Having a prom within a designated budget is essential. Having one on a low budget is even better. Since most of the financing of a prom comes from ticket sales, lower costs mean lower tickets. The result: more people are able to attend. Prom planners should consider the purposes of a prom:
To have a fun and romantic evening that celebrates the last school dance for seniors; to enjoy a venue that allows for room to mingle and that is easy to decorate; and to have a prom that is unique and memorable.
There are many ways a prom can be planned on a reasonable budget.
1. The prom committee should choose an inexpensive place. Sure, the swankiest country club in town overlooking the lake would be nice but the rental prices are huge. Plus, there is insurance for the evening. A large gym deserves a second look. There are many ways to transform it into a mystical place for the special night. An added bonus is that the school carries insurance that will probably include the dance night.
2. After a memorable theme is chosen, the call should go out for school decorators. What about a 30’s discotheque? An ocean liner at sea? A tropical beach in Hawaii? Students with set making experience are ideal to lead the decorating efforts. The art department may be able to donate some supplies. Student seamstresses can make cloth. Other artists can make signs, dance cards, and favors. A local nursery may loan out potted palms for the evening.
3. A professional band is expensive, but there are other possibilities: talented students who have their own band; a local band who is made up of several alums from the school; or even a CD collection with a student serving as DJ.
4. Donated or homemade refreshments. Parents are often willing to help make refreshments. Local groceries may donate items. A separate committee can solicit donations of food items for the prom along with door prizes. The best thank yous to contributing merchant are free ads in the school paper that encourage students and their families to patronize the businesses.
5. Even photography may be donated by a parent or two who are professional photographers. Making photos available at a lower price is a great benefit to students. Consider asking student videographers to film the dance and edit the best parts onto a CD that will be sold.
6. Reduce other prom-related costs so that students will have enough money for tickets. Encourage girls to buy their dresses through dress swapping events and other low cost sales. Consider having a semi formal dance instead of formal so that boys can wear suits instead of tuxes. Alternate transportation to limos can save money. Shuttle buses or subways become fun when large groups of students choose that mode of transportation. Before prom dinners in casual restaurants or even in homes knock the price down even more.
There are many ways to keep a prom within budget and affordable for all. With a focus on memories rather than expensive glitz; on inclusion rather than showing off; and on soliciting help from the entire community, a prom can become what it was originally intended to be – a fun night that will be cherished for a lifetime.