High School

What Is the Difference Between a School Formal and Ball?

School Ball, High School Formal, Year 12 Formal, Debutante Ball, Prom. What is the difference?

The answer is nothing. Different states and countries all over the world refer to the this same event of students celebrating leaving high school and moving on to the next phase of their adult lives, whether it be university, college, employment or technical and further education.

Regardless of what it is called the school ball, high school formal, year 12 formal, school formal, prom, leavers ball, leavers dinner or the debutante ball – it is the biggest social event and celebration on the school calendar and is a very special event in a teenager’s life.

School Balls

A school ball is a formal ball held for students during their final year of high school. In Perth, Western Australia in most government schools your final year ball is called the School Ball. A few private schools in Perth WA refer to this event as the School Formal or Year 12 Formal. In Perth, WA we refer to dresses and suits worn to these events as ball dresses, ball gowns and suits, or ball suits.

School Formals

A School Formal, Formal or Year 12 Formal, is an event held during the school year for students in Brisbane QLD, Sydney NSW, Melbourne VIC, Adelaide SA, Tasmania HOBART, Darwin NT and New Zealand high schools. Dresses and suits worn to a school formal are referred to as Formal dresses, Formal Gowns and Formal Suits.


The word Prom is short for promenade. The Prom is a formal black tie dance, or gathering of high school students. It held at the end of junior and/or senior year. It is a major event among high school students. Proms are held in USA, Canada and some parts of the UK. Dresses and Suits worn to Prom are referred to Prom Dresses, Prom Gowns and Prom Suits.

Debutane Ball or Deb Ball

USA, England, Ireland and some parts of Australia hold Debutane Balls or Deb Balls. In tradition A debutante ball / deb ball is to formally introduce you into society and symbolises your debut into adult hood. It is tradition that girls asks the guys to a debutante ball and Debutante dresses are white.

Leavers Ball

In some parts of the UK the event is called the Leavers Ball or Leavers Dinner. Dresses are called Leavers Dresses and Leavers Gowns.

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