My formal was my first date with my husband


This time thirteen years ago I had my first date with my husband. I took him to my school formal knowing his name, where he lived and he had the same faith as me.

We attended the same church but because of the age difference we were in different friendship circles. I had crush on Jacob for 4 months before I gathered the courage to ask him to take me to my formal.

When I think about it now I had real guts to ask a guy to my formal who I barely knew. But in my heart I knew the best possible way to stage our ‘meet cute’ ( if you’ve watched The Holiday, you’ll get it) was to ask Jacob to my formal. So I did. And his response was…

Can I get back to you?

It wasn’t a no, but it wasn’t a yes.

When I asked Jacob later why he said it, it was because he had to check his ‘diary’ to see if had any plans.

I had a friend who also asked a guy from our church to take her to our formal and so we organized the suits hire together.

And this is where the lead up to my formal became a little stressful.

Jacob had no car so he organized for his suit to be picked up. Unfortunately, Jacob wasn’t home for the suit to be delivered back to his apartment so it was dropped off to a friend that lived around the corner.

Jacob decided to leave it to the afternoon of my formal to pick up his suit, only to find that no one was at his friend’s house and none of them were answering their mobile phones. He had to get to my house for photos and my mum was going to drive us to the golf course where the formal was going to be held.

It was getting late in the afternoon and Jacob still had no suit. He finally called my home to let my mum know his predicament.

Jacob remembers my mum yelling the news to me which echoed down the receiver at his end.

I couldn’t believe it, and part of me was frustrated that he hadn’t bothered to pick up his suit sooner and it was a sign he didn’t want to go with me. I was very melodramatic in my head.

Jacob tried to call his friend one last time to get access to their house to retrieve his suit. He finally got one of the occupants in the house who told Jacob they were on a boat and there was no way they could come to open the house, but one of the siblings had finished a job interview and would come promptly to open the house.

Jacob finally got his suit.

Mum and I had a bit of time up our sleeve before the formal because we couldn’t take photos without the date! So mum drove me past my grandparent’s house to show off how I looked.

My Grandma Jones (my dad’s mum) told me I looked beautiful and was very interested in my ‘date’. She asked if he would give me a corsage and I sarcastically replied, ‘if he couldn’t organise his suit and get to my house in time for photos, there’s no way he would have organised a corsage.’

But my Jacob did.

He was sheepish when we arrived to pick him up but he made up for it with the beautiful corsage. Fresh red roses to match my designer Tim Lindgren dress. It was perfect.

That night at the dinner table Jacob and I talked about our dreams and plans for the future. I was 17, and he was 20.

We held hands once as I led him through the crowd of my high school friends.

When I went to the ladies room to apply more lipstick, I exclaimed to all the girls crowded around the vanity mirrors that Jacob and I held hands. Omigosh. It was like so awesome.

And then the night was over. I didn’t go to the after party. I didn’t care.

My mum dropped Jacob home and then brought me home.

My dad didn’t get to see me in the formal dress he had bought for me because he had to work. The client threatened liquidated damages if the job didn’t get completed that night of my formal. That client went broke a couple of months later. My dad says that is one of his regrets in life missing my formal. But I didn’t see it as a failure on his part. And I still don’t.

13 years later I still have that formal dress (one day I hope to fit back into it) and the corsage Jacob gave me. It’s dried up beautifully and it has travelled with me all these years from when I left home to marry Jacob, to when we moved into our first house, then packed to settle into our new forever family home which is where we live now.


There are a lot of school formals happening tonight. So many 17 and 18 year olds excited about what the future will hold for them. For some the formal is the end of an era and it was for me to, but it also started a love story that is still going strong. I love that my formal was my first date with my husband.

Have you ever kept something from your past that you couldn’t bear to throw away because of it’s sentimental value? Do you remember your school formal? Any high school sweetheart stories you want to share?