Wellesley Cotillion Honors Timeless Traditions

Large group of boys   maddie & girls

The Cotillion tradition in Wellesley began in the 1940’s as “The Christmas Cotillion” – an exclusive dance attended by the members of a dance class from Wellesley. This event offered a social setting for students to practice dancing skills and to prepare the students for events they would be attending for the rest of their lives.  In the 1950s, the Christmas Cotillion evolved into separate dances: a dance for college students returning home for the holidays and a second celebration for all high school juniors and seniors. The sponsors of the dances were groups of mothers known as “Patronesses”. While the college dance was discontinued during the 1960s, the high school dance continues today as “The Wellesley Cotillion”. For the students, it may be the first winter ball they will attend as young adults and thus will set a precedent for decorum appropriate to formal events. This year’s Wellesley Cotillion is December 13th from 7:30-11:00 PM at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

Suggested attire for the black tie event are suits or tuxedos for the young men, which add an element of sophistication. Female guests undergo an amazing transformation, where they feel ready to ‘walk the red carpet’ in their dazzling dresses and glamorous gowns.

Proper decorum is also expected. Cotillion guests will model impeccable manners and show respect for both fellow guests and parent volunteers. Cotillion protocol calls for each guest to join the receiving line, where they first greet the Cotillion committee, then introduce themselves to the various chaperones.

Ballroom dancing has undergone a significant evolution – transitioning from the 1940’s swing bands, fox trot and waltz to the ballroom scene today where the DJ picks tunes designed to get the party started, keep it energized and inspire guests to dance the night away.

The Wellesley Cotillion has endured for over seven decades, and many of its traditions remain intact. One of the key traditions has been one of parental support. Since the 1940s, the Wellesley Cotillion has been a gift from the parents of Wellesley juniors and seniors to their children. Both public and private school juniors and seniors are invited to attend. There has never been a charge for guest admission, but the parents are asked to give an $85 contribution per attendee. In addition, parents are asked to lend a hand to support the effort, either on the day of Cotillion (such as helping to chaperone, work in coat check or other helpful job) or to serve on the planning committee. Please go to www.wellesleycotillion.weebly.com in order to make a contribution or to volunteer.

Invitations were mailed out last week, and students are asked to formally RSVP to the event by mailing back their reply card. A stamped envelope was included with the invitation to make it easy to respond. Pay Pal has been set up to take contributions, or a personal check is acceptable to include with the reply card.

If you have questions about guest eligibility, making a donation or you would like to volunteer, please contact the Cotillion Committee at wellesleycotillion@gmail.com.