They were almost the belles without a ball.

When swine flu struck Westlake Girls High School, it wasn't health that most of the students were worried about.

Dresses had been bought, tans sprayed on and extra moneyhad been spent on shoes and makeup.

That all looked as if it would go to waste when the 450 Year 12 students were quarantined at the start of the week.

But after a Public Health revision of how long they would have to stay in isolation, the girls are free to attend tonight's ball.

And there were no signs of sickness when five of them met for a dress rehearsal.

"We'd spent so much. When we heard it might be cancelled, we were all gutted," said Lana Byrne.

"My dress cost $560, my shoes $140. My dress for the after-ball cost $100 and the shoes $50."

On top of that are hair, makeup, the party bus and ball tickets.

"If it was cancelled, every mother would be up in arms," said Lana.

Each of the girls will have spent around $1000 on their big night.

The students, who were isolated from last Monday, returned to school yesterday, when it was confirmed the ball was going ahead.

"It was really freaky," said Jessica Thorne. "The news said it was off."