Make your Gala Dinner Event Extra Special by Going Off-Piste

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When planning a gala event for the first time, it's understandable to want to ensure it makes an impression and stands out from the crowd.

Most gala evenings are fairly traditional and have a defining structure. However, from swapping out your traditional band for after dinner speakers to making wise venue and menu choices, there is room here to add your own stamp and create a unique evening for your guests.

Here are some of the areas where you can go a little off-piste, whilst keeping all the hallmarks of an authentic gala event!


The venue you choose to hold your event in, can define what’s possible with what you can or can’t do with your event. Therefore, it's important to plan what you’re likely to deliver as part of your event before you decide on the location.

To make your gala event a night to remember, choose your venue wisely! After all the venue and room is the backdrop. For example, lighting and specific effects are a powerful element that can bring your event to life, so be certain to find out the details of what options are available and if any restrictions come with the event space.

Furthermore, you’ll also want to ensure the space is the perfect size for your event. Too small and your guests will feel cramped and your entertainment options are limited. Too big and your event may lose ambiance and impact.


Whilst keeping the traditional structure of a gala event, you can provide additions and extras which enhance each part.

For example, provide some sort of entertainment other than pleasant background music at the beginning of your event, whilst your guests settle in and enjoy their pre-dinner drinks.  

A gala dinner wouldn’t be the same without a formal sit-down dinner, so swapping it for anything else is not recommended. However, this is an area where you can make special by choosing luxury food choices and interesting and statement themes and table decorations. 


It’s often the case that event planners focus on the entertainment at the end of the evening. In doing so, the opportunity to set the scene of the evening for your guests can be easily overlooked. Yet, this can add so much value and really set your event apart from the rest.

Whether you decide to opt for entertainment which is inspiring, heart-warming, or light and fun, it will need to blend seamlessly into your event theme so that it compliments, rather than distracts from the evening ahead.

From choirs and harpists to illusionists, aerial dancers and light shows – each will add a different element that will evoke different emotions. Choose the emotional response you want to achieve and select entertainment to match this.

Menu Options

Food often gets tongues wagging at any event, so be sure that its only compliments your guests are giving! To match the formal gala dinner dress code, you’ll want to ensure the menu choices are fresh, high quality and visually stunning!

This is the kind of event where you do need to go all out on this particular element to really give it the wow factor. Why just have three courses when you can go for more?

That said, avoid going too out there and still stick with safe options – for example; fish not frogs legs!


After your guests have enjoyed delicious food and fine wine, you’ll want to provide some further entertainment to round off the evening. Whilst most gala events include some form of live music, this is where you can create something unique and special.

Instead of a live band or perhaps in addition to one, consider different forms of entertainment that could add unexpected value such as choosing a specific after-dinner speaker to fit the theme of your event. 

If you also want to keep the traditional elements of a live band, you can, of course, have this afterward.

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