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Everything you need to know about the anniversary gala

Student Union HAMKO’s anniversary is held every fifth year, and due to the pandemic, last year’s party was moved to December this year. Have you got a ticket for the anniversary gala? Wondering what to wear or how to act at a party? You are in the right place; the next article will introduce you to the secrets of the anniversary gala.

What is an anniversary gala?

Anniversaries are parties organized by the student union, where the history of the student union is celebrated, as if it were the student union’s birthday. Members of the student union, actors and partners gather there, and the party is usually a dinner party. During the dinner party, a three-course dinner is served, and speeches and various songs are heard during it. The words to the songs and the evening’s program, in addition to the menu, can be seen from the dinner card at your place, where the table map guides you.

What to wear – men?

At the anniversary gala, the dress code is a black tie and academic badges. So, what does this mean in practice? For men, a black tie means a black or other dark-coloured suit, which normally includes a white collared shirt and restrained coloured accessories. It is good to choose black leather shoes as footwear. Any academic honours (both ribbons and badges) are also part of the outfit. For men, the ribbon descends from the right shoulder down to the left, and the most valuable of the ribbons is worn at the top. If you have badges of honour, please check the instructions for carrying them in the regulations of the issuing body. A tailcoat pocket handkerchief is not used with badges of honour.

What to wear – ladies?

Traditionally, a black tie means an evening dress made of festive fabric for women. At the anniversary gala, the dress for women should be a full-length evening gown or party dress. Until the main course, the shoulders should also be covered with, for example, a shoulder scarf. Finish the outfit with a small, strapless handbag and jewellery. The look should be festive and dignified. For women, the ribbons, which are counted as badges of honour, are placed in a rosette on the left breast of the suit, however, being careful not to touch bare skin or to descend neatly from left to right. And with badges, the same instructions as for men, check the carrying instructions from the bylaws of the issuing body. If a woman’s hair is above her shoulders, it should be neatly tied back. 

General anniversary gala etiquette

It is polite to arrive at the party on time, if possible. The gentleman helps lady’s outerwear into the cloak room and takes care of opening the doors. Eating and drinking should be kept to a minimum or completely skipped during performances and speeches, thus respecting the performers. If you must leave the ballroom in the middle of everything, you should do it as discreetly as possible and in a suitable situation. The master of ceremony will make sure that there are breaks during the dinner.

During the gala dinner

The seating chart guides the guests to their place at the tables. And it is custom to wait all persons from your table to arrive before sitting down. Also, it is polite to introduce yourself to your table neighbours to pass the time. The dinner card comfortably guides you through the dinner.

When the food is served, it is polite to wait until the entire table party has had their portion in front of them before starting. When raising the glasses, the glass is raised to the height of the shoulders and the glass is raised first to the person sitting on the right, then to the left and then to the person sitting opposite. Avec works as a mirror image, i.e., first to the left, then to the right and finally opposite.

Panic? No worries, common sense works in every situation. It is good to keep the following rules in mind – respect the performer by keeping your conversations to a minimum during that time, do not leave the ballroom without a compelling reason and even then, do it discreetly and return to the ballroom in the same way if the program is still in progress.

During the celebratory dinner, it is also customary to sing together, and the words can be found in a separate song book linked to the dinner card. The song master starts the common songs, and it is hoped that the party guests will join them. You can also submit song requests to the song master during the evening.

To sum it all up

The anniversary gala is a valuable academic dinner party where members, actors and partners are thanked and celebrated. The dress code is a black tie, but you can show your personality. Mistakes in etiquette are not pointed out to others and common sense will do just fine. You can ask a friend if something bothers you and the most important thing is to have a fun evening in a festive setting.

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