The Bridgerton Ball: I Met Duke Hastings and Danced the Night Away
I’ve always wanted to attend a period-specific ball. With the big gown, fancy shoes, live orchestra, dainty dancing, beautifully mixed liquor creations, and flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. The closest I’ve ever gotten to that was a combo of three unforgettable events: a beautiful black tie wedding on South Beach, one of Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy parties in L.A., and a pre-Covid NAACP Image Awards after-party, also in L.A. But even those fabulous, star-studded affairs didn’t recall the hottest TV show of the season and pair it with super fabulous wigs, orchestra-length gloves, feathered fans, and gowns.
So when The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience came to the South Side of Chicago I was shook to my core for several reasons. First, it’s so decidedly rare for outsiders like Netflix to deliberately see the beauty of the Black side of town and host an upscale event not even 15 minutes from my home. Second, these folks turned the premiere — and Black-owned — XS Tennis and Education Foundation facility into a romantic cosplay extravaganza replete with Regency-era architectural details, live music, an inviting dance floor, cast members who keep you present and off your phone, and plenty of intrigue.
My plus-one for the evening was my husband. And he dressed the part entirely, as did I. Wearing the oldest jewelry I could find — my great-great-grandmother’s Jim Crow-era necklace and earrings — paired with a Regency period-specific empire-waisted ivory gown and flats, we were escorted into a wonderland. Every detail was thought of, all the way from how the valet greeted you when you drove up, to the wrist-attached “dance cards” that actually were drink tickets that doubled as a list of all the dances we might learn that night. Flowers hung from the ceiling into a tunnel that, once you walked through, transported you into a small corner of the Bridgerton world.
The modiste was over there. An English-accented painter wearing a white wig was over here, ready to paint your antiqued picture with the finest IG-ready tech available. A white-gloved steward bowed…