Words by Micah Avry Guiao
There’s no other time more than today where debuts are being approached upon with such significance. What was once a simple coming-of-age celebration in front of friends and family now goes beyond the usual showcase of beauty and talents. Girls on the brink of maturity and womanhood are scouting and yearning for the perfect theme, the perfect gown, and the perfect night.
I had recently attended a friend’s debut who I knew is a huge Potterhead. At first, I didn’t expect much of it since Harry Potter-themed debuts have been done for years, but debutant Alyanna Gopez doesn’t just take it up a notch–she managed to take something larger than life fit inside the Marriott Grand Ballroom (and this includes a life-sized Hogwarts Express). This is nothing like you’ve seen before.
To say the experience was magical would be a complete understatement. It’s been a week and I’m still at a loss for words. Even a friend of mine who had never read or watched any of the Harry Potter franchise was almost put to tears as she strolled across Diagon Alley. Let the video do the talking.
As seen from the Same Day Edit video above, the debut faithfully incorporated almost everything that can be seen in Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The cocktail area encompasses the entire expanse of Diagon Alley, Gringotts Bank (complete with the dragon atop its edifice), and Weasley Candy Emporium. And of course, Butterbeer was served.
To enter the Grand Ballroom, one must “go through” the platform wall. As it turns, the Dining Hall is exposed to view. All sorts of paraphernalia flooded the ceiling–levitating candlelights, dangling owl cages, draping house banners, and cascading Hogwarts acceptance letters.
The program itself was just as grandeur. As Alyanna took her entrance, she waved her wand as she sang, creating mists of her own Patronus on the LED screen. To add to the already extravagant spectacle were the aerial dancers who enthralled the guests with their mesmerizing performance.
Alyanna, whose 18th birthday was actually on the 5th of November last year, decided that she would rather have a well-planned debut half a year later than a disorganized one on date. Hence: Alyanna turns Eighteen and Three Quarters.
She said her debut planning and preparations took over a year: “I’d been 18 for 9 months when my debut happened because […] we had to make sure that everything was perfect.”
Every wall, every corner, and every embellishment was so meticulously done that it’d simply leave you in awe, so much so that I was compelled to take a video of everything. Never have I ever attended a debut that took up so much of my phone storage space.
Two of the five wardrobe changes she had were a midnight blue gown to represent her Ravenclaw house and a lightened variation of Hermoine Granger’s Yule Ball dress.
Alyanna recounted: “I think all debutants would say that planning a debut [is] stressful. I would have fights with my parents who I can’t be mad at because they were the ones paying for everything, and nights when I’d just worry about how everything could go wrong. I was really surprised when I finally saw everything we’ve been planning for months come to reality. I almost didn’t want to start the program because I wanted to explore the whole thing.”
What did you think of this Harry Potter themed debut? Let us know in the comments!