How to Gala

By Melissa Baars and Bart Bronsgeest - 10 October 2021

Hi there, Intermate member! 


Are you as excited as we are for the upcoming Intermate gala? We, as the Gala Committee of 2021, cannot wait to show you what we have worked on during these last thirteen months to make the Gala as memorable and fun as possible! We can imagine that for a large number of you, this will be the first time that you will experience such a fancy and magical evening, where you get to dress up in your best suit or dress, travel to a beautiful external location, and dance until your feet hurt! In this article, we will give you some nice tips and tricks on how to gala :).  


Asking for a date

Did you know that there are traditional rules on how to ask a date at a student gala? We will summarise them for you: 


A gentleman asks a lady to join him as his date via a letter. This letter is written with silver ink on blue paper. As a response, the lady will write a letter back in golden ink on pink paper in which she invites him for a cup of tea. During this date, the gala is not discussed, but the tea will indicate whether the lady wants to join the gentleman to the gala. Instead, the lady can indicate her wishes by what’s given with the tea. There are several options. Only a cup of tea means no, unfortunately :(. Tea with cookies means she wants to go to the gala together as friends. Tea with a pastry means she wants to go as more than just friends, but the gentleman has to conquer her during the gala. Tea with a pastry with on the top some whipped cream means that the gentleman already conquered her!


For more details on the student gala etiquettes, check out this gala booklet we made for you. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to have a date for the gala or follow these rules exactly. Also, you should know that these rules are rather old-fashioned, so of course you can deviate from them and ask whoever you want! The most important thing is that you have fun and make some nice memories! 



The dresscode is an important thing to be aware of during your preparations for the evening. The dresscode of this gala is black tie (you can google “black tie dress code” and find some nice inspiration!).

For the ladies, this means you have to wear an elegant evening gown or a fancy cocktail dress. The longer and the darker the dress, the more formal your look is. If you really want to do it right, be aware that watches are not allowed (unless it is a pocket watch, which is a very nice detail in combination with this year’s theme!). For shoes, you can either choose high or low heels (although most ladies also bring an extra pair of sneakers, so they can switch during the evening and dance more comfortably). 


For the gentlemen, this dress code is a bit more precise. The Intermate gala is a black-tie gala, which means that the gents should wear a tuxedo (or smoking in Dutch)! The tradition of wearing tuxedos to galas is a very old one, and there are many “rules” and expectations regarding the way you look. In the following subsections we will give you instructions to be your best self at the Gala.



First and foremost: tuxedos can be of any color! It is most traditional to have a black tux, but a dark blue or white tux is also not out of the ordinary. Even though it is called black-tie, it should say black bowtie. You are supposed to wear a bowtie (strikje), preferably one you have tied yourself! This is very hard, but there are many videos online that show you how to do it. Also, many people like to wear suspenders under their jackets, although this is absolutely not necessary.



First of all, let’s talk about the jacket. There are some subtle but important differences between tuxedo jackets, and regular “suit” jackets. The fabric of a tuxedo jacket must be shiny, which is not the case for a regular suit jacket. Furthermore, a smoking can have a different number of buttons. If your jacket is designed in such a way that you can see a bit of the white shirt right above the belt, it is traditional to wear a cummerbund to cover it up. Lastly, you should never button all the buttons on your tux jacket! Bonus for those who put a pocket square in their breast pocket!         


Trousers and shoes

The trousers of a tux should always have a shiny line of fabric all the way down the outer side of the legs. Additionally, it is customary to never wear a belt on a pair of tux trousers. Regarding the shoes, men are expected to wear patent leather, shiny shoes (lakschoenen). If you don’t have these, regular fancy leather shoes are also fine (veterschoenen).


I hope I have helped you with this crash course on male dresscode for black-tie galas! If one of (or many of) these traditions seem difficult or just unreasonable to you, feel free to wear whatever you want, as long as you wear your most dashing outfit ;).


The theme

Every gala has a nice theme, which is interwoven in the evening by the music, decoration, amusement and sometimes even the drinks! The lustrum gala of 2018 (see the pictures) had Casino Royale as the theme, where all guests could play some nice casino games in the room next to the dancefloor. The theme of this year was already announced in a previous Intermania article: Alice in Wonderland! We all know the crazy story of the girl that might have been on psychedelics with the Chesire cat, the queen of hearts and the mad hatter. But did you know that there is a thesis that states that the writer of the book, Lewis Caroll, saw the things the way Alice did? According to this source, the writer suffered from migraine aura perceptions, which caused him to see objects much larger or smaller than they are. The name “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome” was given to refer to this rare neurological disorder. 


The perfect gala photo

At the gala, there is the possibility to take some nice pictures with your date, friend group, or whoever you want to. Here are some nice tips to help you smile naturally and look great in photos (credits to this site): 

  1. Make sure to relax! By closing your eyes for a few seconds before taking the photo, you will notice that you are much calmer
  2. Don’t say “cheese”! It makes your mouth look tense and your smile less natural. Instead, say “money” and notice the difference!
  3. Relax your face and jaw muscles
  4. Think about something that makes you happy (for instance: dancing at a nice gala with a beautiful group of people!)
  5. Get goofy!
  6. Imagine someone you are really into behind the lens, give that person your best smile
  7. Ask the photographer to tell you a joke (we will make sure he has some nice jokes ready!)


We think that you are now completely prepared for the Intermate gala! A part of the fun of the gala is doing the preparations together with your friends, so it is always a good idea to meet with them, give each other some advice on what to wear and get completely ready together. If you want to receive more updates about the gala, make sure to follow our instagram page


See you on the 22nd of October!




The Gala Committee of 2021


Melissa Baars, Lotte van Dijck, Anke Staal, Floor van der Velden, Sam Snoeks, Bart Bronsgeest, Stephanie Jacobs and Esther Mendel 


Intermate is the study association of the bachelor Technical Innovation Sciences, the majors Sustainable Innovation and Psychology & Technology and the masters Human Technology Interaction and Innovation Sciences.


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