The Debutante Program of Sarasota & Manatee Counties
Expectations & Social Protocol
Each Escort will conduct himself as a gentleman at all times; courtesy toward others is essential. When in doubt about how you should conduct yourself, choose to be more polite than you think could ever be required.
Before an Event
Invitations: All Debutantes, parents of the Debutantes, Escorts and the Debutante Committee will be invited to each event. Some families may choose to also invite family members and friends. You cannot invite (or substitute) guests to any event. If your invitation does not arrive, please contact the Escort Advisor.
You have to respond “yes” or “no” to your invitation. Often there is a RSVP date on the invitation – answer before that date. As a ‘best practice,’ the Debutante Committee recommends that you respond on the day you receive the invitation. Late replies will not be accepted and those who reply after the RSVP date will not be allowed to attend that event.
If your answer changes, call the family hosting the party and also call the Debutante you are escorting, ASAP.
Event Themes, Costumes and Dress Code
Event themes are customary and each invitation will give some information about the expected attire for guests. Escorts should consult the Debutante they are escorting regarding their outfit or costume for the evening.
Escorts must arrive in an outfit that will not offend any guest (particularly Debutante parents and grandparents, and members of the Debutante Committee.) Jeans/denim should not be worn to any event unless it specifically fits the theme (i.e., Western or Bar-B-Q). “Weapons” as part of any costume, even toys, are not permitted. No offensive slogans or slurs can be printed on clothing.
Escorts must (at a minimum) wear (1) a shirt that covers the chest and back, and (2) shorts/pants that cover the upper legs. Shoes should be worn at all times.
At the Event
Arrival: Escorts should coordinate transportation to the event with the Debutante, her parents and the other escort; typically the Debutante and two escorts arrive and leave together. Make certain that you can arrive on time.
Receiving line: Enter the event by greeting the hosting parents(s), Debutante(s) and Escorts. When the Debutante you are escorting is hosting an event, you will arrive before the stated event time and be part of the receiving line.
Departure: Remain at the event until the conclusion of the evening (leaving no sooner than 20 minutes before the time stated on the invitation). Deb &Escorts must stay at the event (inside/within the specified area); no leaving and re-entry.
Conduct: Speak and act as a gentleman, escort “your” Debutante, cooperate with requests from hosting parents or Debutante Committee members and stand when you speak to adults.
• Use utensils (silverware) unless you are sure the food is finger food
• Do not overload your plate in the buffet line; do not eat in line
• Use a napkin
• Don’t play with the food
• Do NOT remove any decorations unless you are specifically invited to take it.
Dancing: If “your” Debutante wants to dance, please offer to dance with her. Nothing you do on the dance floor or anywhere at the party should embarrass or shock Debutante parents and grandparents, or members of the Debutante Committee. If your Debutante or an adult requests that you change your style, please comply with the request.
Electronics: Escorts will not use cell phones, text messaging (send or receive), iPods or any other electronic devices at Debutante events.
Gifts: Gifts to Debutantes or event hosts are never required nor expected at Debutante events.
Social Media: Refrain from posting or commenting about events or the program.
Thank-you notes are required to be written and mailed to each host/hosting family within one week of the party. Email does not fulfill this requirement.
1. Hand write your note, stamp (no email) and mail within one week of the event:
a. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Last name,
b. At least 3 sentences.
i. Thank them for the event.
ii. Reference something about the event (food, dancing, theme, etc)
iii. Mention your Debutante and how much you enjoyed the event.
c. Sign your name VERY legibly
Personal conduct: All Escorts (as well as all Debutantes) are required to act honorably and with due regard to high standards of personal conduct; if an Escort becomes an embarrassment to the Debutante program because of personal conduct, that Escort will be withdrawn from the Debutante program. (For example but not limiting the discretion of the Committee: expulsion from school, arrest, etc.)
Alcohol/any illegal substances: The Debutante Committee maintains a ZERO tolerance policy for Debutantes and Escorts regarding the use of alcohol/any illegal substances before, during or after any Debutante event. The penalty for use is immediate removal from the Debutante program.