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In the United States, a prom, short for promenade, is a formal dance held at the end of the years of high school and college, called junior prom and senior prom respectively. In British English such an event would be called a ball, although in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand it is also often called a formal. In Australian schools the terms used are either formal or sometimes as Leaver's Dinner, usually so when the night includes a meal. In Ireland it is known as a debs (an abbreviation of debutante ball). In the U.S. a "formal" is typically a similar dance that is held by a fraternity or sorority affiliated with a certain college or university. In Australia, the term "prom" has also come into sparse usage and in Britain it is becoming widespread, because of US influence. The name is derived from the late ninteenth century practice of a Promenade ball. The end of year tradition stemmed from the Graduation Ball tradition.

Quinceanera Halls

Quinceanera Halls: Where The Party At

An early start is the key to planning the perfect quince

Planning your quinceañera can seem overwhelming and complicated. You want to create a party that reflects who you are and your transition into adulthood, one that shows your family and friends just how much they mean to you.

The key to enjoyable planning is starting early. “I tell everyone to start planning early,” says Sylvia Solheim, owner of, an online store. “In the beginning of 2005, I had girls planning their parties for 2008, one for 2010, even. Start early, and be sure your quince reflects you. Every girl is unique, and her party should be, too.” Most likely, for the ceremony, you’ll want to have your quinceañera at the church where you are a member. If that church is too small or already booked, you can always use another nearby. Coordinate church decorations and music with your priest or other church official. Remember, a quinceañera is not a sacramental rite, so you won’t be allowed the same decorations that a wedding might have.

Details, details, details!

Your reception and party will be about 50% of your total expenses, so errors here can be costly. Whether you choose to have your reception at the church hall, a ballroom or your living room, there are a few things to consider when selecting a site, especially location and size. The site should be easy for your guests to get to and large enough to accommodate everyone. Make sure there are enough bathrooms and perhaps a kitchen area, if needed. And be sure to consider parking.

Access is also important. The musicians, DJ, catering staff and decorators will all need to have access to the site before the party. And the clean-up crew will need to come in afterwards, so confirm that the room will be available to them. The band or DJ will need enough electrical outlets, so you'll have to check for those, too.

Where's the party?

You may have decided to have your party at a catering hall, but there are also some advantages to having your reception at the church hall following the mass. It's convenient and economical: Your guests will already be at the site, and a church hall is usually much less expensive than a ballroom.

The disadvantages are that you’ll likely have to do all the clean-up yourself and, because church halls sometimes also double as the church gym or cafeteria, you may have some out-of-place items, such as a blackboard or basketball hoop. A simple backyard event is another option.

Wherever you choose to host your party, remember to make it a location that's special enough for your once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

Olivia Flores Alvarez is the editor of BravoHouston!, an arts supplement to the Hispanic weekly newspaper Semana News. She regularly covers Latinos in entertainment for other Texas based publications, including the Houston Press newspaper and OutSmart Magazine. Olivia is also a contributing reporter for the KPFT Evening News, a Pacifica radio network affiliate.


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