It’s Navy Ball time. The Marine Corps Birthday Ball is right around the corner.
Are you nervous about attending a military ball? Here are MilitaryShoppers’ tips on attire, planning and etiquette for military spouses.
What Should I Wear?
When it comes to dressing for a military ball, you have a lot of options. There is going to be a dress code but after that the choice is up to you. You should keep in mind that you do want to coordinate with your service member as they will be wearing their dress blues.
Before my husband joined the military, I thought my ball gown-wearing days were over. I was excited to be able to go out and shop for one once I heard about going to a military ball. I went shopping with my mom and found a nice black dress at the local mall.
When you go shopping for a dress for the military ball, think about what you might wear to a fancy wedding. Long dresses are better than short ones. A military ball lasts a long time so you need to make sure you are comfortable.
If you don’t have a big budget, shop the sales. You don’t have to spend a lot on a dress if you can find a good deal.
How Do I Plan?
With planning for the ball, you should make sure you have your dress, shoes to match and a purse. You will want something to take with you to carry your cell phone, makeup and ID or wallet.
After your appearance, knowing what to expect can be helpful. You can break down the military ball into different stages. The first part is the cocktail hour. This is when people are arriving and you get to greet other people. You are also able to get drinks. No one has to be seated yet and you can stand around with your spouse and their friends.
After the cocktail period is over you will go through the receiving line before you sit down for dinner. You will also need to get your photos taken. We have usually done this first so we don’t have to worry about them anymore.
When it’s time to sit down for dinner you will notice that you have an assigned seat. You should be sitting with those in your spouse’s company and their dates. There will be spouses, girlfriends and good friends because the service member can invite who they want as their date. At all of the balls we have been to, the food has been a buffet. You stand in line and pick out what you want and then go sit down again.
At some point after you get your food, the program will start. This will included a few speeches, some toasts, a prayer, etc. You will get a schedule and be able to follow along.
After the program, they will open up the dance floor and you will be free to dance, get more food, get more drinks or just socialize until you want to go home.
What etiquette do I need to follow?
Remember that the military is filled with traditions. The military ball is one of them and certain etiquette needs to be followed. Some of what you need to do is common sense but some traditions you might not be used to.
You need to make sure that your dress does not show too much skin and that the dress is modest. In some cases you will not be allowed to wear a strapless dress unless you keep a wrap on at all times. You should get information from your command about what to expect at your particular military ball.
During the formal part of the military ball you need to be respectful and pay attention to what is going on. You don’t want to be talking when you shouldn’t be and you don’t want to be playing with your phone. There will be toasts and you need to be paying attention to those.
When you are going through the receiving line, make sure you follow your service member, smile and be professional. It might feel really intimidating when going through the line but the line is also a good way to meet the commanders and their spouses.
As long as you are respectful, dress appropriately and do what you should be doing at the right time, the military ball will go well for you and you should have a good time.
I personally have always loved the food, spending time with my husband and getting to see a part of the military I don’t normally get to see.