Gala School Fundraising Event: A Regency-Style Evening with Jane Austen

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Jane Austen Regency gala programs
Normally, my entertaining is done at my home, and is usually for 40-50 at the most.  However, the wonderful people at my kids’ school asked if I would handle the decorations for the annual gala fundraising event, so of course I agreed.  The decor was to be based around Jane Austen’s England, and the kids in the middle and upper schools were going to demonstrate Regency-style dancing (and dress) to the gala audience.

I took a look around and used Dear Lillie’s Jane Austen party for inspiration, especially the wrapped books and the book-page bunting.  Here’s what I came up with:

Jane Austen Regency-Style decor
Of course, transferring that idea to an event for several hundred people took some work.  There was an entire team of volunteers who helped me wrap over 300 books in white freezer paper, and on the day of the event, we had a couple of dozen parents (and kids!) pitching in.  It was truly a team effort.

We held a silent and a live auction at the gala to raise money for our scholarship fund.  I made 125 auction paddles using my Silhouette Cameo and LOTS of paint stirring sticks from Home Depot (thanks, Home Depot!), spray painted black.

Jane Austen auction paddle--using a paint stick
The chocolates were Hershey’s Nuggets, customized with white mailing labels printed with Jane’s silhouette on them.  You can use any jpg image on those mailing labels, by the way.  I make chocolates with my husband’s unit crest on them all the time.

The black and white paper straws went in some of my vintage silver pieces on the bars.  I originally had planned to decoupage the book pages onto the votive candles to use them as favors, but after it took almost fifteen minutes to make ONE, I decided that wasn’t a very smart use of my time!

black white paper straws

Instead, I used my Cameo to cut out 250 Jane Austen silhouettes from black vinyl and just stuck them on plain votives.  They were still a nice favor, and they took only a few seconds each!

black and white Jane Austen votives

On the day of the gala, we started with a GREAT BIG empty room:


After about five hours of work, it looked like this:


The venue alternated black and white tablecloths for us, to go with our theme.  The table decorations used the white paper-wrapped books and borrowed crystal and silver candlesticks (graciously loaned to me by the Veritas families).  As a fundraising event, we needed to be sure to keep our decorating costs down.  I spent less than $800 on decorations and favors, which is pretty good for an event of this size!

Jane Austen style table decor

The table numbers were actually names of Jane Austen characters, printed and placed in black frames.  The hydrangeas were gorgeous–and we raffled them off at the end of the evening.

hydrangeas up close

I used book page bunting on the silent auction tables, alternating with book page wreaths (I made five of those–phew!).

Jane Austen book page bunting

bookpage wreath Jane Austen

Instead of a sit-down dinner, there were tasting stations set up throughout the ballroom.  I take no credit for the food, though.  My friend Kay (who was in charge of the whole shebang) is a dedicated foodie and amazing chef, and she arranged for local chefs and restaurants to partner with us for this event.  Yum!


black and white cake

After cocktail hour and dining, the Logic and Rhetoric School students took the floor for Regency-style dancing, including the very same dance that Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy performed in Pride and Prejudice.  They looked amazing!

Regency style dancing


After the dancing ended, the silent auction closed and the raffle winners were announced.  The live auction followed.

Raffle ticket sign


I think everyone had a great time–I know I did!



The students took a “Thank you” picture with our headmaster to include in the thank-you notes they send to patrons.


If you or someone you know is searching for the perfect school in Savannah, Georgia, then I have to say that I think Veritas Academy is it!  This is my kids’ first year back in school after several years of homeschooling, and it has been such a smooth transition for both of them.  Veritas is a Classical Christian school (so they learn some serious subjects like Logic and Latin), yet it’s also covenantal, so parental involvement is of primary importance.  The abbreviated school day allows my kids time to pursue their extracurricular interests, yet this is by far the most rigorous school that they’ve attended.   Most importantly, God is glorified in every aspect of their education, and I know the teachers are as interested in shepherding my children’s hearts as they are in being sure that they are well-prepared in grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

Thanks for stopping by~




  1. Rosalie says

    I am blown away on how wonderful the decorations are and how you kept your costs down! Now I wish I could

  2. Wow! I’d say you pulled it off quite well! What a lovely event!

  3. i think i just fell in Love!!! I am from England, so this touched my heart, love it!
    now i am trying to think of something i can use it for ahahah!!!!

  4. Oh my what a fabulous event and the decorations and centerpieces are magnificent….Christy, you did a most incredible job…the event looked amazing…and surely a success due to your efforts!

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