SEE’s first Bridgerton-themed ball of the season on Friday was an overwhelming success. 

Bridgerton fans and curious University of Maryland students packed the Stamp Student Union Colony Ballroom to participate with their friends. The evening included teacup painting, dancing and outfits fit for royalty.

Student Entertainment Events members and others working the event, including Tal Ledeniov, did not expect the overwhelming number of guests. Ledeniov shaved his beard for the event to get Bridgerton-style sideburns. 

“I didn’t know Bridgerton had so many fans at UMD,” the freshman computer science major said. “It was all very surreal, and I think the queen herself will tell you it was very unexpected how people were so into it.” 

Ledeniov’s “jaw was on the floor” seeing the event’s popularity. He added that SEE ran out of teacups after about 10 minutes.

A long line of people gathered around an iPad throughout the night as couples and friend groups posed for photos. 

Attendees also lined up to meet Her Royal Majesty, SEE design director Gabrielle Hester, while a string quartet played in the background.

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Hester, a sophomore immersive media design and information science major, wore a white and gold gown with a fitted bodice and sweetheart neckline. She complimented the look with a tiara and white elbow-length gloves. Hester’s friend, Montgomery College student Kaitlin Gregory, created the ball gown.

“I put my name down because my childhood dream was to be a princess,” Hester said. “I was like, ‘when am I ever gonna get the opportunity?’”

Each lady of the ball also gathered together for the queen to pick her “Diamond of the season.”

Many attendees wore formal attire and managed to find Bridgerton-era gowns and suits. Ledeniov ordered his outfit — a red Victorian-era, steampunk tailcoat with gold accents — the night before on Amazon. 

Eight finalists were selected, including Rohana John, a senior psychology major, who was ultimately chosen as “the Diamond.”

John got her stunning blue dress from Chennai, India, while visiting her grandparents over winter break.

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“I feel like the dress has similar colors to some of the dresses that Kate wears in season two of Bridgerton,” John said. “I’m such a huge fan of the show and the representation that it’s given me, so I wanted to match that.”

Unlike the show, where rivalry and gossip run amuck, there was no bad blood between John and the other finalists. Amalie Ludwig, a freshman cell biology and genetics major, was among the final eight, and said she had an amazing time even though she wasn’t named “the Diamond.”

“It was kind of a bucket list experience for me. It was amazing. Everyone is gorgeous,” Ludwig said. “It was a wonderful night.”

Shortly after “the Diamond” was selected, the dance floor opened up. 

“Love Story” by Taylor Swift caused everyone to sing their hearts out and waltz with partners. Songs like “Kingdom Dance” by Alan Menken from Tangled and Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj’s “Princess Diana” rounded out the night’s royal theme.

“Everyone was asking us, ‘Are you going to this next year?’” Ledeniov said. “I don’t know, but we probably will because so many people were so into it. I hope this becomes a lasting tradition.”