With military ball season in full swing you might find yourself as a first-time military ball attendee. Freshly pressed dress uniforms, beautiful gowns, dancing, cake and a heavy dose of comradery and patriotism, a Military Ball really have it all. These events can be intimidating, but they can also be filled with a night of tremendous fun, not to mention the dancing! I have attended various military balls over the past ten years and have realized there are a few do's and don’ts that will help ensure you and your date enjoy the evening.


Here are my top four tips to consider as you prepare for the next military ball (or Holiday Party) at your spouses’ command.


  • Do set expectations with your date - Will the night be filled with shop talk, networking or dancing? I always request at least three dances in between shop talk (there is only so long I can listen to chatter about basic flight maneuvers). This helps ensure we both have a fun evening.

  • Be polite to everyone you meet - The military is a small world and it is always best to choose kindness and civility.

  • Ladies, on choosing your dress; there are plenty of “what to wear” opinion pieces out there, but I encourage you to wear something that makes you feel beautiful. Everyone will have opinions, but the only one that matters is yours! My personal rule of thumb is to wear something I would be comfortable sending a photo of my husband and myself to my granny.

  • Bring two pairs of shoes - Carry a pair of flat shoes or sandals in your purse. I stash mine under the table while we are dining and socializing. At the end of the evening your feet will hurt and you will be glad to have a more comfortable option to change into.

I was curious to get the point of view of military member from a different branch of service. JJ Montanaro, retired Army veteran and USAA financial professional had these tips to offer:

  • Don’t go overboard (with the punch!).
  • Don’t lose sight that it’s still a “military” ball—don’t get too cozy with your superiors.
  • My favorite: try your uniform on well in advance to allow time for necessary alterations (yes, personal experience!)


I love JJ’s tips. When I asked Wendy Poling, fellow military spouse and Community Manager she shared, “do yourself a favor and schedule a hair styling appointment well in advance and early in the day. You’ll be glad to have one less thing to worry about and your hair will look amazing!”


The Marine Corps will soon celebrate its Birthday on November 10th. If you or your loved one is in the Marine Corps and you plan on attending this Birthday Ball or another military ball share with us your photo and tip for having the most enjoyable experience!