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Victorian Ball Etiquette

I am going to briefly touch on some ideas for how to behave at a modern "vintage" Victorian Ball, rather than a dissertation on how Victorians behaved at balls in the 19th Century. For that, see The Gentleman's Page

  • Gentlemen: if you can dance, spread yourself around. Don't dance with the same woman every time. The most attractive partner is the wall flower.
  • Gentlemen: when the dance is done, thank the lady for the dance and then offer your arm and escort her back to where you found her or to the refreshments. Do not desert her on the dance floor. When you leave her, give a little bow and thank her again.
  • Ladies: while it was unheard of in the 19th Century, feel free to ask gentlemen to dance in the 21st Century.
  • If you are one of those fortunate folk for whom this might be an issue, try not to fill your dance card at the beginning of the evening. Leave a few dances open, in case you need to sit out to catch your breath or in case someone shows up late you might want to dance with.
  • If you turn down a partner for a dance, claiming fatigue or some other cause, do not dance that same dance with another partner.
  • Ladies & gentlemen: do not wear hats on an indoor dance floor. Gentlemen, do not wear spurs, swords, knives, guns or anything else that my trip, gouge, tangle or snag anyone else on the floor.
  • Ladies beware of trains. If you must wear them, have a wrist loop. You will, however, find life to be better if you do without trains entirely.
  • Leave your cell phone at home. If you must have it, do not answer it in the middle of a dance


I applaud your decision to host a blog with such useful information! I frequently visit your other sites (having discovered you just in time for the Avalon Ball last year), and my husband and I are beginning to get involved in all things historical.

I am a new costumer just beginning to realize how much there is to DO in Southern California!