Remember when I talked about crossing into the “dance phase” of teenagers back HERE?
Well, we’re in it full-swing.
It was Elle’s first prom and Max’s last on Saturday.
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to clone myself and be in two places at once quite so much before.  (They weren’t in the same group even though it looks like it up there…I just made Elle and her date come take a picture on the back drop where I was taking Max’s group pictures when her date came to pick her up.)  It was a little nutty because both needed completely different help and there was a lot going on this weekend, but it was pretty fun I must say.
One day a week or so before the dance Elle looked at me like a deer in the headlights and told me all the stuff her friends were doing to get ready.  Yowzas.  Hair and make-up appointments, nails and eyebrow waxing, you name it, they had it scheduled.  Max went to prom last year but a boy is a whole different ballgame I tell you.
When I went to dances in high school it was either a different world in Utah or things have sure changed over the years.  I just stuck my hair up in a little clip, sometimes curled it, sometimes not, whipped up a long enough dress on the sewing machine from some large scale floral curtain fabric, and I was good to go (I wish I could find pictures right now…I’ll post later if I can find some).
We’re not too fancy over here though so we narrowed down the most important things.  To Elle, they were: 1) find shoes to go with her dress (we got her dress made in China in anticipation because we knew it’d probably be rough to find something long enough for her here),

Check.  Sure, it was the night before, but still check.

Ok, those weren’t the shoes we found, but that was our date to find them.  I think there’s a rule that you have to try on some high tops if you find some cool ones while you’re trying to find prom shoes, right?

2) get a manicure…

Check.  (That was more my choice than hers, but her nails were pretty awful before that little trip.)

and 3) get a fancy braid (how many times to you really get to do that in life?)

That morning I had a speech to give in a neighboring town (agreed to before we realized it was the same day as prom), and she had a tennis tournament all morning so I met up with her there, watched her lose with her brain clearly on prom, not tennis, raced home at 2:00, washed her hair quick as a wink, had a friend help her put on make-up and ran to get her braid.

I didn’t even get a picture of the whole thing.  It was in my plan but by the time we raced home to slip on her dress Max’s group was already there ready for the pictures I was taking for them.

We had the backdrop set up on the back porch like we did for Elle’s group at MORP (back HERE), but used a white backdrop this time around.

I don’t know why these are crystal clear in lightroom and all pixelated on this blog but bear with me on these…

After the first few couples I took a break because Elle’s cute date arrived and Dave and I had to interview him for a minute.  He’s such a nice guy.  Nice enough to agree to come take a picture on the back porch before he whisked Elle right off to Prom.

…and then we got back to the others…

Love this cute couple especially 😉

My personal favorite:

I couldn’t resist snapping a few more couples in that gorgeous golden light…especially, of course, Max and his date.

This was the “before-the-dance” shot:

Well, one of the many.  Ha!
And this was the “after-the-dance” shot one of them was smart enough to have taken.

Apparently the dance floor was a little on the crowded and sweaty side.  And apparently they had fun.  Funny.

Elle said she looked about like that too, but I don’t have a picture of that.

Yes, teenagers are a little crazy to have around.  But so dang fun.

**post edit note: I have removed the photos of Elle and the comments on this
post because of a little bit of controversy.  I’ll try to answer some of the questions asked soon in another post (or maybe here), because there were some good ones and things I’d love to clarify, but I’ve been gone all day and just stopped home for a minute before I’m off to watch that tall wonderful girl of mine in one of her last remaining tennis matches. 

Ok I’m back.  Wins on the tennis and volleyball courts this afternoon which is pretty fun in the wake of some losses last week.  Ok, on to sleeves.  The controversy earlier was about whether Elle’s shoulders should show or not on her prom dress to ensure her modesty.  I would like to be clear that Elle and I do indeed believe in and try to follow the guidance we get from our church leaders and we are grateful for the “strength of youth” guidelines.  We were careful to make sure the strappy things covered her shoulders when we got the dress made but it looks like we should have been more careful because it slipped up a little in the picture I posted and should have probably covered more shoulder in the first place.  I apologize if that made people feel bad.

I hope that people reading this blog who do not know much about our religion will understand that although we do have guidelines that we believe help us have optimal happiness in life, we believe that God cares much more about our hearts than anything else and that we really do try to give each other the benefit of the doubt and love one another as Christ did.  I wrote more about that back HERE if anyone cares to read.

Love, Shawni
p.s. for the record, I just want any of the girls in this post who may be reading it to know that I think they look gorgeous.  When I sent them the pictures I took I told them I could feel their lights shine from the inside because I sure could.  They are all great kids who are making great decisions navigating these sometimes tricky teenage years and I’m so grateful for the good influences they are on my children, regardless of religion or hemlines.  

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  1. Beautiful! Did the girls plan to pair up their dress colors (2 black dresses, 2 red, 2 white, 2 blush)? How perfect for group pictures!

  2. They all look beautiful! I'm glad the "tank top/show no shoulders" rule was given a hiatus for prom night. There aren't that many attractive formal gowns with sleeves.

    1. Sydney – not sure what you mean – so they are actually not supposed to show shoulders? Why are all these LDS young ladies allowed to not only break the rules, but show their shoulders to billions of people on the internet??!! I don't understand – the Pothiers seem to go right by the LDS rulebook on most things…

  3. I think these young people look fantastic, although I was surprised to see Elle wearing a sleeveless gown. I know you (Shawni), are very strong in the gospel and live its standards. You make it clear how important the LDS church is in your life, and your family's life. Many look to your family as examples. Kudos to the girls who stuck to their standards and wore modest gowns to prom!

  4. I think it's a silly rule. But silly or not, I am REALLY surprised that the Pothier's chose to break it.

  5. I am super shocked to see the bare shoulder's!!!!! What happened to the For Strength of Youth guidelines? Kuddos to the girls who kept with the rules.

  6. It's called Agency people! The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet is put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a set of guidelines & standards for youth. I truly believe they are inspired & I definitely use it as a guide in parenting.
    The guideline says that young women should avoid clothing that "does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or back." Guess what folks? Some people think that a thick strap is covering the shoulders, some people think that sleeveless is ok, but not thick straps, some people think this is clearly referring to at least a cap sleeve. And the beauty is that you get to decide what your family standard is! I think the cap sleeve is ideal, but I in no way am going to call out a dress as immodest if it's not strapless, low cut or super short. Choices….it's a wonderful gift!

  7. "…..young women should avoid clothing that "does not cover the shoulders…"

    Cortney, agency or not, some of those girls' shoulders (including Elle's) are not covered. Is the agency whether or not to obey that "guideline"?

    I'm not LDS and think it's the silliest "guideline" I've ever heard of. Elle looks beautiful and the dress is not immodest. But if I were LDS, I think I'd follow my own rules. Especially if I'm on the internet holding myself out as an example.

  8. The kids all look beautiful. Jesus' message is so much more than the do's & don'ts. I love the book "Believing Christ" because it reminds us that we can get so sidetracked by the details, that we lose sight of the big picture. The Pothiers shine with the love of Christ. Let it go, friends. 🙂

    1. People of all religions can shine with the love of Christ. And yes, the Pothiers do too. Can you love Christ and drink hot coffee or tea as well? Is that a rule, or just a guideline that can be interpreted by families any way they see fit?

    2. You sure can love Christ and make your own choices about what you consume. I'm LDS and respect the guidelines that the Church sets for families and individuals. However, at the end of the day it's between myself and my Heavenly Father. When I first converted to the Church, I did have a hard time giving up coffee, and I drank it from time to time. That didn't change my love for Christ or His for me. My bishop advised me to keep trying my best and to pray about it. The gospel is less about living the law to perfection and more about living a life of progression. BUT, that is my own personal convictions and other members may be different. Hope that helps a little. 🙂

  9. I'm still confused. And I'm not being mean or sarcastic. Will one of you LDS ladies give me a straight answer? Don't tell me about Jesus' message, family choices, etc. If I am reading the quote properly, it says avoid clothing that doesn't cover the shoulders. Not, let's see how close to NOT covering them we can get and still squeeze into "covered" category. Why have something in print that is taught to young women, then tell them it's ok to just have a strap? Isn't that sort of telling them that the rules are there to be stretched and bent since Jesus is loving and we shouldn't judge?

    I know they look beautiful and the dresses are NOT immodest – but…

    Is it a rule or not?

    1. I didn't see this before I commented below. I sincerely am trying to be straight with you while leaving room for the interpretation of guidelines/standards/rules of others. I honestly think all the questions you asked would have to be directed directly to the family. You saying having the thick straps is not covering the shoulders, and I would agree with you. However, I am open to someone else interpreting that guideline to mean, "just don't wear strapless". Again, I'm just trying to see this from another angle.

    2. Thanks. I am trying to see it from all angles as well. And I would be honored if Shawni would step in and say why she thinks it's ok, and what her definition of "covered" is.

  10. Mama Saurus, If you were LDS you would have the choice to interpret the guideline however you see fit for your family. That's my point, you could even think it's silly as you said, but the Church has put out what they see as the standard. And I 100% agree that, "Elle looks beautiful and the dress is not immodest." That's actually what I was trying to explain in my comment to all those calling it out as otherwise. I'm sorry if it didn't come across that way.
    Also, I wholeheartedly agree with the comment above by Munro Family—spot on!

  11. So then your answer is that it's not a rule? Again, if the church has put something out as a standard, shouldn't the members try to uphold that standard? Covered and uncovered are not subjective terms. I think saying that your family can interpret it any way they want is just a way to get around the rule – we all know what covered means. If something is covered, none of is showing.

    Again, I'm NOT being mean or rude. I'm just wondering how and why some LDS members are really adamant about this and some say, oh well, it's all up for interpretation. Are you allowed to question doctrine?

    1. Ok, this is my last comment because I don't want to overtake this post anymore than I already have. I will just simply say this: I personally am adamant about this subject for me and my family. However, I support the agency of others and I truly believe God does as well. I agree with where you're going with about it not being subjective, but in all actuality it is subjective based on how people read it, how they choose to follow it, etc.

  12. Fair enough. I don't want to take it over either – but I am glad to have some clarity.

    I was raised in a very strict, fundamentalist religious household. Not LDS. And we had lots of rules. And also some things they called "conscience matters" – meaning, like you said – open to interpretation.

    However, the feeling was – how well-trained and godlike is your conscience? If your conscience allows you to do something that is clearly a little off, then you're still wrong. If you have to think about it that much and justify your actions that much, then clearly you made an incorrect or immature decision.

    If someone says don't wear short skirts- that's subjective – meaning what's short to you might not be short to me. But covered is covered. If you told your child to cover his eyes – would you be ok if he only covered one? Or covered them halfway? That's all I'm saying.

    I would love Shawni's take on this. Shawni, what is "covered" to you? Is it ok to show ANY shoulder?

  13. I think all of the dresses are classy and modest, showing shoulders or not. I will never understand how showing shoulders in a tank top = immodest (especially if not low-cut/showing cleavage), but I am not LDS and so I really don't need to understand it.

  14. I hate that shoulders have become pornography within the LDS culture. For some reason we have gotten away from Christ's true teachings- to be kind to each other and not judge!!
    I think the kids all look great!

  15. I think Elle looks beautiful and modest (I am an active LDS woman). What a smart idea to have her dress made so it's long enough! I was tall in high school too, and always had that problem.

    For all you LDS people judging her dress- I'll quote Uchtdorf: "The topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm. Please apply the filling: Stop It!"

    I would focus more about being a kind, nonjudgemental person before I'd worry about a prom dresses straps. Be nice!

  16. The girls all look beautiful.

    The girls all are not LDS. It is a public school and there are catholics in arizona, baptists, atheists..

    Make the boys responsible for their own head and quit shaming the girls.

    At church activities they make all pretend they need to cover garments. But even once through the temple you can wear a bathing suit to the beach, volleyball shorts playing volleyball. Even at BYU. Consider a dance a special event with an alternative dress code. They are not through the temple so they need not promise to keep shoulders covered.

    The nuns were fine with strapless in the 80's. Really! And there were uniforms on a school day.


    I wish we could all retrain our brains to think about bodies and modesty in new ways. I strongly encourage a follow of Beauty Redefined (InstaGram, FB, their blog) for all women and men who care about women. I keep trying to type something in response, but Lexie and Lindsey say it so much better. Please give this article a read and stop judging these young women so harshly. Think about the world we live in and the pressures around them. Think of their good intentions and hearts.

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