The Skokloster Castle Jane Austen Ball

One of the highlights this summer was arranging the ball in Skokloster Castle. We decided last year to relocate the annual Empire/Regency ball of Stockholm to the castle, due to the Jane Austen costume exhibition.

Photograph courtesy of Johanna Blixbo.

The exhibition was also the reason why the ball turned into a larger event than what we had experienced before. It was also the first ball in the castle since the last private owner sold it to the state fifty years ago. The tickets were released in May and were sold out in only a few weeks. I took a deep breath and released additional tickets. They sold out too.

This dreamy, flattering photo was used for promoting the ball.

It was followed by a lot of ordering food, investigating the possibility of a chartered bus from town, answering countless questions, renting tables and tableware, setting up detailed schedules, hiring staff, etc. My five or six fellow organisers (long time friends and members of the historical societies  that usually arrange these events) took care of the dance programme, the musicians, and the events that took place in town on the day before and after the ball.

It was exciting to welcome old friends and new friends, many of which were fans of Jane Austen, but never had danced or even worn Regency costume before. People travelled from near and far, mainly from Sweden, but several guests came over from Finland. We even had some guests all the way from Bath.

The elegant ball-goers started to arrive after five o’clock. They had time to mingle in front of the castle and show off their Regency finery before we opened the doors:

(Beware: This is an image-heavy post. All photos by our official photographer Johanna Blixbo.)

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Skokloster Castle Jane Austen Ball. Photo by Regencygentleman

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Dance master Anna, and I officially opening the ball. I had so much to do up until then, so I had no time to prepare an eloquent, well-versed speech. (Or sew something new, or cut my hair…)

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Our elegant guests walking through the door while the orchestra was playing:

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy of Mari Lind Strömblad

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

The narrow gallery was the only place in the castle were we were able to dance, but it was ideal for longway country dances. We had to make sure there was enough space for one hundred and forty guests! The programme was comprised of five sets with two to four dances in every set:

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Studying the dance programme and forming couples.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy of Johanna Blixbo.

Halfway through the dance programme it was time for dinner. Two very long tables were required. The food was ordered from a caterer in town. There was plenty of it and it was delicious!

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Rental chairs are either terribly ugly or very expensive, so we had to use benches…

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Helena, a fabulous staff member. The team certainly did a terrific job.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

After dinner we opened the doors to the Austen exhibition on the third floor. It was a different experience, magic, even, to see the costumes in the fading light. Downstairs, there was some musical entertainment before the dance continued.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

After more dancing coffee and dessert was served. We had scrumptious cake and chocolates for days after…

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo courtesy Johanna Blixbo.

Photo by Regencygentleman

We wrapped up the ball after midnight by stepping outside and dancing the final Mr Beveridge´s Maggot in front of the castle: (Photos below by Jenny Björkquist.)

Photo courtesy of Jenny Björkquist.

Photo courtesy of Jenny Björkquist.

Photo courtesy of Jenny Björkquist.

The entire experience was magic. Of course it was a lot of hard work, but it was so worth it. Imagine even being paid to make this come true, and having so much fun along the way!

I think we managed to live up to the incredibly high expectations.

The big question is if Skokloster Castle is willing to host the ball next year…

 

 

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