How to Organise a Successful Prom

It is becoming more and more popular for schools to host proms for their leavers rather than discos. For a lot of your pupils the prom will be the last time they get to see each other together so it’s worth making it a really special night for them to remember.

Leavers proms are quite often arranged by teachers along with input from pupils however, with help from their PTA group, the event can become even more successful due to their experience and knowledge in planning such events.

I have listed below the main points to remember to ensure your evening runs smoothly and as successful as possible.

Volunteers
planning a prom - volunteersThe very first stage is to gather volunteers and make sure you have enough people on your committee to organise your event – if you haven’t, ask around for more! One way to do this is to hand out leaflets and posters around your school asking for parents or pupils to get involved.

It a good idea to start planning your event around 6 months in advance – this gives you more than enough time to sort everything even if you are pushed for time. But if you’ve left it a bit late, don’t worry a prom can be organised in less than 6 months, you will just have to put a little more time aside for organising.

Venue
When you have enough volunteers in place, it’s time to start thinking about the venue. The most obvious venue would be your schools main hall or sports hall.

This is most ideal because of cost purposes and all students would be able to get there easily. However, some schools these days (mainly high schools rather than primary) are opting for venues further afield such as hotels that have venue rooms to hire. Some hotels offer packages that include all entertainment, food & drink. It is worth looking into the costs as this may be a more ideal option for those schools that do not have enough time for extensive planning as the hotel would cover most tasks for you.

If you plan to hold the events on you school premises remember to check any insurance and licences required – you can contact your local authority for advice regarding this issue.

Entertainment
Once you have selected your venue you can move onto the next set of preparations – one of which is the entertainment!

prom entertainment - live bandThere is a wide range of entertainment to choose from. You can hire a DJ, however this may make it feel little more like a disco rather than a prom.

The more popular option is to choose a live band as your entertainment for the evening. You may be a little scared at the thought of how much that will cost – but don’t worry. Many bands who are trying to make it in the music industry will be happy to play at your event for a small cost or maybe even for free to get them heard. Another option would be to find out if there are any bands in your school, if there are, it’s worth asking them if they would like to support their school by playing at the prom.

Theme & Decorations
Now you can move onto your third most essential task to arrange – the theme and decorations. You cannot arrange and purchase any decorations until you have decided on a theme.

Themes can range from so many things such as based on characters/films/decades etc or you can choose colour schemes that the pupils are expected to wear.

Of course a scheme is not essential but you will need to decided whether to have one or not and what one to have before you arrange decorations as the decorations will need to match the theme.

Food & Drink
planning a promYou have a choice to offer a free buffet and drinks which can be included in the price of the ticket or you can sell food and drink at the venue.

Remember though if it is a high school leaver’s prom, food may not be so popular and therefore you don’t want to spend too much money on food – focus on drinks mainly as they will need to keep hydrated from all that dancing!

If you are holding a sixth form leavers prom where the pupils are old enough to drink and you plan to sell/have alcohol on the premises, remember to check out what licences are required first.
Most schools prefer to keep to a strict no alcohol rule as this will enable the night to run smoother and avoid any mishaps or accidents.

Photographer
A photographer is not an essential part of the evening however, you will find most students would vote to have a photographer, given the chance. It’s nice to capture those last moments together as friends before they go their separate ways.

Shop around for photographers, try to find one who will charge the pupils just a small cost for a photo as they are students and can’t be expected to pay large amounts of money for photos.

Tickets
You need to decide how much you will charge for tickets, it is best to decide this once you have arranged the most costly tasks such as the ones listed above. Work out how many students are expected to arrive and make sure you will cover all costs plus make some money on top if you are hoping to put the proceeds towards something.

Advertise
planning a prom - advertiseAdvertising your event is a very important part; this can be done cheaply with just the printing costs which can be covered with your school printers – it may be best to work out what would be the most cost effective option.

For in-house advertising you will simply need to pin up posters around the school and hand out leaflets. You can design your posters and leaflets in school – the volunteers or pupils can create these.

If you are arranging the event in order to raise funds for a specific cause or piece of equipment for the school, then don’t forget to advertise this on your posters and flyers.

It’s a good idea to advertise your event in advance because prom dresses, suits & prom transport are expensive to buy so remember to give your pupils chance to organise their part of the evening too.

Rules
If you wish to hold rules for your event, clearly list these to the posters, flyers ad tickets. Make sure all pupils and volunteers attending are aware of the rules and emphasise how strict they are. The main rule at school proms are generally no alcohol.

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Christine

Marketing Assistant at Able Canopies Ltd
Christine is Able Canopies' Marketing Assistant Manager and is an advocate of outdoor learning. She is a big fan of fundraising and is always looking for fresh fundraising and outdoor learning ideas to share.

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