What it’s like participating in a quinceanera:
Celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday in the Latin-American culture is a truly exciting event. However, it’s not only a momentous occasion for the young lady being honored but for her close friends and relatives as well. If you’ve been asked to join the court of this special fiesta, there are a few things you should know.
The Traditional Way
Traditionally, the birthday girl will choose 14 girls (damas) and 14 boys (chambelans) to take part in the extravagant celebration. Close friends, siblings, and cousins generally make up the Court of Honor and will all work together to celebrate the young lady during her quinceanera. The arrangement, responsibilities, and perks of being on the court are quite similar to being a bridesmaid or groomsman in a wedding.
The first thing to consider before agreeing to become a member of the court is your own time and finances. Depending on the birthday girl’s family resources, the participants of the quinceanera may be responsible for paying for their fancy matching party dresses or tuxedos, and new dress shoes. The costs range from $100 to $300 on average but maybe, even more, depending on how elaborate the quinceanera will be.
Another factor worth taking into consideration is how much time you have to devote to the event. Members of the court are required to attend dance practices ahead of the big day to learn the traditional waltz and other types of choreographed dances that will be performed during the quinceanera. The court is also trained on how they will be lined up and walk down the aisle at the church ceremony, along with the reception afterward. Practices are generally held in the evenings or on weekends leading up to the event for at least an hour at a time.
If you decide to move forward and say yes to becoming a distinguished member of the Court of Honor, the day of the actual quinceanera will be extremely fun, fast-paced and memorable. For many youth it will be the first time they’ll experience a glamorous ride in a limousine and participate in a professional photo shoot with an experienced photographer. It may also be the first time for young girls to have their hair and makeup done professionally, as well.
The initial stop will be a religious ceremony held at a local Catholic church; this is the first time friends and family will see the court and birthday girl dressed in their formal attire. The court will sit up front during mass, after escorting the young lady down the aisle, similar to a wedding. She will receive a rosary, Bible and other symbolic gifts during the service. After church, the court and her family will ride in a limousine to the reception hall for the big party. There will be hours of dancing to a live DJ, plenty of traditional Mexican food and a giant tiered cake during the evening to enjoy. As a member of the court, you’ll have to constantly be ready to take part in photos, join in several celebratory choreographed dances and other important traditional moments of the night.
As long as you’re ready to smile for hours, dance all night long and make some incredible memories, taking part in a quinceanera is a celebration you’ll remember fondly for the rest of your life.