In this final Trinity issue of the Oxford Student, we are discussing the Oxford ball. Trinity term in Oxford is ball season, with many balls being enjoyed earlier in the term and several still to come in the next two weeks or so. Balls come under a heavy price tag, most costing upwards of £100, some even surpassing £200. If you, like so many other students, have cleared out your bank account to pay for a ticket to your college ball, you could be forgiven for treating the evening like a challenge to make the most of every penny.
There are many attractions offered at balls; live music plays all night, and there are photobooths, fairground rides, hair styling sessions, and similar experiences included in the price of the ticket. Taking place only once during each undergraduate’s degree, they are designed to be a night to remember. It is this, and trying to avoid crushing FOMO, which lures so many students into taking this financial risk in the first place.
You can make up a good amount of the money on food and drink alone – you just need to stay focused
If your ball is yet to come and you’re beginning to wonder whether it will justify the hefty cost, rest-assured, you can make up a good amount of the money on food and drink alone – you just need to stay focused.
Almost every college ball will have an open bar, this often begins with a prosecco reception as you first walk in. The best strategy here is to start slow. Before the novelty of free fizz overwhelms you, take one (and only one) glass and sip demurely. Remind yourself that a key part of getting your money’s worth is actually being able to remember the night. Perhaps even take advantage of this stage of the night to get a few instagrammable pictures to post the morning after. It is crucial that you join the slew of almost identical ball pictures posted by literally every member of your college.
With classy prosecco in hand, do a quick round of the food stands to scope out what’s on offer. With food, the best approach is to abandon all semblance of ordinary mealtimes. Instead, eat little and often and make sure you sample from every stand. If your ball runs roughly from 7pm to 4am, you are going to need sustenance and most food stands will continue to serve into the early hours of the morning.
Remind yourself that a key part of getting your money’s worth is actually being able to remember the night
If you’re drinking alcohol at your ball, it is highly advisable to locate any novelty drinks early in the night. Many balls offer things like alcoholic milkshakes, which are delicious and should not be missed but best drunk when sober (or almost sober) to avoid risk of queasiness. The same goes for sugary cocktails – a recipe for disaster when overindulged in.
As many of the balls left to come this term are commemoration balls, a word should be said on the dining tickets that these balls offer. These tickets carry an even heftier price-tag with the promise of a three or four course meal before the ball begins. I must admit to ignorance on this front, having never attended a dining ball myself – but perhaps it is unlikely that any holders of one such ticket will have read past the first sentence of this article.
Featured image description: view over a ball at Queen’s College
Featured image credits: Bencherlite via Wikimedia Commons