A charming tradition made its 47th appearance in Eden on the weekend.
The Combined Churches Debutante Balls were held on Friday and Saturday nights and amidst the swirl of ball gowns, impeccably dressed beaus and highly practised dance routines were some very nervous debutantes.
“I just don’t want to trip over,” said Taylor Farrell as she prepared on Friday ahead of her debut that night.
Taylor didn’t trip, nor did her fellow debutantes, who were ‘presented’ to society enveloped in the loud applause of family and friends who thoroughly appreciated the efforts of the 24 couples and the organisers.
It can be a bit surprising to see these teenagers, so confident in many other aspects of fast-paced 21st century life, nervously commit themselves to a tradition that was, many moons ago, all about finding a husband.
Organiser Pam Inwood said while around three quarters of teenage girls don’t make their debut today, those that do often have a special reason for doing so.
“Some of the girls had heard about it from grandmothers and had kept those stories in their mind and always wanted to do the deb themselves,” she said.
Debutante Molly Davidson of the Davidson whaling dynasty, proclaimed her heritage proudly by wearing a pair of whalebone earrings made by her grandfather, the late Rene Davidson.
For debutante matriarch Flo Young, the 47th debutante balls marked an important family milestone. Her granddaughters Natasha Jarrett and Mikayla Larkham made their debuts on Saturday night, with Mikayla being the 14th debutante in her family. In recognition of the milestone, the girls were given the honour of cutting the cake together.
On Friday night Indy Quin and Casey Gilbert performed the cake cutting.
Emma-Jane Skeers had the benefit of an experienced partner in Jared Walker who dusted off his dancing shoes for the third year in a row. Their partnership delighted their guest and godmother Jo Steltenpool.
The debutantes performed three dances for the evening, taught by Pam Inwood and Dave Bolton.
The boys chose blue as their colour making a nautical theme the logical choice. Blue Siamese fighting fish swimming in bowls on each table were a novel twist with all but two adopted following the event.
Other decorations included silhouettes of the northern star compass, the Bell’s fishing boat in prawn trawl mode, a pelican and Boyd’s tower.
Cakes were made by Betty Rolfe and iced by Ruth Fletcher who also decorated the Fishermen’s Club auditorium with Monique Larkham.
Next year’s debutante balls will be held on June 14 and 15, with practice beginning on April 19 after being advertised through local high schools.
With thanks to Angi High, photogapher, for formal debutante shots from the night.