One of best qualities season 1 had over the others is it built to a grand event, the gala. The first to episodes introduced all the characters and who they were, then the show moved immediately to the gala in episode three. The dresses Rarity made again reminded us it was coming, and we saw them appear here and there again as the season moved on, until it finally concluded in this episode.
Season two had a huge miss on this level with it's sudden surprise wedding bomb finale that left everyone asking "Twilight has a brother?" No setup, no rising action. Shining Armor could have at least been mentioned earlier.
I hope season 4 returns to this overarching plot setup, so we can enjoy a nice slow build to all the other ponies becoming Alicorns while Cadence gives birth to Princess Skyla in a pool of Sea Ponies and Brad rides Twilight off into the cosmos, rifting on his guitar.