As you and your classmates complete your final year in high school, there’s a lot on your plates. If one of those items is helping to plan your prom, then prom committees should be fun, not stressful! However, since all eyes are on you, you want to make sure you plan the perfect night for the graduating class.
From choosing the right prom banquet halls in Vaughan to the menu, here we offer your ideal prom planning checklist to create a night forever known as “the best prom of all time.”
Choose a Theme
Prom themes can make or break your evening. You don’t want anything too cheesy or that won’t seem relevant to your classmates, so think of ideas that will appeal to most graduates. You can choose something like a movie theme, a decade that is fun, like a 1970s disco party or the roaring 1920s, or a romantic idea like a night in Paris. The theme will help you create the perfect ambiance, inspiring the décor for the evening.
The best way to avoid disappointment is to ask for graduating class input. This makes it clear you’re planning an inclusive prom where everyone’s opinions are valid. You can either have people submit ideas or come up with three to five ideas and then have the graduating class vote. This way, the theme is chosen by consensus and will be less likely to make people feel left out.
Have a Few Dates in Mind
Choose your ideal date, but have a few alternate dates in case your favourite prom banquet halls in Vaughan aren’t available.
The right date for a prom avoids conflict with other possible celebrations, such as parties for clubs, theatre arts awards, athletic teams, etc. Do your research among larger clubs and teams to avoid planning the prom for the same night that a major event is taking place. Another issue is something like the May 24 weekend, where people will likely have other plans.
Hint: Choosing a weeknight helps avoid conflicts and can often save you money, as these nights are less popular for events.
Find a Venue
Many schools have a traditional venue they use year after year. If this is not the case, picking the perfect spot for your prom is the most important choice you’ll make.
Consider the location of the school to choose venues that are within a reasonable distance for most students. Then, make a short list of venues and have your committee set up some tours. You don’t want to make a choice based on photos online, as they can be misleading.
Some things to consider when choosing the venue include:
- Number of graduates attending
- What is and isn’t included
- Your theme
- Media setup
- Dance floor
- Photo ops, such as a pretty courtyard, dramatic staircase, or cozy fireplace
Consider Prom Night Activities
Although having a DJ and dancing is a prom given, you’ll want to keep everyone engaged throughout the night. Arrange other activities that tie into your theme, such as:
- Selfie Station/Booth: You can either rent a photo booth if your budget allows or set up a selfie station where everyone can take selfies with a theme-based backdrop. If you have a clear theme, consider hitting the local thrift shops to find cheap costumes people can throw together for their photos or just some fun items like hats, feather boas, moustaches, sunglasses, wigs, etc., from the dollar store.
- Show Movies: Choose a few movies that are popular among students, and create a movie corner where classmates can grab some popcorn, sit down on some pillows, and enjoy some of their favourite movie scenes. You can also project movies on the walls to add ambiance and enhance your theme.
- Virtual Reality: Have theme-related VR available or just some VR gaming options for people who aren’t interested in dancing.
- Set Up Games: Have a board/card game area where people can sit down at tables and enjoy playing Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, charades, poker, etc.
- Themed Activities: Examples of themed activities would be casino tables for casino night, a dance contest for a 1970s disco night, or VR tours of Paris for a night in Paris.
Choose the Right DJ and Music
Your DJ needs to appeal to the masses and throw in some unexpected retro songs as well. Consider popular performers, and make sure there is a good mix that will keep people dancing and feeling upbeat.
Additionally, have some good slow dance choices for couples. Line up the playlist with the DJ ahead of time, and make sure the DJ can take requests. You can also ask guests to text their favourite songs to get an idea of popular music.
Create a Great Menu
Prom night is all about becoming an adult, so it should be a classy affair with a mature menu, but not so mature that grads will be unsure about the food. You want something upscale, but not unfamiliar.
The menu is an important discussion to have when you tour your venues, as you want to make sure they can accommodate your needs and budget. Also, consider special diet restrictions like vegan/vegetarian, no pork, and low carb to make sure there are choices. Have a text contact available so people can make dietary requests to ensure everyone is accommodated.
Order a Showstopper Cake
Ask your venue if they can provide a themed showstopper cake, or check in with parents for recommendations on a good local bakery. Be sure to ask your venue if bringing in a cake purchased elsewhere is permitted and whether they will charge to slice and serve it.
Make sure that your prom is inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
Create Prom Party Favours
Make some prom party favours to mark the occasion with some items that graduates can look back on, such as:
- Graduating class or prom-themed T-shirts
- Themed water bottles
- Reusable prom “tickets” such as a keychain that attendees show at the door
Create the Right Ambiance
Prom décor creates the ambiance based on your theme. This is the fun part of being on the prom committee. Enlist some volunteers from art class to paint backdrops, source inexpensive décor from places like thrift stores, or borrow items from your parents or the school.
Some exciting ideas to create the perfect prom include:
- Rent or borrow furniture to create themed lounge areas in quiet corners of the space
- Hang curtains to cordon off some private areas
- Add tons of “fairy” lights
- Use free-standing candelabras
- Create DIY décor, such as hand-painted fantasy backdrops like forests, beaches, column and brick facades, gardens, starry skies, etc.
This checklist will keep your prom committee on track and create a memorable night that your classmates will never forget.