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Step by step guide: grand ball

The end of the summer term is the perfect time to hold a grand ball - think posh frocks, black ties and champagne on the lawn! It does take some planning though, so give yourself as much time as possible.

Initial planning

  • Gauge interest from parents. Getting a feel for the number of people interested will help define how big your event is and how much you can charge for tickets.

  • Allow about six months' planning time and avoid major sporting fixtures, other local events and school holidays.

Number of helpers

  • Set up a sub-committee with specific responsibility for organising the ball.

  • Make sure that everyone's roles are clearly outlined.

Have a theme

  • Fancy a formal black-tie affair with a sit-down meal or a more relaxed informal evening? Maybe a masked ball, fancy dress or colour theme? Bear in mind your target audience and budget.

Choose a venue

  • The choice of venue is vital to the success of your ball. It could be held in a local golf club or hotel where the food, drinks, music and service is included in the package price.

  • You could hire a marquee, but remember your PTA will then need to arrange its own caterers, music, entertainment, toilets and a PA system. You will also need to carry out all the necessary risk assessments and obtain appropriate licences.

  • Important things to consider are: dance floor, maximum capacity, cloakrooms, space for the band and whether you can bring alcohol to the venue.

  • Weigh up the pros and cons (in terms of both cost and time) of holding your ball at an external venue. You may feel that a black-tie affair needs to be somewhere more glamorous than the school hall to justify a ticket price of £30!

Running a budget

  • Agree your budget early on. Once you know what your costs are likely to be you can decide on the ticket price.

  • Additional fundraising activities such as an auction or raffle will boost your profits. 

  • Check if any costs include VAT and remember to think about the following:


  • Designing and printing tickets, menus, programmes and posters is a cheap and effective way of creating a buzz.

  • Reach out to the local community and media for support whether for sponsored prizes or free publicity.


  • If the ball is to raise money for a specific project mention this on the ticket.

  • Number your tickets to keep track of sales.

  • Offer a discount on a table of eight or 10 to encourage bulk sales - challenge year reps to sell a table each.


  • Securing sponsorship from local businesses will increase your profit margin considerably. 


  • Music is a key component of the evening, so source a band, DJ or string quartet to make the night more special. 

  • Add wow factor with a guest speaker, magician or comedian.

For more information

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.

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