Here's What Actually Happens Inside the Met Gala — Biggest Night in Fashion

If you’re lucky enough to attend the Met Gala, there’s food, festivities… and opportunities to meet your heroes.


May 6 2024, Published 11:43 a.m. ET

Dua Lipa, Penélope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and Margot Robbie pose for a photo at the 2023 Met Gala on May 1, 2023, in New York City
Source: Getty Images

Fashion’s biggest night has arrived. A-list stars are probably already gussying up for the 2024 Met Gala, which takes place on May 6, 2024. Every year, the Met Gala brings together stars, creatives, and fashion industry bigwigs for a night of glamour benefiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. And every year, those of us without invitations pore over photos from the red carpet. But what do they actually do at the Met Gala?

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That's a pertinent question ahead of the 2024 edition of the event. This year’s theme is “The Garden of Time” — named after a 1962 short story of that name by J.G. Ballard — and the gala kicks off the museum’s exhibition “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” — a display of hundreds of garments and accessories from across four centuries.

OK, so let’s pretend we’ve been invited to the Met Gala and can afford a ticket, the cost of which hit $75,000 this year. What happens after the red carpet?

What do they actually do at the Met Gala?

What happens inside the Met Gala is secret, and guests “must abide by the no-phone (and, therefore, no social media) policy,” Vogue reports. But the magazine did have a pair of photographers roving the 2023 Met Gala and taking snapshots, so you can see some pics from inside that year’s event.

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An interior view at the 2023 Met Gala on May 1, 2023, in New York City
Source: Getty Images

As for the evening’s activities, guests at a Met Gala explore that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, sit down for dinner, and watch a high-profile performance. Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Cher have performed at past Met Galas, according to CBS News.

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Photos from the 2023 gala show Lizzo rocking a glittering bodysuit and thigh-high boots as she stood on a table for her performance. She sang “Good as Hell” and “Truth Hurts.” Lizzo and Irish flautist Sir James Galway teamed up for a flute rendition of “Flight of the Bumblebee” for that year’s event, according to Business Insider.

But beyond the fashion, the food, and the festivities, the real draw for many guests is the chance to rub elbows with the ultra-famous. “It’s fun for meeting the five people you’ve always wanted to meet in your life,” Marcus Wainwright, co-founder of Rag & Bone, told The New York Times in 2016. “It gives you some sort of permission because you got in the front door.”

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You can get a sense of the Met Gala from ‘Ocean’s 8.’

For the climactic heist in the 2018 film Ocean’s 8, director Gary Ross and his crew recreated the Met Gala, with some scenes filmed on a soundstage and some filmed at the museum itself.

It was all done “very much in conjunction with Vogue and the Met,” as Gary told Slate. “I realized early on that this needed to be a collaboration, because they’re kind of giving us something they’ve created and letting the world finally glimpse the inside.”

The filmmaker added, “It had to be authentic and something they could feel comfortable with. We had a lot of meetings with Vogue. [Editor-in-chief] Anna [Wintour] signed off on what we were doing and was incredibly gracious. Eaddy Kiernan, who plays Anna’s assistant in the movie, is actually the person who plans the real Met ball.”

So yeah, Ocean’s 8 might be the closest any of us come to the real deal. And it doesn’t cost $75,000 to access!

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