The Notorious Little Guide to Balls in Vienna will help you, like a Fairy God-Mother, to get ready for your ball and avoid any faux-pas!
Despite the cold nights, the ball season in Vienna is at its peak, celebrating Carnival throughout January and February until just before Lent.
Over 450 balls in Vienna alone host every year around 500.000 people from all over the world who come to dance until the early hours and enjoy the Viennese savoir-vivre in magnificent settings such as the Hofburg, Vienna’s Imperial Palace, the Opera or the Spanish Horse Riding School, house of the majestic Lipizzaners stallions.
The Emperor Joseph II opened the Redoute Rooms in the Hofburg palace so that all Viennese could celebrate Carnival wearing costumes and masks the same way the nobility had been doing since the 18th Century, so now most balls are open to everyone and you can waltz the night away in your dazzling ball gown while mingling with high society, European nobility, jet-setters, international stars and wannabes too.
First of all, you need to choose which balls to go and make sure you get your tickets way in advance.
You will see the dress code on your ball ticket, usually evening gowns for women, and white tie and tails or tuxedo for men. If you go to the Hunters' Ball, Jägerball, then you will need a Trachtenanzug for men and an Evening Dirndl for women, the traditional Austrian dress. Never ever, men should wear Lederhosen.
Balls are normally opened by a Polonaise, a slow Polish dance, then the entrance of the debutants and debutantes, and a midnight Quadrille. You won’t only waltz since you have all types of music on different dance floors. If you like Samba and Bossa Nova, you shouldn’t miss the Vienna Boys' Choir Ball as this year's chosen host country is Brazil.
Better go accompanied but if you don’t have anyone to escort you, you can always hire a ‘Taxitänzer’ who will dance with you!
You should practice your moves before because the Viennese are very good dancers, as school students most of them attend dancing lessons, preferably at the famous Elmayer Dance School.
You will need really comfortable shoes because Austrians dance till 6:00 a.m.
Or if you’re on a budget, just go to a Wurst Stand, the most famous in the city is Bitzinger.
Shops in Vienna offer many options but be careful not to overdo it and end up looking like a Disney Princess. When choosing a gown, you should remember that a ball is always an elegant affair. Think more Grace Kelly and less Kim Kardashian.
Make sure to wear jewelry that won’t clash with your ball gown. For example, if you go for a gown with sequins or embroidery with crystals and stones, better avoid using big jewelry.
If you choose a one tone dress then don’t be afraid to wear a huge colorful necklace or choker or big earrings, bracelets, cocktail rings! I would also recommend that when wearing big necklaces, better choose smaller and more discrete earrings and vice-versa.
• Vienna Coffeehouse Owners' Ball, 18 January 2018
• Ball of the Vienna Philharmonic, 18 January 2018
• Flower Ball, 19 January 2018
• Doctors’ Ball, 27 January 2018
• Viennese Ball of the Sciences, 27 January 2018
• Johann Strauss Ball, 27 January 2018
• Hunter's Ball (Jägerball), 29 January 2018
• Opera Ball, 8 February 2018
• Bonbon Ball, 9 February 2018
• Lawyers’ Ball, 10 February 2018
• Ball of the Vienna Boys' Choir, 21 April 2018