The new year typically brings the onset of military ball’s and with it, stress! If your husband is anything like mine, he often fails to provide the type of information women need when preparing to attend a formal event–especially if you’ve never attended a military event before. No worries! I’m here to break it down for you. As a servicemember AND the wife of an officer, I have some insider tips that I’m certain will ease your anxiety and make the event an enjoyable one!
What to Wear
A Military Ball is NOT prom
- Be very careful about showing too much skin in all the wrong places. Some military branches are more strict than others about appearance but I have known couples who were asked to leave due to their inappropriate attire. This can have a negative effect on your spouse too, who may be given a counseling statement or assigned additional duties.
- Dress Classy
- Don’t wear anything sheer.
- Be mindful of slits that reach your butt.
- Cleavage is a wonderful thing but if you’re offering a full frontal…it might not be a good choice.
- Amazon.com has beautiful formal wear for under $50. Check out some of their dresses here.
How to Act
A military Ball is NOT entertainment…it’s tradition.
- There are lots of SOPs (standard operating procedures) surrounding these events and the servicemembers conduct rehearsals and spend weeks, if not months, preparing the details of these events.
- Remember, these events are meant to honor the service of your spouse and the traditions of the military branch for which they serve. Yes, it’s fun, but be respectful and be mindful of why your significant other is required to attend.
- Alcohol can become a cause for concern. This is not the type of event where you should become extremely intoxicated and pass out on the dance floor. Sip, don’t chug, and when you’re reaching your limit, just stop. You can always continue the party elsewhere.
- Speaking of continuing the party, this should happen in your room. There’s a reason why military ball’s are often held at hotels. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!
The Receiving Line
- Dates should walk in front of their servicemember while in the receiving line.
- The servicemember should introduce you to the first person in the line, and then introduce himself/herself.
- After the initial introduction, you simply have to proceed up the line because the officers and VIPs receiving you will be continuing the introductions for you.
- For example, the servicemember introduces both of you to the first person in the line, CPT Joe Smo. CPT Joe Smo then introduces both of you to the next receiver in the line and so on and so forth.
- If the receivers fail to hear your names or simply stop saying them, the servicemember can restate your names as you move down the line.
- After the formal event and dinner, feel free to hit the dance floor.
- A word of caution…don’t get crazy and embarrass yourself or your servicemember. Remember, you’re not at a club, you’re attending a formal military event.
If at any time you don’t know what to do, just look around and mimic what others are doing. Expect the Chaplain to say grace before the meal, expect there to be a cash bar and be prepared to tip the bartender, and expect your servicemember to mingle with their friends and colleagues.
Have any tips of your own to share? Please post them below!