string(9) "edinburgh"

Have you really been to an Edi ball if you haven’t done 25/35 of these things?

Because who doesn’t love dressing up like they’re straight out of Bridgerton, just for the night?


With the end of the semester coming, it can only mean the annual onslaught of balls before the year is over. Ball season seems to be every Edi student’s favourite time of year, perhaps due to the fabulous ball gowns and suits hiding in everyone’s wardrobes that get to be worn; the amazing photos you get to upload to your Instagram; or just being able to dance and twirl with your friends all night.

Balls, therefore, are a staple celebration at Edi and a must-do for all students before they graduate. Thus, here is a list of things all Edi students who have been to a ball have experienced, and, if you haven’t, have you really ever actually been to a ball?

1. The venue of the ball is either The Caves or Dynamic Earth

I mean, don’t fix what’s not broken.

2. You and your friends all panic buy society memberships to get the cheaper Early Bird tickets

Just for the ticket difference to be the exact cost of the membership price.

3. You spend your entire week’s budget on food for a singular ticket

£30 for a ceilidh and a free glass of champagne is crazy.

4. You discover that there is a theme to dress to for the ball, but have no intention of sticking to it

Because what does a 19670s white tie masquerade really mean?

5. You discuss with your friends weeks before the ball what you’re all going to wear

The postman must hate us all for the rise in packages they deliver during this time.

6. Just to have three days before the ball with absolutely nothing to wear

Because none of the three dresses you have fit you just right.

7. Borrowed one of your friend’s dresses, suit or shoes the morning of the event

Flatmates the same size as you with hundreds of clothes to spare, are a Godsend.

8. Going into your flatmates room to ask if your hair, makeup or outfit looks okay approximately 20 times in two hours

Flatmates the same size as you with hundreds of clothes to spare, are a Godsend.

8. Going into your flatmates room to ask if your hair, makeup or outfit looks okay approximately 20 times in two hours

One of the few times that day drinking can be justified.

10. Taking hundreds of photos at pres and forgetting to take a singular one at the actual ball

At least you look relatively sober in them then.

11. Having to decide between getting a £20 Uber to the venue or walking the streets of Edinburgh in high heels

It’s a pretty tough choice.

12. Someone forgets their ID at the door of the venue

There is ALWAYS someone.

13. Witnessing the absolute chaos of the cloakroom

Bags, coats, and spare trainers are absolutely everywhere.

14. Hanging around the servers after you’ve drunk your complimentary glass of champers to see if they have anymore left over

Trying to make the most out of every pound you spent on your ticket.

15. Eating as many free canapés as you can, to get your money’s worth

Also to help sober you up.

16. Paying £75 for a sit down meal just for it to be watery soup, three vegetables and a thin slice of cake

I’ll never forget the shock and horror I experienced the first time I was served all of this after paying for an extortionate ticket.

17. Having previously counted on the said £75 meal to sober you up, so you now feel slightly too drunk

We’ve all been there.

18. Spending 30 minutes in the queue for the photo booth

And then spending less than two minutes inside of it actually getting your photo taken.

19. Getting your photos back from the photobooth just to see that everyone’s blinked in a different photo

Hoping that one of your friends knows how to photoshop really really well.

20. Liquid luck making you believe that if you spend £15 on raffle tickets you will most definitely win that free bag of Uplands Roast coffee beans

The prizes for these are always so amazing.

21. But then not winning a single prize despite having bought 30 raffle tickets

The drunken devastation you feel at the loss.

22. Spending a good 20 minutes in the bathroom complimenting people because everyone looks like gods and goddesses

There is something about a ballgown or suit that makes everyone glow.

23. The absolute chaos when the ceilidh is about to begin and everyone races to the cloakroom to change from high heels to trainers

And only being told two minutes before it starts to change your shoes.

24. Considering dancing barefoot instead but deciding against it when you see that somebody has accidentally smashed a glass on the floor

But then if you dance in your high heels, the blisters you acquire make you feel like you’ve stepped in glass anyways.

25. When you have an odd number of friends in the friendship group and you have to coordinate so that nobody is ever without a partner

And feeling super bad for whoever happens to have to stand to the side during each dance.

26. Never having a single idea what dance move you have to do next during the ceilidh

It is a lot to have to learn all at once.

27. Trying to explain to your English friends who have never been to a Scottish ball before, what a ceilidh is

Especially when the Scots have been dancing ceilidh since they were five years old.

28. Having to hold the sweaty hand of a random person and feeling slightly queasy afterwards

Covid may be over, but flu season most definitely isn’t.

29. Feeling slightly nauseous from dancing and drinking so much and eating so little

Makes it feel like it’s time to dash to the closest chippy.

30. Hunting down the photographer to take photos of you and your friends

I feel so bad for the ball photographers for being seemingly harassed by drunk ball-goers at all times.

31. Remaining in trainers for the rest of the night, even though they don’t go with your outfit, because they are far more comfortable

Your feet will thank you the next day.

32. Contemplating whether you should have an early night in or go to the after party

The after party venue is always so far as well.

33. Waking up the next morning with blisters all over your feet

Because drunk you the night before felt no pain dancing in high heels for hours.

34. And then checking your bank account and realising you spent half your money on drinks at the bar

The bar prices always feel like some kind of robbery.

35. Once the photos from the ball have been released, realising you look paralytic in every single one

Maybe you shouldn’t have been so vehement in getting a photo taken by the poor photographer.

Balls are an integral part of the university experience, and one of the few times it is socially acceptable to wear a full length gown or suit with tails in public. With the flurry of excitement they bring each year, the Edi experience wouldn’t be complete without it, and they will likely become some of your most fond memories over the years.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Only least privileged students accepted to study law at Edinburgh University

• Edinburgh University saves over £64,000 per day during strike action