Your Ultimate Prom Prep List

Begin planning and prepare for prom season, while keeping a realistic prom budget in mind.

Elizabeth Hoyt

April 04, 2016

Your Ultimate Prom Prep List

As any high school student (or person) knows, prom is kind of a big deal. It’s a night you’ll remember for years to come. From styling your outfit to planning your group, ensure your prom experience is special by preparing for your big day.

Plus, we’ve included tips to help you stay on a realistic prom budget. That way, you can start planning and preparing for an exciting prom season, while keeping your budget in mind.

Here’s where to begin your prom season planning:

1. Create a Prom Budget

Prom can become expensive, especially once you add up all of the small details. Create your prom budget, talking to your parents about what they may be able to contribute. You’ll want to take these costs into consideration when creating your budget:

Outfit: Dress / Tuxedo, Shoes – It can be easy to go a little crazy on your prom outfit. But, if you go shopping with a budget already in mind, it can help you stay on track.

Makeup – whether you’re getting your makeup done professionally or just buying a special shade of lip-gloss for the evening, keep the costs in mind.

Hair – If you’re getting your hair done by a professional hair-dresser, it’s important to factor in the costs.

Nails – Are you going to get a manicure/pedicure for the prom? Purchasing a matching nail polish shade? Make sure that you take these costs into account while developing your prom budget!

Jewelry & Accessories – The perfect prom outfit is accessorized, so make sure to factor in any additional jewelry, a matching purse or other accessories within your prom budget.

Tickets – Most proms sell tickets and, while students usually focus on the outfit, it’s important to remember this cost as well.

Dinner – Some prom tickets include the cost of dinner, however, if yours doesn’t, your prom group will need to decide on a place to dine. Make sure you’re able to afford the cost within your budget.

Limousine/transportation costs – Luckily, transportation to and from prom is typically split by all of your friends within your prom group. This is recommended because it certainly cuts down on the costs – and ensures you’ll have a great time getting to and from the event.

Corsage/boutonniere for your date – Don’t forget the tradition of giving a corsage or boutonniere to your date! It’s a time-honored tradition you won’t want to forget.

Photos – At many proms, you have the option of getting a professional photo taken with your date. But, as with everything associated with this big night, it comes at a price. If you’re going to take these photos, make sure to remember the cost when developing your budget.

Budget-friendly Prom Tips:

• Once you’ve created a list of all your prom necessities, check out discount sites for services (like Groupon, etc.) to see if salons, etc. offer up any specials to help you save on costs.

• Ensure you ask all of the services about prom specials – more businesses have these than you may realize! Save on costs by looking for prom specials on services, which many businesses do offer – you just need to ask.
• Consider getting your hair, makeup, nails, etc. done at student salons. You’ll still achieve a glamourous look at a fraction of the cost since the students are in training.

• Consider borrowing outfits, accessories, shoes, etc. from your friends. The cost of all of these items can really add up and swapping with friends can offset the cost. Sure, you may want your own prom dress but is it really necessary to purchase new shoes when you can borrow some from a friend? Think about it – the night will be fun because you’re with your date and friends, not because of an expensive accessory you’ll only wear once.

• A lot of schools offer prom tickets early at a discount, raising the costs for last-minute ticket purchasers. Even if you don’t know who your date is, you may want to purchase tickets earlier than later to save if there’s a cost difference involved.

2. Plan your prom group

Collaborating with your friends on a time, restaurant, transportation, etc. can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to become one. Consider creating a prom Facebook group, where you and your friends are able to quickly communicate about the event. That way, you can keep your plans straight and everyone within your group can remain on the same page.

3. Make any necessary reservations and/or appointments

From beauty treatments like getting your hair, nails or makeup done to booking a dinner and limousine reservation for your group, make sure everything is all set ahead of time. You’re going to want to schedule these at least a month in advance to ensure availability, especially during the rush of prom season. Remember, it’s likely that yours isn’t the only high school hosting prom that particular evening! During prom season, these services book quickly so the sooner the better!

Here are some potential appointments you’ll need to remember to make:

• Order boutonniere/corsage from a florist

• Make dinner reservations

• Book Limousine/transportation

• Hair appointment

• Nail appointment

• Make-up appointment

4. Create a group plan for before and after the event

It’s important that everyone within your prom group is on the same page. Consider a convenient spot for everyone to meet – a great place that you’ll be able to take photos of your prom group (and let your parents snap a ton also).

This is also the spot you’ll want to schedule transportation to pick up your group so everyone’s leaving from the same spot. If you’re looking for something to do post-prom, talk to your friends and parents about creating that plan as well.

5. Coordinate with your date

Obviously, one of the biggest prom factors is your date. You want to ensure you’re on the same page, from splitting any duel costs to scheduling photos with both of your parents. Also – and, this depends solely on your prom-style, you may want to consider discussing outfits, corsages/boutonnieres and styling to ensure you two won’t clash in photos (think: green dress and tux with red accents – hello, holidays!) or – gasp – a clashing corsage ruins your look!

6. Involve your parents

Don’t worry about being embarrassed by your parents wanting to take prom photos of you and your date – it’s normal and most parents will want to get a snapshot in on your prom day.

Keep your parents in the loop regarding your plans, pre- and post-prom, to help your night run smoothly. They’ll appreciate being involved in your big event and you won’t have to worry about your parents blowing up your phone to find you post-prom if they’re already on board with your plans.

7. Plan & prepare for your appointments

If you’re getting your hair and make-up done, remember to wear a shirt that buttons in the front or zips – that way, you won’t mess up your new do (or face) while getting dressed. The same goes with getting your nails done – ensure you wear flip flops so your pedicure doesn’t chip!

Make sure you have enough time between appointments and enough time between your last appointment and meeting up with friends or your date for photos. You’ll also want to take the time it will take you to get dressed and ready to ensure you’re not the diva that arrives late.

8. Apply for a prom scholarship

You’re going to prom anyway and, since you’re heading off to college soon, you’re going to need some funding to help pay for school. Consider entering a prom scholarship competition, like:

Duck Tape “Stuck at Prom” Contest

Deadline: 5/31/16
Available to: Ages 14-18
Award Amount: $10,000

The Duck Tape “Stuck at Prom” Contest is open to students age 14 years or older who are attending a high school prom in the spring of 2015. You must be a legal resident of the United States or Canada, including the District of Columbia, but excluding Puerto Rico and the Province of Quebec.

You must enter as a couple (two individuals) and attend a high school prom wearing complete attire and/ or accessories made from duct tape. Each couple must submit a high resolution color photograph of the two of you together in prom attire.

The awards for this contest range from a first place prize of a $10,000, a 2nd place prize of $5,000, a third place prize of $3,000, and $500 to the runners up. The schools that host the proms of winning couples will also receive a cash prize.

Get more information on the Duck Tape “Stuck at Prom” Contest.

9. Have fun!

Remember, prom is supposed to be a fun-filled event, not a stressful one. Don’t worry about it if part of your plan doesn’t happen as scheduled or something trivial goes wrong on your big day. Before freaking out, consider whether each situation will impact your night in terms of enjoyment before becoming some sort of promzilla-prima-donna. The majority of snafus are things that won’t actually ruin your evening if you don’t allow them to do so; you just need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

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