If you read my weekly recaps, you’ll know I attended the Bridgerton Ball with my aunt a couple of weeks ago for my birthday! It was such a fun event, and it felt like we were transported right into the set of the popular Netflix show. If you haven’t heard about this experience (I found out about it on Instagram—gotta love those targeted ads), it is put on in collaboration with Shondaland, a production company; Fever, an events company; and of course, Netflix. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it turned out to be such a special night full of dancing, photo-ops, and a performance, and I would definitely recommend it—truly a marvelous evening with the ton! *Cues my best Lady Whistledown voice.*
My aunt and I spent weeks deciding what to wear to the ball… Originally, we envisioned large Victorian dresses with petticoats and cages and corsets. We browsed the internet for affordable versions but soon realized we had it all wrong… Bridgerton takes place during the Regency Era, not the Victorian Era, so the women wear dresses with a completely different silhouette than we were imagining—empire wastes, cap sleeves, and flowy skirts. This became obvious when we started looking at Bridgerton photos to jog our memories of their outfits (I kind of wish the event had been closer to the release of the second season because it had been a while since I last watched it). Really, only the queen and her cohorts wear the big caged dresses we were picturing.
We completely switched gears and started imagining the flowier dresses instead. We found a few affordable contenders on Amazon, like this one, but we feared they would look cheap in person… Not to mention, there are so few excuses in life to wear a gown, and we both owned a handful that had only been worn once or twice. So instead, we decided to get creative and make the most of the pieces we already had in our closet!
I immediately knew I wanted to wear this beautiful purple gown that I bought at a consignment shop for my senior prom. It’s actually one of those convertible bridesmaids dresses, so I figured I would be able to put together something that was Regency-eque. I have only worn the dress once and was dying to find another excuse to style it!
After playing around with the convertible straps for a while, I landed on this look—draping the straps into loose fluttery sleeves. Not quite the cap sleeve design of the real Bridgerton dresses, but close enough. I tied the belt into a big bow on the front for a sweet detail, so all that was missing from the bodice was elaborate beadwork. Not bad for a makeshift dress!
The Hair, Makeup, and Accessories
Even though I liked how my dress came together, I decided the hair, makeup, and accessories were much more important for achieving the style of the show. My tall white gloves (which have pearl buttons on the inside) belonged to my grandma. Can you imagine actually wearing these to an event, not as a costume? My mom told me that my grandma had worn them to the grand opening of a movie theater in Las Vegas—what a glamorous life she lived. As for my other accessories, the pearl purse and the pearl necklace (which I wrapped around twice to achieve a choker look) belonged to my other grandma. It was very special to have a little piece of both of them with me.
For makeup, my aunt and I agreed it was best to keep it very natural—I wore light purple eyeshadow and no eyeliner, with sheer lip gloss. And lastly, the hair! Hair is always, by far, the most difficult part for me. In the show, they often wear their hair in super tight curls piled into a bun on the top of their head, with dainty tiaras and headpieces. I had done a curly side updo for prom when I last wore this dress, and I imagined recreating something similar for the Bridgerton Ball. My aunt and I agreed that it was best not to practice our hairdos before the big day… because then we would have had the perfect updo while practicing but then never be able to recreate it on the day of the event! That’s always how it seems to go, right? Your hair looks perfect when nobody will see it.
First thing I did was curl my hair with my regular curling iron. I then separated out some front bits and tied the rest back temporarily. With the front pieces, I did two twists to frame my face, like in this video. I then added that to the rest of my hair and put it all into a high ponytail at the crown of my head. Now, this is where things started to go awry… I figured I could easily pin the curls down around the top of my head because that’s what I had done in 2018 at my prom. What I failed to realize, however, was that I used hot curlers in 2018… and a curling iron this time around. If you want to achieve a similar look to my hair, I definitely recommend using hot curlers—that type of curl is much easier to scrunch up and pin to your head. Whereas, a curling iron curl is looser and has far less shape.
Needless to say, I struggled. There was *almost* a meltdown. But thankfully my aunt calmed me down, and I played around with the pins enough until I found something I liked. I ended up using a ton of bobby pins, so many that I ran out of my own and had to borrow my aunts. Keep that in mind before you start doing your hair because you don’t want to be rummaging around in drawers for stray pins.
Lastly, and arguably the best part, I finished the look with a little tiara that I’ve had for as long as I can remember… It was also part of my Holly Golightly Halloween costume back in 2018. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to shove it into my curly bun after using all those bobby pins, but thankfully the tiara slid in there perfectly.
My Aunt’s Outfit
My aunt wore this gorgeous, silky champagne colored dress that she had worn for a flapper costume previously (I think she may have said it’s from Anthropologie, but don’t quote me on that). She borrowed my long black gloves (also part of my Holly Golightly costume) and a blush statement necklace I got forever ago at DSW. She carried a cute black clutch and bought the prettiest rose gold pearly headband, which she wore slightly forward on her head like a tiara. Instead of a full updo, she did a beautiful half-chignon. I loved how much our outfits complimented each other! White and black gloves, full updo and half updo… I think we absolutely nailed it.
What Other People Wore
It was so much fun to look around and see what everyone else wore to the ball, and after observing other’s interpretations of appropriate ball fashion, we felt much more confident in our own choices. Were our outfits the best, most-Bridgerton like? No. But I loved what we put together considering we didn’t really buy anything for the event.
Almost everyone was wearing gloves, mostly the long type like my aunt and myself, but there were a few shorter gloves as well. Some girls clearly purchased Bridgerton-inspired gowns and accessories specifically for this experience, and they looked gorgeous. Others bought dresses for the event but you could tell they bought dresses for the event… as in, they were a little costume-y (and not steamed). There were only a few girls who wore more Victorian style dresses that, unfortunately, stuck out like a sore thumb at the ball. We almost made that mistake, but this is your warning not to! I just hope those ladies didn’t buy those dresses for this event and that they already had them from a previous costume…
Other girls wore what looked like prom dresses—modern, very sparkly gowns. It’s hard to say whether this group was rewearing favorite pieces they already had (woot woot!) or if they rented occasion dresses for the evening. In fact, the Bridgerton Ball website had a Rent the Runway discount for attendees, although all the dresses included were very modern gowns.
Finally, there was a small selection of people who wore casual, short, daytime dresses. Oh, and I almost forgot about the men! While still not a ton, there were a lot more men than my aunt and I expected. Most of them wore dark suits, but one poor guy wore a really bad costume that I can only describe as a nutcracker… There was one couple—who by far won “best dressed” in my opinion—where the man tied his girlfriend’s scarf into a cravat. So clever!
All-in-all, there was a large range of outfits, but most people dressed up one way or another. My aunt and I were drawn to the Bridgerton Ball because it was an excuse to get dolled up, and we challenged ourselves to try and achieve the Regency Era look. I would guess that more people took our approach than not—lots of women seemed to be wearing gowns they probably already owned because they weren’t quite the right style but were close enough. A slant rhyme, if you will. Even if some outfits didn’t quite hit the mark, it added so much to the experience to see everyone dressed their best—so many pretty gowns, Regency-inspired and otherwise!
Tips, Tricks, and Recommendations
- If you plan to wear gloves, no need to get your nails done for the event. I was stressing that I wouldn’t have time to paint mine, only to realize that it didn’t matter.
- And speaking of gloves… it was very difficult to take pictures on our phones with our gloves on. If you’re purchasing a pair specifically for this experience, consider buying some where your finger works through it (or a pair that is easy to slip on and off).
- Consider wearing a clutch that has a convertible crossbody strap. While my purse was cute for photos, it made it nearly impossible to do the dance moves (which require lots of arm movements) since I had to hold it the whole time.
- If you want to buy a drink, don’t purchase it until you are in the third and final room of the evening. Buying it while you are in the ballroom is kind of a hassle (you might miss some of the performances while waiting in line, and you can’t really dance if you’re holding a drink).
- For a fun twist to the evening, see who among your group can last the longest speaking in a fake British accent. We met a group of girls who did this and it seemed so fun! (Although the person who lost had to buy drinks for the group.)
- I recommend going to the last show of the evening. While the event said it would only last an hour and a half, we ended up staying for two hours—and I wonder if that was only allowed because we attended the last scheduled event of the night.
- Last piece of advice, the evening doesn’t end until someone specifically announces it. We made the mistake of ordering our Uber once the dancing started to die down only to realize that there was a whole other room full of photo-ops. Wait until the official ending announcement to call your rides!
What We Did
Disclaimer: I know some people will want to know what it is we actually did at the Bridgerton Ball. However, part of the fun for me was the element of surprise—my aunt and I were speculating all night about what the event might hold, what people would wear, etc. So if you have any intention on going to the ball yourself (I’m not sure what cities the experience is traveling to next but here is some info), you might consider skipping the rest of this blog post.
We didn’t have to wait in line very long before we were allowed to enter the first room of the evening, which had a small gift store, a couple of photo ops, a bar, and a fake “garden” with pall mall, the croquet-like game the Bridgerton characters play in the second season. What I really loved about this experience is that there were staff members standing at all of the photo-ops to take your photos on your phone—so you didn’t have to wait some days or weeks to receive your photos, nor did you have to pay extra for them!
After a few minutes in the first room, everyone migrated through a gorgeous wisteria hallway into the main ballroom. Stepping into this room was magical—it truly felt like we had been transported to England in the early 1800s. There was a string quartet playing the Bridgerton soundtrack and people were dancing. A few staff members (all of whom were dressed up and in character) were demonstrating the dance moves of the time period to lucky members of the audience.
After a little waiting and observing, the staff captured the attention of the whole ballroom, so we all got to practice the dance moves in synchrony, just like in the show. Eventually, it was announced that the queen and her cohorts were arriving, so there was a big hubbub about that as she waltz into the ballroom and we all greeted her with curtsies and bows. A little later, we all got in line to individually curtsy to the queen and try to win her favor as the diamond of the season! My aunt and I were giggling at how surprisingly nervous we were. I, in true Miss Congeniality fashion, nearly tripped as I tried to impress Her Majesty.
There was a bar in the this room as well, so my aunt and I wandered over to get a drink—we both ordered the “Whistledown and Dirty” because the name was too hilarious! Not surprisingly though, the drinks were overpriced. In fact, as I mentioned earlier in my recommendations, I wouldn’t recommend getting a drink in the ballroom if you plan on getting one at all. We were stuck in line as some of the performances started, so we couldn’t see very well.
There were just a few performances, with the main one being a couple who put on a beautiful (although, slightly off-theme) contemporary dance, complete with some swinging from the chandeliers, a la Sia. There was another performance by a different woman who was dressed sort of like a bumble bee—this was very confusing to my aunt and me, as she seemed to have nothing to do with Bridgerton or the theme of the night.
Eventually, the queen announced her diamond of the season, who was a girl about my age—the crowd gracefully clapped for her and she was SO excited, which was really cute. Lady Whistledown, who had been narrating throughout the night, revealed herself. And then the queen left, with all the pomp and circumstance with which she had entered. After that, the ball turned a little… modern. They started playing throwback songs (think “Party Rock Anthem” era) and then it basically turned into prom, with lots of normal dancing. It was still fun, but it seemed a little odd that the event got less and less Bridgerton-themed as the night went on.
We thought the evening was over—it was 10:30, after all, the official ending time—so we ordered our Uber home. We stayed in the ballroom trying to avoid standing out in the cold, but then we realized there was an entire other room, filled with the most amazing photo-ops! We both panicked for a moment (we usually make our men order the Ubers) but thankfully we were able to cancel the ride without a fee. Thank goodness we did because this last room was truly spectacular.
There were so many gorgeous photo-ops, including the coolest fake portrait ever—they took your photo and then you could “paint” it on an electronic easel, which revealed your filtered picture. It looked like we had commissioned a painting of ourselves in the 1800s! Definitely my favorite photo of the night.
The lines were long to wait for the photo-ops but not unbearable. If you wanted to get a drink, I would recommend purchasing it at the bar in this room because there is no risk of missing out on any performances. They also had some of the costumes from the show on display, as well as a fake Modiste storefront. We spent a while enjoying this room before they finally kicked us out around 11, a half hour later than we expected.
Overall, it was such a fun night and truly one I will never forget. How many people get to say they went to a ball?! While tickets were expensive (we had general admission on a Friday night, which was cheaper than a Saturday), I do think it was worth it. We had such a blast both getting ready together and attending the event, and we have so many amazing photos to remember it. So much fun!!!
As always, thanks for reading today’s (very long) post. I hope you enjoyed these Bridgerton photos, and please let me know if you are thinking about attending the event or have any questions.
Miles of smiles,