How to organise a School Ball



This cost can range from free (if you’re holding the ball in your school hall or gym) to well over $2000 (if your venue is a flash hotel). Other variables that can affect your cost are the timing of your Formal (Saturday nights are the most in demand, which may up the price), the popularity of the site, and what’s included (any added amenities, such as the use of additional rooms). Some venues may require a bond and always check what is included in the price.

Food and Beverage

In general catering is usually the biggest portion of the school ball budget. It is important to have food and drinks available throughout the night; this can range from simple hors d’oeuvres being most cost effective at $15 to $25 per person or buffet dinner at $35 to $60 or full A la Carte at $50 to $90 per person. When planning your food requirements remember to allow a reasonable budget for non-alcoholic refreshments.


One of the most important parts in the organising of your school ball is music. When hiring a DJ the bare minimum you can expect to pay is going to be about $600 to $900. However the cost of a professional DJ will be much higher in price $1500 to $5000 depending on their popularity and demand and the sophistication of the equipment they use. A professional covers band will likely to be priced from $1000 to $8000 depending on the equipment they use the length of their performance and the type of music they play and their demand. It is recommended that you book your entertainment as soon as your date and venue have been confirmed. A professional band or in demand DJ will book up to three months in advance so it is best to be quick.

Decorations and themes

The second most important part of your night is the decorations. Whether you’re going DIY or purchasing ready-made pieces, you’ll need a budget for your decor. Decorate to your theme and before you buy, figure out what you can borrow or what you can hire. A theme specialist can provide you with all the props including decorations for your tables. Theme and decorating budgets can range from $100 to $3000 or more.


Lighting and effects can create an amazing atmosphere. Hollywood entrance using searchlights visible from the next town. A winter wonderland using snow machines. Use lighting to enhance your theme and remember to light up your decorations! Lighting can range from $300 to $8000 depending on location and how elaborate the set up.


Though Ball goers will have to pay for their own prints, your budget will need to allow some cash to pay for the photographer’s time, any assistants s/he will need This is likely to cost around $200 to $500, but fees can vary considerably depending on the photographer.


If your venue does not have its own security personnel, you may want to hire a couple of guards (better safe than sorry!). Cost will vary based on how many security people you’ll need and for how long. Talk to a faculty or administration member to find out what your school policy is before making your move.

Tickets and Promotion

Selling Ball tickets will allow you to make the money required to pay for your event, but if you have tickets professionally printed they’re going to cost money. Don’t forget to budget in the cost of printing your tickets, programs, invites, and anything else you hand over to a professional. Consider using your tickets and promotional materials to advertise a potential sponsor, approach local businesses, fast food outlets to help towards costs.


Make Money and Set Goals

Its time to make some money! In addition to whatever funds your school’s activity budget may have allocated for the Ball, you’ll also be working with income from fundraisers, donations, and ticket sales.

A good idea is to allocate income in advance so that you know exactly what it will cover – for instance, selling X number of tickets will pay for the DJ, this fundraiser will take care of security, 40 percent of your ticket sales will go toward the catering, and so on. This can also help with planning fundraisers – you’ll know exactly what your sales goals are and how that money will be spent.


What should the price of your tickets be? Base your ticket price on doubles only, this will allow you to cover all your costs giving you a surplus from all single tickets sold.

Example: 300 (Fig A) people attending a High School Ball.

1/ Add Up Your Costs

Venue $1000
Food $8500
Music $2500
Decorating $2000
Lighting $1000
Photography $400
Security $600
Tickets $700
Miscellaneous $1000
Total Cost $17700 (Fig B)

2/ Funds on Hand

Fund Raising $1200
School Funding $1500
Total Funds $2700 (Fig C)

3/ Total Costs (Fig B) less Total Funds (Fig C)

Total Costs $17700
Less Funds $2700
Balance $15000 (Fig D)

4/ Balance (Fig D) Divided by Total Tickets (Fig A)

Balance $15000
Divided by 300
Ticket Cost $50 (Fig E)


Now that you have determined your single ticket cost (Fig E) Your Double Ticket Price should be exactly double the single cost i.e. $100 (2x Fig E) this will guarantee that all your running costs (Fig D) are covered and you will not lose money. A single Ticket could sell at $65 this will give you a surplus profit of $15 per single sold.