Debuts for the Digital Age
Typically, debut parties are elegant, formal affairs filled with grace, tradition and meaning. Which means that many parents are probably not too keen on changing what “has always worked.” But the truth is, the world your children live in today is very different from the oneyou grew up with.
In the age of digital and social media, it may sometimes be a challenge for you to embrace new trends and behaviors. But for an event such as a debut, you just have to apply a little imagination, do a bit of research, and demonstrate a willingness to “update” some practices so as to be in keeping with the lifestyle and habits of your children.
With that in mind, here are a few ways to add a digital dimension to your child’s debut party – demonstrating to your beloved daughter that you do understand her, her motivations and the online world she walks in.
Create an event page for the debut
Create a private event page on Facebook and designate a hashtag, for example, #jeannasdebutparty, where the evening can be documented with photos, videos and posts from well-wishers and guests. Not only will your daughter be able to share the highlights of the event later on with her friends, but it will also create a common space where your guests can interact across generations.
Leveraging on available free applications online, you can feature the event page as a “wall” projected on a screen during the party so that photos can instantly be uploaded and messages shared in real-time. A simple google search will lead you to several free sites, such as http://www.socialmediawall.me or http://www.livewall.co/
Tips: It may be somewhat daunting to try doing this yourself. Your best bet is to have a tech-savvy friend or relative manage this during the event, or ask your event planner to refer someone with experience doing this. Also, try to make sure there’s a decent internet or wifi connection at your chosen venue so that your guests can participate easily. Share the page link with them early on in the evening, such as adding them as friends when they arrive at registration or inviting them to the event page days before the party. Have the emcee also flash the link or hashtag on the screen several times during the night. Lastly, set the event page to “private” so that you can better avoid online or real-life gate crashers.
Turn 18 roses into 18 selfies
One of the highlights of the traditional debut is the 18 roses, where 18 pre-selected men who are important to the debutante’s life will present her with a rose and a dance each to signify the celebrant’s readiness to enter adult society and experience courtly romance. What better way to add a digital twist to it than to invite the men and the debutante to take selfies as the rose is presented and while they dance. Of course, the event photographer will be present to take photos of each dance, but for the children of Generation Z, selfies are more than just photos, they are instances of personal expression, of capturing and living in a particular, meaningful moment.
18 video candles or animated gifs
Another highlight of a debut is the 18 candles where the significant women in the debutante’s life present her with candles, well-wishes, advice and wisdom. One way to modernize this activity is to have the messages pre-recorded as videos and then uploaded to the event page. Alternatively, prepare the messages ahead of time then upload them as posts with animated images (called gifs)of candles – which are easily found online. The women can then read their messages out loud during the party. One advantage to this is that your well-wishers have the chance to prepare their messages ahead of time, so there’s less chance of them forgetting what they want to say. It’s a great way to also save the messages on an easily accessible social media platform, so that the debutante can read or watch them later without having to need to replay the video coverage from the event.
18 treasures in 18 tweets/Instagrams
A relatively new tradition is the presentation by chosen family and friends of 18 treasures or gifts to the debutante. There’s no reason why photos of these treasures can’t be tweeted or tagged on Instagram. Doing this allows the debutante to see all the treasures in one place, and at the same time, makes it logistically easier when the gifts are large, say, for example, dad is giving her a car. Just remember to collect the real gifts afterwards!
Have a touchscreen digital photo booth
Nowadays, it seems that no event is complete without a photobooth where guests can pose, have a photo taken and then printed out on the spot. But what if the photos can also be instantly emailed or shared online at the event page? With a touchscreen digital photobooth, your guests can arrange and pose themselves and just touch a screen to capture the moment. It’s the perfect complement to the selfie generation’s fascination with posting photos online.
Adding a modern-day twist to your daughter’s debut party isn’t as hard as you might think. What’s important is that you talk to your daughter and find out what she wants and how you can both work to make them happen during the debut. It’s a great way for you to connect and share with each other on a new level!
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