Rules for guests – let’s get into details

Most of the time, you’ll come across a mediocre event, but if you know how to pick an event, you won’t be dissapointed

Unlike what you’d originally think, the Viennese Ball is a society event, followed by contemporary and classical music, and an attire that has to be ellegant and festive. The great number of balls is organized by professional guilds such as engineers, lawyers, medical doctors, hunters, firemen etc. These balls are open to the general public.

Most of the time, you’ll come across a mediocre event, but if you know how to pick an event, you won’t be dissapointed. The best season to check out a Vinnese Ball is during the carnival season, between January and March.


Presents for ladys

Once you visit a traditional Viennese Ball, many surprises await. For example, ladies will be gifted with presents, such as gorgeous decorated cards or dances reserved for admirers, gifts that were a part of tradition during the 19th century. Today, you can expect everything from silver spoons, confectionery or fashion jewellery.


Since there is a special attire, let’s get into details. Debutante girls dress in white gowns, who also perform an opening ceremony that usually starts between 9 and 10 pm. The ball is officially opened once the master of the ceremony announces it, with waltz usually, afterwards you can join in on the dance floor.

Special rules

There are also some techicalities you should be aware of, depending of the ball. For example, the Rudolfina Redoute is the only Viennese Ball where ladies can choose their own dance partners, while the general rule is that during ‘Damenwahl’ is a strictly defined period when ladies can approach gentlemen for a dance.

Quadrille for audience

At midnight, the master of ceremony announces the quadrille, an old French dance which is performed by hundreds of dancers together. The orchestras usually play Johann Strauss‘ famous ‘Fledermaus Quadrille’ from his operetta ‘Die Fledermaus’. This is the most fun part of the ball and allows you to mingle with the crowd. Don’t worry if you have never danced it. The master of ceremony announces each step. If your German is not up to speed, just imitate your neighbour.

Dinner and drinks

You will find various buffets at Viennese Balls, serving cold and warm meals, and drinks. Eating goulash soup in your ball gown and lace gloves is particularly weird, but a tradition.
If you want to sit at a table you need to buy an additional table ticket at pre sales. Unless you are a larger group, you will usually share a table with other guests.


Almost every ball runs a raffle. Tickets can be bought at the ball, and proceeds mostly go to charity organisations. Prizes range from cruises and cars to shopping vouchers. Most raffle drawings take place after midnight.

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