No matter which dance committee you’ve ended up on – Homecoming, Winter Formal, Prom or what have you—the basic steps for sound decision-making will be the same.
The planning committee should start by setting a general direction for the brainstorming to come. Are you looking for a mood of romance or elegance, fun or frivolity? What are the goals of the event? What defines a successful evening? Generate and circulate a list of basic criteria that a theme must meet.
Once the criteria are communicated, set up a brainstorming session for all planning committee members. Brainstorming is all about generating as many options as possible without judgment. Let everyone throw their theme proposals on the table and create a master list for everyone to review.
(Where can you find theme suggestions? We are admittedly a bit biased, but our own event themes catalogs aren’t a bad place to start! Other great sources of theme suggestions are song titles. Check Billboard.com for the very latest.)
It’s unlikely that the perfect theme is going to jump out and capture everyone’s imagination and agreement during the brainstorming session. Don’t try to pick a winner right away. Take the list home and study it. At the next session, narrow down the list to a pre-determined number of strong candidates, perhaps 10 or 12. Then, evaluate each of the candidate themes by answering the following questions:
1. Will this theme be easy or hard to work with? Can we easily think of colors, decorations and favors that go naturally with it, or will these things have to be “stretched” to fit?
2. Is the theme timeless and memorable or something so unbearably trendy that it will seem silly in a few years?
3. Does the theme fit our school’s unique tastes, personality and culture?
After you’ve evaluated each finalist theme against these standards, it’s time to put them to a vote! To begin generating excitement about the dance, put the top 2-3 planning committee winners to a school-wide vote.