13 Strange, Strict, And Specific Rules Of Attending The Met Gala

At its heart, the Met Gala is the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual fundraiser for its Costume Institute. However, it's more well-kown for being one of the most exclusive — and fashionable — social events of the year. That exclusivity comes with some notoriously strict rules that attendees must follow.

Here are 13 of the strict rules celebs and staff reportedly have to follow at the Met Gala:

1.Only invited guests are allowed to attend — and for 2024, tickets cost $75,000. Oftentimes, brands pay for a table then choose who to invite on their dime, but everyone must be approved by Vogue and its editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.

Anna Wintour in a patterned, bejeweled coat at an event
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

2.There's a dress code that attendees are highly encouraged to follow. This year, it's "The Garden of Time," inspired by a 1962 short story by J.G. Ballard.

Andrew Bolton examining vintage-style mannequin heads with ornate hats and accessories
Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images

The theme of this year's exhibit is "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion." It will showcase "sleeping beauties" — i.e., pieces of clothing that are so fragile, they can't be worn anymore.

In "The Garden of Time" short story, a count has to pluck a crystal flower that reverses time from his lavish garden to restore order to the beautiful villa where he and his wife, the countess, live because, each hour, a mob outside gets closer. In the end, the count picks the final flower, and the mob descends on his rundown property.

Essentially, per Vogue, the dress code boils down to "fleeting beauty."

3.Smoking is prohibited, as it violates New York City's Smoke-Free Air Act.

However, this doesn't stop some celebs from smoking in the bathrooms at the Met — and some even post photo evidence to social media.

In 2017, viral pictures of celebs like Bella Hadid, Rami Malik, and Dakota Johnson smoking in the bathroom garnered criticism from city health officials.

In an open letter to the Met's SVP, Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, "This spectacular event awes us all. We were dismayed to read reports that some celebrities chose smoking as their fashion accessory and flagrantly violated New York City's smoking laws...You admire and emulate the designers, models, actors, and other celebrities who attend the Met Gala. We thus are concerned about how images of these celebrities smoking — which were widely shared around the world via social media — will affect youth smoking rates."

In response, the museum said that it would "take steps to ensure this does not happen again."

4.Touching the artwork is prohibited — and, like smoking, it's a big enough offense to get you banned from the Met Gala.

Woman observes four mannequins displaying vintage fashion garments
Arturo Holmes / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

On a 2023 episode of CBS Mornings, Gayle King asked, "What's the best way to never be invited back again?"

Curator Andrew Bolton replied, "Smoking. Smoking in the galleries. Touching the artwork. Those would be no- nos.

5.In 2015, guests reportedly received this notice prior to the event: "The use of phones for photography and social media will not be permitted inside the gala."

Ciara and Serena Williams in glamorous dresses posing for a mirror selfie in a restroom
Serena Williams / Via Instagram: @serenawilliams

This is likely why so many celebs sneak selfies in the bathroom, a la Kylie Jenner and friends in 2017.

6.In The First Monday in May, Sylvana Durrett, Vogue's director of special projects, reportedly said that event staff "subtly monitor" guests to make sure they're chatting instead of being on their phones.

Overhead view of a grand, elegant event hall filled with guests seated at tables, ambient lighting, and opulent decor
Arturo Holmes / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

She said, "Anna is sort of an old-school traditionalist. She likes a dinner party where people are actually speaking to each other. We aren't sitting over people's shoulders, but if it's an obvious thing, we might gently remind them."

7.According to Anna: The Biography by Amy Odell, as they enter, each guest is allowed a maximum of 20 seconds to speak with Anna Wintour at the top of the stairs.

Anna Wintour in a textured outfit, Ryan Reynolds in a tuxedo, and Blake Lively in a dress with a metallic corset and a pastel train
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

8.Inside the event, there's a seating chart guests must adhere to. The organizers start with a seating document in December and finalize the chart in April.

fancy tables set up for the Met Gala
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

In 2023, Met Gala organizer Eaddy Kiernan told Vogue, "We really try to think very carefully about who's sitting next to each other. 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?'...We try and think a lot about sight lines and where people have sat in the past. And we try to make sure someone isn't staring into the eyes of a former flame."

9.According to the documentary The First Monday in May, attendees aren't allowed to sit next to their spouses.

A table setting with a place card reading "Anna Wintour," floral dishes, and bamboo-style flatware
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Vogue's director of special projects Sylvana Ward Durrett said, "The whole point of these things is to meet new people, and to be interested in what others are doing. What's the point if you come here to hang out with your husband?"

10.In 2018, Vogue imposed an age restriction on attendees. Organizers told The Hollywood Reporter that "it's not an appropriate event for people under 18" — and that was an executive decision.

Maddie Ziegler standing before a floral and graffiti backdrop, wearing a strapless plaid ensemble
Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.

That year, then-15-year-old Maddie Ziegler told THR, "I can't go, because I’m not old enough!"

11.According to the New York Post, the chef isn't allowed to serve parsley to prevent it from getting stuck in guests' teeth.

A bunch of fresh parsley on a wooden surface
Johner Images / Getty Images/Johner RF

12.Likewise, onion and garlic are also reportedly banned from the menu to prevent bad breath.

Red and gold onions with a bulb of garlic on a wooden surface.
Cat Gwynn / Getty Images

13.And finally, the New York Post reported that certain appetizers, such as bruschetta, are forbidden because they can get messy.

Person reaches for a slice of bruschetta on a platter, hands visible but not faces
Sanja Radin / Getty Images