For most high school students, prom is rapidly approaching, and the excitement is real. If your student is on the planning or decorative committee or you plan on lending a helping hand, then budgets are probably a popular conversation. There’s no doubt about it, planning a prom can be on the pricey side even when you make budget cuts. There are a few things you can do that will help keep your school’s prom amazing without breaking the bank though. These ten tips are great options to consider if you’re looking to make budget friendly cuts without sacrificing the quality of your school’s prom. So, get ready to boogie, because the whole school will be blown away by your choices when prom finally arrives.
1. Skip the Theme
Without a doubt, a theme tends to be one of the most iconic aspects of prom. However, you don’t have to have a theme in order to have a good time. Of course, if the theme means a lot to you then just use a themed name and skip the décor surrounding the theme. Themes require you to spend money on items that might not be used again. These decorative items are often pricier too, which can cut into your food and entertainment budget. Instead of picking a theme, you might want to choose a set of colors instead. You can purchase solid colors for much cheaper and the items can be used year after year. These colors can even be coordinated with themes, if you choose to still go with one. If your school as storage from the proms of yesteryear, then you might surf through those items to see if you can find colors that can be reused.
2. Stay in School
A lot of schools plan to host the biggest dance of the year at a hotel or other venue. This can be a great surprise for students, but it can also cost a small fortune. There’s actually no need to take your school dance outside of the school, especially if you have a large enough gym or cafeteria. These areas are easily cleared out and decorated so that everyone can have a blast without forcing you to spend a fortune. Keeping the dance in school is also reassuring to parents and can help prevent outside costs if students damage property at an outside venue. Keeping your dance in school will allow you to call for volunteers too, which can really help you save a ton of money.
3. Utilize the Art Department
When it comes to decorating for the prom, you have a world of resources in your own school. One of the best places to look for decorative talent and supplies is the art department. Teachers might be able to convince students to join in on the activities for some extra credit or if it is a part of their grade. Art students can paint, sew and create backgrounds and other supplies to make the room look incredible. The drama department might also be able to lend props and other supplies to add even more pizzazz to the overall look of the dance. Students in photography can help take photos of the attendees, so you won’t have to worry about this large-scale expenditure too. By utilizing these departments, you’ll save a lot of time and money, which will definitely make the prom even more exciting and budget friendly.
4. Free Streaming
In this day and age, you don’t really need to spend money on entertainment in regards to music. If you’re on a tight budget, then look no further than your favorite free streaming service. The school can get together to vote on the music they would like to hear, or you can gather a group of students to come up with a list of songs for the playlist. You won’t even have to go out of your way to play the music as the school should have everything needed to project it across the dance floor. A teacher or volunteer can help keep the playlist going, so you won’t have to worry about the music dying down as the night progresses. This minimal effort idea is bound to bring some fun while ensuring everyone enjoys the prom.
5. Ask the Community for Help
You will find that one of the greatest assets you can find is the help of the community. This is especially true if you live in an area with only one high school to speak of. Before you find yourself in crunch time, you might take a few moments to send out messages to local restaurants, vendors and more. Often, restaurants won’t mind donating food for the prom, especially if they have a child in attendance. This can help cut back on one of the largest expenditures. Even if the restaurants aren’t cool with just donating, you might find that they will give you a discount on the items. The same can be said of boutiques that can provide you with balloons or old flowers. The key to this is asking though, so make sure you get the word out before you start spending the budget on items that the community might help with.
6. Parent Donations
A lot of parents expect the prom to happen like magic, which is fair enough as ticket prices are generally expensive. However, much of the reason why parents don’t come forward to help out is because they don’t know that the school needs assistance. One way to help make your prom budget even more rewarding is to send out a memo to let parents know that you could use the help. Even if parents can’t give money to assist you, you might find that they have decorations like steamers or balloons to contribute. Some parents might even have larger props to help you if you’re working on a theme or making a photo booth. Other parents might be able to donate food, even if it is smaller items like punch or chips to snack on. Of course, donating time can be one of the most efficient ways to help out during the prom. Chaperones can truly keep things safe and secure for all of the participants.
7. DIY Crown
The prom court has been a tradition for quite some time. However, purchasing the crowns for the court can get pretty pricey, especially if the school wants to make sure the winning students leave the school with a nice price. There are ways to work around the cost of the crown though, as there are many DIY options to help you out. You might even have the art department at school design crowns and use the winning style as the reward for the prom court. Of course, many schools are moving away from the traditional Prom King and Prom Queen. If this is the case with your school, then you might find yourself needing more crowns to offer to a diverse group of students. For instance, some schools are voting on merit such as hard work, educational achievements and more. So, have some fun designing crowns to make the top students feel exceptional.
8. Think Outside of the Box
Leaving students to entertain themselves for a few hours, doesn’t always work. Most students won’t want to spend the entire prom period eating and dancing. So, you might come up with a few options to keep everyone busy. For instance, you can hold a best dressed competition or recognize students that made their own attire for the big dance. A fashion show is another way to add some fun to the big day as many students will be more than happy to show off their style. There are many games that you can enjoy too. For instance, setting out Twister, charades or even a deck of cards will keep some students happy. You can even have a dance competition to encourage more students to get up and moving. All in all, there are many cheap ways to keep the fun going, which will also keep your budget satisfied.
9. Show off Home Economics
Home economics programs aren’t utilized to their full potential, more often than not. If you have a culinary class, then let the students really shine. Your school can come up with a budget friendly menu and the students in class can get real life experience by making the food themselves. Although you will have to purchase the food for the meal, you’ll save a bundle by shopping in bulk. You will also have the meal cooked for free. This can be a great project for students hoping to go into the culinary field as it will test their skills as well as their performance under pressure.
10. Call in Musical Talent
If the students love the idea of live music, then don’t shop around for a professional group to perform. Instead, post a bulletin and have the school’s talent try out. You can audition bands and invite a few to perform in front of their classmates. This even works for kids hoping to attend the prom too, as they will still be able to enjoy some of the fun when their band isn’t playing. Apart from groups, you might talk to the school’s band or orchestra. Some students might be up for performing as well, which will help spread the school spirit without forcing you to spend a penny.
Preparing for prom can be more stressful than finding the right date. Luckily, there are a lot of ways you can cut back on spending, so you can ensure the party goes above and beyond without sacrificing important elements of the event. These ten ideas will truly help you on your way and might even make you the school’s favorite planner.