How to Survive Cotillion for Girls

Three Parts:Accepting Your ParticipationEnduring Cotillion SeasonGetting Through The Ball

Cotillion events can differ wildly from region to region, but the basic concept is the same everywhere – it's a social event held to celebrate a young lady's introduction into polite society. Often, training and classes will go on for months prior to the cotillion ball itself. Even though it's mostly a traditional custom, many parents wish to preserve and continue the practice by signing their daughters up for one when they come of age. Being one of those daughters often isn't easy, but you can definitely survive cotillion – and you might even have a little fun, too.

Part 1
Accepting Your Participation

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    Humor your parents. Whether or not you want to participate in cotillion, it's very important to your parents. You might feel that cotillion is an outdated custom, and in many ways it is, but cotillion is not without its benefits! It provides a chance to learn life skills and make important connections that will benefit you once you start making your way in the world.
    • Try to appreciate the gesture. Cotillion might not be a blast, but your parents want you to participate because they want the absolute best for you.
    • Your parents feel that the benefits of cotillion are important enough to require your participation, so try to give it a chance.
    • Besides, you probably aren’t going to be able to talk them out of it, so just accept it for what it is – a few months of classes and a fancy party.
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    Look on the bright side. You will get to meet lots of new people, learn some very useful social skills (even if they don’t quite seem useful to you yet), dance with your new friends, see relatives that you love, and eat some delicious food while everyone celebrates your entry into adult society.[1] That’s not so bad! You can definitely get through this.
    • Learning etiquette and dancing may feel stuffy and boring now, but in time you’ll understand why they made you do it.
    • Since there’s essentially no way you are getting out of it, it only benefits you to start looking on the bright side now! Try to look for the silver lining if you can.
    • Dreading cotillion every second of every day until it happens will probably only make the entire ordeal worse for you.
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    Make the best of it. Cotillion classes and the ball itself may not sound very exciting to you, but since you're in it for the long haul, try to get what you can from the experience. Learn what you can and get to know your classmates. Try to have a little fun in whatever ways you can.
    • No matter how you feel about cotillion, it will be an experience unlike any other you'll have in your lifetime. Collecting new experiences is always interesting!

Part 2
Enduring Cotillion Season

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    Attend classes without complaining. Yes, you probably have things you’d rather be doing during the months of October through April (which is the traditional cotillion season) other than going to boring classes about fork usage and manners. You already have to go to school all day, and now you have to take all of these extra classes on top of that? You are probably thinking it's a little unfair.
    • Vent to your friends if you need to, but complaining to your parents will only make your life harder.
    • Not only that, but complaining solves nothing and generally just makes you feel worse.
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    Absorb what you can. Not everything you learn in cotillion classes will be incredibly useful, but there are definitely some important things to take away from them. Social skills are necessary if you want to be successful in life. Manners and proper etiquette might be boring to learn about, but having those skills will actually help you a lot in the future.[2] You may never dance those particular dances ever again, but learning dancing of any kind will teach you physical coordination and grace .
    • Pay attention in class and absorb this stuff because you will have to prove that you know it – in front of a bunch of people – at the cotillion ball.
    • Tuning out the classes may feel like a rebellious act toward your parents now, but on the night of cotillion, everyone will be looking at you – not them.
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    Make new friends. If nothing else, cotillion is a chance to meet a lot of new people.[3] You might meet your future best friend at cotillion, or your future boyfriend or girlfriend at the ball. You will get to mix and mingle with your peers, all of whom are dealing with the stress and suffering of cotillion, just like you.
    • Even if the subject matter bores you to tears and the ball itself completely freaks you out, the opportunity to meet new people is never a bad thing.
    • Once you make friends, cotillion-related things that seemed dull before might suddenly seem legitimately fun. Or at least funny! Friends make everything better.
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    Get into the spirit of the event. Your parents are proud of you and they want to present you to the entire world. Yes, all of the classes and preparation can be a little tiring, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to have some fun at cotillion.
    • If you don't feel excited about cotillion, that's ok! But you can feel excited about your future, which is what cotillion is really about.

Part 3
Getting Through The Ball

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    Buy your dress early. Start dress hunting around Christmas time, which is about 5 months before the event. You know what you need – the tradition is a fancy white dress and white satin gloves.[4] Your particular cotillion may or may not ascribe to that tradition, but some sort of evening gown will be required. Even if you hate wearing dresses, try not to worry too much! It's only for one night.
    • If you aren’t sure what style of dress to get, check out some cotillion photos online to see what other girls have worn. Take a trusted friend or family member with you when you go shopping, so that you can get an honest opinion when you try things on.
    • Make sure you get something that fits you well, and that you feel good in. The ball will be anxiety-inducing enough on its own – make sure your dress is the least of your worries!
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    Find shoes that you can move in. You will be dancing and moving around quite a bit at the ball, so you really want to make sure you get the right shoes. If you choose your shoes based on looks alone, you may end up being miserable that night because you can’t dance in them, or because they are squeezing your feet too tightly.
    • Try your shoes on before you buy them and walk around the store until you get a sense of how they’ll perform at the ball.
    • Practice walking and dancing in your chosen shoes during the weeks leading up to the ball, so that you’ll feel secure in them when the time comes.
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    Practice your dancing and your curtsy. You’ll be practicing plenty at your classes, but do a little additional practice at home, as well. Put on your dress and shoes and practice all of the things you know you’ll be doing at the ball. After you practice a bit, you’ll start feeling a lot less nervous.
    • Invite your friends from class over so that you can practice together. Try to make it fun instead of dreading it.
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    Relax. Traditionally, cotillion balls were mainly held so that girls could find potential suitors. Today, that is no longer the case. Instead, they are mostly viewed as networking opportunities.[5] Don't feel obligated to act super girly or pressured to find a significant other. Cotillion isn't really about those things anymore.
    • You’ll have your new friends by your side and you’ll be practicing a lot before the ball, so you will know exactly what you need to do and how to do it.
    • Although it may not feel like it, cotillion will be over before you know it.

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Categories: Social Events for Youth