Formal Night: A Vision in Red, White and Blue

Friday night after the Birthday Booze Cruise in the Bahamas, our group had a short amount of time to head back to our rooms and quickly change into the red, white and blue clothing we packed for the cruise’s formal night.

As I previously mentioned, on a past cruise, our group decided to use the one formal night aboard the ship to get all gussied up, following a specific theme.

We’ve done ‘80s formal in the past and used the themes you guys selected to select this year’s theme of red, white and blue attire!

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Gotta love the plethora of random formal photo ops all over the cruise ship! Oh and yes, the white gloves I wore clearly brought out the Glamour Shot pose burning inside of me.

One of the best parts of doing a self-imposed theme for formal night was waiting for each person to come out of their room and debut their take on the red, white and blue attire. As you can see in the photo above, Ricky and Daniel ended up ordering the exact same vest off!

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The bow ties were a personal favorite. (For the record Ricky and Daniel are “negatively reviewing the crap out of those vests” on Amazon because they bled all over their white shirts… which made everyone else laugh.)

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Ryan was quite formal, sporting a jacket with a tailcoat, a cumber bund and a top hat that got passed around and hijacked throughout the evening.

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My dress came from the junior prom section at Ross while my shawl was sequin blue fabric that I had cut at Hobby Lobby. I actually paid more to have my dress altered than I did for the the dress itself and literally had people at the alteration shop dying laughing at the ridiculous layers of tulle in the skirt of the dress.

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Leslie added red, white and blue sequins and fringe to a velour dress that she found on sale and topped it off with a red star jacket she got at the Salvation Army store. Her dress looked like a leotard on top and was all kinds of fabulous.

Ross bought nearly his entire outfit for under $10 at a thrift store!

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Laurel’s floor-length red dress was her sister’s old prom dress. Jenn and Leah found their dresses online. Jenn’s dress ironically enough was ordered from the United Kingdom! 

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As we walked to dinner, we got high fives from other cruisers and a lot of smiles and even some picture requests. Yikes!

I even heard one woman ask her husband whether or not we were part of the evening’s show and others were convinced we were celebrating something special. Ryan’s cousin Daniel told people who asked that we were celebrating a wedding aboard the ship. Yep. A red, white and blue-themed wedding.


Dinner itself was delicious and I managed to capture my meal on camera – some of the only food pictures I took on the cruise, so please enjoy my food-loving friends!

To start, I ordered a Greek salad and ate every last bite. I was hungry and it was delicious.

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Formal night on Carnival cruises (and other cruises too, I believe) always comes with lobster tail as an entrée option at dinner and I always order it without hesitation.

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I cleared that plate too and loved the buttery mashed potatoes.

For dessert, my friend Laurel planned a surprise! She prearranged for a birthday cake to be delivered to our table for me so I could have candles to blow out on my birthday.

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It was so thoughtful and I was completely surprised! (I didn’t wear my white gloves during dinner because they made my hands sweat, but they somehow ended up covered in chocolate mousse! Naturally.)

We all split the chocolate mousse cake and it was fantastic.

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Formal night concluded a full day full of a lot of fun.

It was definitely a memorable birthday!

***Disclaimer: I received a thoughtful comment on a previous post when I mentioned the theme of our formal night and wanted to be sure to include a disclaimer with this post. I want to make sure that everyone knows that my friends and I are all very proud Americans. My grandfather was a veteran and many of the people in our group of friends have family and friends who are veterans or are currently serving our country and we deeply respect their service.

Just like Americans wear red, white and blue on the Fourth of July, we wore these colors together and American-flag themed clothing as a group simply for fun. We received nothing but positive feedback from fellow cruisers and veterans aboard the ship. Please know we mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone and did not hear anything negative from those on the cruise with us. I hold those who serve our country in the highest regard.***


  1. says

    How fun! I’ve been on a cruise and loved dressing up for formal night… but never thought to get decked out in theme. So creative you and your friends are :).

    P.S. Kudos to you for the thoughtful disclaimer.


  2. says

    Hahaha, yes!! I LOVE this! What a fun idea, and I love that everyone really got into the theme and had such creative outfits. And it’s hilarious that someone thought you were part of the evening entertainment. My friends and I have been asked on multiple occasions if people could take pictures of us (one time when 4 of us had ridiculously large gelato cones in Italy, and other random times) and I always wonder where these photos end up – it’s so weird to think you might be in someone else’s photo album!


  3. says

    I love this!! I think it’s a GREAT way to show respect for what you believe and how happy and proud you are to be an American. I think it’s fabulous.

    Love the gloves, by the way 🙂


  4. says

    The first picture looks slightly hazy just like a glamour shot! Looks like one that Ellen DeGeneres would put on the Ellen Show. I like how you kept it super classy with the white gloves too.


  5. says

    I love the guts you guys have to dress up like that! I actually think your red dress is pretty cute… when not paired with a garish blue sequined shawl! What a hoot! I think the theme is a GREAT idea, it’s too bad some people might take it too seriously. 😉


  6. says

    Haha, that is GREAT!! Also, I’m sorry you even had to include a disclaimer…I guess that’s the risk of blogging though, all those negative nancys (and this comes from a girl who’s husband is deployed).


  7. April says

    I’m going on a cruise to Bermuda in July and you just made me so excited for it! Maybe I’ll get my fam to do a crazy formal night theme for one or both of the formal nights haha I don’t know if they’d go for it though


  8. Sara says

    Please submit one or more of these to! And if you’ve never visited this site please do so now!


  9. says

    I’m totally doing a theme night next cruise I take with my friends! And I’ve had that chocolate cake. It was a graduation present for my sis and I when we graduated college (the whole cruise was a present!) and that cake is WONDERFUL! It looks like you all had a blast!


  10. says

    What a bummer that you even had to add a disclaimer. My dad, brother and husband are all Army guys and the thought of being offended didn’t even cross my mind!

    Love the theme – brought me back to the good old sorority exchanges!!


  11. Kim says

    That first picture is PRICELESS!!! I’m sitting at working laughing to myself. Totally something I could see on awkward family photos.


  12. Shannon says

    It actually blows my mind that you had to add a disclaimer. Some people just can’t comprehend humor and fun. Regardless, you all look amazing and happy birthday!


  13. Katie says

    I love this!! Your face in the second picture of you and Ryan is priceless!! :-). I’m heading to London for a few weeks on business any tips on staying fit when out of the normal routine. I noticed you’ve been there, and I’m so worried I will have a hard time finding more than pub food!


  14. says

    OMG, sitting here at my desk practically peeing my pants. You guys are hysterical. My husband would be all over this. We just moved and he wants to have a costume house warming party….hahaha


  15. Mary says

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. They were great. I was worried that you had backed out of theme night when you didn’t post the pictures with the other cruise pictures . It looks like a great group of friends having a wonderful time together- no disclaimer needed in my opinion.


  16. Mallory says

    AMAZING! My husband and I JUST went on that exact cruise for our Honeymoon April 8th. The Sensation provides a plethora of hilarious photo ops. My favorite activity was walking around the gallery laughing at all the pictures.I bet we would have had a lot more fun with yall on the boat. My husband is in the Army and we love anything patriotic and ridiculous. Great idea!


  17. says

    It’s sad that you have to put disclaimers like that. Some people just really don’t know how to have any fun and don’t have a sense of humor. Props to you and your friends girl for getting all dressed up and having a BLAST! =D


  18. mandee says

    i’m surprised they found the tulle on the dress to be laughable because all i keep seeing are very pouffy short dresses being promoted for prom season… shorter and pouffier than that one! isn’t pouffy in?


  19. anon says

    Uh, this was 100% disrespectful to ALL of the other passengers who actually take formal night seriously. Very, very immature. You guys are HOW old?


    • Emily says

      Disrespectful yet they got high fives and picture requests from other cruisers… OK?? Why go on a crusie if you want to look constipated? I think that they were just having fun, which is something you clearly do not know how to do.

      You guys looked awesome, Julie! 🙂

      PS: I have your sister’s shoes, G by Guess from Macy’s!


    • says

      i’m not sure whether or not you’ve been on a cruise before, but on carnival cruises, formal night is basically a guideline. some people (like the table next to us) even wear jeans to formal night. while you can dres formally, it is not required and many, many people don’t.


    • Jillian says

      Wow, someone must have a very boring life. It looks like they had a fantastic time on THEIR vacation, and besides, it’s the Carnival line, not the Queen Mary or a private yacht. Take a chill pill and move on.


      • Jillian says

        Shoot sorry Julie! That was directed at the first poster, not you. I think your theme was really fun and kitschy, not something to get all bent out of shape about.


  20. says

    i’ve been waiting for this post to see what everyone came up with! love it! 🙂

    i wish my friends would do fun things like this…they’re much too reserved. lol.


  21. Ilene says

    Haha who is the man in front of Ross in the first photo?! Photobomber??! These pictures made me laugh so hard hahahha I LOVE themed events!


  22. says

    We are going on a boozecruise soon and hv decided to use your partry idea … I made it “come as your favourite character from a movie/book as it will be so random and “out there”.


  23. Lisa says

    You guys are hysterical!!! What an awesome idea! And so wonderfully executed! Props to everyone for some epic outfits and you should totally repurpose them for 4th of July!!


  24. says

    If wearing cheesy red, white, and blue outfits are disrespectful to the military, then the early 90’s were one big slap in the USA’s face. lol These outfits were too fun!


  25. Debbie says

    You guys look fantastic! I find it so unusual that you had to include a disclaimer? Why do some Americans seem so easily offended? I thought they were deeply patriotic, so dressing up like that would be in support, no? I just don’t understand it. Where i come from, if we dressed up like that, in our country’s colours or icons, it would be perceived as funny, and then after might come a lil bit of pride. But mostly we take the piss out of ourselves 😉 (And we too send our soldiers to war).


  26. Sam says

    You’re kidding me…somebody wrote you a negative comment about your theme?! Wow, people need to get some serious lives. You guys look awesome!


  27. says

    Kudos for the disclaimer, but it annoys me you HAVE to include it. How the heck would anyone find what you did disrespectful?? besides… if they don’t like it, don’t like at it!

    keep rocking!!


  28. Katie says

    I’m such a loser – I’ve been waiting for you post about your formal night! Love the blue tights!!! Looks like a blast!


  29. says

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m very appreciative of the disclaimer. I’m actually impressed that you took the time to realize that this can come off seeming extremely disrespectful, like you are making a mockery of our flag. While I would have never thought that was your intention, I’m glad you took the time to explain.


  30. says

    This is so ridiculously funny! I love your groups idea, how fun! You have some great pics to capture the event! You are lucky to be able to take an inexpensive cruise!


  31. Elizabeth says

    As someone who serves in the military and is married to someone in the military I don’t see the respect in your attire for formal night at all…. In fact I see nothing but mocking of the flag and DISrespect.


  32. JN says

    I guess you can’t please everyone. I think your theme was fun and not the least bit disrespectful. This is America and last I checked, you have the freedom to do what you want, as long as you aren’t hurting someone else.


  33. MSD says

    Came across your blog accidentally after I googled what to wear on a cruise. (Our first cruise is next week.) LOL when I saw your 80’s formal night, I love theme birthday parties and somehow 80’s is always part of it…3 years ago 80’s celebrities, 2 years ago 80’s workout, last year just general 80’s…ROFL when I saw you guys did red, white and blue…my next suggestion for you is pimp formal!!!! Enjoy your pics/blog so much!



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