Meadow Brook Hall invites OU students to be its guests

Katelyn Hill, Staff Reporter

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To finish the month of January, Meadow Brook Hall welcomed OU students out to the mansion to be their guests. 

The historic hall, which was once the home of esteemed philanthropists and OU’s founders Matilda Dodge and Alfred Wilson, held its 46th annual Meadow Brook Ball, with this year’s theme coming from Disney’s 1991 film “Beauty and the Beast.”

As guests entered the hall, they were greeted with the sound of a harpist playing the song “Beauty and the Beast.” The staircases and hallways were decorated with “Beauty and the Beast” themed decor, including fairy lights, mirrors and, of course, red roses. 

Just like the Beast’s castle, Meadow Brook Hall had an east and west wing, a library, dining room and even a secret staircase. According to Angelina Allen, president of the Meadow Brook Ball Committee, these similarities were the main inspiration for this year’s theme.

According to Allen, the committee introduced different things from years previous to entertain the guests throughout the night.

“We have the henna artist, we have the Polaroid camera, we have lots of new backdrops and we were able to get new vendors in here,” she said. “We just had a lot of things that fit in with the theme that worked really well.”

There was also a grand prize drawing, a best dressed contest and a scavenger hunt, where guests had to locate pictures around the mansion of the teacup, Chip, from the movie. 

Along with the henna artist, another vendor for the ball was hair tinsel artist Emma Ervin from Dream Scene Parties. Throughout the night, she tied small pieces of tinsel onto strands of guest’s hair.

Another activity guests could participate in was keychain making. Megan Raudabaugh, treasurer of the Meadow Brook Hall committee, and committee member Cydney Fry helped out at the keychain making station. 

The keychains were vinyl cutouts of character silhouettes that were attached onto a keychain for guests to take home.

“We always want to give the guests something to take home with them,” Raudabaugh said. “That way it becomes a memory for them as well as just a little souvenir. It always feels nice to walk home with something.” 

One highlight of the night was the food. Served in the same dining room the Dodge-Wilson family once feasted in, students were able to dine like Belle and the Beast.

“Anything you see goes with the movie,” the catering manager Khukon Ahmed said.

There were thematic appetizers, such as baguettes and cheese, and drinks like hot chocolate and coffee. Desserts included sliced melons, petite cookies and the “gray stuff” taken directly from the song in the movie.

This was OU student Natalia Chela’s first time attending a Meadow Brook Ball, and she thinks the decor of the mansion matched the theme of the movie. 

“It looks like ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Chela said. “I feel like I’m somewhere in a fairy tale.”

Raudabaugh said her favorite part of the event was seeing the excitement of the guests.

“It makes all the hard work throughout the year worth it,” she said. “Seeing everyone’s excitement when they come into the mansion is just a personal success.”

The Meadow Brook Hall committee threw a ball to challenge all others and gave guests their very own tale as old as time.