Mid April and prom season has arrived! For the next 6 weeks, one or more high school communities in most every city in the nation will be celebrating this special event for juniors and seniors. And while the prom committees, staff, and administration are busy making sure everything is ready for the dance itself, its up to the kids to organize the rest of the night. And here is where a well organized Mom can make a huge difference in how things go. Check out my 7 planning tips for prom night showing you just how easy it is to guide your child through making those plans on his or her own with their friends while you coach them from the sidelines.
1. Choose an outfit.
No matter if you have a son or a daughter, you need enough time to get just the right outfit. Many boys will do best with a tux rental simply because they won’t stop growing until they are 25 and unless you know they’ll have a regular need for a tux in the coming years, its easiest just to rent one when needed and always look for coupons before you do. Many girls may find this is the first time they have a chance to wear the gown of their dreams so its all about being resourceful. Look in your community for charity or church hosted prom dress fundraisers where people donate dresses from previous events to stock the racks and attendees are charged a minimal fee (if any) for the gowns they choose. Consignment shops are a gold mine for finding rarely to never used formal wear and some of the best out there will have an entire area or room dedicated to all things prom. And of course you can always buy new but I hope always on sale.
2. Order a corsage and boutineer.
Many florists and grocery stores have ordering cycles for when they get shipments of fresh flowers so you’ll want to stop in weeks ahead of time so they can time your order to be made with the freshest flowers available. You’ll also need want to make sure that the ribbon that is offered by the florist will match the dress. If it doesn’t, you’ll still have enough time to head out to the craft store and find the perfect solution.
3. Make a date or gather a crowd.
Help your child decide what group of kids if any is going to attend? Its perfectly fine to go as a couple, on a double date, or in a nice group of a dozen or more. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to set some ground rules. Things like everyone knows each other, you’ve met the parents, and everyone is on the same playing field when it comes to things like no alcohol, drugs, or other illegal activity that will end the night immediately with a call to the parents of the child in question.
4. Plan for dinner.
Call me old fashioned but I love the idea of a hosted dinner at someone’s house where the parents of those attending put together a memorable night for everyone to enjoy. Think themed, decorated, and a fine dining meal that can be just as easily catered or made in part by all as it could be fun and casual to reflect the kids involved. For groups who are visiting a restaurant, you’ll need a reservation well in advance to make sure there is a seat for everyone at the table. Depending not the size of the group, you may be able to secure a private room which is always a nice touch. You may also be able to arrange for a pre-set menu with a handful of meal options that can be paid for in advance allowing the kids to simply focus on the fun.
5. Arrange for a ride.
While its an expense some may choose to do without, we found it to be with every penny to secure a group ride for the kids. It really keeps them together as a group, just increasing the fun and camaraderie of the night. It also makes sure they don’t have to navigate any transportation issues like street closings, parking garages, and lovely girls walking way too far in those incredibly high heels! We found that getting a Mercedes Sprinter Van was considerably less expensive than a limo and gives everyone peace of mind that the night will be safe while the kids have fun.
6. Make time for pre-prom group pictures.
There’s really not a reason to pre-party because the girls will be busy getting ready to the last minute and the boys will be proving that chivalry is not dead as they arrive to pick up their date and have the traditional pictures with flowers in tow. But its great to have group pictures and if possible, have the group transpiration arrive at the same place where everyone has gathered for pictures to keep things simple. As the hostess, I’ve sent out a fun Evite to invite everyone over to our home for 45 minutes ahead of the departure time to give everyone a chance to take pictures. Its fun, gives a great send off to the night, and parents and siblings alike are welcome to enjoy this part of the night together. Be sure to have refreshments for everyone. The kids attending prom will be grateful for small bottled waters and mints or gum. The parents sending them off might just love a cocktail or cold drink after everyone has gone. If you aren’t hosting, take a minute to thank the family who is with a handwritten note. It speaks volumes!
7. Decide on after prom party plans or not.
This is different for every family. We’ve decided that junior year isn’t the time for this but for senior year, you can bank on an all night bonfire for the entire gang, parents hosting late night refreshments and returning in the morning for a huge brunch. Again this goes back to having everyone in agreement about the ground rules like sleeping arrangements that have boys and girls separated and chaperoned. Call me old school but its worth making sure everyone is comfortable and knows exactly what will occur. It also makes those couples who might be going simply as friends comfortable that their wanting to stay the night doesn’t convey anything other than what it is ~ the chance to celebrate with friends for as long as they can.
Our goal is to provide a safe and fun night for the kids where they are in charge of making the plans come together with our assistance. By asking leading questions you point them in the right direction for information they may not have every been exposed to, like making a dinner reservation, ordering a tux and flowers, planning for a bus. And you are able to help them work out the kinks if they need to as well. Believe me, I don’t want to plan my son’s prom ~ its not my night nor should it be. But like all things, they need a checklist to help them through the process and that’s something I can do in my sleep. Tell me…
How do you guide your kids through special events without taking control?
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!