Over the weekend, we celebrated the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Every year, the Marine Corps hosts their annual birthday ball and this year’s was amazing! I attended my first ball back in 2014 when we were stationed in North Carolina so I was super upset when Zack attended last year in Okinawa without me. He promised we’d go this year so we made sure to get the tickets the moment we arrived here. Over the summer, I teamed up with David’s Bridal to pick out the perfect dress for this year’s ball so I was super excited to finally be able to put it on and wear it out. With all of our life changes these past couple months, I was more than thankful that it still fit by the time this night arrived. I didn’t, however, have the time to get it altered or buy shoes or anything like that.
We were super excited to attend the ball, but we just had so much going on this past month that it completely slipped my mind. I didn’t try on the dress until the night before and I didn’t buy my clutch or anything like that until the day of. Since I didn’t buy new shoes, I ended up wearing wedges with the dress. Definitely not the best fashion choice, but 1. no one could see them and 2. they were the only shoes I had that were tall enough so that the lack of hemming wouldn’t be an issue. But then I had a train…oh the train. I had attempted to safety pin it a bit before leaving the house, but it just didn’t look the way I wanted it to. So I ended up having to just be extra careful with it throughout the night. Thankfully it all worked out and there were no major fashion disasters.
Our ball fell on Veterans Day this year so while Zack was at work, I spent the morning in a yoga class and then ran some errands throughout the afternoon. Since I was getting so dressed up that night, I decided to spend the day in work out clothes and no makeup. I very rarely ever do that and am actually typically against not fully getting dressed each day, but man was it nice to feel so relaxed. I just wasn’t wanting to get changed after yoga and go through all the effort to look good when I was just going to be starting over that afternoon for the ball. No thank you!
This year’s ball was a bit different than the first one I attended. We just got here so since we still don’t have friends, I got ready for the ball by myself. Honestly, it just wasn’t as exciting getting ready by myself. It was a little boring actually. BUT on the bright side, I didn’t have to share the mirrors or my products with anyone. So I was able to get ready so much faster than I would have if I had a whole group of women sharing the same space. So I guess that’s one way to think of it positively.
Since the ball was downtown and started at 6 o’clock on a Friday night, we thought it would be smart to leave an hour early to account for rush hour traffic. Traffic here is horrible during this time of day so if anything, we thought we’d possibly arrive in the middle of the cocktail hour. We were wrong. Somehow there was zero traffic. None. It was so weird. We left the house around 5 and arrived 30 minutes later. Since there was nothing else to do, we got parked and made our way to the venue. This year’s ball was held at the Hilton Hotel right on the water. We had the fourth floor ballroom so we had gorgeous views overlooking the ocean and the pools. Plus there was a wonderful breeze as well which made it the perfect temperature. It was just cool enough to make us feel better after being crammed inside with everyone else, but still warm enough where it was comfortable to be outdoors. Perfect!
Zack got a drink from the bar and began introducing me to some of the guys he works with. Everyone seemed super nice, but it was almost awkward at the same time because I just didn’t know anyone. And Zack hasn’t been at work long enough for any of these guys to be actual friends yet. A good majority of them were single too which really didn’t help at all. So I really just stood there as we weaved in and out of groups and introductions. We really just spent the night alone, just the two of us. We did a ton of people watching in that time though. The ball is always a great time to people watch. You have those who are arrive already completely hammered. Those are typically the younger, single marines, but definitely not always. You then have the girlfriends and wives who wear dresses that you can’t help but stare at. Millions of sequins, high slits, not enough coverage in the areas you need coverage in. Those are the best. There are so many different types of people and couples at military balls. There’s always some type of entertainment.
Cocktail hour seemed to last forever. By the time the doors opened to the ballroom, we were completely starving. And at this point, it was 7:30. But at a Marine Corps birthday ball, we always start the night with the opening ceremony. When you attend a ball for the first time, the opening ceremony can be super interesting. It’s full of Marine Corps history, guest speakers, the presentation of the cake, etc. It’s a formal, historical event. But when you’ve already seen it done and you’re more than ready to eat, then the opening ceremony can seem to last forever. It didn’t help that we both had to pee either (it’s super impolite to leave during the ceremony…so we had to suck it up).
We were both completely relieved by the time the ceremony ended…45 minutes later. We both got up to use the restroom and by the time we came back, dinner was being served. Well, the salad anyways. But at that point, we would have eaten anything. Dinner was a mix of steak, chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus and carrots which was all delicious. For some reason, I’ve been really wanting a steak lately so I was pretty excited about that. And mashed potatoes are one of my all-time favorite foods so that’s always a winner in my book. Dessert was cheesecake with a cranberry drizzle which was also delicious. I’m really not too picky when it comes to food, apparently. I loved it all.
At one point, Zack got up to get a beer and I was left alone at a table full of people I hardly knew. I’m not one to be shy, but this was when I decided I was ready to go home. For the most part, I just felt so out of place this year. I didn’t know anyone so while everyone else at the table mingled with one another, I was just there waiting for Zack to come back. I actually spent a good majority of the time, texting him, as sad as that may sound. I’m also not currently drinking so I couldn’t even have a glass of wine to calm the anxiety and loosen up a bit. I loved being able to get dressed up and spend the night out with Zack, but I spent so much of the night ready to go home to our bed. And luckily he was feeling the same way so I didn’t have to feel bad about “ruining the night”
Once dinner was over, we decided we’d rather not stay for dancing. At that point, it was about 9:30 or so. His feet were killing him, my back was bothering me from the dress, and overall, we just wanted to crawl into bed with some Netflix and our puppy dog. A little lame, I know since we’re only 24. But for some reason that just sounded so much more appealing to us. So we gathered our belongings and made our way back to the lobby. Since we’ve never gotten professional ball photos done before, we decided to stop and get them done on the way out. I’m usually super picky when it comes to photos of myself, but I must say they came out a lot better than I had anticipated (although I did have to adjust the contrast and brightness on them when I got home. Their “editing” job wasn’t the greatest…photographer probs).
After our photos were printed off, we finally made our way back to the car. We had planned to go home and stay up late watching New Girl on Netflix, but after one episode, we were both completely done for the night. I’m really sad the ball wasn’t as amazing this year as it was a couple years ago, but I’m still so glad we had the chance to go. Only one more ball left together (and one more on his own) before he’s out of the Marine Corps and we’re moving on with our lives (more on this plan later!). It’s bittersweet, but exciting at the same time.
Did you attend a military ball this year?