What should I be expecting at the Marine Corps ball?

posted 3 years ago in Military
Post # 3
2896 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

i will be attending our 4th and last marine corps ball in a few weeks. seems like just yesterday i was in your shoes- excited and curious and nervous…

the first part is cocktails. we usually skip this part because the drinks are way over priced. we either drink in our room beforehand and/or sneak some alcohol in with us and hide it under the table, lol.

after the cocktail hour, they will ask everyone to take their seats and they’ll begin the ceremony. once the ceremony begins no one will be allowed in or out of the ballroom, so if you need to use the restroom or whatever, make sure you do it before. 

it will start with the presentation of colors, sword detail, national anthem, etc. there’s always a video birthday message that they show (you can probably find videos of past years’ on youtube). the guest of honor and others will speak. there will be a cake cutting ceremony where the oldest marine and youngest marine share a piece of cake and then they retire the colors and dinner will be served. and there’s usually a mad dash to the restroom at this point, haha.

after dinner, they serve dessert and the dancing begins. sometimes the food is really good, sometimes not so much. one year, they had a buffet and it was amazing. they always give a party favor too (the first year, it was given at the ball, the last 2 years, they were sent to my husband’s work). for us, it’s always been a glass. and the first year i went, they had roses waiting for all the ladies at their seats. i still have mine because i’m sentimental that way, haha.

they will have photographers there taking pictures that you can buy if you’re so inclined. i would do this early in the evening before you get too tipsy, haha.

this goes without saying, but make sure you have a designated driver for the evening if you have to drive home that night.

as for you hair and nails, you can get them done if you want, but it’s not necessary. i usually just wear a pretty head band and paint my nails a pretty color.

and once you married (if he’s still in the service), look out for ball gown give aways through your marine’s base. people donate really great dresses and accessories.  i got my dresses for this and last year’s balls at give aways. my dress from last year, was brand new and still had the price tag!

hope this helps!

Post # 4
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I have no idea what to expect.  I’m just commenting to say how exciting!!!  Have fun and defintely get all dolled up, get your hair and nails done if you want to!

Post # 5
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@marinesfiance:  It’s nothing crazy. I’ve been to tons over the years; they are a lot of fun. Just don’t over indulge. Nobody likes the puking significant other.

Post # 6
2311 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I didn’t know the drinks were not free. Frown Oh well! It’s not like I am going to one any time soon. Lol! But that still surprised me.

Post # 8
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Sasha2011:  it’s different from ball to ball, because it’s constricted to the amount of money that had been raised over the year (or ticket prices) and then how much the hotels have charged. the navy and marine corps balls have mostly been priced per drink, but then community specific balls that are smaller but tend to have higher ticket prices we provide our own booze and pay for servers so then the served drinks are free.

but the wine at the table is generally free!

Post # 9
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

@marinesfiance:  Not all marine balls serve dinner, so make sure to find out before you go- otherwise you may be a little rumbly haha. It depends on your station.

Post # 10
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@marinesfiance:  I haven’t been to a Marine ball, but I’ve been to an Army redeployment ball (celebration return from deployment).  There was a cocktail hour in the lobby with the option to have photos taken (think prom!) and then as it was getting close to dinner, we went through a greeting line.  So, a lot of superiors and their spouses that wanted to shake your hand.  Nerve racking, yes, but everyone was very kind.  Dinner was assigned seating but everyone reassigned themselves so buddies could sit together.  During appetizers they had a guest speaker.  Then dinner and toasts.  And then, dancing.  A lot of dancing.  It was a great time and once you meet those first few high-ranking officers, everything else seems like a breeze. 

My tip: keep your drink in your left hand.  You will most likely be shaking a LOT of hands so there won’t be any fumbling to switch hands and you won’t have cold and clammy hands from the drink.  😉


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