The Father Daughter Dance

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you were probably flooded with tons of photos this weekend.  Dads in suits.  Daughters in dresses.  Maybe with a corsage.

And it could only mean one thing.  A Father Daughter Dance.

Father Daughter Dance

And if you’re my friend on Facebook, you saw my posts, too.  My four year-old daughter was escorted to her first dance by her father, who was just as excited as she was.

We got the invitation a month ago, and before even asking my daughter if she wanted to go, my husband was all in.  But would my daughter want to attend?

Do unicorns fart rainbows?

Of COURSE she wanted to go.  How could she not want to attend The Ball of the Elementary School circuit?

Let’s consult some criteria for my little girl’s party attendance, shall we?:

  • Would she be able to dress up?  Yes.
  • Would this be an excuse for glitter?  Of course.
  • Would she be able to eat cake and spin and twirl to the brink of vomit?  Absolutely.

My daughter is a girlie girl.  One who bites at that Disney romanticism of princesses and balls and true love hook, line and sinker.

She loves wearing dresses.  If it sparkles, it’s beautiful in her eyes.  There are enough princess costumes in our house to outfit an entire preschool class.

And yet, she also has a hard edge that I love about her.  She likes pink and purple, but her favorite outfit du jour is her all-black goth ensemble.  My little girl rocks a tutu over jeans like nobody’s business.  She would wear my son’s old Darth Vader costume in a heartbeat.

Still, she’s a firm believer that date nights require shunning pants in lieu of more frilly attire.

So, we went to a department store and picked out a dress for her big night.  It was understated, with just enough sparkles, but with plenty of fabric to fan out like a tent when she spun around.

As we stood in line to check out, she asked what I would be wearing when her brother and I went on our big night out while she was at the dance – Steak ‘n’ Shake and the LEGO movie.  I told her “probably jeans and a sweater.”

Oh no…you can’t go like that.  Here, Mommy.  HERE’S what you need to wear on your date with my brother…

And then, she dragged me to a mannequin donning a floor length, single-shoulder, pink and orange ombré prom gown with a bedazzled waistline and shockingly asymmetrical back cutout.  Oh, and don’t forget the train.

I respectfully declined.  Can you imagine showing up to the 6:45 LEGO movie, surrounded by tween boys, in sequins and chiffon?

But I digress. Back to my daughter….

She knew that the Father Daughter dance was a special occasion.  One she’d get to play dress-up for.  We even went to a kiddie salon and got her hair done for her big date.  Because Mommy has two styles in her arsenal:  Down.  And disheveled ponytail.

However, I was concerned that I was feeding in to the beauty frenzy.  Fueling that all-too-well-known insecurity and concern with appearances.  That I was sending her the wrong message.

So in exchange, I went well out of my way to let her know that she didn’t need a sparkly dress, fancy hair or a schmear of lipstick to be gorgeous.  That she was a strong, smart girl who was beautiful inside and out, just the way she was.

But you know what?  She didn’t care.  She wanted to be transported.  For one night, she wanted to feel like a princess.  Glamorous.  Fancy.  With a touch of gloss.  And I’m glad I got to help her feel special for that Father Daughter dance.  Feminism be damned!

Well…just for one night.

Let’s just hope that whatever date she happens to bring to her first real dance, he’s as excited and adoring and gentlemanly as her father.


Has your daughter attended a Father/Daughter dance?  Did she find it magical?

Be sure to continue the conversation by leaving a comment below, on or .


  1. I only have sons. sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. I’d also love a girl, but we’re done having kids. Even if we would have chosen to try one more time to have a girl, we could have had another boy. Not to say that’s bad. I would have loved him to.

    There’s just something about going out to pick out girly things that’s fun.

    I bet they had a blast at their dance.
    Alissa Apel recently posted…My Profile

    • They had an absolute blast, Alissa! And yes, picking out girly things WAS pretty fun. However, I can remember taking my son shopping for a certain hat he wanted, and when we found one he loved, it was that same look on his face. The one that said he had found something that spoke to him, that expressed himself somehow.

  2. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that dance. Although I’d be the fly that sobbed so hard she drowned herself. Cuter than cute.

    • Oh, I’ve seen video, Keesah, and it’s freakin’ adorable. Sure, there was a fair amount of 4yo girl drama and whining as well. But overall, she had a fantastic time.

  3. I remember my own father-daughter dances well; I am the mother of a son, so I can only hope they start hosting mother-son dances before he gets too big. :-) Stopping by from SITS Girls Comment Love Tribe. Have a great day!
    Gailyc recently posted…Cleaning HouseMy Profile

    • I think Mother-Son dances would be great! Our school does Mom and Son breakfasts, so instead of shimmer and curls, we get to share sugar and fat. Not too bad of a trace, I suppose! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. No daughters here, but your princess sounds adorable! That image of you in a prom dress at the LEGO movie made me laugh :D
    Tarana recently posted…Fearing the worst, expecting the bestMy Profile

    • She is pretty adorable, Tarana, but thanks for validating my parental pride! Yeah, I think I would have gotten some pretty weird looks in that outfit.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful night, and I hope you enjoyed your jeans and Lego Movie.
    Julia recently posted…Tips for starting a Toy RotationMy Profile

  6. What a fun wonderful night for her. Sadly my daughter hasn’t had that chance yet but I have no doubt she would love it completely. That would have been really funny if you showed up in that dress to the Lego movie.
    Emmy recently posted…If My Daughter Were PresidentMy Profile

    • It was a pretty special night for both of them, and my daughter is already talking about going again next year. If you get the chance, I would do it! Can you see me chowing down on popcorn and raisinets while kicking back in a prom gown? Although, I’m sure it’s been done before.

  7. So sweet. Don’t we moms have a tendency of seeing the whole future (and usually the worst-case scenarios) at once? But one little night of sparkle and glam. That’s enough for her. Love it.
    Erica – Let Why Lead recently posted…It Was Never RandomMy Profile

    • I know, I really did need to loosen up and just let her enjoy being girlie without over thinking it was going to screw her up and require therapy later. She was back to rugged attire and inking herself with markers a mere 15 hours later. :)

  8. I think it’s so fun they were both excited and happy about it, and that you and your son had your own outing to look forward to. Stopping by from SITS GIrls

    • Believe me, Ellen, both kids were BEYOND excited about their big dates. There was a countdown. The day could not have come faster. And thankfully, both dates lived up to their expectations! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. My daughter is 16 now and still wants to go to the Father Daughter Dances! :) They are so special! Stopping by from SITS. :)
    Diane recently posted…Foil Packet Salmon with Tangerines, Shalots and ParsleyMy Profile

    • That’s so sweet, Diane! I imagine that my daughter will continue to want to attend these dances. Thanks for stopping in!

  10. This sounds like such a wonderful experience for everyone! These dances were actually banned in a nearby town because “not everyone has a father”. *Sigh* Shame, because my 4-year-old would love this!
    Emma @ P is for Preschooler recently posted…Play & Learn with Recyclables and Kids Co-opMy Profile

    • It WAS a great day for all of us. That’s a shame about the dances being cancelled! At our school, they call it “Father” daughter dances, but really emphasize that it can be any important male figure in a little girl’s life, which I like.

  11. Sounds like such a wonderful time! Never did a father-daughter dance. I don’t even remember my town having them but I have heard a lot about them!
    Emily recently posted…Unextreme Snow CreamMy Profile

    • Thanks, Emily, it was a memorable night. I never did one as a kid, and hadn’t really even heard of them until we had a daughter in school. It’s pretty cute.

  12. Oh my gosh such a cute story. We never had a father daughter dance where I grew up. The first time I heard of them was a few years ago from a co-worker, I was shocked haha.

    Just so you know, I literally laughed out loud picturing you showing up to the LEGO movie in the dress she picked out. That’s awesome haha.
    Michelle @ The MaMade Diaries recently posted…10 Toys for Speech and Language DevelopmentMy Profile

    • Thanks, Michelle! I never had them either, but I imagine I would have eaten that up as a kid. Glad my image made you laugh! I love that my daughter thought that was appropriate movie wear!

  13. I can hear the excitement in this post and I hope your dance is a fantastic success!
    Heather recently posted…Oh, The Things I Can Do With Mom’s Plastic ContainersMy Profile

    • That’s really kind of you to say, Heather! The dance was a huge hit, and my daughter danced her little heart out!

  14. So sweet! I’m glad that she got to dress up and have a wonderful evening out!
    Earl-leigh recently posted…Ice, Ice, Baby I’m FreezingMy Profile

  15. aww so much sweetness in one post! I refused to wear pants until 2nd grade…dresses and frilly skirts were just SO superior in my mind. :)

    And yes, I’m pretty sure that unicorns DO fart rainbows. Glittery rainbows.
    Erin recently posted…That Time My Blog Demanded Plastic Surgery {Plus Six Great Resources for Customizing Basic Blogs}My Profile

    • I really appreciate your kind words, Erin! My daughter prefers to wear a tutu over leggings, though she likes a good dress. I’m not really girlie with my clothing, though I do like wearing skirts and dresses in the summer – so much cooler!

  16. This is one of the best posts I have ever read. Father daughter dances rock! I remember my first one and I wasjust like your daughter. I had to look my absolute best for my big day! My dad played along and rented a tux just so I could have my big princess night. It was amazing!

    Stopping by with comment love from the SITS girls !
    Ida recently posted…Boomers! Family Entertainment CentersMy Profile

    • Ida, you’ve made my day with those comments! Thank you. The memories you have of the same kind of dance with your father are so sweet, and I love that he rented a tux! I could totally see my husband doing that. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. This was such a fun read! I love your story-telling style! So glad I stopped by via SITS!
    Emily @ Words I Wheel By recently posted…It’s Words I Wheel By’s 6 Month Blogiversary! (And Other Big News!)My Profile

  18. Love your writing.

    Sounds like your daughter knows her own mind (and of course you need to have sparkles for a dance). sounds like she’ll have a blast with her dad, and hopefully you’ll enjoy the lego movie. #SITSblogging
    Emma T recently posted…Childhood influence – forever friends?My Profile

    • Aw, thanks, Emma. I appreciate that. Yes, my daughter has been a girl that knows exactly what she wants since she was an infant@ She had a great tie, and my son and I loved the LEGO movie. Thanks for stopping by!

  19. I love it! I am all for empowering our girls but, at the same time, half the fun of being a girl is pink nail polish and shiny lip gloss. I bet your little one had the time of her life on her big date!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Comment on Helping & Getting Help – Domestic Violence by FeliciaMy Profile

    • Yes, you’re so right about having some fun with being frilly and girly. She felt like such a little lady and had a great time. Her dress has now become a “costume”, so I guess I don’t have to much to worry about.

  20. So Sweet ! Your daughter sounds so adorable. I don’t have any kids yet, if I have a daughter, I would love to see those two dance :)
    Stopping by from SITS Girls
    Divya recently posted…My Profile

    • I’m a bit biased, but I think my daughter is a total cutie pie. And it may sound weird, but there’s nothing more handsome than seeing your husband treat his daughter like a princess!

  21. Heather A Stafford says:

    I don’t have any children, but I’ve noticed several people posting about Daddy/Daughter dances and Donuts with Daddy at school. Are these things that happen the same time of year every year across the country? I just happened to notice a “trend” and wasn’t sure.

    And…I don’t blame your daughter for wanting glitter and wanting to dress up! That’s the best part!

    • Yeah, I think they try to coordinate all of those things with Valentine’s day. I didn’t realize they were happening all around the same time until friends started posting pictures on Facebook. And my daughter thought getting fancy was The Best!

  22. So sweet!! Found you via SITS!!
    Gabby@MamaGab recently posted…Slow Cooker Tomato Basil SoupMy Profile

  23. What a touching story! I am tearing up just a bit! I know at the school where I teach, we have both Daddy/Daughter and Mommy/Son dances. I say glitter all the way!
    DisneyGalGayle recently posted…Romance + Valentine’s Day = Everyone’s Favorite Diva-Miss PiggyMy Profile

    • Aw, thanks, Gayle! I SO wish they did a Mother/Son dance. We’d have a BLAST! I think the only thing I get is a Mother’s Tea.

  24. This is so sweet! I wish they had these dances at my school when I was growing up:) Stopping by from your SITS Girls Tribe!
    Ginnie recently posted…Hello, Friday! Link RoundupMy Profile

    • I know! We didn’t have these when I was a kid, but I think I would have loved it. The only time I remember dancing with my father was at relatives weddings. Glad you stopped in!

  25. Oh, this made me cry (happy cry). I still remember attending the Father Daughter dance with my Dad! Magical…

    Dropping by from SITS girls today.
    diane padoven recently posted…Hot Chocolate, New Mexican StyleMy Profile

    • Oh, yay for happy cry! I do think my daughter will carry this memory with her for a very long time. I hope forever! Glad you stopped by!

  26. We didn’t have these kinds of dances when I was a kid eleventy billion years ago. I loved reading this post and thinking about the beautiful memories she will have of this special time with her daddy! And yes…sometimes even the strongest, most self-assured girl needs to feel like a princess, even if it’s just for one night! You are a fabulous mom for helping her find the balance!
    Geri C recently posted…The Life Organizer: A Woman’s Guide to a Mindful Year – ReviewMy Profile

    • I don’t think we had these dances when I was a kid either! But thanks for your kind words. You’re right, all I can do is hope to provide balance and let her do the rest. I do hope that she’ll cherish this memory for years to come.

  27. Aww how adorable is she!! I dream of a daughter :) I took my son to see lego movie too! Stopping by from SITS girls.
    Ebony recently posted…Men Need Love and Romance Too + Chocolate Caramel Dipped Strawberry
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  28. Such an awesome experience. Our girls are only 4 months and 23 months. I can’t wait for times like these. I know I am going to ball like a baby. There is nothing more lovely than an kind of father daughter time.
    Erica C recently posted…Happy Valentine’s Day from Mama’s Mission and The #MuppetsMostWantedMy Profile

    • I surprised myself but not getting teared up! I think she just felt so special with her Daddy, there’s nothing quite like it.

  29. I had never heard of a Father Daughter Dance outside of weddings, so this is certainly an interesting concept for me. It sounds like a lot of fun though and wish I would have known about it when I was younger and my father was still around. I hope that when I have children that I have a daughter and that she will be able to participate in something like this.
    Felicia recently posted…Signs of Spring: Tiger LilyMy Profile

    • I hadn’t heard of them either, but I’m glad we were able to take advantage of the opportunity. I still wish, as a culture, that we danced more outside of weddings and such!

  30. We had dances like this growing up. I’ve always thought this was very special. I absolutely love your pic up above. Very sweet!
    Gloria // Simply Gloria recently posted…Show Stopper Saturday Link Party, Featuring Fun Doughnuts!My Profile

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