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5 Things to Know About Military Balls

Military balls are an exciting time for military communities to get together. The servicemembers and military spouses don their formal attire (service members in their dress uniforms, of course) and prepare for a night of ceremonies, dinner, drinks and dancing. Each branch runs their event differently, so some of the following advice varies.

There are five things it's good to know about preparing for the annual event.

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1. Book the logistics

Your service member will purchase the tickets from his or her command or family readiness representative. If it is at a hotel and you both plan on drinking, it is advisable to get a room to stay overnight. Generally speaking, there is no childcare offered, so if you have kids, be sure to call the babysitter.

2. Proper attire

The attire should be considered "black tie." This usually means floor-length gowns for a formal military ball for the women if they're not in the military. Keep in mind, formal does not mean "prom wear." You may be in a room with the some of the most respected military flag officers in the nation, and you'll want to represent yourself well.

This is your chance to let loose on the dance floor but be sure to leave the club moves at home.

3. Cocktail hour

When you arrive, there may or may not be a receiving line with the command leaders and their spouses. If there is, know that the female is greeted first. This is also the time to meet and greet with others before the dinner hour begins.

4. Dinner hour

Dinner hour is usually signaled with a bell. Guests take their assigned seats. At this point, the posting of the colors, Commanding Officer's welcome and the invocation will happen. There will also be speeches, and, if it is a birthday ball, there will be a formal cake-cutting ceremony.

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5. After dinner

When the presentation ends, the dance floor and bar will open up again. Depending on the band or DJ, more contemporary music can be played. This is your chance to let loose on the dance floor but be sure to leave the club moves at home. If you didn't take your formal picture at the beginning of the night, hop over to to the photographer's booth and do so.

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Image via ROTC

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