the jobs up

o Food and drink plus venue

o Decoration of venue

o Band and entertainment

o Tickets and programme

o Raffle/ Auction

o Logistics and health and safety – Parking, access to site

  • Agree a timetable for teams to achieve goals by
  • Kept up to date records of suppliers and contracts

Create a running order for the event

Book the weather

Enjoy yourselves and raise lots of money


Venue – food and drink


  • Check capacity
  • Check availability
  • Check price and payment terms
  • What does this include

o Venue

o Tables

o Chairs

o Linen

o Bar

o Staff

o Decoration

o Power

o Heat

o Sound system

o Venue coordinator

o Toilets

o Parking

  • Visit the venues
  • Agree and report back to committee
  • Type required – finger buffet, forked buffet, sit down, how many courses
  • Caterer find three to quote – get budget figure first


o What do they provide

o How many waitresses do they bring

o Do they provide crockery

o Do they provide glasses

  • Can they cater for a theme
  • Do you need a licence
  • When do you need to apply for a licence
  • Are you going to get some one external to run the bar
  • If you are running a drinks reception how much do you need
  • Will someone sponsor the drinks
  • Remember water on tables or at the bar


Decoration of the Venue

  • Budget
  • Theme
  • Sponsor
  • Check with venue what’s allowed
  • Florists
  • Agree work schedule
  • Approach dressing companies to get quotes
  • Agree teams to dress room on the day of the event

Band and entertainment

  • Budget
  • Type of music required
  • Get some recommendations

o Band

o Disco

o Check availability

  • Go and see your choice to see if they are what you think
  • Agree contract and payment terms ensure some is payable on the night
  • Book your choice
  • Decide what entrainment you want

o Get recommendations

o Use the web

o Get a quote

o Check availability

o Book your choice

Tickets and programme

  • Budget
  • Agree wording
  • Find sponsors
  • Get adverts
  • Find printer go to two for quotes
  • Agree a time scale

Raffle/ Auction

  • Get prizes
  • Get sponsors
  • Ask for adverts
  • Tree of surprises
  • Silent auction
  • Auctioneer if large prizes
  • Raffle balloons

Logistics and health and safety – Parking, access to site

  • Do a Risk assessment
  • Do you need insurance
  • Power requirements of all users
  • Emergency lights and exit signs- marquee
  • Do you need to tell police i.e. 500 people turn up in a field to a marquee etc
  • Signs to the event
  • Do you need door staff