How Much to Stage a 17th-C "Bal Masque"?

I would like to throw a party-and a masked ball (in the style of the 17th century) appeals to me.
How much would it cost? King Louis XIV had one at the Palace of Versailles-how much did it cost then?
You are all invited-but you MUST wear a nice costume!

I’ve run things like that for the local SCA group. Including hall hire, snack ingredientss, decorations and a simple mask thrown in BUT excluding live musicians (a must for a masked ball, but in the SCA these were volunteers), cooking (my time) and alcohol, I did it for around R100/head, which works out to around $12.50. But - economies of scale come into it (mine was not a huge party), and countering this with the low COL here in SA plus all the volunteer work, I’d guess you could throw a decent Ball, Versailles- or Venetian Carnival-style, for $30-$50/head, drinks & music included.

I’d add, if I had $50/head to throw at a Ball here, people would still be talking about it years, no, decades, afterwards. That kind of money can buy you quite a party in this city.

I agree with mrDibble …

In the SCA, especially around Christmas the events turn into afternoon and evening dinner parties, with side fun of dance lessons [who doesnt like a rousing jenny Plucked Pears]

Black Rose Ball here in East Kingdom would probably be about the best equivalent to a Bal Masque, except masks are not normally worn … more pix from 2008

One problem with throwing a masked ball, nowadays most americans don’t have fancy dress … if this cheap garbage is what seems to have been popular, as opposed to this is significantly more expensive, or Isabella of York and Antioch’s gown which I happen to know is almost $5000 in materials and several hundred hours of work to make. Now try filling a room with people in their best costumes [and how about that random furry who shoes up as a blue fox?]

But if you are interested, I know a professional chef who can pop out medieval and renaissance food to order [Master Adamantius of East Kingdom] who has access to a bunch of the best cooks in the kingdom, and I know several people who regularly plan this type of event, and can even suggest several venues. Might run you anywhere from $30 a person to as much as you want to spend, but htey have to scrounge their own costume … but we can provide links to commercial sites that have reasonably decent looking costuming if they have the money to buy =)

OK, the most noted ball at Versailles was Bal des Ifs or Ball of the Yew Trees. The link includes a litho of the ball. Women in fancy dress, men in fancy dress. Food out the wazoo, drink flowing like water…music , dance, flirting, intreigue …

One court gown cost about what a car does now. Jewelry could be in the hundreds of thousands of livres.

Thiswas actually made and worn by Marie Antionette. This is not even a fancy ball gown, this is something worn in an afternoon or early evening when there was only family and friends around. If it sparkles it is real. It is silk, embroidered with silk. That is not machine made. That dress took several women several weeks to make all by hand.

Versailles has exhibits of clothing and all sorts of goodies at various times of the year. There are a few other museums that have clothing, and portraits of people in court dress if you surf around on line =)

Best guesstimate, I have been looking around online for the account books, as they have been mentioned in books on court life … an evening could cost up to half a million livres for the food, wines, entertainment and decorations. And that is with the king owning the venue…

You might enjoy the movie Vatel. It shows the preparation for a reasonably small [heh!] party in about the timeframe you are considering. Also watch Dangerous Liasons for sheer costume porn :smiley: