Hi! It’s Annie!
Dear readers, last night, as of writing this, I was present at the Queen’s Ball! Ahem, the ‘Bridgerton’ immersive experience in Los Angeles presented by ‘fever’. And I did very much feel like Lady Whistledown, Penelope herself, because I did spend much of the time being a bit of a wallflower and taking it all in so that I could write about it later. Hi, I’m an introvert! I guess that makes my sister Eloise. But don’t worry, we had so much fun and definitely danced! How could you not at what is essentially a ‘Bridgerton’ prom. There was tons to do and see there and so little time to do it, so I’m going to cover all of that. And I’m also going to talk a little bit about my thoughts on ‘Bridgerton’ going in, because I haven’t talked about watching it all on this blog yet! Though rest assured, it was a fairly recent binge in order to prepare myself for this event. So without further ado, I’m going to talk about the resplendent beauty of a very ‘Bridgerton’ night!
‘Bridgerton’ the Show:
If you’ve been on my blog for a little while, you may already know that I am a huge fan of regency era fiction. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is my favorite book of all time and the accompanying movie starring Keira Knightley is also one of my favorite movies of all time. I was a little off put by ‘Bridgerton’ though, because of a number of things. For one, the modern music in regency England threw me off and for another, I heard it could be pretty vulgar. Which I don’t always mind, it just depends on what I’m watching. But I was interested because of the much needed diversity in the show. So when my Mom wanted to go to an immersive experience that took place in regency era England for her birthday, I was immediately excited and set to work getting to know the material I was going to walk into. To be perfectly frank, I thought ‘Bridgerton’ was fine. I didn’t dislike it! I actually really love some of the characters; Penelope, Eloise, Benedict, and Lady Danbury to be more specific. But any of the characters I didn’t like, I just couldn’t get behind at all. The main purpose of this show is meant to be romance, and I found the romances in both currently released seasons to be really toxic. I just couldn’t get behind either couple or any of the leads as individuals either. But I will give you that the setting was breathtaking and some of the plot lines were at least intriguing. It wasn’t at all a painful watch to prepare for this, but I didn’t find it was everything it had been hyped up to be.
‘Bridgerton’ at the Biltmore:
This experience won’t be in Los Angeles for much longer, so I’ll assume that if you haven’t gone you probably won’t be able to go at the time of posting this. But I have to say, if you are able to go to some version of this experience you are really going to want to dress up. I was warned ahead of time that people take the costuming for all ‘Bridgerton’ immersive experiences very seriously. And as someone who has cosplayed in the past and always goes all out on any occasion I can, I was determined to take this just as seriously. I went in a replica of Hermione Granger’s Yule Ball gown (I told you I’m a geek) and a matching flower crown and I thankfully did not feel underdressed. The Biltmore Hotel is also a very gorgeous hotel, super intricate and very large, you’re really going to want to spend some time walking the lobby because it’s too beautiful of an experience to pass up. I cannot stress this enough though; DO NOT go alone. Really you should never walk the streets of LA alone ever, but the parking structure is very creepy (flickering lights, ominously opening elevator, the whole ordeal), the streets going up to the Biltmore are not super well lit, and they aren’t always very busy either. I should also say that do not expect this to be like the ‘Secret Cinema’ event taking place in the UK. This does not have quests and multiple full sets for you to explore. It’s immersive, but you more just take in the experience than actually get to LARP. Though I would have loved to LARP.
‘Bridgerton’ the Experience:
You walk in through the beautifully lit ‘Bridgerton’ tree to a separate lobby once you’re called in and this is where your journey really begins. As you’re waiting for the show to start, there’s plenty to see. The hallway you enter into is absolutely lined with costumes from the show, including a small boutique you can head into to see even more costumes. I found Daphne’s costumes to be particularly intricate and beautiful. There’s a small terrace outside that’s decorated like a regency garden; it’s a small space but it is complete with a fountain and a few flower archways. Inside there’s a giant flower gazebo for pictures where you can pose with your true love. And an entirely different hall where you can take a picture sitting on a plush red sofa with a beautiful painting above it. Or take pictures with your loved ones that are given an effect to make you look like a painting yourself. This gorgeous hallway is where you greet and bow to the Queen as she passes, and that sofa is where she watches lines of hopefuls bow to her to choose her diamond of the evening. After this, everyone is led into a large dance hall where you see two characters fall in love through dance and are taught quite a few dances yourself. After the diamond has officially been crowned, they start playing an actual DJ playlist so that everyone can just dance as they normally would. Before this they actually had a string quartet, which was extremely impressive. (The violinist was my favorite because she actually got up to dance a few times while playing!) The afterparty is what felt like prom, with everyone dancing. I definitely had fun on the dance floor after all of that! I loved that they just had a moment where you could let your hair down and not worry about how you look dancing anymore! I think my favorite parts were with the Bee performer though; she had some much needed energy and was really trying to get everyone involved. I also laughed hysterically when she came out. And there was another performer in a top hat I very much liked who always cleared the dance floor for the two actors by saying that they needed space for their “heterosexual moment”. I have no idea who he was, but I loved that guy.
‘Bridgerton’ the Scandal:
Ok, so while I absolutely loved the experience; here’s what I didn’t like so much. This experience is only ninety minutes, also unlike the ‘Secret Cinema’ event in the UK, which means there’s not a whole lot of time to do anything. Not everyone was able to present themself to the Queen with that giant of a line. I didn’t even try. There was also limited room on the dance floor for learning some of the dances too, though I did try my hand at one. So just know going in, you probably won’t be able to do everything. Also, the main characters of this experience weren’t actually ‘Bridgerton’ characters. The only canon characters were the Queen and the bee. So the couple you watch falling in love is not Daphne and Simon or Anthony and Kate. You could easily go into this experience not knowing anything at all about the show, which isn’t a good thing or a bad thing in my opinion. Some of the decorations for the show covered some of the natural beauty of the hotel as well. It was disappointing to see the more plain chandelier for the acrobatic performance when you looked above it and saw the gorgeously intricate chandelier built into the ceiling. My last critique isn’t much of a critique because I did thoroughly enjoy myself. But none of the songs for the afterparty were at all recent. My sister described it as feeling like an old prom playlist from 2015 and I couldn’t help but agree. But it was fun hearing those songs again!
I absolutely loved this experience! I am always up for any amount of immersion I can get in anything fictional, and regency era anything is always right up my alley. Also, fun fact about me, I never went to my High School prom. It just wasn’t something I was interested in when it came up and I ended up going to Disneyland with my friends in dresses instead. Going to this made me feel like I had actually been to a prom, but with better dresses, a better venue, and far better decorations than any school prom could ever afford. It was just fun! It wasn’t anything mind-blowing or profound, but there’s something to be said about the let-your-hair-down sort of fun that this ended up being. And the sets only made it that much better! While I would much rather wait around for a ‘Secret Cinema’ event to pop up in LA again rather than going to another event like this; I would go to something like this again in a heartbeat if it revolved around something I or someone that was close to me was interested in. If you can catch it before it leaves or you find an event like this in your area and are interested, by all means go! I guarantee you’ll have fun! Just don’t expect LARP level immersion or any particularly juicy scandals.
See you across the pond!