Thank you to our guest blogger, Sarah Peachey!

Across all military branches, there is one event that gets the ladies especially excited — The Military Ball. Whether it’s the chance to wear a beautiful gown, pick out sparkly jewelry or enjoy an evening of tradition, most military spouses and significant others are excited for Cinderella’s Ball (or so to speak). ball-gown

I’ve been to four balls thus far. Two were in college and two were since my husband has been active duty. He’s an Army man, so I can really only speak to how the Army functions, but bear with me. These tips can work for anyone.

Earlier this year, at a post-deployment ball, I spotted “That Girl.” You may know what I’m talking about because there’s at least one at every function. This “That Girl” was wearing six-inch heels (no exaggeration) and with every other step, she was twisting an ankle. I thought she would be heading home barefoot and with a cast by the end of the evening based on the number of tumbles she took. Her dress was sparkly (not bad) and only just covered her booty (very bad, especially when dancing). And her bosom was showing in almost all its glory.

I always feel for “That Girl” because her date probably didn’t tell her what she should wear. She instead took her fashion sense from Roxy LeBlanc from “Army Wives” fame. You know, before the makeover. And we all know how accurate that television show is.

So how do you avoid being “That Girl?” Here are some do’s and don’ts I’ve come up with over the years.

  1. Do pay attention to the uniform your service member is wearing and base that on your own attire. If the service member is wearing a formal uniform, then you should be wearing formal attire. There is a significant debate amongst military spouses about what formal female attire really is. Does it mean floor length gowns? Does it mean you must have straps? It depends where you’re getting your information. Formal used to mean floor-length gowns, but that doesn’t really stand anymore. Feel free to wear a full-length gown, but don’t feel obligated. Something shorter that falls at the knee or below the knee is still formal (think tea-length dresses like what were popular in the 1950s). Just don’t go any higher than the knee — that’s semi-formal. For the male spouses, you’re easy. Make sure you’re in a tuxedo with a black tie.
  2. Don’t show too much skin. Really think about the dresses when you have them on. Does it show too much? If it’s showing some cleavage, which is OK, be sure your back is covered and your dress is long. If you’re showing some leg either with a slit or with a shorter dress, cover up the cleavage and the back. If you’re showing your back, don’t show your cleavage (that includes butt cleavage. Remember: Crack kills) and keep the dress long without a slit. If you show too much, no matter how long your dress is, it takes away from the formality. Don’t wear anything with cutouts on the side. You may have a great body, but it makes you look too young and, again, shows too much skin.
  3. Don’t get a dress that’s too tight. I’m all for wearing fitted gowns — that’s my style and I normally avoid draped gowns. There, however, is a difference between fitted and tight. I can dance, sit down and move in a fitted gown. Something tight will restrict you from doing any of that. You also don’t want people to see bulging seams. When trying on dresses, make sure you sit and move in them. If it’s too tight and the size you normally wear, go up a size. No one knows what size it is, but everyone will know if a dress is too tight.
  4. Do avoid prom style dresses. There are a few problems with buying dresses meant for a prom. First, it won’t fit you if you’re curvy or womanly. Junior’s dresses simply aren’t designed for curvy bodies unless you look in plus size, but then it may not fit you in other areas. Second, you’ll look like you’re at the wrong event. Prom dresses make any woman look too young, no matter how great her body. You can find great dresses in formal sections of department stores, but stay away from the Junior’s department.
  5. Do experiment with color. Too often at balls you see everyone in black dresses. Black is not the only formal color — you can wear almost anything. Some people will say that muted colors are best, but it’s not a rule within any branch. I’ve seen every color of the rainbow. As long as the dress fits, doesn’t show too much skin and is formal, you’re in the clear. I do recommend jewel tones since they work with almost every uniform out there. I don’t like to clash.
  6. Do rent dresses or buy them on sale. There’s really no reason to shell out hundreds of dollars for a dress. You can buy great dresses off sale racks, at consignment shops or in thrift stores. Since they’re normally only worn for one night, why spend tons of money? Used dresses are in just as good of shape as new dresses. If you don’t want to wear something secondhand and would love a designer dress, try out Rent the Runway (www.renttherunway.com). You can choose from more than 160 designers available for rent during your needed time frame to get a dress you love for 10-15% of the retail price. You have to “order” your dress about a week in advance and you’ll receive it 4-8 days before the event. You only get it for a few days, so don’t forget to return it! They send two sizes, just in case, and you can return it in your mailbox. You don’t even have to dry clean it! Rent the Runway is offering a 25% discount off the rental price to military spouses. Just use the code MILITARY25when checking out. Pass it on to your friends!
  7. Don’t worry about using the correct silverware. Really, the service members are used to eating in much less formal settings, so they probably don’t use the correct silverware themselves. Most tables are set simply, but I’ve been to some more formal balls where there is a lot more silverware. Just pick one and use it. No one is going to judge you.
  8. Do pay attention during the traditional areas of the event. This is the most important takeaway for proper Ball etiquette. The traditional things are the main event, so pay attention. Stand and follow the flag when it comes in, put your hand over your heart for the National Anthem, stand and read the correct responses for toasts. If you aren’t sure how to do some things, ask someone at your table or simply remain quiet during the toasts.
  9. Do pay attention to how much you drink (if you’re of age). If you want to drink at the event, feel free! Just monitor how much you’re taking in. With dim lights and loud music toward the end of the night, you may not realize you’re that drunk. Space out each drink with a glass or bottle of water. You can enjoy drinking, but including water will prevent a hangover and embarrassing mistakes. If you simply must have some of the grog (the combination of various types of alcohol that tells the unit’s history), only have a small amount. I’ve seen people drink the grog all evening and they pay for it in the morning. Or, like our most recent ball, the tumble into the grog table and almost put the whole thing on the floor. People took photos, so you can imagine the embarrassment the next morning.
  10.  Don’t sneak drinks if you’re underage. That’s pretty self-explanatory. If you’re caught, you could potentially shut down the bar access for everyone.
  11. Do ask questions if you don’t understand something. Every branch is different, every branch within each branch is different, and every unit is different. They don’t all have the same level of formality. I’ve been to balls with a receiving line (we’ll get to that next) and without one. If you want to find out more, just ask a friend who has been a part of the unit and attended a function before.
  12. Do understand how a receiving line works. Here’s how the receiving line works (remember, my husband’s Army, so I’ll use their lingo. Just insert the proper branch terms yourself). The Squadron/Battalion commander, the Command Sergeant Major, their spouses and any dignitaries and their spouses stand in a line at the entrance to the ballroom. A soldier (let’s call him Person A) stands at the beginning of the line. All the guests and their spouses line up with your service member providing both your name and his own to Person A. The spouse leads the way down the receiving line ahead of the service member. Person A, like in “Whisper down the Lane,” will pass your name down the line, so your names are only given to Person A. You will shake each person’s hand down the line making very brief small talk. Don’t begin any conversations at this time because there are far too many people to go through the line. Save any discussions for later. If you’re worried about doing it wrong, try to stand further back in the line so you can watch others go through. That’s what I did at my first ball. But trust me, it’s simple.
  13.  Do remember that you’re representing your service member. For that reason, try to rein in your behavior. Remember, your service member still has a job to do and must continue formalities through the evening. Don’t be outlandishly drunk. Don’t dance inappropriately.
  14.  Have fun! Enjoy your time there and enjoy seeing your spouse dressed up in his (or her) fancy uniform. Take pictures, absorb the traditions of the evening, laugh and dance your heart out.

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Sarah Peachey is a 20-something journalist from the northeast, living in the Southwest near Fort Huachuca, AZ with her husband, two furbabies and infant daughter. She began a career in journalism with The Fort Polk Guardian, an installation newspaper, winning two state awards for her work, and now freelances for military spouse support sites. She is an active blogger on MilitaryOneClick and her blog, “Stetsons, Spurs and Stilettos.” She enjoys spending her days on the shooting range or at home with a good book. She considers herself a bookworm, pianist, wine enthusiast and a

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76 Responses to “Military Ball Fashion and Etiquette”

  1. jacqui

    this is my first military ball. am very nervous an have no idea wat to expect. my partner keeps telling me not to worry as il fit in perfectly. just be urself he keeps saying xx

    • Danya

      Hi Jacqui,
      He is absolutely correct! Have fun getting dressed up. Enjoy every minute. Pay close attention as there is a lot of rich tradition that occurs at the Navy Ball. Lastly, be yourself and dance the night away with your man!
      Danya

  2. Juanita

    Attending my first ball in December! I have a large tattoo only back, should I go with something that coves the majority of it? Don’t want DH to be talked about because of my tattoo. I’m exreamly nervous and know no one to get any advice from! This has really helped me! Thank you so much!!

    • Danya

      Hey Juanita,
      Have you discussed this with your husband? If your husband isn’t concerned, let it show. I think you should dress however you feel comfortable. You certainly don’t have to cover it up. I hope this helps.
      Have fun at the party,
      Danya

    • Al

      You do not need to cover it up. If anything let it show. Tattoos are a part of the military culture and you will not look trashy or out of place in the slightest.

  3. Brianna

    I am so nervous about the ball coming up in novmber. My boyfriend told me not to worry but i am nervous. Is there any tips you could give me????

  4. X.S

    I’ve been invited to my friend (of 4yrs) sqn army functions,ive never been to one before and not sure if its a ball,all hes said is wear matching dress and heels,as he is wearing army related gear,he’s told me not to stress but im not sure how to recact

    • Danya

      Hey X.S.,

      I would ask your buddy to specify if the event is “formal” or “cocktail” attire. Once you get that information, we can go from there.

      Danya

  5. mel

    nov. 22, 2013 will be my very 1st ball with my husband! i have no idea what to expect and how to behave or what is acceptable dancing haha HELP!!!

    • Danya

      Hey Mel,

      You are going to have a great time! Absolutely dance! Dance your hiney off if you want to. Pay close attention during the dinner. The Marine Corps Ball is rich in tradition. You won’t want to miss it.

      Have a blast,
      Danya

  6. Sakshi

    I have to attend a ball wid my boyfriend in June AND I am already nervous – what to wear, how to mix in n stuff. I surely don’t wanna embarrass him in front of all the seniors. the article was a great help. perfectly what I was looking for.
    thanx a ton :)

  7. Shalonda

    My husband decided last min (literally last nite) that we will be attending a formal ball next weekend (which doesn’t give me a lot of time to find a dress). I’ve attended his company’s dinner the past 3yrs (completely different than this event), is it ok to wear the same dress to this ball that I wore to the dinner 3yrs ago?

    • Danya

      Hi Shalonda,

      Absolutely, you can wear the same dress! I always recycle my dresses. 3 years is more than enough time.

      Have fun,
      Danya

  8. Desiree

    Hey, I am attending an army ball in a week! The person I’m going with is a major in the army. Will I be in the receiving line??

    • Shalonda

      Hi Desiree!

      Is your ball in PA?

    • Danya

      Hey Desiree,

      Good question. I have not been to an Army Ball. We are in the Navy and I have never been to a ball with a receiving line. When you find out this weekend, will you let me know?

      Thank you,
      Danya

    • Sarah Peachey

      Desiree,

      For Army functions, the receiving line normally consists of the top commander, Command Sergeant Major, their spouses and any other dignitaries or special guests.

  9. Rachel

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for writing this article! This is exactly what I needed! I’m not girly, I don’t do the whole dress up thing and I don’t have the money to shell out and buy a new dress so I was EXTREMELY NERVOUS and you just helped calm that a bit :) Thank you so much! I can now be maybe a little excited for tomorrow :)

  10. Savannah

    I too have my first military ball coming up and I’m having trouble figuring out what would be appropriate to wear. I really like this dress, but the article says it is too short, and I don’t want to seem trashy or underdressed.

    Would something like this be acceptable? I’m 19 by the way.
    Any help is appreciated!

    http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/trixxi-juniors-dress-sleeveless-beaded-cutout-high-low?ID=993299&upc_ID=31666174&Quantity=1&seqNo=1&EXTRA_PARAMETER=BAG

    • Danya

      Hello Savannah,
      I think the dress is adorable especially since you are so young :). I would ask your date how formal his particular ball is. If the ball attire is “formal”, you should probably go with a longer dress. If “cocktail” attire is appropriate, it is perfect!
      I hope this helps!
      Have fun at the ball,
      Danya

    • Hannah

      Sorry, I put my comment on the main list, not as a reply!! Email me at patriot_sparky@msn.com I’m a female cadet in army JROTC and love helping the guys guests or other female cadets find dresses!

  11. Hannah

    I think it looks cute! But there are some down sides. Whenever a girl wears a dress too short at my military ball all the girls tend to ostracize her or look down at her the entire night. Since yours is modest on top and the back I think it’s fine but my advice is definitely to wear pantyhose, ones people can see, like lace. That way you see that you’re covered up still. I would personally find a different dress, look at local consignment shops, I found mine at a mission outreach shop, and last year mine was from a consignment shop. Also ask around for dresses, for other female cadets in my battalion I had them use my friends junior prom dress, and another used a bridesmaid dress from my other friend. There are a lot of other options!

  12. Emily

    I’m so glad I found your article! I’m going to apply your teachings to my search for a dress.

  13. Dress To Impress At Your Next Interview

    […] No matter how sleek the outfit is, it is incomplete without good accessories. Men can wear a nice watch and perhaps some cufflinks; adding any other accessories is unnecessary and atypical of a military official’s fashion. […]

  14. Melissa

    I have been invited to a JROTC valentines day ball and I have no idea what to wear we are both in high school and I don’t want to look like a fool for wearing the wrong thing…help?

    • Danya

      Hey Melissa,
      Hmm, you may have me stumped. I am MUCH older than you and have three boys. I don’t know what exactly is appropriate for a JROTC ball. What I can be sure of, is that you do NOT want your dress to be too short. There was a 20-something year old girl at our squadron Christmas party last week who’s dress was way too short. She was the talk of the night and not in a good way. I think an above the knee length red dress would be fun for a Valentine’s Day Ball. Let me know what you think. I hope this helps.
      Happy Holidays!
      Danya

  15. Preston

    Can you provide some insight on what to wear and how to present yourself for a same-sex male couple?

    • Danya

      Hey Preston,

      What type of function are you attending? If it is a formal function, I would say a tuxedo is in order. If the event calls for “cocktail” attire, I would suggest a suit and tie/bowtie. Let me know what event you are attending and I will dig a little deeper.

      Have a great day,
      Danya

  16. Nichole

    I am attending my first army ball with my husband this year and I was curious if either of these dresses would be appropriate. I am 18 and not sure what I need to wear.
    http://www.dressmini.com/pic/max/black-tie-sheath-column-one-shoulder-long-floor-length-sequins-prom-dress-pd38f2.jpg

    • Danya

      Hello Nichole,

      They are both beautiful and completely appropriate! Keep us posted on what your choose and have a fabulous time at the ball!

      Danya

  17. Michelle

    This sight has been VERY helpful, but nothing has been said about what type of jewelry is appropriate. I’ve read that you want to keep away from fake stuff, but I don’t have anything “real” except for two necklaces that I don’t think would be fancy enough. One is single garnet set in silver/white gold and the other is a small “Past, Present, Future” one with diamonds and emeralds. My other question is hairstyles.. up or down?

    • Danya

      Hey Michelle, You totally do NOT have to stay away from fake jewelry! There is some pretty awesome fake stuff out there. No one would even know the difference. As for your hair, that is totally up to you. I usually go get my hair put up, but only because it is fun to do. We have an Aveda Institute where I live. This place is fabulous. Instead of paying $60 for an up do, I pay $30. They have a military discount too! I hope this helps some ~ Danya

  18. Katelyn

    Hi, This is my first formal military anything.This article was really helpful, more so than a lot of other articles/blogs that I’ve read so far. I’m 20 and my main concern is that I will choose an incorrect or inappropriate dress. I’ve never ordered one online so that is making me a little bit nervous in and of itself. I just wouldn’t want to choose something that would look silly compared to the other dresses there. I know that these events aren’t about the spouses (or girlfriends in my case) I just want to be sure that I’m representing my boyfriend properly. I can look really young really easily, I’m usually asked if I’m 16. So, my main question would be, are there styles that I should avoid? I just don’t know when/why/how/what makes me look so young. Another question would be, if I have my prom dress as my “standby” in case there is an issue with the dress I rent, would that be so horrible? I promise, it isn’t bedazzled to death, there’s bead work on one strap, across the neck line and there’s an embellishment on one hip. This would serve as my back-up emergency dress, but I just wanted to be sure that I would’t look ridiculous if I did that.

    • Danya

      Hello Katelyn,

      First of all, I love that you recognize that the formal event you are about to attend is about the service member not the guests. You are wise beyond your years :). Now as for your attire. The only dress that you could order that would be inappropriate would be one that is too revealing or too short. It sounds like your prom dress would be a very acceptable back up. I am all about recycling formal dresses. I think a long gown vs a cocktail length dress would make you look a bit older. Feel free to send links to the dresses you are thinking of ordering. I am happy to take a peak.

      I am glad we have been able to help. Good luck and have fun at your event.

      Danya

  19. Sammie

    Hi,
    I’m going to my first military ball with my ex boyfriend from 7th grade. It’s an Army Branch. I’m extremely nervous. It’s tonight actually. I have no idea what to wear! And I have lip piercings and a nose stud. Would I have to take them out?
    ~Sammie

    • Danya

      Hey Sammie,

      I am so sorry I didn’t see this in time. I hope you had a fabulous time at the ball! You did not have to take any of your piercings out. You are who you are and YOU are not in the service.

      Danya

  20. Sarah

    Hi,
    So my friend (kinda of boyfriend) asked me to go to his ROTC ball with him on the 28th of February. I have no clue what to expect and I am SOOO nervous! He is army ROTC. But because he is ROTC and not actual army yet will it be different? Or what should I expect? Do I need to act really conservative? Also I have heard that when they are in uniform they are not allowed to show PDA with girls. So is that sort of stuff out of question at ROTC ball?
    Thanks!
    ~Sarah

    • A

      Hi Sarah!
      Is yours taking place in PA? I will be going to my first ROTC ball myself on that day! I would say just be comfortable, but don’t get too PDA with him. I know w/ my bf I’ll prob hold his hand/arm, nothing really beyond the extent of that.

      • Danya

        Hey A,

        Thank you for your great reply to Sarah! I love your advice. Have so much fun this weekend at the ball!

        Take care,
        Danya

    • Danya

      Hi Sarah,

      First of all, you are going to have so much fun. I went to my first ROTC ball at Vanderbilt University with my then boyfriend, now husband :). Don’t be nervous. Just be yourself. I like A’s advice of not much more than hand holding, arm around the waist. The PDA can wait until the after party. The ball shouldn’t be any different because he is a ROTC student and not a commissioned officer just yet. I hope this helps.

      Have a fabulous weekend,
      Danya

  21. Aaliah

    I have a ball coming up on Saturday! ‘m super worried that it may be the wrong thing to wear. Its a long, teal blue color and is strapless. It does flare out a little more at the bottom than what it probably should.

    I also have my prom dress from last year. It’s navy blue and is a more simple kind of dress.

    Which do you think would be more appropriate?

    • Danya

      Hello Aaliah,

      Both of your gowns sound great. I am personally more fond of Navy, but that is strictly personal. If you want to send photos of the two dresses, I am happy to give you my opinion on which I feel is more appropriate.

      Have a blast at the ball!

      Danya

  22. Heidi

    Hi , my Daughter is attending The Naval Academy in MD and is going with a Cadet to the Ball at West Point NY. Does she have to wear her Navy Formal Uniform?or can she wear a civilian dress.

    • Danya

      Hello Heidi,

      I just don’t know the answer to the question. My guess is that she is should wear her uniform, but I could be wrong. I would suggest asking the Cadet she is attending the ball with. I hope this helps. I know it is a little wishy washy!

      Have a great day,
      Danya

    • Sarah Peachey

      Hello Heidi,

      If she is attending the West Point ball as a guest, she is not required to wear a uniform, but she has the option to if she would like. If she is attending the ball because she was invited by the institution, then she should wear her uniform. I’ve been to a few Cadet balls that allow female Soldiers to wear dresses after the traditions are finished and dancing begins. Attire should be listed on her invitation. If the information isn’t clear, I’m sure she could ask her date.

  23. Maria

    Hi I am in college and my sort of/not yet/maybe boyfriend asked me to the military ball he is in ROTC for the army. I have no idea what to wear, how to dance, what to say or anything else you can think of. I am so nervous, he has never been to one before either so I am pretty much on my own!

    • Danya

      Hey Maria,

      I was in your EXACT situation when I went to my first ROTC ball at Vanderbilt University. I have now been married to that sort of/not yet/maybe boyfriend for 16 years! You are going to have so much fun! My suggestion to you is to just not wear anything too short or too revealing. As long as your dress is tasteful you will be just fine. Take a cue from the others at the ball as far as how to dance. If you are meeting new people, especially those in his ROTC unit, shake their hand, look them in the eye and say, “Nice to meet you.” I promise you there will be others in your exact situation. You are not alone. Try to relax and enjoy the pomp and circumstance. I hope this helps. Please feel free to write anytime.

      Danya

  24. Doc

    I’m a retired army officer who wandered here by mistake, and I’m fascinated by the original article and the discussion!

    I was lucky enough to marry an army nurse, who was way ahead of me on thew customs and traditions of the service.

    Sarah’s talking about a ball in the “real” military, and her advice is spot-on. If you’re new to the unit, the executive officer’s spouse is the best source of information in officer country; for enlisted, try the first sergeant’s.

    ROTC and JROTC balls are essentially “just” another school function, with uniforms. Anything you’d wear to a prom will generally suffice.

    Good luck, and have a great time!

    • Danya

      Hello Doc,

      Thank you for reading and your response. Thank you for your service!

      Danya

    • Sarah Peachey

      Doc,

      Thanks so much for your kind comments! I appreciate it. Your additional information about JROTC and ROTC is great as well (ROTC was my first ball!).

  25. lexie

    hey my military ball is coming up in april 5 and i am terified becus if i dont find the right dress my boyfriend will kill me like he alredy put a bruse on my arm but anyway what should i do to find a dress

    • Military One Click Support

      Lexie,

      We are concerned by the fact that you mentioned your boyfriend has bruised your arm. This is a sign of domestic violence. There is a zero tolerance for domestic violence in the military. We would urge you to contact the National Domestic Violence hotline at http://www.thehotline.org/ or by calling 800-799-SAFE (7233). You can also reach out to the Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) Outreach Center by calling 1-866-966-1020 to talk to a trained health resource consultant

      Military One Click Support

  26. lexie

    like ok well i think imma just stay home becuz i dont want to get in a dress that he dont like but i have been starving my self so i could go in the most beutifull dress at the ball so i need help :(

  27. Brooke

    Hi! I found this information very accurate. I have attended an Army ROTC ball in the past and went through a receiving line. One problem that I didn’t expect was that many of the officers did not hear my name when it was whispered to them. Unlike what you stated my boyfriend (the cadet) was behind me in the receiving line. (It would have been much better if he were in front of me.) When the officers could not hear my name they would turn to me and look for me to introduce myself. I was unsure of how I should introduce myself. First name only? First and last name? Miss (insert last name)? My boyfriend was unsure of the answer to this. Well now my second military ball is coming up and I am wondering what you would suggest to handle this problem? I appreciate your help!

    • Danya

      Hey Brooke,

      Thank you for your reply. I am happy to read that you have enjoyed this post and found the information to be accurate. Now, to answer your question, I believe it is the responsibility of the service member to introduce his date in the receiving line. However, if you find yourself in the same position, you should introduce yourself with your first and last name.

      I hope this helps.

      Have fun at the ball!

      Danya

      • Monika

        Hii
        please let me know can we wear Saree in Army ball party??

        • Danya

          Hello Monika,

          That is a great question. My first reaction is to say, “yes, of course.” However, I am not entirely sure. I am going to ask all of the MilitaryOneClick Chicks and see if we can come up with a definitive answer.

          Thanks for reaching out,
          Danya

        • Danya

          Hey Monika,

          The consensus from the MilitaryOneChicks is ABSOLUTLEY yes, you can wear your Saree. Jen had a friend wear hers to the Marine Corps Ball.

          Have fun!
          Danya

  28. Sarah

    The guy I am seeing is in the Navy JROTC at our high school. He has asked me to go the military ball with him. However, he wants me to meet him at the ball and not pick me up? Is that proper etiquette? I think he should he should pick me up and escort me to the ball. What do you think?
    SEA

    • Danya

      Hello Sarah,

      Well, being a little old fashioned myself, I would hope that he would pick you up and escort you to the ball. You may want to ask him if there is an important reason that he doesn’t want to drive you to the ball. Maybe he doesn’t have a license, car, or maybe his parents won’t let him take the car. There could be many reasons. It’s probably best to politely ask him and go from there.

      Have fun at the ball!
      Danya

  29. Mikki

    What a great article. I ran across it by chance and i have my first ball tonight. I am so thankful that you added the portion of the dinner. I am super nervous about the formal setting. I was hoping to see what silverware the others at the table grab first before i choose. As far as the rest I believe you have given excellent advice! If you are 20 or 30 know your appropriate dress. I have to be honest I am interested to see who dresses inappropriately. We have sent out an email on this specific subject. To all the ladies reading this enjoy your ball and be proud of your service member! I believe it is an honor to be able to attend such events! Thank you again!

    • Danya

      Hey Mikki,

      I hope you had a blast at the ball and the silverware turned out to be not so intimidating! I agree. I always look forward to see what the other guests are wearing. It makes for some seriously good conversation!

      Have a great day,
      Danya

  30. Elyshia

    Hey there so I will be attending my first ARMY ball
    In June. I’m needing help on finding a dress, any
    Suggestion on where to look. The theme is world
    War 2. I’m hoping too fine a vintage dress floor length
    Thank you in advance.

    • Danya

      Hello Elyshia,

      So my first thought is to go shop some nice second hand stores. You could rent a dress from Renttherunway.com. They have a coupon for $25 off your first rental. You can search many different ways within their site to find what you are looking for. The other thing I would do is run a search for “vintage floor length gown”. See what pops up, find one you like and do some smart shopping.

      Have a blast at the ball! You will have so much fun.

      Danya

  31. Rebecca

    I’m going to a military ball and the dress I found is a white strapless dress with some beadwork. Is wearing white okay for an army ball?

  32. Tyler

    Hello I am a high school junior and my “girl” friend invited me to her JROTC military ball. I will not lie I am very nervous and have a few questions in general if you would be kind enough to answer. To begin should we, my friend and I ride together to the ball? Secondly, when introducing myself do I do first and last name, or would she introduce me? Thirdly, since I am a guest would a suit and tie suffice? Lastly what are the rules for toasting and table etiquette I don’t want to be too confused? Thank you in advance for your time and help

    • Danya

      Hello Tyler,

      Great questions. First let me say, “Try not to be nervous. It is going to be so much fun. This is such a great experience.” Okay, now, yes, you should ride together. I would use your first and last name during introductions and don’t forget eye contact. Depending on the way the receiving line is set up, you may be doing your own introductions or she may be introducing you. You are going to have to wing that part :). Yes, a suit and tie should be just fine. Black is always more formal, so that would be your best bet. Oh Tyler, my husband has been in the Navy for 19 years. You can imagine how many functions I have been too. I still just have to follow the crowd when it comes to the toasts! You will NOT be the only one there with a confused look on your face. Use all of the manners for table etiquette that you have been raised with and you will be just fine. Utensils are used from the outside in, napkin in your lap, elbows off the table and have tons of fun! I hope this helps some. Let me know if you have any more questions.

      Danya

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