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Dama Selection 102: How to Ask

Congratulations! You have your list of who you want to be your damas. Now comes the tricky part: Asking. It’s easy to ask your family members. They’re probably “expecting” to be invited anyway. Some of your friends who are already Quinceaneras, or who will be soon, will be easier to invite because their already families know exactly what to expect. But even if you know your friend is anxious to be in your court, there are still a couple of people “higher up the ladder” than she is. So let’s talk about the perfect way to ask someone to be your dama.

Once Again, it’s Family First

It might surprise you, but did you know you’re supposed to ask your friend’s parents’ permission before you invite your friend? Even if all of your families are really close, you’ll still need to speak to each court member’s parents and get permission.

They also will probably be the ones to make sure your friend gets to and from dance rehearsals and any meetings you might have with your court, so by inviting your friend, you’re committing her parents to spending extra time making sure she gets where she needs to be for your Quince.

Courtesy also calls for your parents to go with you when you ask permission, and even though that can feel awkward, it actually works in your favor. Having your parents there lets your friend’s folks know you have your family’s complete support.

How to Ask in 10 Easy Steps

We’ll bet you’ve heard this all before, but some things bear repeating when it comes to parents, right? Here we go:

  1. Show Respect

The most important thing to do first is to thank your friend’s parents for taking the time to talk with you. Then use all those fancy manners your folks have focused on since you were little:

  • Even if you know the family, act as if you were a first-time guest—meaning don’t kick your shoes off, etc.
  • If they offer you a drink or snacks, say yes but don’t pig out.
  • Listen respectfully and participate in any small talk they want before jumping into the Quince conversation.
  • Then ask permission to tell them what a Quince is all about.

Tip: You might find it helpful to take a note card or a list of points to mention. That way you’ll remember to cover all the bases.

2. Explain Why it’s Not a Sweet 16

One of the most important things to explain first is the difference between a Quince and a Sweet 16. A Sweet 16 is a lot of fun, and in many places, it’s held in high regard and celebrated with a debutante ball or other formal event. Your Quinceanera is different because it has an important spiritual aspect and is more like a Jewish bat mitzvah because there’s a religious ceremony that symbolizes your new status as a young adult.

3. Explain the Mass and Blessing

Tell them a little about what will happen in the Mass and especially how the blessing makes your Quince more than a regular birthday party. Have the date, time and location ready and explain that your friend needs to be available that entire day.

4. Clarify the Corte de Honor Duties

Talk about the dances you’ll do at your reception and why each member of the Court needs to be at the rehearsals. Also, if you’re having a full Mass, you’ll more than likely have a rehearsal beforehand.

Be prepared to give your friend’s parents a list of as many dates and times as possible. Don’t forget to mention photo sessions and what time everyone will be getting ready on the big day.

These details will help the parents know how much of their personal time will be needed when it comes to your Quince.

5. Mention the Expenses

Unless your family is paying for everything, your friend’s parents will have to buy the dress and shoes and whatever else you want your court wear.

If you have an idea of what you want—fancy dress, some other matching outfit, specific shoes, etc.—share that information, too.

6. Talk About the Timetable

Next give them a rundown of what you have thus far for dates of when things will happen and/or need to get done. For instance, let them know roughly what week dance practices will begin, if possible what days practices will be on, and when each dama needs to have her final fitting. If you want to shop for dresses with your damas, give an idea of when you’d like to do that.

If your church or parish expects your court to come with you to any preparation meetings, retreat events, or another activity that’s required so that you can have your Quince in the church, share that information with your friend’s parents as well.

7. Ask if the Parents Have any Questions

You may be able to skip this step if your families know each other well. But if this is the first time you’re meeting your friend’s folks, this will give them a chance to ask any other questions they might have. Some parents aren’t comfortable letting their children spend time with someone they don’t know, but if they have an opportunity to ask you about yourself, and perhaps ask your mom and dad some questions, they may be more likely to give their permission.

8. Invite the Parents to the Party

While you’ll be sending out more formal invitations to your Quinceanera ceremony and reception, invite your friend’s parents verbally right then. Also, consider asking them if they’d like to watch the dance practices and attend your Quinceanera Mass rehearsal if you have one.

Note: You might think you should ask permission first, but an  invitation to your Quince—whether or not they decide to attend—is the polite thing to do.

9. Ask Permission

Even if your friend’s folks already volunteered sometime earlier in the meeting that it’s fine for their daughter to be in your court, you still need to ask formally. If they didn’t volunteer, now is the time to ask if they have any other questions.

When it looks like all questions have been settled, then just say simply, “May I have your permission to invite Maria to be in my court of honor?”

10. Offer Sincere Thanks

Even if your families know each other or your friend’s parents are already familiar with what’s involved in a Quinceanera, you should still thank them once more for taking the time to meet with you.

Even more importantly, if the parents say no, you should thank them for being willing to discuss it. Also, because for sure your friend will be invited to the party, extend another invitation for the parents to attend as well.

They may not take you up on your offer, but it’s still good manners to let them know that they’re welcome.

A Rerun of Our Most Important Tip: Control your Emotions!

Especially if your friend’s parents say no, do your best to hide your disappointment while you’re still in their house. You can express your feelings to your folks on the way home providing you don’t get defensive or dramatic or say anything insulting about your friend’s family.

Then when you get home, get out your trusty notebook and write down all of your feelings of disappointment and anger that you don’t get to have your friend in your court. Your notebook is the place to vent your anger especially.

And no matter the outcome—whether you get to have your friend in your court or whether you were denied permission to invite them—be very proud of yourself for handling this important conversation in a mature and respectful way!

To learn more about who to choose to be damas in your court of honor, click here: Dama Selection 101: 8 Steps on Who to Choose