champagne and ice bucket

With the ongoing stress of exams and the constant worry of assignment deadlines, the end of year university ball is an event that all students eagerly await. Whether students are at the start of their university experience or are reaching the end and anticipating their graduation, it is the perfect opportunity for all to let their hair down and celebrate their fantastic achievements throughout the year!

If you have been given the all-important responsibility of taking charge of this year’s planning committee, then you’re probably looking for a few experts tips and tricks to begin your journey. A successful university event is guaranteed to go down in history, which means it’s going to take a little planning and preparation, beginning right at this very moment. Our comprehensive guide to planning a ball will take you through not only how to plan effectively, but also crucial vendors you’ll need to liaise with!

Top Tips For Planning A Ball

Along with any celebration comes an extensive list of to-dos, reminders and expenses; all of which are vitally important in executing a successful ball. While we cannot guarantee that the entire planning process will be completely hiccup-free, there are a number of preventative measures that can be implemented to ensure that nothing dampens the mood of the event itself. Every guest can enjoy the celebration of the year, oblivious of any last-minute emergencies that may creep up in the background.

As one of the leading suppliers of inflatable photobooths in Woburn and across the nation, we have been lucky enough to attend some of the most luxurious university balls. As a result, we’ve been able to pick up our fair share of super handy tips on how to plan a lavish event that is guaranteed to go down a storm with guests. So, we thought, seeing as you’ve been given the role of head of the planning committee, you’ll most definitely benefit from our favourite planning hacks to make the process just that little less stressful!

Create The Plan Of Action

The first step towards planning a university summer ball is to create a detailed plan of action that is both strict but realistic. Delegate roles to each member of the team, keeping their strengths and weaknesses in mind. Use team members strengths to your advantage; for example, the person with the best communication skills would be the perfect candidate for negotiating deals with vendors. On the other hand, individuals that are more strategic with strong academic skills would be perfect for managing the accounting side of event planning.

One of the most significant aspects of planning is to decide on a budget and how you are going to spread it evenly to cover each expense. Your budget needs to manageable and includes a small chunk that can be set aside to use in the case of an emergency. Keep a note of every amount you pay out so you can keep on track of where the money is being invested in. Both creating and keeping track of a budget plan will avoid the worry of overspending or running out of money. Smart Sheet has a vast collection of event budget templates if you’re in need of a little guidance when making a budget plan!

Planning in notebook

Choose The Dream Venue

A venue can make or break an event. Due to this, it will become one of the most tedious and time-consuming aspects of the planning process. It is vital that you keep your options open and remain open-minded when venue hunting. In many cases, universities opt for holding the ball on campus as it tends to make the planning process just that little more straightforward. The planning committee would be familiar with the on-site amenities, regulations, and it would be easier to liaise with site managers as it is likely that they would have met them before. More students would be able to attend as they would be living in accommodation just a short walk away from the campus.

However, unfortunately, not all universities have the capacity space to hold a big celebration, which means that there will be no other option but to look elsewhere. The location must be central and accessible for students to travel to with the addition of free parking if necessary. When researching and visiting venues, spend time getting to know what amenities would be included in a booking. For instance, a vast majority of end of year balls include a three-course meal meaning that tables and chairs would be essential. The layout and decor is also an important feature; it is recommended to opt for an open space function room with decor that incorporates your theme or is simple and can be dressed to suit the theme.

Dinner table layout

Consider Delicious Catering

Catering is a component that is rarely seen as essential; however, it may prove to be one of the trickiest tasks to tackle. Everyone has different tastebuds, which means that finding a menu to suit all may be challenging. The option for a vegetarian or vegan menu, along with allergen alternatives all need to be taken into consideration. Unlike a prom, the majority of university balls organise a three-course meal, which means that the option of a buffet is less popular. You would most definitely benefit from providing guests with at least two menu options to choose from; their final decision will need to be submitted ahead of the ball so your chosen catering company can prepare dishes.

When it comes to catering, you can afford to be picky and only seal the deal once you are entirely sure that they are the right company for you. Investigate into the specialities of the caterer, do they have experience catering for a big event? Do they have efficient equipment and enough staff to ensure that all food is served fresh and according to the time plan? Many caterers even offer a tasting prior to the event where planners can try out samples before signing a contract – this is a great way to get to know your shortlisted caterers. Billetto has put together a fantastic guide on how to choose a caterer for an event including all details you must keep in mind when shortlisting professionals.

If you plan for the main meal to be earlier on in the evening and hoping to provide snacks later in the event, why not hire vintage sweet carts? Sweet carts are ideal for bringing a fun, unique twist to your event. We love the range available from Love Candy Floss Events including ‘pick n mix’ stands and a candy buffet!

Waitress serving food

Entertainment To Get The Party Started

Many universities enlist the help of a well-known special guest to entertain the crowd at events, which although will be sure to go down a storm with your guests, takes meticulous planning to pull off. Popular options for guests include music stars and DJ’s; both of which are guaranteed to get the party started after the meal. When opting for booking a guest performer, it is imperative to keep in mind that the fee is likely to set you back a rather large percentage of your budget. It is more than likely that you will have to get into contact with agents, arrange meetings, make negotiations and if there is availability on the day of your event, the booking will need to be secured months in advance to avoid disappointment. When shortlisting guest ideas, take a look at celebrities that will fit the event, people that are currently in the public eye and will be well known to students; you want to make the celebration as memorable as possible.

Although we may be a little biased, we do think that absolutely every event needs the fantastic addition of an inflatable photo booth! While an entertainer will steal the show during their performance, the photo booth will be in the venue all evening to enjoy. It provides students with the perfect opportunity to get dressed up in fun props, take snaps with their closest friends and take their printouts home to remember the celebration forever! Having provided photobooth hire in Andover and surrounding areas to many extravagant university balls, we love to create a personalised experience for every client. Each aspect of their booth can be customised to their event from the text on their printout, the theme of their greenscreen to the style of the booth itself!


Spreading The Word Through Promotion

While the idea of beginning event promotion may seem a little daunting, it is actually one of the most straightforward steps in the planning process. There are a plethora of different options when it comes to effective ways to advertise the ball; fortunately, many of which are free.

According to research by Business Insider, 99% of youngsters between the age of 16 and 24 use social media at least once a week; this means that social media should always be your first port of call when advertising your university event. As social media is so widely used, it is more than likely that there will already be a social group on Facebook for students attending the university. Using this, you can then make an event page and invite all members of the group.

Although flyers and posters may seem like an element of the past, they remain one of the best promotional materials, especially if you place them in various locations around the university campus. There are multiple tools which allow you to make free online flyer and posters, which can then be saved as both a digital and printable option. Consider contacting the university admin team to ask whether they can email a digital copy of the flyer to all students inviting them to the ball on behalf of the university. On all promotional materials should be clear instructions on how tickets can be purchased, along with all event details. Canva and Piktochart are both excellent online platforms that allow you to build professional flyers for free.

Throw A Ball To Remember!

Make your university summer ball one to remember by following these simple tips to make the process super easy and to guarantee a smooth-running evening. Don’t let small hiccups disappoint you and don’t panic; everything will be alright on the night! Once you’ve planned one successful celebration, then you will be eager to plan another!

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