Prom Planning: A Guide

The ultimate prom checklist for your committee!

All the prom planning will pay off on the big night.
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Prom planning is ultimately left to one school club: the prom committee. If you want a say in your prom's theme, location, DJ and more, then look into joining. Organizing your school's special night might seem intimidating at first, but it's not impossible. Prom planning is much simpler if you break each task down one by one.

Choose a Location

While some schools hold proms in the gymnasium or auditorium, others take the dance to an off-campus location. Have your prom committee look into ballrooms, riverboats, convention centers, hotels and large, fancy restaurants. Also, think big and outside the box. Could your prom be held outdoors or in a dance club during off-hours? Let your creativity inspire you. Prom planning with school leaders by your side means your idea will be heard.

Picking a Prom Theme and Prom Song

Deciding on a theme and a song is a huge part of prom planning. If you're stuck for prom theme ideas, order a variety of party decoration catalogs. It will be easier to choose a theme or get inspired to create your own when you have a bunch of options laid out in front of you. Pick a few that you think will appeal to your classmates, then have the entire committee vote on one collective prom motif. As for a prom song, ask the entire class to vote for which song they want. Choose five or six popular songs to put on the ballot, and also give students the option to write in their own idea. Many schools use their prom song to shape their prom theme.

Select Invitations

Although students won't decide whether to attend prom based on how tempting the invitations look, the invitation is a very sentimental element of prom, especially for the departing senior class. The invite should include the location, time and date, and should match your prom theme. When planning your prom invitation, make sure to settle on one that’s not only informative but worth holding on to.

Choose the DJ or Band

DJ, band, or both? Deciding on the music is an especially important part of prom planning, because tunes truly set the mood for the entire evening. Ask DJs for a client list and references. A DJ specializing in '80s tunes may be the go-to guy for a certain clientele, but those tunes were in heavy rotation before we knew how to spell Bieber. When interviewing bands, ask them what cover songs they play and listen to their demos to see if you like their sound. Overall, you’ll want a DJ or band that plays a variety of Top 40 hits with a nice infusion of dance party classics. Remember that the music will either inspire people to dance or sit on the sidelines.

Planning the Prom Menu

Whether you do an entire sit-down dinner, a buffet or simply hors d'oeuvres, prom-goers like to get their money’s worth. So, remember this simple tip when planning your prom menu: Go for a menu that offers widely-adored, familiar foods with as much variety as your budget allows. For example, chicken, pasta and steak are classics, but tofu might be too foreign. Stick with an ice cream sundae or cupcakes for dessert over mango with sticky rice. Unsure if your menu has enough variety? Ask the people on your prom committee. If there’s something on the menu for everyone’s taste buds, chances are there will be something appealing for all the people in your class.

Order Party Favors

After months of prom planning and one memorable night of celebrating, you’ll want a token party favor to take home. Your committee should put their heads together to find something that will fit with your prom’s theme, is memorable and of course, budget-friendly. Most prom catalogs include favors that coordinate with their recommended prom themes, but also consider locally-made keepsakes that will remind your classmates of your town when they go to college. Consider candles, sentimental boxes, etc.

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