Category: Post-Mortem

Pride and Prejudice Ball After-Action Report

The Historical Costume Ball was a success! We had (I think) 39 people, including Matthew and me. I invited about 90 and expected about 50, but a few people changed plans or didn’t show at the last minute. That’s actually a good thing – we filled the entire foyer for the dances, and I don’t think we could have fit even one more couple in! Bigger and better next year…hopefully we can rent a dance hall or ballroom at a hotel and invite more people.

I had no idea how much food to plan. Turns out I way over-estimated…we had enough desserts to feed more than twice the number of people who came. We had cranberry punch (delicious!), Lickety Split chocolate cake, Gooey Butter cake, lemon bars, lime bars, and poppy seed bread. Wendy Flynn made her awesome artichoke spinach dip with homemade bread, and the Thomases brought these gigantic grapes that were more like plums!

I am so thankful that my mom came to RI on Friday night. On Saturday, she manned the kitchen and helped me finish my dress. My honorary big sister Kathleen was up from New York and was supposed to be at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire all day before coming to the ball, but the Faire site flooded really badly and was therefore closed. So she came over in the afternoon and helped bake. I would never have gotten everything ready if it hadn’t been for those two wonderful ladies!

When everything was set up at the church, my brother Zach and his fellow West Point firsties Jason Limb and John Barnes set up post at the doors. I gave Zach a costume cane/baton to beat on the floor, and he announced the guests as they arrived. Jason and John arched their sabers for the guests to walk through.

Matthew (aka Mr. Darcy) surprised me with a lovely bouquet of roses! He’s so thoughtful.

The costumes were beautiful! Many people took pictures, so when Xanga finishes phasing in free pictures for those of us who are too cheap to pay for Premium, I can post pictures.

The ladies got their dance cards filled amidst a flurry of activity, and then Melissa and Melanie Thomas taught several English country dances. Some of the guests do this regularly, while others had never even seen this type of dancing done. I was so impressed at how quickly everyone learned! We did Auretti’s Dutch Skipper, Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot (which Lizzy and Darcy dance at the Netherfield Ball in A&E’s P&P), A Hole in the Wall, Barbarini’s Tambourine and Comical Fellow (which Lizzie and Mr. Collins dance in P&P – “Other way, Mr. Collins!”).

One of the highlights of the evening for me was the live music for A Hole in the Wall! My coworker Jeff Flynn and his two eldest daughters played it on violins and guitar. We danced to CDs/iPod the rest of the time.

We interspersed the group dances with a few waltz numbers. Mr. Sorensen taught us some basic waltz steps. It was like bumper cars on the dance floor!

I have to brag on Kath…she kept things running behind the scenes. She kept the punch bowl filled and the dessert trays heavy with snacks! I didn’t even ask her to help – she just saw what needed to be done and did it! Now that’s a friend. That was such a huge help to me.

We danced till 11 or so. What a party! I sat out one of the dances and just watched. It made me so happy to see my friends from all different parts of my life enjoying such fun interaction.

Everyone wants to do it again soon. I’d say that’s the hallmark of a successful party.

The only sad thing was that my college roommate Hannah couldn’t be there. She was at the ball last year, but this year she had just started a Very Important New Job in OKC. Don’t worry, though…when I go to OKC this weekend, she and I are going to wear our Regency dresses about the town! (And I want to teach her family a couple of the dances.)

I’m hoping to have another ball in the spring – April, perhaps? You’re all invited!

P.S. I also have to brag on the West Point guys. They stayed at our house all weekend, which was a lot of fun. I left for work Monday before they left to go back to NY, and they did ALL the dishes before they left!

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