This issue comes up many times each year. Usually among Year 10 and 11 committees who are looking for something “semi” formal instead of the regular sit-down kind of formal.
It’s certainly OK to be looking for something more casual to create a contract between that event and your Year 12 formal however there are plenty of ways to achieve this without resorting to something as extreme as Fancy-Dress.
We want to give you some hints and tips about why the whole Fancy-Dress concept is a very VERY bad idea when it comes to your formal. We’ve personally seen hundreds and hundreds of formals over the last 25 years and out of all the Fancy-Dress formals we’ve seen, NONE have gone well. They’ve all been disasters in one respect (or several).
Firstly – if you’re thinking of having your formal in a major prestige venue like a 5-star hotel, forget it! They won’t permit Fancy-Dress for a start. They also know all the same issues we do and they’re right.
There are several reasons why this is a bad idea. Firstly, from a behaviour standpoint, people behave very differently when they’re in a costume. There’s a psychological anonymity that comes into play. If you’re dressed like a different identity, then your sub-conscious believes that your true identity is separate and therefore protected from any consequences resulting from your alter-ego’s actions. In short, people do things in costume that they’d never do in normal clothes because their sub-conscious tells them they’ll get away with it in costume.
Costumes also make people very difficult to identify when they’ve done the wrong thing so from a security standpoint, all venues are covered by CCTV recording from cameras and if people behave badly, either do damage to property or harm to people, the cameras are often the only way to make sure that the guilty person wears the cost and consequence. When people are impossible to identify, it becomes the school, parents or organising committee members who will be next in line for the consequences.
Costumes also provide all sorts of ways for unwanted items to get into your formal. Drugs, alcohol, weapons and all manner of contraband can often be hidden inside elaborate costumes or the props that accompany them. Now to many that may seem like some harmless teenage rebellion but how funny will it be when someone is sick or injured, or if the Police or Security come and shut down the formal and throw everyone out as a result of contraband getting out of control?
Fancy-Dress is uncomfortable when sitting and eating and more so when trying to dance.
Above all – it makes you look like an idiot and there’ll be tons of photos to prove it. Is that the way you want to be remembered 20 years from now?
A formal is exactly that – a “FORMAL”, not a silly children’s dress up party. Use this opportunity to dress elegantly and behave like an adult. You’ll be surprised just how much you’ll enjoy being treated as one.
Fancy-Dress doesn’t work, unless what you’re trying to achieve is greater cost, less venue options, physical discomfort, tears & tantrums and looking like a moron forever in your photos. If that’s what you want – then by all means Fancy-Dress formals are just what you need. Otherwise our best advice is to avoid Fancy-Dress like the plague.