Debutante Guidelines

Requirements for Prospective Debutantes

In order to qualify as a debutante, the young woman must be approximately between 16 and 22 years of age. At least one parent must be of Polish descent or affinity. 

The prospective debutante must not be engaged. 


  • Should complete a biographical sketch, which lists her educational background, scholastic honors and awards, organization memberships, school activities, travels, favorite sports, special talents, hobbies, and any other information that would be useful for publicity purposes. 
  • Must submit her photo for publicity purposes as soon as possible to the English/Polish Publicity Chairs. In addition, the prospective debutante may submit as many additional photos as she wishes to appear in the local/community publications of her choice. However, all publicity pertaining to the Ball is done through the Legion’s Publicity Chairs.
  • Must submit to the Photography Chair and the Program Book Chair, a formal, full-length portrait in her Presentation gown. Photos will be organized by the Photography Chair. 
  • Has the prerogative of selecting her own escort. Relatives or friends may serve as escorts. If requested, the Ball Committee will assist in the selection of an escort. 
  • As her contribution to charity, is asked to obtain as many listings (ad contracts) as possible for the Program Book. The Program Book Chair will provide instructions. 

At the Ball and after the Presentation Ceremony, each debutante will be given a basket of roses to be offered to Ball guests for donations, which will be used by the Legion for its numerous charities. The combined proceeds from this Charity Rose Appeal and from the Program Book listings will determine which debutante becomes the Queen of the White and Red Ball. A portion of the cost of tables reserved by a debutante’s family and friends will be included in the selection of the Queen and Runners-up. 

Requirements for Parents

A Debutante Fee of $500.00 is required from the parent(s) of each debutante. This donation is given to the Legion of Young Polish Women to cover costs associated with the Presentation. The Fee also covers the debutante’s Ball ticket. 

This Fee and other underwritten White and Red Ball expenses may be tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law. 

Parents are encouraged to have at least 10 – 12 guests at the debutante’s table, including the debutante, her parent(s), and her escort. It is a tradition that the debutante’s parent(s) pay for the escort’s ticket. The parent(s) may also reserve as many additional tables as they wish for their relatives and friends who wish to be present at this memorable event. These tables are in the most advantageous location of the ballroom and are near the main table of the debutante. 

In preparation for every White and Red Ball Presentation, the Legion of Young Polish Women sponsors a series of Debutante Teas or other events. The purpose of these events is to provide the prospective debutante and her parent(s) the opportunity of meeting other prospective debutantes, their parent(s), and Ball Committee members. During these events, we share information, suggestions, and enjoyable times. 

Parent-sponsored teas, brunches, and after-rehearsal parties are encouraged. A member of the White and Red Ball Committee (i.e., Chair, Co-Chair, and/or Publicity Chairs) should be included on the guest list. To uphold the prestige of the Ball and the Legion of Young Polish Women, adequate adult supervision of underage participants is required. 

Each debutante is special to her parent(s) and to the Legion of Young Polish Women; however, she is also part of the group Presentation. Therefore, the Legion insists, in fairness to all debutantes being presented, that no private, individual appearances or interviews be given to any media. This issue is central to the Legion’s debutante philosophy and must be respected.

Rehearsals and Dress Rehearsals Information

Rehearsals for the White and Red Ball will start after the New Year. Most rehearsals will be held in the PNA on six or seven consecutive Sundays. The Debutante Coordinator will give the dates and time of these rehearsals to you.

The Dress Rehearsal is always held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago. This is the most important rehearsal and attendance is REQUIRED. 

At some point in the rehearsal schedule, debutante parent(s) will be invited to gather informally at the rehearsal location for discussion about the preparations for the upcoming Presentation. 

At the Dress Rehearsal, debutantes are to wear floor-length, full skirted gowns (not their Presentation gowns) suitable for bowing, and shoes with heels of the same height as those that will be worn the night of the Ball. 

Rehearsal attendance is required by the father, prospective debutante, and her escort. The mother’s presence at these rehearsals is very much appreciated. 

Requirements for Escorts

Escorts are required to attend all rehearsal sessions. Dress shoes MUST be worn to all rehearsals. 

Each escort will have several important responsibilities, and will escort his debutante the entire evening of the Ball. Therefore, inviting a date to the Ball would not be advised. 

Several hours before the Ball, the escort will be at the hotel, dressed and ready for the photo session at the time designated for his debutante by the Photography Chair. 

During the Ball and after the Presentation is completed, each debutante will be given a basket of roses to present to the guests for a donation. During this Charity Rose Appeal, the escort will accompany his debutante among the Ball guests and will be responsible for the money pouch into which all donations are to be directly deposited by donors. After all roses are distributed, each debutante and her escort are to proceed to the counting area. A member of the Charity Rose Appeal Committee will advise them of its location. 

At the Dress Rehearsal, the choreographer will instruct the debutantes and their escorts on the Queen Selection procedure and the escort’s responsibilities, if his debutante is announced as Queen. 

The escort is required to wear traditional white tie and tails. White gloves will be provided by the Legion.

Requirements for Post Debutantes

The post-debutante (Girl in Red) has been presented in recent years. An immediate post-debutante is given preference to participate in the Presentation. 

She assists the debutante through the entire preparation for the Presentation by attending all rehearsals, including the dress rehearsal. 

At all rehearsals, she is required to wear dress shoes, those similar to shoes she will wear the night of the White and Red Ball. 

Each post debutante is entitled to dance the Biały Mazur. 

Night of the White and Red Ball

Debutantes, parents and escorts are encouraged to arrange for early check-in with the hotel. 

All should be dressed and ready for pictures according to the schedule provided by the Photography Chair. It is imperative that everyone adheres to her and his time slots. The photographer must be finished with all pictures before the Receiving Line which begins at 5:30 pm. 

The Legion of Young Polish Women is neither bonded for nor responsible for activities at private “after the Ball” parties.

White and Red Ball Attire

In order to uphold the traditional formality and elegance of the White and Red Ball, the following guidelines are to be respected. 

For the Debutante


  • Presentation gown should be purchased as soon as possible. Floor-length all white gowns with a full skirt to allow for the deep bowing. (Beading and sequins are acceptable if white; no trains) 

White gloves

  • long length if the gown has short sleeve
  • wrist-length if gown has long sleeves 


  • Plain, white fabric.
  • We advise a low heel, and breaking in your shoes in advance!

Hair, jewelry and accessories should be simple and elegant. Make-up should be very natural. 

For the Parents: 


  • Black, full-dress (white tie and tail coat) 
  • The Ball Committee provides white gloves and boutonniere 


  • Formal floor length gown 

For the Escort

  • Black full dress (white tie and tail coat) 
  • The Ball Committee provides white gloves and boutonnière 

For Post-Debutante

  • Red full-length gown with straps for dancing the fiery Biały Mazur. Caution needs to be taken, as to not place the post- debutante in an embarrassing situation. 
  • Shoes dyed to match (no ballet slippers or backless shoes, and a maximum heel of 2 inches for ease in dancing the Biały Mazur
  • White gloves matches to the length of gown sleeves. 

For the Guests


  • Formal floor-length gowns 


  • Black full-dress (tuxedo and black tie or white tie and tails) 

Guests who are improperly dressed will be denied admission to the Ball. Please advise your guests accordingly