Student Life

Your Ultimate Prom Prep List

Prom is a big deal. Here's a helpful list to help you prepare for the big night.

Shawna Newman

April 13, 2021

Your Ultimate Prom Prep List
Prom should be a fun-filled event, not a stressful one.
As any high school student knows, prom is kind of a big deal. It’s a historic event shared by many United States students. You’ll remember this night for many years. From styling your outfit to planning your group, ensure your prom experience is special with a little prep work.
Check out this full list of prom scholarships too!
Here’s where to begin your prom season planning:

  1. Create a Prom Budget.
  2. 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. Find ways to save money and get some prom inspiration by exploring the #prom tag on Instagram. You may find creative, do-it-yourself ways to make prom less expensive. Take these costs into consideration when creating your prom 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. PromGirl shares many makeup tips from matching colors to your dress to makeup inspiration.
    Hair – If you’re getting your hair done by a professional hairdresser, it’s important to factor in this cost.
    Nails – Are you going to get a manicure or pedicure for the prom? 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 face mask, 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 – If your prom ticket doesn't include the cost of dinner, your group will need to decide on a place to dine. Make sure you’re able to afford a high-quality dinner without breaking your budget.
    Limousine/transportation costs – Luckily, transportation to and from prom is typically split by all your friends within your prom group. Consider starting a money poll with friends via a PayPal account.
    Flowers – 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.
    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 these items can really add up and swapping with friends can offset the cost. 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.

  3. Plan your prom group.
  4. 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 can quickly communicate about the event.

  5. Make any necessary reservations and/or appointments.
  6. 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. 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! You’re going to want to schedule these at least a month in advance to ensure availability, especially during the rush of prom season. During prom season, these services book quickly.

  7. Create a group plan for before and after the event.
  8. 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.

  9. Coordinate with your date.
  10. Ensure you and your date are on the same page, from splitting any costs to scheduling photos with both of your parents. Also, you may want to consider discussing outfits, corsages/boutonnieres, and styling to ensure you two won’t clash in photos.

  11. Involve your parents.
  12. 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.

  13. Have fun!
  14. Prom should 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. Consider packing an emergency kit for the evening. Include items like clear nail polish (for tears in leggings), extra makeup, hand sanitizer, Tylenol, makeup blotting sheets, an emergency phone charger/backup, and more.

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