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Most of the work is actually being done right now for this year's prom - even as preparations get under way for next year's prom!
Start Planning Early!
It is February now and preparations for prom are well underway. We have chosen a Prom Location: the local polo grounds - and the Prom Theme: "Old Hollywood".
We still are working on the overall "look" of the prom, and are studying pictures, window shopping, and of course check out the Prom Promotions at the various stores to see what they offer: "Nordstrom Prom Guide. Check out our featured looks and get styling tips." OK, I will check out their featured looks...
I have been so busy that I haven't been updating our progress as I should be. We have about one more month to go before prom. We have cut many items out of our budget because, given the economic climate, they just seemed unnecessary.
For example, gone are the party buses we had planned to bring the kids to and from the prom. Instead, we will use the school vehicles, with school staff as drivers. This alone saved us about $2,300. We also don't have to worry about finding chaperones for the bus ride.
We also eliminated the photo booth - instead we will buy 10 or so disposable cameras and place them on the tables for the kids to take candid shots with.
In addition, we are looking for a videographer to shoot some video at the prom, perhaps do some impromptu interviews with the kids. Then, we will make a DVD out of the footage and give it to the seniors as a memento of the evening.
SURVEY OF THE DECADES - CHILDREN & FAMILY 2000s:
The Prom Mom
When I went to my high school prom back in the 1980s, I never gave a thought as to who went to all the trouble of organizing and paying for our lovely dance. My main concern was my dress, and which pre-dance and post dance parties to attend.
Now, as the mother of two high-school age children, I was recruited by the Moms Organization (technically, it is a "parents' organization...but you know how that goes!) to be on the "Prom Committee". I happily accepted, even though my oldest is only a sophomore, because after my experience on the "Winter Dance Committee", I realized what a major undertaking pulling off a successful event is!
If I am going to be a real help when it is my kids' turn, I figured, I better get my feet wet now.
Organizing the Prom - Task List
Left: Inside the Club House at the Polo Grounds - Dinner will be served here at the prom. It will look quite different on prom night - we will transform it into a scene out of the glamorous days of Old Hollywood.
Below: The tables are set - the room transformed.
Right: A practice polo game in session - adds ambience and glamour to our prom setting without costing us a penny extra!
The Prom Committees
The first step in planning a successful prom is to realize that it is no small task and is probably too much for just one or two people to handle. To solve this problem and to keep ourselves from being worked to death, we created committees to handle various tasks.
Committees in Reality
Breaking down the tasks involved in putting together a high school prom is a helpful way to organize your efforts. This doesn't mean you "prom by committee", however; you should have one person in charge - two at the most - who can keep track of the overall progress.
Core Prom Planners:
Most of the initial planning and preparations were done well in advance by a group of 3 of us. We met with girls from the senior class to decide on the theme of the prom, and get an idea of what the overall "likes and dislikes" of the senior class were. This can vary drastically from year to year - each graduating class has their own temperament and ideas of what is cool and not cool.
Ignore this at your own peril.
The last thing you want to do is put on a prom that is deemed "Lame" by the students. Listen carefully to what students have to say about food, decorations and music. Especially music. The wrong band or DJ and you have a flop.
Fundraising Starts in September
The one committee you want to form early is the fundraising committee. If you don't raise extra money to spend on your prom, you will either have sky-high ticket prices or a dinky little prom. Start raising money before you even have a budget - you can always use extra money to lower the ticket price to the students or make free tickets available to students who might not attend because of the cost. Everybody should be able to attend their senior prom - it is an American right of passage!
Your biggest expenses will be the food/venue and the band.
Form Other Committees In January
By this I mean write a few lists of names, getting people to commit to helping out in a particular area. This will give you an idea of any hidden resources and talents amongst the party planners. For example, somebody owns a catering company, is a florist, works in theater, owns a restaurant in town, is extremely rich and loves to pay for senior proms - you get the idea.
Using your resources will save you money (don't expect the florist family to provide flowers for free - but chances are they will offer you a discount), and most likely will produce a better result because they are personally invested.
One of our "Prom Moms" was a Broadway dancer in a former life, and leads a dance troupe now - so she came up with the artistic vision of the evening and also had a closet full of costumes and props which we gratefully put to use.
Activate Committees 6 - 8 weeks before your event!
Up until about 2 months before your prom, most of the work is budgeting, planning and fundraising.
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