Putting the Deb into Debutante Ball #WordyWednesday


I have a question for you: Have you ever been to a Debutante Ball or made your debut?

Chances are that if you live in rural Australia the answer to either question would be yes. Or if you’re over a certain age then the answer might be yes.

We have been in Tumbarumba for 30 years and for many of those years, in October, the local Catholic School has held a Debutante Ball as their major fundraiser.

Over the years I have said it was an anachronism, which if I’m honest (and I always try to be honest), I have never really been a huge fan of, but it’s always a fun evening.

And then we were asked to be the guests of honour at a ball!

Deb Ball 2021

This year due to Covid, the annual Ball was on again/off again and finally it was settled to hold it on Saturday December 4. A huge amount of work goes into these events from many volunteer helpers, dance choreographers, set designs, setup and pack-up. It was a very successful night.

At each ball, a special guest of honour is invited for the debs to be presented to and this year my husband, the Mathematician, was given this honour, and by default as his wife, I was also very special. He was a teacher at the high school for many years before retiring and very involved in many community groups. He knew all the debs, and their partners, having taught them or members of their family over the years. It was a big thing to be asked!

We were honoured to be invited for this role and felt a bit embarrassed at the attention but it was a lovely night. Everyone looked beautiful and the parents were so proud of their offspring.

Guests of honour at the Deb Ball
Guests of honour at the Deb Ball

We were introduced to the crowd with a potted history of our life and family, as we walked down the red carpet to take up our place at the front of the hall. We took up our places with other special guests, the school Principal and President of the Parents association.

The debs were introduced to us by a Maid of Honour and my husband knocked elbows with the young men, (in lieu of a handshake), the girls curtsied to me and I put a blue sash on them.

Their dresses were described by the MC, as well as information on each of them, their family, aspirations and goals for when they finished school.

And yes, Debutantes still wear long white gloves.

Deb Ball 2021
Deb Ball 2021

They then danced some set dances in front of the crowd of friends and family before the band struck up and no-one could hear or talk to each other. Many moved onto the dance floor for more contemporary dances for the rest of the night!

What is a Debutante Ball?

In Australia, débutante balls (or colloquially “deb balls”) are usually organised by high schools, church groups or service clubs, such as Lions or Rotary. The girls who take part are in either Year 10, 11 or 12 at high school (i.e. aged between 15 and 18). The event is often used as a fund-raiser for local charities.

The Australian debutante wears a white or pale-coloured gown similar to a wedding dress. However, the dress does not come with a train on the skirt, and the debutante does not wear a veil. The boy wears black tie or another formal dress suit.

It is customary for the female to ask a male to the débutante ball, with males not being able to “do the deb” unless they are asked, similar to a Sadie Hawkins Dance. The débutantes and their partners must learn how to ballroom dance. Débutante balls are almost always held in a reception centre, school hall, the function room of a sporting or other community organisation venue e.g. RSL club, or ballroom. Usually they are held late in the year and consist of dinner, dancing, and speeches. Source

My daughters remember me not being too interested in them making their debut so none of them ever did. It’s funny that my first date with the Mathematician was to a friend’s deb ball back in 1977!

What to wear?

I decided early on to wear my orange Mother of the Bride dress from my youngest daughter’s wedding, which was held in Fiji a few years ago.

The dress is knee-length, softly pleated and falls beautifully, it’s also bright, bold and elegant so I felt comfortable, despite most others wearing more muted colours! At least you wouldn’t miss me 🙂

I did ask my daughters for advice on shoes – I wore the strappy coloured shoes with the dress originally but wondered if the more classic shoes would be better suited and they agreed with me. It’s amazing how we can be in touch instantly when we need advice!

Shoe decisions
Shoe decisions

The Mathematician wore his Wedding Suit and looked very dapper!

On the way to the ball I snapped this cheesy selfie just for some fun!

Cheesy smile
Cheesy smile

I think we scrubbed up OK don’t you?

Another interesting experience to add to the rich tapestry of our lives!

Deb 🙂

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie in rock chick mode

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

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24 Replies to “Putting the Deb into Debutante Ball #WordyWednesday”

  1. Deb it sounds like everyone “had a ball” and obviously the expression was created because it’s such a spectacular and entertaining way to spend an evening. Congrats to you and Grant on your honourable appointment – and I love that you were Queen Deb of the deb ball. x


  2. How fun to see the debs and their fates dancing – that was a great shot of the floor and I could feel the music
    And good for you for wearing such a cheerio color! The list important thing is that we wear what makes us feel lifted up and then everyone wins because we are more in our element

    I AGREE with the silver shoes
    Also deb, the color of your dress was in such contrast to the debs dresses it seemed an even more appropriate choice – bring some color
    Lastly, congrats on being the honorees and so glad they didn’t cancel for Covid /

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Yvette, I agree my dress certainly stood out amongst the white deb dresses. Thankfully we didn’t have to dance but the music was far too loud after the official dances were done (am I getting old?). It was a touch and go situation for ages due to Covid but it got done!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I know what you mean with the loud music / it is not just us getting older – I think it is also the amazing systems they have these days!
        The sound systems have come a long way and in certain areas people ride their bikes with “Hyperboom” speakers – or small but powerful Bose speakers – they keep them in their backpack or on their bike and they could be used for a dance hall! Lol
        They still Amaze me when I hear the biker coming with the music jamming
        So maybe that is part of the loudness (or did we like it loud way back when)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s funny how, for a forward looking nation you hang onto your Edwardian roots! Here we’ve gone all American with school proms rather than a Debutant Ball which feels very 1950s and before. I think possibly we associate it with coming out and in the rarified circles of upper class culture being presented to Her Maj. Of course now that we’ve done away with class distinctions (oh sure we have) we go with something non elitist like a prom. I like your Debs, esp Top Deb in Red. Very grand and indeed bold.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds so, well, interesting. It must’ve been quite amazing to be the guest of honor at the Deb. Deb at the Deb, how fun! That being said, I’m so glad we don’t have these types of things here, as I can’t ball dance at all and would make a fool out of myself. High school proms were already bad for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We have good friends who lived in Bear’s Lagoon (live in Bendigo now) for years and both their girls did the deb ball. I’d never heard of it before that except to read about it in books. It does seem very antiquated but if it’s a fund raiser then that puts a slightly different light on it. You did indeed look like a stunning queen of the Deb ball!

    Liked by 1 person

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