Plan Your Perfect Prom Night

Jennifer L. Betts
Young couple at prom

Prom is the epitome of the high school experience. It is the night that some people plan and prep for. Having the prefect prom night comes down to planning. Not only do you need the perfect dress but flowers, limo, date and even activities. Find all you need and more to make your prom night fabulous!

Step 1: Finding a Prom Date

Unless you're choosing to go alone, finding the perfect prom date should be the first thing that hits your prom prep list. Once you find them, it's all about asking. Finding a creative way to ask someone to prom can be daunting but with a bit of ingenuity anyone can get that yes. If in doubt, ask you buddies for some help.

Teenagers ready for prom in a line

Step 2: Create a Prom Budget

Neither you, nor your parents are made of money, so creating a budget can ensure that everything runs smoothly when prom planning. Your prom budget needs to take into account everything that you will be required to pay for at and leading up to prom. This should include:

  • Prom attire
  • Hair
  • Makeup
  • Nails
  • Accessories
  • Tickets
  • Transportation/limo
  • Activities (dinner, rooms, etc.)
  • Flowers
  • Photos

There are always other miscellaneous costs as well. Remember to have a little cushion in case something comes up.

Teenagers in limousine

Step 3: Buy Your Tickets

Now that you have your date and your budget, it's time to purchase your tickets. Your school might have the option to reserve them in advance, but you need to have this high on your to-do list. Showing up without tickets would be embarrassing.

Step 4: Buying Your Attire

This is a biggie. Expect endless hours of shopping or online searching to find the dress or suit that fits your personality. Don't just settle either. These are pictures that you are going to look back on for years so find the attire that is perfect for you, even if you have to make it yourself.

Custom Dresses

Not only can you get a dress custom-made by a professional for about what it costs to buy one at the store, but you can choose to make one yourself. All you'll need is the fabric that you want to use and a prom dress pattern. You might want to enlist a bit of help from someone that knows their way around a sewing machine too. And always have a back-up plan, just in case.

Shopping for Your Dress

When it comes to shopping for a prom dress, there are a lot out there. Think about what is going to match your personality the best. Are you looking for a retro prom dress or something celebrity inspired? You might be looking to show off a little skin through a two-piece or a modest dress might be more you. Dresses also come in an assortment of colors include black and white, light blue and even shimmering gold. If cost comes into play, you might look for cheap prom dresses at a thrift store. If in doubt of what you want, look at pictures of prom dresses for inspiration.

Choosing a Tuxedo

Not every person is going to go for the prom tuxedo look, some might like a suit for prom a bit more. Just like finding a dress, let your personality shine through your clothing choice. Maybe you like baby blue tuxedos or pin-strips are more your style. Find what just feels right and go with it. But don't forget to coordinate with your date.

Tuxedos and evening gowns for sale

Step 5: Don't Forget Accessories

Your attire doesn't just stop at your clothing. You also need to think about accessories from prom jewelry and matching purses to the kind of shoes you want. It's important to consider other accessories like prom garters too.

Mom helping daughter with prom necklace

Step 6: Get Alterations

Your dress or tux might have your own personal flavor but if it doesn't fit right, then it's no fun. Prior to your big night make sure to get the right prom dress alterations so that you aren't tripping on your dress. You might also need to do some prom dress repairs on the fly so be ready.

Seamstress making prom dress alterations

Step 7: Make Beauty Appointments and Test Looks

It's all about presentation. Your tux or dress might be on point but if you beard is scruffy, or hair is wild then the look just isn't right. You want to go for that polished look through the right makeup and hair for your outfit. So, you need to either make reservations at your local salon for hair, nails and makeup or you need to do it yourself.

Trying Different Looks

Even if you're not going to do your makeup yourself, you'll want to try out different looks. This is important because you want to find a look that will work with your dress. For example, if your dress is pink, you might not want blue eyeshadow. And you need to be careful of your makeup techniques for a yellow dress or a sleek red bombshell, because these can go south really fast with too many colors clashing. And don't skimp on the eye makeup, it could make or break your look. If in doubt, YouTube or Google images of prom makeup styles.

Test Different Hairstyles

Who doesn't want to have prom princess hair; however, that's not achievable for everyone. You might need to look for shorter hair prom styles or styles designed for African Americans. Maybe the princess look isn't even what you want. You might need a more retro hairstyle to match your dress or a down do. Whether you are looking for the best prom do or do-it-yourself prom hair, galleries of prom hairstyles should be your first place to start researching.

Hairdresser and beautician testing beauty styles

Step 8: Plan Activities

The actual prom is only a small portion of what happens on prom night. After the dance, you usually aren't just going to go home. You might reserve a limo or make a dinner reservation. You also might stay at a hotel with your friends. Maybe you plan after prom activities like putt-putt or driving around the city. You put all that thought into your attire, show it off!

Teenagers driving in formal wear

Step 9: Make Reservations

Once you've made your plans and talked with your parents, it's time to make the actual reservations. You'll need to call and check that all the plans are available and affordable. Depending on costs and other factors, you might need to modify some of your plans.

Step 9: Buying the Gift

Just dressing yourself could put you into a panic attack but prom fun doesn't stop there. Once you've got the date and look, it's time to think of prom gifts. Most teens choose to give flowers to their prom dates, like a bracelet corsage, but try thinking out of the box too. Does your date like roses? Maybe just a single red rose or a whole bouquet would fit them better.

Ready for prom - close up of a hand with a corsage

Step 10: Figure Out Logistics

The day is quickly approaching, and you have everything ready. A few days before the big event, you'll want to figure out all the logistics with your date and friends. Discuss when the limo will show up or when you are meeting before prom and after along with when and where you might be going for pictures.

Setting Up Pictures

Pictures are your keepsakes from prom. While the dress might get donated and the flowers will die, your pics will last a lifetime. So, you don't want to skimp on this step. For before prom pictures, you might want to think about creative places that you can take them or flattering poses that will really show off your attire. If laughter is more your thing, try a few funny poses that you can do yourself at prom. Above all make it memorable.

Teenage Prom Girls Taking a Photo with Mobile Phone

Getting Prom Perfect

Prom might only be one night, but it takes a lot of preparation. Not only do you need the perfect attire, but you need to get the gifts and have your plans ready. Making the perfect prom night takes a lot of planning beforehand, sometimes months. So be ready and budget accordingly.

Plan Your Perfect Prom Night