Attending a Gala? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Now that winter has passed and spring is on its way in, fundraising season is right around the corner. With many annual spring fundraising events in the works, many first-time gala attendees do not know what to expect. Most high-profile fundraisers are formal events that include certain social protocols guests are expected to know. If you’ve never attended one, it can be a bit overwhelming.

Attending a Gala Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Thus, when attending a gala, here are social etiquettes to keep in mind:

Appropriate Attire

How you dress is an important reflection of who you are and what your company or charity stands for. Because you are representing your character and your company, dressing appropriately is key to gaining respect.

When it comes to choosing the right attire for a gala, most galas, unless otherwise stated, are typically formal black-tie events. For women, a formal gala means a floor-length formal gown, which should be elegant but modest. Consider wearing jewelry to compliment the outfit, such as pieces of the necklaces and bracelets than can be found at jewelers in Henderson. Men should wear a tuxedo, dress shoes, and overall look neat and clean.

Be Organized

If traveling to an event, it is a wise idea to plan ahead and get organized. Galas are often busy, high-profile events, thus there are often large crowds, cameras, and chaos. As such, decide ahead of time how you intend to get to and leave the events, where you intend to stay, and if you plan on going with anyone. Many opt to use a cab or driver, as parking is often non-existent and valet stations are busy. Moreover, should the gala be held in a hotel or near a hotel, consider staying in a room at the gala or nearby, as it is less complicated. Additionally, should you also need to work while traveling, staying in a hotel that is close by can help stay on top of it all.


Galas are the perfect opportunity to network in-person with those who you have been waiting to meet. Never underestimate the power of networking during a gala, for these fundraisers often draw in people in all areas of business. When it comes to networking, be tasteful about how you approach those you are hoping to meet. Moreover, you should be approachable as well. Smile, look friendly and mingle with others.

However, do not let networking be the only reason you are attending an event. Many of these galas are fundraising for important charitable foundations, thus, be mindful of the event and the evening’s program. Go for the right reasons; just let networking be an added benefit.

Research the Foundation

Before attending the gala, take some time to brush up on the foundation that is hosting the event in order to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation during the event. Knowing a bit of the foundation’s history and the cause it is vested in can help you be prepared for almost any conversation topic during the event.

Adhering to these rules of social etiquette can help you feel comfortable attending a gala, as you know how to appropriately handle the event.

Remember to Behave!

It should go without saying, but be on your best behavior, especially when representing a company. Limit yourself when choosing to drink alcoholic beverages. One tip is, after your first drink, sip seltzer water with a lime wedge throughout the rest of the night. While it’s not your responsibility to be the babysitter, if you see any colleagues or co-workers who appear to be imbibing a bit too much, take them aside and politely let them know to cool it. Doing so could save somebody some serious embarrassment.

Follow Basic Table Manners

Lastly, it’s important to remember you’re a guest, and should behave as such. Don’t show up too early, and do your best to stay as long as you must. Sometimes it can seem like these sorts of events drag on all night, but in many cases, it’s for a good cause. If you’ve been asked to invite additional guests, choose carefully, and make sure you’re inviting individuals who you feel like would be a good representation of you and your company.

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Muhammad Aamir