Timeline Tips for Low-Stress Prom Planning

Committee MembersHosting a Prom is a big undertaking, but planning ahead and dividing the work into smaller tasks will help the preparation and the whole event to run smoothly. Get together with your prom committee as early as possible to establish a timeline, to-do list and a budget for your school’s Prom.

6-9 Months Before Prom 
Early on set up the prom committee and subcommittees to help delegate work. If your Prom chair tries to or is forced to do all the work, your prom could end up a disaster. Sharing the work load is an easy way to make the prom planning process simpler and more fun for everyone involved. 

Create a budget for the prom. Designing and sticking to a budget will help you cut down stress and reduce the amount of fundraising you have to do to pay for your event. Setting up a bank account for the Prom is a good way to keep track of funds and will make paying the bills easier.  

Choose a prom date early on. Selecting a date is essential for booking the required venues. Your student body will also appreciate knowing early on when their prom is.  

Decide on a theme for your prom early so you can start making decisions about decorating, favors and music.  

Start your fundraising early so you don’t run into cash flow problems.  

4 Months Before
The next step in prom planning is booking your locations, including a venue for the dance and the formal dinner (if you’re having one), a location for photos, and a place to host the after prom. Venues range from the high school gym to a ball room or more exotic locations like zoos or botanical gardens. 

Choose your caterer and decide on the menu for your dinner. Be sure to have multiple choices for entrees and a vegetarian option available.  

Create a guest list for the event. Will it be juniors and seniors or just the senior class? Which faculty members will you invite? Who will chaperone? 

Book the band or DJ for your event. Music is essential to your dance, so be sure to choose carefully and early. 

Plan the post-prom or set up a parents’ committee to plan this portion of the event. 

Select and hire a photographer. Many couples will want professional photographs taken, or you can have photos taken of each couple to be placed in your prom favors.

2-3 Months Before
Now’s the time to start finalizing aspects of the prom such as decorations, favors, memory booklets and invitations. 

Design your tickets and invitations to match your theme and slogan. Prepare invitations to be sent out ahead of time so you don’t end up addressing envelopes in a hurry.

Start taking orders for tickets during lunch at school.  

Plan the wording for your memory booklets. 

Start the selection process for your prom court and announce the candidates. 

Remember to book security for prom night. In many places security is required and even if it’s not, having a police officer around will take some stress of your committee and your chaperones.  Sell tickets at lunch, before school or take orders through the mail or e-mail. Make sure tickets are made available to non-traditional students such as early-graduates. 

Finish designing your decorations and order all your supplies!

4-6 Weeks Before 
Secret Garden Photo SettingMail your invitations, including those to your faculty, administration and chaperones. Sending out invitations is a professional way to remind people of the big day or to encourage attendance among your student body. Invitations add a personal touch. 

Confirm all of your orders, reservations and entertainment bookings. Ask for any invoices you have not already recieved and pre-pay as many bills as you can. This will minimize the amount of work you have to do after the prom is over. 

Arrange seating for your dinner. Will tables be assigned or will students be able to choose their own seating? Be sure not to split up couples! 

Write out an event timeline, making sure you have a rough estimate of how long dinner, activities and coronation will take. Maximize the amount of time there will be for dancing, as this is many students’ favorite part.

1 Week Before 
Finalize the headcount for students and adults. Give students one last chance to buy tickets; then relay these numbers to your caterer, security, and the other important adults. 

Touch base with the prom location and caterer to make sure everything is running as it should. They may have some last-minute details to smooth over with you. Take care of these questions before crunch time.  

Assemble all decorations that can be easily moved. Gather your memory booklets and favors and prepare them for prom night. Any details you can take care of now should be dealt with. The last week Prom Committeebefore prom will go faster than you think! Anyone on your prom committee who is also attending the prom may begin to get distracted so don’t put anything off!

2-3 Days Before 
Purchase or pick up any food and beverages needed for the prom.  

Begin decorating the venue with any decorations that can be put up early. Save flowers and balloons for the day of the prom.  

The Big Prom Day

 Prepare food and beverages. 

Put up outdoor decorations, flowers, and inflate your balloons.

Get yourselves ready and enjoy the fruit of all your hard work. It’s prom night!

One response to “Timeline Tips for Low-Stress Prom Planning

  1. We are a small K-12 (125 students) Yup’ik village school in Alaska. We have flown to the next largest village for the past 3 years for prom. This is our first year giving our own prom and there is not one teacher on staff that has done this before. The Student Council Sponsor is a first year teacher so we are all trying to help. Thank you so much for your web page it really helped give us an idea of what we need to do to get ready.

    Jan Gable
    Special Ed Teacher
    DRK Memorial School
    Kongiganak, AK 99545

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