Peterhouse May Ball: smaller in size but no worse in qualityTom Porteous Photography

Peterhouse May Ball was a lavish and luxurious affair, utilizing the intimate corners of the college’s gardens and courts to spectacular effect. Thematic decorations were replaced by stunning light installations and illuminations, all of which served to accentuate the magic of the deer park, and the beautiful architecture of Peterhouse’s buildings.

Despite working with a somewhat smaller area than some other balls, the committee included an abundance of different foods, drinks, and entertainment, without ever resulting in a sense of overcrowding or overwhelming choice. Ample seating was also provided, most often in intimate hidden corners, allowing guests an opportunity to rest their feet and take a minute.

“The Ferris wheel and carousel provided childish entertainment without sacrificing the air of sophistication that the rest of the ball exuded”

The shisha corner was a particular favourite, the mood lighting combined with the stunning backdrop of the fellows’ garden served as an ambient respite from the funky beats of the main stage. The JCR was also repurposed as an ‘apothecary’, housing the origins counter and a caricature artist. The midnight waltz was also a beautiful idea in theory, but in practice the tent in Old Court was overflowing with couples clumsily trying to follow vague instructions of how to execute the dance. Indeed the crowd grew to such an extent that you could barely shuffle left or right, let alone waltz.

The Ferris wheel and carousel provided childish entertainment without sacrificing the air of sophistication that the rest of the ball exuded. And the same was achieved by the silent disco that was located in the Gisbourne court, underneath beautiful hanging lanterns, and centred around the bar.

Alcoholic beverages were free flowing, in all different varieties. The cocktail box serving interesting variations of classics, such as ‘strawberry mojito’, proved to be so popular that the bartender could hardly make them fast enough. Peterhouse Port (a fundamental element of any Peterhouse affair), was found in the historic wood panelled hall, alongside beautiful mossy and foliage-like decorations, that somehow brought to the space an ethereal ambience. There was also a gin and tonic bar, and a whisky bar, demonstrating a desire to quench all alcoholic preferences.

Hot Numbers pulled guests through the night providing a much needed caffeine boost with their artisanal coffee. It must be noted however that non-alcoholic options were rather scarcer, with your only options being canned soft drinks floating in ice-filled punts in the deer park.

Food was also abundant (to begin with anyway). Initially it looked as though the selection was immense, with the committee opting for rather more sophisticated food stuffs – mussels, steak, and tapas being amongst the most popular. And indeed, even before entering the ball, a pot of incredibly flavourful pasta was served to the queue to whet their appetite. However, due to some ordering blunder, most food stalls stopped serving long before their advertised closing time, something that did not sit very well with a lot of the guests.

It was also often quite hard to locate various stalls as they were not always where they were billed to be located. It has to be said, however, that when one could get their hands on food, whether by stumbling across it or braving the long queues, it was of incredible quality. The Mussels were a surprising alternative to typical ball foods, but an absolute winner. And the late night Lamb Kebab was also a hit. There wasn’t much for those with a sweet tooth, except for an impressively sized Pavlova and brownies. However, the big selection of cheese and breads was also a nice touch.

The music somehow meshed the sophistication with funk, each act bringing a different vibe forward, and carrying the crowd through the night. The Queen tribute band was also a particular favourite, bringing out a sense of nostalgia and inspiring everybody to sing the dawn in.

Peterhouse May Ball was indubitably a spectacular night, sparkling in every corner. Despite its shortfalls with food (which will be a lesson for the next committee), every other element radiated luxury and sophistication, without ever restricting the limits of the party

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