Semi-formal…more like a semi-bad idea


Keertana Gangireddy

Juniors Amanda Chavalier, Alex Whitney, Mahi Kandage, and Jessica Chavalier posing in their formal dresses during their Cotillion in 2020.

Sara Zukowsky

It took all afternoon to get ready. Your makeup is gorgeous; your hair is curled to perfection. You’re wearing the shimmery dress that you bought last school year at the mall with your mom and the heels that will sparkle in the moonlight. You arrive at the football field and take pictures with your date and your friends. You drive with your date to Kimballs to arrive at your first real high school dance. But, as you emerge from the car, smiling, happy, and so, so excited, you look up and you see a kid from your freshman biology class standing next to you in khaki shorts and a button-down.

This is the problem when cotillion was turned into a semi-formal six months too late. In January, we were informed that we would be having our cotillion in September of our senior year. While already somewhat disappointing, we all understood, as COVID was still a prominent issue. People started buying dresses or tuxes and started getting dates. We were all just happy we were getting a cotillion in the first place, instead of a complete cancellation. 

Then, six months later, after outfits, shoes, and corsages had been bought, we were informed it was completely unnecessary. While I have no problem with cotillion becoming a semi-formal, I wish we had been told earlier. I wish I could go back and not buy my expensive dress and jewelry, after being told it was all a waste. 

In reality, cotillion is definitely better as a semi-formal and I think that that should continue for future years, just not this one. The dance would be better as a semi-formal because it’s expensive to be a senior, and there is no need to spend 500 dollars on a dress on top of all the necessary expenses. But, that money was already spent, so there’s no point changing the dance’s title now. 

I understand the expense issue. We have to pay for parking passes. We have to pay for college applications. We take senior pictures. We take the SAT and SAT prep classes. We’re paying for the AP tests. We have an annual club fee. Some of us take college essay classes. And now, on top of that low-end 1,500 dollars, we have to spend 500 dollars on a dress that we are wearing once, and to Kimballs? It doesn’t make sense.

It would have been better that our cotillion got turned into a semi-formal, except for the fact that no one told us this. We already spent $500 on dresses, tuxes,  jewelry, and shoes. We already spent the money. 

We were not informed until August 22nd for our September 25th dance. I know people who had bought their dresses in January, only to be told six months later that it is okay to show up in khakis or a sundress. 

I completely understand the intentions of making the cotillion a semi-formal, but it is a little too late, and there is no reason our cotillion should have its title changed for this year. This dance should have been a semi-formal, but it should have been a semi-formal when we were told we were getting a dance, not six months later when plans have already been made. 

The entire reason for it being changed was so that people wouldn’t have to spend the money that they already did. That money was already spent on a nonrefundable dress or suit that the receipt was lost two months ago. 

At this point, I have not spoken to a single person who said they were going to not wear the dress they bought. I have not spoken to a single person who said they were wearing khakis over a suit and tie. I know a girl who didn’t know she was going to the dance until two weeks ago, and she still went out and bought a formal dress. This dance is going to be a cotillion even if it’s not actually called that, so there is no reason for the name change. 

Everyone I have spoken to is continuing to consider this a formal dance. Even called a semi-formal, this dance will be our cotillion.