Let me set the stage for you…its New Year’s Eve and I am in a ball gown on my way to my first ever ball. Am I lying? Absolutely not! True story, I spent New Year’s Eve in a legit Palace in Vienna, Austria at an actual ball! Did I have a Cinderella moment? You will have to keep reading to find out!
Holidays are an amazing time to explore other countries and take part in their traditions. In Vienna, New Year’s Eve is a BIG deal, like a HUGE deal! I was lucky enough to plan a trip that landed me there during New Years and while I was researching top places to have a memorable New Years Eve, I came across the Hofburg Silvester Ball.
Hofburg was once the formal Vienna Imperial Palace and was built in the 13th century and has been expanded several times. The literal translation is the “Royal Castle”, and its name does not fall short. It was one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen, let alone attended a ball in. In Vienna, New Years is not only a celebration to bring in the New Year but also the official opening of the Ball Season.
If you decide to attend this event let me tell you the dress code is very strict Black tie, meaning ball gowns for women and tuxes for men. In general Vienna is a city that values dressing up for ALL occasions. When evaluating my wardrobe, I just knew I had to dress to impress, I mean it was a palace after all.
I wore a blush colored gown to the event with no sleeves and it passed dress code perfectly. Some of the other guests were waayyyy more dressed up than me, so be forewarned!
Tickets start upwards of $250 for standing room but you can upgrade to a dining or even VIP experience. Well because your girl was ballin on a budget I chose the category that included dinner and admittance which was around $500USD. The more upgraded ticket had a VIP section but I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. The lowest ticket while tempting in price did not include dinner or a seat, so if you are splurging at least get the dinner, its really worth it!
My evening started once my coat and camera were checked, then I was taken to my table and given an amazing glass of champagne. I really love when the start of an event is free alcohol! To be honest I was somewhat nervous about the event for two reasons. First, I can’t Viennese Waltz and second, I was flying solo. I was determined to have an amazing once in a lifetime experience single and rhythmless.
What to expect once you’re seated? You are going to be placed at a table of eight (usually its coupled off) so make sure you bring your good manners and social skills! I was there first, naturally, I wanted to take photos and not have people stare while I did it… I was trying to channel my inner Lady Mary. Once all of my table mates arrived, I was more lucky then I could imagine!
Six of the guest (three couples) were all from America and two of them were from San Diego, they only lived 15 minutes away from me. Like, what an extremely small world! The other gentleman at our table was an Austrian native, his date couldn’t make it so he too was solo. Yay to the single people! The group was so much fun and we all had an amazing time watching the debutantes dance and visting the open bar. I really enjoyed the open bar… more than I probably should have. Sorry mom…
Then it was time! The moment we all were waiting for…FOOD! We had four amazing courses. Everything was extremely delicious and typical fancy food… so very small portions for a lot of money.
The alcohol started to really kick in right after post dinner coffee! After the debutantes opened the ball, my table decided to hit the dance floor. Now like I mentioned above I can’t Waltz, the last time I Waltzed was in a friends Quinceañera when I was fifteen… and this was over a decade later. Our new Austrian friend, being the gentleman he was, came to my rescue! He danced with all the ladies and taught us how to do the Viennese Waltz. It was so much fun, I know I stepped all over his feet, but the experience was really amazing.
Before the clock struck midnight, we all headed out to the balcony to watch the firework display which was amazing. From my view on the balcony I could see thousands of people below flooding the streets around the palace, and I mean thousands! The more expensive experience was WELL worth it!
After the fireworks we head back indoors, because it was super cold! We were treated to a traditional Viennese treat at midnight of Viennese goulash soup. It was delicious and it was nice to experience another cultures tradition for New Years. The alcohol was still flowing so we all continued to dance the night away and really killed it on the dance floor. I mean in my mind we killed it, thank God there is no photo or video proof to prove otherwise. I do remember at some point tossing my shoe, but no price charming in sight just perplexed Austrians so there was that…
All in all, it was truly one of the most amazing New Years I have ever had the chance to celebrate! Not only did I make new friends (yey me!), but I crossed a huge item off my bucket list. It really was a once in a lifetime experience! If you ever have the opportunity make sure to try to attend this event, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t throw your shoe okay, they don’t like that.