30 Tips for Planning the Perfect Prom

prom planning tipsThe keys to organizing a successful prom are 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 30 tips help you throw one epic celebration.

Before Prom

1. Gather your planning committee - One person does not a prom make. This is a team effort. Use SignUpGenius event organizing tools, to recruit volunteers.
2. Save the date - When picking the date for prom, consult neighboring schools. You don't want to limit your choices in venue or entertainment because another school is having prom the same night.
3. Pick the perfect theme - Under the sea, back to the future or a romantic Parisian theme - ideas are endless. After the committee narrows the ideas down to a select few, let students vote on the prom theme so everyone feels involved.
4. Organize sub-committees - Break out into smaller groups early to determine needs and costs in each area. Sub-committee ideas: Budget, Fundraising, Logistics, Decorating, Catering, Entertainment, Tickets and Invitations.
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.
6. Show me the money - From typical fundraisers like car washes and bake sales to more unique ideas like a talent contest, get everyone involved using SignUpGenius to track volunteers and keep tabs on the team's progress.

SignUpGenius Payments can help you organize fundraisers online!

7. Solicit sponsors - Decide which local businesses may benefit the most from sponsoring your prom and write them a proposal or sponsorship letter.
8. Location, location, location - Possibly the most important element of planning prom is finding and securing the venue so start as soon as possible.
9. Invite your guests - Whether you budgeted for paper invitations or opt to save money and invite guests digitally, SignUpGenius can help track RSVPs so you can get an idea of how many guests to plan for.
10. Get your groove on - Band or DJ? Audition your entertainment options and once you find the perfect match, book it! Don't let your number one choice get away.
11. Say cheese - Sure, there will be lots of rockin' #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.
12. DIY Photobooth - Capture the classic prom pose in front of a budget-friendly DIY photobooth to match the prom's theme. Then add some funny hats and glasses and everyone will be lined up for a turn.
13. #Prom - Create a unique prom hashtag, 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. #Awesome
14. Chaperones - Sorry kids, chaperones are a must. At least you can use SignUpGenius to make signing up the 'rents easy.

 Get volunteer shifts organized with SignUpGenius! Learn how.

15. Party favors - Everyone loves a goodie bag. Plan to send guests home with a little something to commemorate the evening.
16. 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?
17. Tickets - Even the best fundraising team will appreciate the assistance of ticket sales to meet budget goals. Use SignUpGenius to assign committee members shifts to work the ticket table or take your ticket sales online.
18. Prom Rules - Make sure your prom rules are clear and upfront. You may set regulations for attire (no sneakers!), a refund policy, require ID, set a "no late entry" rule, etc.
19. 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. 

Prom Night

20. Set Up - On the big day, it is all hands on deck. Organize your volunteers and assign tasks easily with SignUpGenius. Yes, this takes a little pre-planning, but it will be worth it on prom night.
21. 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.

By using SignUpGenius to organize volunteers, you can have your go-to list of people, phone numbers and emails on hand at all times via mobile or print out.

22. 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 #13), etc.
23. Coronation - The votes have been tallied and now you have the honor of bestowing a crown upon the king and queen. Make sure it is a regal affair and plan for the crowning to take place about half way through prom - so the king and queen can enjoy their moment.
24. 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 labor. Relax and soak it all in; it will be over in an instant.

After Prom

25. 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.
26. Post-prom party - The party isn't over! There is always a lot of talk about what to do after prom. To keep the student body safe, assign a committee to keep the party going all night long - safely.
27. 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.
28. Donate that dress - Want to give back? Check for organizations that accept donations to provide dresses to students in need or kids too sick to attend prom!
29. Memorialize 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.
30. 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!

Jennifer Burg is a flip-flop wearing, Gator-loving, picture-taking, deal-hunting Florida gal. As an overachieving mom of two awesome daughters, making to-do lists helps her remain calm and (somewhat) organized. When she's not planning events and party sign-ups, you can find her blogging at www.TheSuburbanMom.com.