How to Choose Debutante Ball Escorts

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The girl being presented often wears a white gown to the debutante ball.
The girl being presented often wears a white gown to the debutante ball. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

A debutante ball (also known as a 'cotillion' or 'coming out') is a formal affair that was common among the aristocracy of earlier eras, in which a young lady of 16 was presented to established society. This tradition originated in part during the Regency period of England in the early 19th century. Children were sheltered and did not mingle in society, until of a 'certain age', in which a cotillion, debutante ball or coming out party was held for them. The balls are still common today, especially among exclusive private schools in the Northeast US, among affluent communities elsewhere in the US, and in the southern states. Previously, the balls were established for the purpose of 'presenting the girl' to find a suitable match in matrimony. In contemporary times, these balls might be held as a charity fundraiser, or as the standard sophomore-year dance at an exclusive private school. The girl was known as the 'debutante' or 'deb'. Traditionally, the girl of honor at the debutante ball is accompanied by an escort.

Ask the father of the girl being presented to escort the girl of honor for her initial presentation. If the father is not available, ask an uncle or grandparent to be the escort.

Choose a young man from a prominent family to escort the girl after her father has presented her. The traditional goal of a debutante ball is to promote a social pairing in the selection of the girl's escorts.

Select a handsome young man with a polished appearance, as he is a part of the initial presentation of the girl to the guests of the ball. After the father presents her to the group, one of her escorts then takes her away.

Select a young man recently home from the military. This will pay tribute to the serviceman for his service to the country. A uniformed serviceman escort will have a formal and distinguished appearance as an escort.

Select a second escort for the girl being presented. Choose a son from an established political family or a family with deep roots in the locality.

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