It's that time of year. Juniors and seniors in Wellesley are looking forward to putting on the “glitz.” The annual Wellesley Cotillion is coming, and invitations to the top-shelf formal event in Boston will be going out in the days ahead.
By November, students throughout town will receive invitations to the swanky affair. This year’s Cotillion, open to all of the town's junior and seniors from public and private schools, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Dorothy Quincy Suite in the Back Bay Events Center in Boston's Copley Square. Organizers have been planning for months for the holiday season tradition, funded exclusively through parent donations.
This right of passage for Wellesley's young people attracts hundreds of guests. Many students invite dates, while many others choose to attend solo or with a group of friends for the formal occasion. One of the charming elements of accepting an invitation to attend Cotillion, is the continuing tradition of returning an RSVP response card by mail to organizers.
Since the event moved to Boston in 2008 (it used to be held at ) no students are turned away. The Boston venue can accommodate some 700 guests. One of the surprises for newcomers is that Cotillion is free for Wellesley teens, and is a gift from generous sponsors in Wellesley and parent volunteers who work each year to make it a special event.
This year will be no different for Cotillion attendees. Since it began in the middle of the last century, those attending the dance do so in black tie and formal wear. A "receiving line" comprised of parent chaperones and volunteers kicks off the event, followed by dancing and celebrating in a prom-like setting.
The 60-year history of the event helps it to survive, with many parents continuing to support the Cotillion because it is such a unique, town-wide event.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to donate to keep this wonderful event lively and engaging. Parent volunteers are still being recruited and they are described by organizers as "crucial" to its success.
The Wellesley Cotillion continues to evolve. Fifty years ago attendees danced to a live band. Now, a DJ provides the musical backdrop for the night. Parents and organizers deserve a tip of the hat for keeping the tradition alive for each generation of students, who benefit from experiencing a formal event that is designed just for them.
Teens seem to respect the formality of Cotillion, and its zero-tolerance policies for any kind of illegal drug or alcohol use. Many of their parents who grew up in town, attended the event as high school students.
The event has been problem-free in the past few years, according to organizers, who call the 2010 Cotillion a "phenomenal" success. Parents and their teens work out transportation arrangements (yes, they often hire limos and buses) and coordinate before and after parties.
It is striking that in an era when manners and etiquette often seem to be forgotten, that there is such interest in 2011's Cotillion. Teens have been buzzing about it for some time, and say it is a chance for them to learn confidence in a social setting.
It's a tradition that is likely to endure in Wellesley, no matter the state of the economy. Hopefully, interest in a formal dance for teens is a reflection of a desire to swing the pendulum back to a time when manners and civility ruled the day.