One thing that I always looked forward to and dreaded at the same time was my matric ball. I looked forward to it because it was the only time that you’d really get dressed up, besides your wedding – if you’re into that. I dreaded it because I was incredibly shy and knew that all eyes would be on me that day; and of course, I had to find a partner!

Beside this emotional turmoil, there was also the matter of the expense. Matric balls cost money and it’s important to start saving a few months in advance so you aren’t caught off guard. Here are some things that you may need to pay and save for:

• The matric ball ticket. That may also include a partner’s.
• The dress or suit
• Shoes
• Makeup
• Bag
• Jewellery
• Car hire
• Professional photos – I never wanted any professional photos.

Getting ready

The Dress – I have always been very selective; some might call it picky. Either way, I just knew what I wanted in a dress. I also knew that I certainly didn’t want to spend a fortune on my dress or anything else, including a car.

I can’t give you any tips on where to find a cheap grand dress, because I borrowed mine and I’m not ashamed of it. My aunt knew of someone who had a beautiful dress that she had only worn once. I jumped at the opportunity because not only was the dress beautiful, I didn’t have to pay a dime for it.

The Shoes – I had a charcoal colour dress and my aunt and mom thought that a great colour to go along with it would be red. It was such a high heel that I had to practise walking in it. I remembered it was bought at YDE.

Hair – Oh the hair! I had quite long hair back in grade 12 so I wanted to do an updo hairstyle as it also complimented the dress since I had a one-shoulder dress. It’s important to remember that your hair should complement your dress; it just really brings your whole look together.

Makeup – When I was in high school I never wore any makeup and therefore I wanted a natural toned makeup look; but nothing too boring too. Make sure that your makeup complements your dress.

Jewellery – I didn’t wear a single piece of jewellery because a necklace wouldn’t complement the dress and I had – and still have no ear piercings – so I couldn’t wear earrings.
Bag – I had a cute little clutch; big enough to fit my phone and hold my matric ball ticket. Never have too big a bag as it should not overshadow the dress. Something small will always work well.

Keep in mind

With all the glitz and glam surrounding matric balls, and the idea that this ball might only happen once in your life, it would seem in the moment like a good idea to splurge and go all out. Only, the opposite is true! I think you should be wise and hire a dress because once you buy a dress, when will you wear it again?

In terms of shoes, try to take something that you may potentially wear again. I mean, I have never worn my red stiletto again and that’s such a waste for such a beautiful shoe.

I think the same sentiments can be said for a car; don’t spend too much money! Try to get a nice car but you’ll only be in the car for a little while so going big will really just be a waste of money.

The memories

For context, I eventually did find a partner. In fact, he was a foreign exchange student from Italy. He was really interested in experiencing what a matric ball was like, so he was eager to go when I asked him. Yes, I asked him! I was so nervous when I did, but luckily he agreed.

I remember on the day of the matric ball my partner came in with red flowers, to complement my red theme, of course. My mom had decked out a table with finger foods for the guests. Everything was simple, but pretty.

I remember taking so many photos; I truly felt like a celebrity.

The overall experience of the ball was exciting and something I may probably never forget. I got to be with my friends, and sat at a table with them. Take pictures that will help you remember the night forever. I even attempted to dance, and I was terrible at it let me add; but I tried nonetheless.

There was an after party at one of my classmate’s home – something I never saw myself attending. But I ended up going and brought along a few of my other foreign friends who too wanted to experience the South African party scene. We stayed for a bit and ended up leaving earlier than we expected because one of my foreign friends got ill.

I had a wonderful matric ball experience, and I have enjoyed sharing my little tips and my memories with you. I hope your matric will be something to remember and if you already had one I hope that you enjoyed yourself as much as I did.



Tell us: What about the matric ball are you looking forward to most or what is your fondest matric ball memory?

Read more here on the long wait for your matric results.