For these men, fall formals are considered to be simple fun.
They may have a party at their fraternity house with their dates, or travel to a local Auburn mansion, but when it comes to planning for the spring, there are no limits.
Throughout the fall, many fraternities are busy each weekend spending money on band parties and tailgates.
Most have parties with big-name bands to draw the people in to have a good time before or after the football game and on gameday there is always the guarantee of free drinks for fraternity members’ families and friends.
But when spring semester finally comes, these boys are ready for the intense fun to begin.
“Formals are a fun weekend outside of Auburn with a bunch of your friends,” said Nate Welch, senior in engineering and member of Phi Kappa Tau. “I’ve already gone to three formals and I can’t wait for this weekend.”
Phi Kappa Tau, along with many other fraternities, including Pi Kappa Phi, Beta Theta Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Pi and Alpha Tau Omega, is headed to New Orleans.
Auburn students crowd Bourbon Street during the months of February and March.
Some weekends have more than one fraternity down at a time and there are often many “War Eagle moments” while grabbing a hand grenade, a beer-to-go or an array of other beverages available on Bourbon Street.
“There’s nothing better than experiencing New Orleans’s world famous nightlife with your closest friends,” said Dylan Digmon, social chair of Alpha Tau Omega.
Sloane Brown, social chair of Beta Theta Pi, said they often travel to The Big Easy out of habit.
“We went to New Orleans partly out of tradition and partly because it’s the craziest city in the USA and closest to Auburn,” Brown said.
Although New Orleans is the destination of most fraternities on old and new row, many have started to travel out of the comforts of Louisiana and into the sunshine of Florida.
This year, with the assistance of the rest of his fraternity’s executive council, Ryan Clark, social chair of Delta Tau Delta, decided to have their formal in Destin, Fla.
“We go to New Orleans every other year,” Clark said. “Since we held our formal in New Orleans last spring, we ended up picking out Destin. Our other options were Hilton Head, S.C., and Savannah, Ga.”
The members of Farmhouse chose to go to Orlando, after the seniors decided they wanted to go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Trevor Ramsey, Farmhouse’s social chair, said the event couldn’t have been more fun.
“The sun was shining in full force, and it could not have been a better weekend to go,” Ramsey said.
Alpha Kappa Lambda members are traveling to one of the most familiar places in Florida, Panama City Beach, but are having a unique formal experience.
“We are going to St. Andrew Bay in Panama City for a dinner and dancing cruise on a yacht,” said Kevin Gibadlo, social chair of Alpha Kappa Lambda. “We felt that by doing this our brothers can enjoy the view of the bay from a beautiful yacht while dancing and eating.”
For most members of fraternities, thinking about spring formals doesn’t only require thinking about surviving, but more about how they are going to pay for it.
Phi Delta Theta got creative with saving money on their trip and had a combined formal with the LSU chapter.
“It made it so much bigger and more fun for all of us,” said Matthew Mizzel, social chair of Phi Delta Theta. “We split the cost of the venue and paid $3,000 for the band.”
Many fraternities have also budgeted well and use most of the money that goes toward their dues to pay for it.
Gibadlo said Alpha Kappa Lambda’s members only pay $50 to attend, and the rest of the cost is taken care of by their dues.
But for those in Phi Gamma Delta and Beta Theta Pi, the cost of attending formal is pricier, at $450 per member.
Each fraternity takes more than 50 members with their dates, causing more fun than most people ever experience in three short days, with some remembering through specialized memorabilia.
“We always print huggies with a theme matching the trip,” Ramsey said. “This years was an Orlando Magic theme with Farmhouse Magic printed with the official NBA logo for the team.”
Making those koozies cost Farmhouse $400, but allowed them to remember the weekend forever.
The cost of formal isn’t what matters for most of these men; it’s the experience with their fraternity brothers and significant others that will last a lifetime.