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Thread: Marine Birthday Ball!!!

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    #1

    Marine Birthday Ball!!!

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    Hi so my mbf has invited me to the Birthday Ball and I have NO IDEA what to wear or what to do or how to act. Does anyone have any pointers for me???
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    #2
    I have loved all the dresses I have rented from rent the runway. They have REALLY awesome quality dresses, and it was much cheaper than going out and buying a formal gown that I would only wear once or twice.

    My DH is Army, but I am thinking the balls are set-up the same way. When it's time to go in, we all line up. You will be in front of your DB, and he will introduce you to the first person you shake hands with. (they will be in a line). Then that person will introduct you to the next, and so on. Until you shake hands with everyone. We then went and found our seat. They did the colors, anthem, and then a presentation with a lot of different speakers. After, they blessed the food and we went to eat. They had music as well. The last ball we went to, we were the only ones at our table except a First Sgt. So, my DH has to pour the tea/water (in pitcher's on the table) into his glass, then his own glass, and then mine.

    It is a formal affair, so you act as such. Don't be too stressed about it, just go with the flow. Your DB can direct you on what is going to happen and when.
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    #3

    added more info

    Quote Originally Posted by Noodles View Post
    I have loved all the dresses I have rented from rent the runway. They have REALLY awesome quality dresses, and it was much cheaper than going out and buying a formal gown that I would only wear once or twice.

    My DH is Army, but I am thinking the balls are set-up the same way. When it's time to go in, we all line up. You will be in front of your DB, and he will introduce you to the first person you shake hands with. (they will be in a line). Then that person will introduct you to the next, and so on. Until you shake hands with everyone. We then went and found our seat. They did the colors, anthem, and then a presentation with a lot of different speakers. After, they blessed the food and we went to eat. They had music as well. The last ball we went to, we were the only ones at our table except a First Sgt. So, my DH has to pour the tea/water (in pitcher's on the table) into his glass, then his own glass, and then mine.

    It is a formal affair, so you act as such. Don't be too stressed about it, just go with the flow. Your DB can direct you on what is going to happen and when.
    I second using RTR! I went to the Marine Corps ball last November in a red dress from them and got so many compliments on it! The red matched DB's blood stripe and we matched which I loved lol. Your dress must be floor length and somewhat modest (no crazy cleavage) and Rent the Runway has plenty of options.

    My first advice is to ask your DB exactly what the event is and what the expectations for SOs/civilians are. You can usually find info on your DB's unit's FRO web site (eMarine) if your DB is like mine and doesn't know/relay all the details The FRO actually posted a really helpful powerpoint presentation for people who had never been to a ball before with guidelines, why traditions exist, etc. You can definitely search around the forums here and google for more basic guidelines too! If you've never met any of your DB's coworkers/COs before, don't stress. I was nervous how to act or introduce myself to them but when they meet civilians they introduce themselves with their first name, not their rank

    When we went, it was almost like a wedding reception since there was a cocktail hour before the event started. There was a check-in table and a beer ticket table. We met some of DB's friends in passing, and went to our table where we sat with DB's shop. The event begins with the presentation of the colors and national anthem. There's usually a presentation/message from the Commandant, the COs will make speeches, and end with a prayer by the Chaplain blessing the food. Then the cake cutting which is really cool! The oldest Marine gives the first piece to the youngest to symbolize the passing of knowledge (IIRC). One thing they really harped on was table manners. Don't eat until the highest ranking person at the table does, no elbows on the table, etc. Oh - and make sure your phone is on silent during the dinner and especially the speeches! You can take pictures before and after the speeches but last year they didn't allow anyone to take pictures during.

    There was dancing and music after the food, but we didn't stay for it. My DB wanted to get the heck out of his dress blues Obviously don't dance like you're in a club. You can have fun and be silly - they were even playing the cha cha slide at one point - but you must always remember where you are, who you're with, and what your DB (and yourself, as you're his guest) is representing. There are usually two drink tickets per person. Stick to the rules!

    Are you planning way ahead for the ball in November, or are you going to a dine in? I only ask because the USMC Birthday isn't until November 10.
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    #4
    I've been to 7 balls now (at 3 different bases) and they've all been pretty much the same. We've never done a reception line or been given drink tickets (we have ALWAYS had to buy our own drinks).

    For your dress, wear a gown that goes to the floor. Although, I have seen some tasteful cocktail dresses before. Avoid prom style dresses (super poofy and gliterey). Instead, think the Oscars... so keep it elegant (within your budget of course).

    There will be cocktail hour where you will mingle. At that time you'll find your table assignment and purchase your drinks. When the ceremony starts you will need to stay in your seat, DON'T leave to go to the restroom (it's rude to be walking around when the ceremony is going on). Also, silence your phone and be attentive, don't talk to the person next to you. The rest is common sense, stand when the audience stands, sit when they sit, clap when they clap, yada, yada,yada...

    When the dinner starts, then you can go walk around if you need to. DH has always been seated with his shop (the guys and gals he works with) so manners and etiquette aren't a huge thing since everyone is really close. I mean, don't eat like a kid (mind your manners ), but it was more like a group of guys enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant. They weren't taking themselves too seriously.

    A lot of people will leave after the dinner. We have always stayed. It's fun to dance (especially when they have a DJ vs a band) and it's also fun to people watch. A lot of the higher ups will cut loose (run around like drunk college kids) and it's fun to see them act like normal people for a change. But I would still maintain your composure when you're around them... and don't get drunk. Save it for the after party.

    If his ball is at a hotel, you should book a room. We never had until this last ball. It was at a casino hours away and it was fun to hang out with all of DH's coworkers. It brought everyone closer together, literally, since we all live so far apart in different cities.
    Last edited by idratherbehiking; 05-08-2015 at 10:20 AM. Reason: changed 6 to 7




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    #5
    Formal

    Wear floor length. There is debate about this and some women will go shorter, but you will be above reproach in long. There are definitely those who don't approve of short at a formal event. No reason to risk making a bad impression on the wrong person. Tradition etiquette is that formal=floor length. You also want to be a fancy fabric (so not jersey, for example).

    As for how to behave, don't worry too much about it. Basic manners and basic common sense are all you need. Don't be loud, don't dance too suggestively, don't get wasted and obnoxious, have basic table manners, and you'll be fine. When in doubt, just look around you. Aren't sure if you should start eating? Just do what everyone around you does.

    If your DH introduces you to someone, be polite, like you would meeting any respected person.

    Really, it seems like there's all sorts of rules and protocol, but you don't need to worry. Be polite and do as others do. That's it!
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    Planning in advance. I'm really really excited lol. This is something I never thought I'd get to do because of money, time, and when I first started dating my man, my dad didnt approve. So the fact that I'm getting to fo this WITH my dad's blessing is huge. Hence the excitement. Lol. Pluss..... I'm a sucker for getting dressed up and it's been killing me that I havent had an occasion to wear a fancy gown since high school prom. So yeah... Planning way early
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    Thank you everyone for your responses!!! I never thought I'd be dating military. Never really had any desire to. Reconnected with my high school sweetheart and found out he was a marine now. The whole thing intimidates the crap out of me. I'm proud of him as all get out. But the thought of meeting the high ranking marines and stuff... I really dont want to make DB look bad. I've had nightmares of meeting some of the higher ranking men in charge of he and his platoon and me doing something moronic and getting him in trouble. The only reason I care so much is because of how it looks for him, not me.
    So.... Thank you all. I really appreciate it. You've put my mind at ease a bit.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDrsAmyPond View Post
    Thank you everyone for your responses!!! I never thought I'd be dating military. Never really had any desire to. Reconnected with my high school sweetheart and found out he was a marine now. The whole thing intimidates the crap out of me. I'm proud of him as all get out. But the thought of meeting the high ranking marines and stuff... I really dont want to make DB look bad. I've had nightmares of meeting some of the higher ranking men in charge of he and his platoon and me doing something moronic and getting him in trouble. The only reason I care so much is because of how it looks for him, not me.
    So.... Thank you all. I really appreciate it. You've put my mind at ease a bit.
    Happy to help! you'll have a great time at the ball.

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