The Met Gala, which benefits the Costume Institute, is held annually on the first Monday of May.
The Met Gala is held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The event is invite-only and carries a hefty price tag. This year, tickets to the event are reportedly $50,000 a piece, with prices for tables beginning at $300,000, according to the New York Times.
What actually goes on inside the event is relatively secret, as celebrities are banned from posting photos or videos from inside on social media. However, official photos from past Met Galas offer a glimpse into the decorations and atmosphere inside the event.
The museum completely transforms for the annual event.
Photos from inside the main lobby of last year’s Met Gala show the red carpet, which continues from the bottom of the stairs into the entrance hall. The carpet, which changes from year to year, was colored red, white, and blue to represent the American flag and the 2022 theme, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.”
This year, the theme is “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” a homage to the legacy of the late designer and fashion-industry icon Karl Lagerfeld. The decorations and red carpet will likely be different from years past to reflect the new theme.
Last year, a large spiral-staircase sculpture was erected in the middle of the room to greet celebrity guests.
The 2022 dress code was “gilded glamour,” inspired by the Gilded Age of New York City. To match the theme and dress code of the night, Shane Valentino designed the centerpiece to represent the Statue of Liberty’s eternal flame.
“I’m hoping that this sculpture will be a reflective moment and allow us to think about what these symbols mean to us in a personal way,” Valentino told Vogue in 2022.
Last year, a large arched floral arrangement welcomed guests into the main seating area.
The decorations change from year to year. Last year, the decorations heavily featured red flowers and roses.
The event’s guest list is meticulously curated by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
Wintour also serves as the night’s host. Earlier this year, reports emerged that the guest list would be slimmed down for the 2023 Met Gala, though Wintour herself never confirmed that to be the case.
Inside the 2022 Met Gala, guests could be seen milling about from table to table in front of large projection screens. There was also a stage set up for live performances.
The actual seating chart is designed by Vogue contributing editor Eaddy Kiernan — a process that she says takes months to organize.
“We start with a seating document when the names come together in December,” Kiernan told Vogue ahead of the 2023 Met Gala. “The actual seating chart doesn’t come together until about a month before the event, when we get a sense for the layout of the room, and the flow of the evening.”
The dinner itself for fashion’s biggest night is curated by renowned chefs. Last year, the menu featured a vegan spin on deviled eggs, barbecue strip loin, with chocolate cake and mousse served in teacups for dessert.
“We really try to think very carefully about who’s sitting next to each other,” Kiernan continued. “Our ideal pairing would maybe be two people who we think will just get on like a house on fire, but who may not even realize that they have a lot in common. So with each person, we really do take time to think, ‘What will they talk about?'”
There’s usually one headline performer for the night’s festivities.
Last year, Lenny Kravitz took to the stage to perform hits like “American Woman,” “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” and “Fly Away.” Kacey Musgraves also performed a cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” from the soundtrack to “Elvis,” before its release that summer.
Past Met Gala performers have included superstars like Rihanna, Florence and the Machine, and Lady Gaga.
However, the main attraction for celebrities attending the Met Gala is the chance to meet and mingle with the biggest names in Hollywood.
Many celebrity couples have met at the exclusive event, from exes Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson to Taylor Swift and her (reportedly now ex) boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
“It’s fun for meeting the five people you’ve always wanted to meet in your life,” Marcus Wainwright, a co-founder of Rag & Bone who has attended multiple Met Galas, told the New York Times in 2016. “It gives you some sort of permission because you got in the front door.”