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9
The Court of Honor

A group of chambelans pose for a picture.

Erin Patrice O'Brien/Taxi/Getty Images

As we mentioned on the last page, a quinceañera may have a court of young men and women to support her during the special celebration. The court may accompany her down the aisle in the church procession, but it also has customary roles in the reception afterward.

Traditionally, a full court is made up of 14 girls (damas) and 14 boys (chambelans), in addition to an escort for the quinceañera herself, with each couple representing a year of the girl’s life. However, for simplicity’s sake, some people choose to halve this. Some families opt for seven girls and seven boys, while others have a court of just 14 damas or just 14 chambelans.

The quinceañera will typically ask friends and family members to make up her court. Like a wedding party, the girls will be expected to wear matching gowns, and the men will be asked to wear tuxes. So, etiquette experts recommend that a quinceañera fully prepare her court for what it will involve. When she asks someone to join her court, she should let him or her know what to expect when purchasing or renting a gown or tuxedo.

Also, the court should be prepared for a special dance during the celebration, which is another favorite tradition that we'll explain on the next page.

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