How to Organise a Gala Dinner

Gala Dinners are usually considered as a formal sit-down meal that serves a purpose, such as a ceremony, celebration or charity event. A Gala Dinner is often organised by a non-profit organisation with the intention of bringing a group of individuals together by providing a full-course meal, a form of entertainment, and an auction or raffle in order to raise money for a cause.

Points to consider for organising a Gala Dinner

· The purpose of a Gala Dinner
· The overall budget
· Invitations
· Fundraising options
· Get sponsors
· Find the right venue
· Gala Dinner Theme
· Ticket cost
· Entertainment
· Decorations
· Employees/volunteers

The Purpose of a Gala Dinner

First and foremost, you need to decide what the goal of your event is. This will help to plan and execute a successful Gala Dinner. You also need to think about who will benefit from the Gala Dinner, who will be interested in attending the Gala Dinner, and how will you raise the money for your charity?

The Overall Budget

Establishing an overall cost for the Gala Dinner will depend on your budget. There are a whole host of things to consider from advertising to food and entertainment. As the goal is to raise as much money as possible from the gala dinner, it would be wise not to go overboard on spending when it comes to event production.

There are many ways in which you can keep costs down such as hiring props and decorations instead of buying, getting volunteers on board, and contacting local small businesses for their products or services in exchange for free advertising.

Fundraising Options

You’ll need to think about the fundraising goal and how you intend to raise the money. Most guests are there to donate money towards the cause, however implementing activities, such as an auction, raffle, or selling items makes things a little more exciting for guests. They can partake in a fun activity knowing that their donation is going towards a great cause so it’s a win-win.


When sending invitations to your chosen guests, you’ll need to decide how your invitations will look. Can you create them in house or if you would prefer to hire a company to do the work for you? An affordable alternative is creating your own invitations using free online tools such as Canva.

You can send them virtually or the good old-fashioned way, either way, you’ll need to send them out a good few months before to prevent attendee’s diaries from filling up! If you’re selling tickets, you’ll need to instruct the invitees on how to purchase a ticket (the money for the ticket can be charitable also).

Find a Sponsor

Finding a sponsor for your gala dinner is a fantastic way to get financial support for your event. The best way to acquire a sponsor is to utilise the business contacts that you have built long-term relationships with.

Local businesses may be able to provide their products or services free of charge or at a discounted rate in return for publicity at your gala dinner. If you are considering hosting an auction or raffle at your event, your sponsors may be able to provide prizes that guests can bid and win.

Choose the Perfect Venue

Finding a venue that’s in the ideal location, the correct size contains the facilities you need, and is within your budget can be hard to find. Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes offers private dining rooms perfect for Gala Dinners with the capacity for 150 guests up to 320 guests. The venue can be decorated to suit your theme, and our event coordinators are on hand to ensure the event space is exactly how you envision it.

We also have chefs who have created exceptional three-course bespoke menus for events in the past. We can also cater to varied nutritional needs and tolerances for guests who may be vegan, vegetarian, lactose or gluten intolerant. If guests want to stay the night before travelling home, Kents Hill Park also has affordable accommodation for a relaxing night’s sleep, and all our bedrooms come with an extensive selection of amenities and a private bathroom.

Gala Dinner Theme

Everyone loves a theme – it makes an event that little bit more interesting when everything from the menu down to the decorations is themed, guests, can also enjoy taking part in the theme by following the dress code. There are no limits when it comes to choosing your theme. Just a few examples include Christmas, Masquerade and The Oscars – a themed Gala Dinner is guaranteed to wow guests.

Ticket Cost

When it comes to event management such as a gala dinner, a limited number of seating is available, and therefore a limited number of tickets will need to be sold. Determining a cost for the ticket can be tricky, you need to think about what the price of the ticket includes for example the food, drink, venue and entertainment. You could also consider selling VIP tickets to your Gala Dinner; with the price comes special perks.


Depending on your budget, you can go all out for entertainment or incorporate something more subtle. There is a plethora of performers you can hire, from acrobatic performers to musicians and dancers. The entertainment will need to fit accordingly with the theme.

The main purpose of the event is to get a fantastic group of individuals together to talk over a three-course meal, host an awards ceremony and/or a raffle or auction all with the intention of raising as much money as possible for a great cause, so don’t worry about the entertainment being the main event.


This is where the chosen theme of your event will become most apparent. From the moment your guests arrive at the venue there needs to be a clear, consistent theme. Decorations can be featured on the tables, the walls and the ceiling; these usually include a prominent colour and mood lighting is a must-have feature for Gala Dinners. Common decorations include fairy lights or candles on the tables, often incorporated with a centrepiece as well as balloons, flowers, garlands or hanging displays featured around the venue.

Employees / Volunteers

Keeping costs down may be a struggle if you end up hiring a lot of waiters and assistants during the planning process. The best solution would be to find volunteers who are willing to help organise the event or serve as a waiter during the event. Volunteers can be anyone, it can be someone from your company, a family member or friend, or someone looking for some work experience. It’s always worth putting out an advertisement in the local area with some contact details.

We hoped this blog helped you understand what you need to consider when organising a Gala Dinner. We know a lot of time and effort is put into creating a successful event, however, we are confident that your Gala Dinner will be a triumph. If you would like to know more about organising your Gala Dinner at Kents Hill Park, please get in touch with a member of our team.

Recap of How to Organise a Gala Dinner

  1. The Purpose of a Gala Dinner
  2. The Overall Budget
  3. Fundraising Options
  4. Invitations
  5. Find a Sponsor
  6. Choose the Perfect Venue
  7. Gala Dinner Theme
  8. Ticket Cost
  9. Entertainment
  10. Decorations
  11. Employees / Volunteers
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