You might not meet Mr. Darcy, but an event coming to Victoria this spring is sure to sweep you up into the romance and frivolity of your favourite Jane Austen novel.
Fans of the Georgian-era story can break out their ruffles, corsets and petticoats for the Pride & Prejudice Easter Ball, coming to Victoria’s Fairmont Empress for the very first time on April 20. The ball was started a few years ago in Edmonton and is venturing out of Alberta for the first time this spring.
“You’re in costume and dancing and dining and part of what really adds to it is…we’re in an actual ballroom,” said event planner Andrew Johnson. “It honestly feels like you’re there and it feels very elegant and everyone is very elegantly dressed. It’s just the most fun evening.”
As if the Georgian-era dancing, drinks, hor d’oeuvres and music from a professional harpsichordist, pianist and quartet weren’t enough, cellphones and cameras are banned from the ballroom to further date the event – although Johnson says they hire a camera person to make sure guests go home with plenty of mementos.
For those scared to get down on the floor – Austen style, that is – the event hosts dance lessons leading up to the ball. For $25 to $35, participants can learn dances like “the Haymakers” and “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot” and can sleep easy knowing they have the basics down for an Austen-style boogie.
If you don’t have an empire waist gown or breaches at home, organizers recommend looking into a rental from Disguise the Limit, or following one of their tutorials on putting together your own outfit.
And don’t be afraid to come alone. “You have found your people,” the website says. “No partner is necessary or required, many guests come solo, and there’s always someone to dance with!”
Above all, Johnson emphasized the ball is really just about having fun.
“It’s a labour of love,” he said. “We love to just come out and have a grand regency ball in a very grand location and have a bunch of people just come out and have fun with us and dance.”