I’ve dragged my husband to two gala events in less than a month.

I fear he may never speak to me again.

I kid. He is a trooper. 

I have been lucky enough to attend a number of these type of charity functions over the years and have become quite versed in the protocol associated with them. Which doesn’t mean that I play by the rules but apparently I behave myself enough that they let me into the joint.

Yay me.

As a seasoned (Wow, did I really just say that?) gala attender, I can spot a newbie pretty easily. I’ve been there and regretted it done that.

So in the spiriting of giving (Get it? Charity function. Giving? I’m GIVING you my advice…. bwahahahah) here are a couple of tried and true tips from the trenches on navigating a gala function:

Find the bar. Sit strategically near the bar. Know when open bar starts and ends and plan accordingly. Multiple glasses of wine are sometimes needed at fancy functions. Don’t judge. Everyone is thinking it, I’m just saying it out loud.

Deal with the silent auction prior to consuming your second alcoholic beverage. If you have a clear head you won’t bid $400 on a flaming pink waffle iron/cookbook combo. After a couple of drinks you will just have to have it because it is SO CUTE. Trust me when I tell you that your family will not be amused when you feed them waffles 30 days in a row because you spent the grocery budget at the auction. Husbands need meat or they get grumpy. Waffles aren’t meat.

Hit the food early. I shouldn’t have to explain this. Gala food is gourmet food. One less dinner to cook! The longer you wait, the less food there will be. This will not only keep your hunger pains at bay but will also help prevent you from getting completely sloshed and spending $400 on a pink waffle iron thus ultimately saving your marriage. You’re welcome.

Note the big spenders bidding on live auction items. Make friends with them. (That was a joke, people.  Ahem.) Sit far away from them lest you get caught up in their live bidding exuberance and  find yourself wasting away your mortgage on a package you don’t really know much about. Like a campsite in Wyoming. Or a weekend learning how to make yarn or some such nonsense like that. Not that I know from experience or anything…

Bring a friend. Never and I do mean NEVER, attend a gala without some pals. Seriously. I’ve been to functions where I barely knew anyone (as a reporter) and I just wanted to stick a fork in my eye, it was so painful. Gala mingling is harder than regular networking. People are there to see, be seen (looking fabulous) and have a good time. Friends are imperative. There is nothing worse than getting all dolled up only to find yourself daydreaming about sweatpants, your couch and reruns of Law & Order.

Now it is your turn… Have anything to add to the list?