My Debut – Part 2: 18 Candles and Roses

In addition to the Cotillion Dance that I talked about last week, there are a couple other traditions surrounding the Debut that I want to share with you.

First is the 18 candles ceremony. In this tradition, the celebrant chooses 18 female friends and/or family members to prepare a short one to two minute speech talking about their speech for the debutante. So when I sent out my invitations, I sent a special note to 18 of my closest girlfriends, aunts, and female cousins asking that they take part in this tradition. There aren’t really any rules or guidelines for what the speeches have to be like, so the girls can be as creative as they want to be. One of my friends even decided to write me a little poem about our friendship; which was very cute. When it came time for the ceremony during the actual Debut celebration, the 18 ladies lined up, each holding a lit candle. One by one they gave their speech and then handed me the candle. Each time I received a candle, I would add it to my cake so that by the end of the ceremony, there would be 18 candles on my cake for me to blow out and make a wish. Their speeches meant a lot to me and it showed how much they really cared and reminded me that I am blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

The other tradition, called the 18 roses ceremony, is somewhat like the 18 candles, except that it’s for boys. Instead of girls, I chose 18 of my closest guy friends and male cousins and instead of candles, they each gave me a single rose. During this ceremony, the 18 gentleman lined up and took their turn to waltz with me for about 20 seconds. Each time one of them came up to me, they would hand me their rose and I could collect them in my hand. By the end of the ceremony, I had a bouquet of 18 roses. It was a sweet ceremony, but the thing that made it really special for me was that the 18th rose was my boyfriend of 2 ½ years. This may sound cheesy, but it was a magical moment – definitely one of the highlights of the night.

Yay! More pictures!

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5 Responses to My Debut – Part 2: 18 Candles and Roses

  1. Erika Arrojado says:

    In response to Professor Bedell:

    Not all young women have this event. Some choose not to have one and there’s also the matter of whether or not it’s affordable. So yes, social standing would dictate whether or not a girl could have a Debut. But some families tone it down to bring lower the price. A friend of mine had her Debut in a public park; it was very casual and the only expenses were the cake, the food, and the 18 roses and candles.

  2. Lori Bedell says:

    In the US, I know this used to be something people did, but it was reserved for the very wealthy. I don’t know if it’s a tradition that’s still carried on today, but it was about 30 years ago.

    Do all young women have this event?

  3. Katie Bell says:

    This sounds awesome! It sounds like a really meaningful and great ceremony. It’s nice to have a time when your friends can tell you how much they love and appreciate you-that was probably really nice to hear. Sounds like a lot of fun too!

  4. Lydia Brough says:

    I LOVE your dress! This celebration sounds so special–I wish I had the opportunity to go to a Debut. The pictures are adorable too!

  5. Marisa Howley says:

    This sounds so fun! I never heard of this tradition and it is very interesting to hear about. Its so nice that you get to pick those special people and they write about you in return.

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