A few days ago I posted what not to do at the Marine Corps Ball, but there are plenty of things you should do to have a great time. And they are:
- DO get a room near the ball’s venue. They’re usually held at hotels, and service members attending the ball get a discounted rate. It’s still usually expensive, since the ball is held in upscale hotels, but trust me- when your feet hurt, you’re wearing a dress, your date is in uncomfortable blues, you had a few drinks, and it’s 1am, you’ll be so glad you spent that money.
- DO get your pictures taken. The picture packages are usually way cheaper than other studio portraits, and you don’t have to fight tooth and nail with your Marine to get them to dress up for it! Dress the kids up and get a nice family picture. Make sure you smile and pose nicely. No middle fingers, tounges sticking out, or gang signs here.
- DO take advantage of the child care. It’s pretty cheap and you can go check on your child as often as you like (just not during the ceremony). They usually dim the lights around 9 and put on a movie so kids can go to sleep if they’re tired. Make sure you pack a sleeper for them, not just their little fancy outfit. Also, if you’re beyond the sleep deprived “I just want to collapse in bed when the baby falls asleep” phase and staying up past midnight is a theoretical possibility, consider hiring a babysitter to come with you so you can stay out a little later. Provided childcare usually ends at midnight, whereas the dancing usually ends at 1am. I know we get free tickets to a club this year to boot, so we’re splurging on a double room and taking our babysitter with us so we can stay out a little later.
- DO remember that this is the one time of year you don’t need four signatures, the blood of a virgin, a sacrificial sheep, and kissing someone’s feet to get leave. I’ve noticed that commanding officers tend to schedule the ball on a Thursday, so you get Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (sneaky, huh? They want time off, too!). Use this time to have fun! Save money for it all year, and use it to get that double room, hire the babysitter, get your hair done, go to the club, and have a good time. It’s a celebration of the brotherhood your Marine sold his soul to- whoops, I mean worked really hard to join- and you should have fun with it!
I’ll post a dress guide within a few days!