WHEN Quara Swanepoel saw her dream dress online, she didn't expect she'd be walking the red carpet in it at her own formal.
The Heights College graduate said she tried on hundreds of dresses and had been researching online for years, but hadn't fallen in love with one until that dress.
"I'd seen that dress online and loved the colour," she said.
"I was just scrolling through Facebook and saw a photo of it."
Quara bought her gown for $180 from a Gladstone woman and said trying it on when it arrived "was the best feeling ever".
Until that point, Quara said the formal and graduation hadn't felt like a reality.
"It's something you look forward to your whole schooling life and it's almost as big as a wedding, something to finish off your school life," she said.
"Everyone remembers it."
When it came to researching for her formal attire, Quara said she spent hours online looking at different dresses and hairstyles.
She said her friends had done the same, buying their dresses in Brisbane or locally.
The months of preparation paid off on Friday night when Quara and partner Brandan Maloney enjoyed the glitz and glamour of their graduation.
"It was a wonderful night," Quara said.
"It went really fast.
"You're waiting so long for it and then it just happens, but it was just beautiful."
Make up: $50