How to Plan a Perfect Prom Night

Nazy Rafaeil

Jovani rose gold embellished prom dress

Some high schoolers have been planning prom since entering freshman year. For others, prom planning remains an elusive task that can cause a lot of stress. We’re here to help in either situation. Get ahead of the stress and have a plan in place for your prom night. Make an easy-to-follow list and make sure you check everything off!

You may have been planning your high school prom for as long as you can remember. Perhaps you haven’t even begun! Our guide to planning the perfect prom night will help ensure you’ve covered it all as prom season approaches.

Forget the anxiety and embrace the adventure by following our simple guide to getting ready for the big night. Today’s post will encompass Part 1 of your planning. Stay tuned for an upcoming post covering the final things you should remember to plan a stress-free prom night!


First, Write it All Down.

There’s no better way to eliminate prom planning anxiety than simply writing it down.  When thoughts are left swimming around inside your head, they can pop up at the worst time. That includes when you are just about the drift off to sleep!

Journaling and getting your thoughts down on paper is a proven method for lowering your stress levels. It helps you stay on track. Here’s how to create & use that prom planning list:


Begin by making a list of everything you are thinking about, and everything you need to do. For the typical high school girl, a checklist may contain the following elements including:

  • Prom Date or Group of Friends to Attend With
  • Prom Dress
  • Prom Hair and Make-up
  • Prom Accessories, including the perfect shoes, purse, and jewelry (earrings, necklace, rings, and bracelets)
  • Plans & Schedule for Prom Night – this includes everything from getting ready to getting back home at the end of the night
  • Prom Budget
  • Prom Tickets
  • Prom Theme
  • Post-Prom Party
  • Prom Transportation

Start Checking Off Those Prom Planning To Do’s

Go down the list item by item and check them off the list. Begin with the things that need to be planned the farthest out.

  • We suggest setting your prom night budget and choosing your group or date first and foremost.
  • Consider your overall hair and makeup look once those to-do list items are firmly in place. Get inspired by thumbing through magazines, Pinterest, and prom dress retailers’ websites.

Find Your Perfect Prom Dress

  • When your inspiration is set, hunt down a beautiful, flattering prom dress that is uniquely you.
  • Make sure you feel completely comfortable in the dress. If you usually like to dress modestly, stick with a more modest prom dress. If splashy and bold is your go-to style, express yourself as usual. Ensure that your prom dress stays true to your high school’s prom dress code. Every year, news stories pop into the papers and onto the internet. These are about girls who thought they had planned the perfect prom, only to be turned away at the doors of their high school. That’s because their prom dress violated the dress code. When in doubt, be sure to ask an administrator or prom committee member. If you get the OK from the powers that be, it will be much harder for anyone to turn you away at the door when you arrive, and you can enter in style.

Prom Hair & Makeup

  • When your prom night dress is picked, coordinate your hairstyle and makeup look. Popular prom hairstyles have recently included messy, ethereal low chignons with crisscrossing braids. Another favorite is Hollywood Glamour – loose, long curls with a side part. Whether your look echoes a silver screen siren or a forest nymph, test it out. Practice your prom hairstyle at least thrice to get the hang of it.
  • Consider springing for a professional hair and makeup artist if your prom budget allows. Choosing a hair and makeup artist to create your look for prom can be a huge relief. That’s especially true if you do not typically spend time practicing your hair and makeup. Once you book them, many include a trial run of your hair and makeup look free. It’s a great chance to test out different looks. You can take a picture once they’ve nailed the right makeup colors and hairstyle. This way, your professional prom look can be easily recreated on the big day.

Prom Jewelry

  • With your hairstyle set, you can choose your jewelry. We suggest earrings no matter what. You can scale your choice up or down depending on the impact you want them to make. Bracelets and necklaces are optional. These must coordinate with the rest of your jewelry and, most importantly, your prom gown.

Prom Shoes

  • After jewelry comes shoes! Look for a pair that complements your outfit without detracting from what is happening. Generally, if you are wearing a simple gown, you can go bolder and embellish with your prom shoes. For ladies wearing a patterned, elaborate, or embellished dress, steer yourself toward a simple shoe. A pair that won’t compete with the fabulousness of your chosen prom dress.

Finalize Your Prom Schedule

  • With one month left to go, finalize your prom night schedule. Start with the time you will begin getting ready, and leave plenty of time for photos and socializing before your transportation takes off for dinner or prom. Include plans for after prom ends. Often, the high school will host a prom after-party, or one of the families in the senior class will plan a get-together at their house. Someone may rent another venue with a lounge, games, and food. Remember also to plan your ride home. After staying up all night, you should not get behind the wheel. Having a ride ready to drive you home is essential. That could be a taxi, Uber, prom limo service, or parent. Having it planned is the smart and safe way to play it.
  • Don’t forget to buy your prom tickets when they go on sale!

Be Sure to Track and stick to Your Prom Budget.Jovani hunter sequin long sleeve prom dress

We already mentioned creating a prom budget, and for good reason. The average high school student spends almost $1,000 on their prom. If your parents aren’t footing the bill, it’s time to save your allowance.

That might mean picking up odd jobs and chores to make sure you can pay for your dream dress and other prom expenses. By planning, you’ll only have to save an extra $100 – $200 per month to reach your goal.

Once you have your money set aside for prom, use it wisely. Choose one or two of the most important areas and spend your money there. In other categories, save by choosing more affordable, inexpensive options.

For example, if your heart is set on a Jovani dress (wink, wink). You can shop at discount stores or sample sales for the perfect pair of shoes, saving a hundred dollars or more. You can source budget-friendly earrings online.

If you have a friend who is a whiz with hair and makeup, ask her to create the prom updo of your dreams. Then, offer her help with something you are good at in return. You can cut costs by teaming up with friends in plenty of ways.

If your prom ticket doesn’t include dinner, have friends host a potluck at someone’s house before prom. This is a great alternative instead of springing for a pricey meal at a restaurant.

You can stay on track with your prom budget by getting creative and making smart decisions. But be sure to also track your budget along the prom planning process. Every little thing adds up in the long run, from new makeup purchased for your smokey eye look to that pretty beaded clutch.

Knowledge is power. By tracking your expenses in a simple document (notes on your phone or a Google Sheets document), you can feel empowered to make financially savvy decisions leading up to prom. This avoids any overspending guilt. It lets you have fun and dance off your shoes without worry or care.

Like what you’ve read so far? Check back for Part 2 of this post later this week.

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