PLANNING THE PERFECT PROM
The keys to organising a successful prom or leavers party is careful planning and delegating. There is a lot of work to be done, but with the right team in place you can make all of your prom dreams come true. Let these tips help you throw one epic celebration.
- Gather your planning committee – One person does not a prom make. This is a team effort. Get as many people involved as possible but make sure one person is in charge of setting this up and being the lead booking name if dealing with companies you are using for the prom.
2. Save the date – When picking the date for prom, make sure you choose 2/3 potential dates to start with that are possibilities so you have flexibility when you are checking availability for entertainment, venues and party extra’s.
3. Pick the perfect theme – Whether this is a standard disco package, UV glow disco, red carpet event, awards/Oscars theme or something else – ideas are endless. After the committee narrows the ideas down to a select 2, let the students vote on the prom theme so everyone feels involved.
4. Keeping in touch – Start a group chat on WhatsApp or social media. Try and choose something that is accessible for as many people involved as possible. Keep this to adults only.
5. Set a budget – It’s not the fun part, but so necessary! You must set a reasonable budget and stick to it. Your fundraising team will never be able to keep up if you have dreams of grandeur beyond your means. If you are gathering quotes, make sure you take everything into consideration that you need and divide the total by the number of potential attendees needing a ticket. Make sure this is a realistic cost. You can always add on extra’s at a later date if you get more people involved who want to attend. For example, if there are 30 children and you decide a reasonable cost per head for a year 6 leavers party is £20, your budget would be £600, if there where 60 children this would be £1200, if the cost was £25 per head for 30 children this would be £750 etc.
6. Show me the money – From typical fundraisers like bag packing at your local supermarket to table sales, you may be able to raise funds this way. The other alternative is to collect a deposit for each attendee to make sure the lead organiser is not stuck with the bill on the day of the event. You could also get sponsors involved and get a local business to fund an element of this event for some free PR. Some venues may even offer free or discounted hire if you are not using the school hall.
- Location, location, location – Possibly the most important element of planning prom is finding and securing the venue so start as soon as possible. Again, try to have at least two event dates in mind before confirming to make sure this fits in with all of the students as well as any entertainment you have in mind.
- Invite your guests – Whether you budgeted for paper invitations or opt to save money and invite guests digitally, or via social media, make sure all potential guests are aware that they are invited or if they need to pay a fee for the event or to be added onto a guest list. Keep a paper and digital copy of this list.
9. Get your groove on – Consider your entertainment options and once you find the perfect match, book it! Don’t let your number one choice get away.
10. Say cheese – Sure, there will be lots of #selfies at prom, but you want to make sure you hire a professional to capture the night too. Don’t have a big budget? Poll parents in search of someone with photog skills – you might get lucky. Or a photo booth is always a popular choice with fun props to get some great snaps with friendship groups. You may get a great package deal with a local events company.
11. #Prom – Create a unique prom hashtag, for example #Rudstonprom2020, and then get everyone to use it for posting anything prom related on social media. By the time prom is over you will have a virtual scrapbook of the whole event from planning to partying by just typing in the hashtag in the search bar.
12. Chaperones – Sorry kids, chaperones are a must. No children or young adults should be left at their prom without responsible adults to supervise the fun.
- Party favours – Everyone loves a goodie bag. Plan to send guests home with a little something to commemorate the evening. This could be a photograph from the event, photo keyring or keepsake with the school logo on or something completely different and unique. This could be completely optional and depend on your budget.
14. Traditions – Will you be upholding certain year-to-year school traditions, or be starting new ones? Maybe the seniors all wear white or dance to a certain song? Keep this in mind and let your entertainment know any special requests ahead of time. A group picture is a must!
15. Prom Rules – Make sure your prom rules are clear and upfront. You may set regulations for attire (no tracksuit or trainers!) or have no dress code set at all, have a no refund policy if this is going to affect your budget, require ID for over 18’s only, set a “no late entry” rule, etc.
16. What’s on the menu – Whether you plan to serve a full dinner or just appetizers and desserts, you will have to consider budget and dietary restrictions. Set an RSVP deadline that coordinates with when you need to give a head count number to the caterer.
- Set Up – On the big day, it is all hand’s on deck. Organise your volunteers and assign tasks easily ahead of time. Yes, this takes a little pre-planning, but it will be worth it on prom night.
18. Bring your checklist – You’ve planned and planned. Don’t assume you will remember everything. Make checklists and bring them with you. Also bring a list of important phone numbers so you can get in touch with anyone you might need to last minute.
- Make an announcement – Once everyone gets settled, take five minutes to make a few announcements. Thank your committee, point out extra special touches, remind everyone to use your hashtag (see tip #11), etc.
20. Have fun – This is probably the most important tip of all. You’ve worked your tail off to make it a special night for all. Now it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Relax and soak it all in; it will be over in an instant.
- Clean up – When the party is over, there is still work to be done. You are going to need your best recruits so clean up is as painless as possible. Make sure people do not sneak away without helping first as many hands make light work!
22. Leave a roadmap – Prom is over for you, but next year the planning process will start all over again with a new class. Pass on notes about what worked and what didn’t so they too can have the prom of their dreams too. They will appreciate this lots!
23. Donate that outfit– Want to give back? Check for organisations that accept donations to provide outfits to students in need.
24. Memorialise it – Best. Prom. Ever! Remember all of the hard work and funny moments by making a scrapbook. You will really appreciate it in 10, 20, 30 years.
25. R&R – Prom was a success and you deserve a pat on the back. Take a little time to get some rest and relaxation – trip to the spa anyone?
With these tips you will make prom dreams come true. All of the hard work will surely be worth it!
Posted by Lucie Campbell, Jumping Jacks Events Limited