Prom is the highlight of every teenager’s secondary school experience. Whether it is the exciting thought of the opportunity to dress like royalty or finally letting their hair down after months of tough exams, prom night remains the most talked about event on the school calendar.
With this in mind, as delegated prom planner, it can be a somewhat stressful process to successfully pull off a celebration to meet the high expectations of those attending. It often feels as if there is a never ending checklist to make your way through before the tight deadline approaches.
One of the biggest strains on those responsible for planning a prom is the small budget set aside for the event. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the perfect prom to fulfil all expectations cannot be conducted without spending a fortune. To give some inspiration into how you can save some extra cash, we have devised our list of the top ten money saving tips for prom planning.
10 Prom Planning Money Saving Tips
Schools, as a whole, have a low budget set aside for events and activities outside of the curriculum, which means that it can prove tricky to know how to delegate money to ensure that all aspects are covered. Prom is one of the only events that is guaranteed to happen year on year meaning it is always a well-awaited date in the calendar. It’s used as an end of year celebration before groups of friends go their separate ways to begin their new chapter.
Key attendee preparations such as dress and suit hunting begin months in advance which means that event planning must also. If you have been given the important responsibility of planning this year’s prom, then you’ll most definitely benefit from reading through our money-saving tips.
1. Form A Planning Committee
No successful event can be planned alone, so composing the most organised, creative and motivated group of individuals to join your planning committee is imperative.
On average, a prom planning committee consists of around 15 people. While this may seem rather large for just a single event, the more members you have on board, the easier it will become to delegate tasks. When choosing members to join, aim to take on board people who share your enthusiasm and dedication to planning a prom that is guaranteed to go down in the school’s history.
Delegating tasks may be difficult at first, particularly if you’re not familiar with everyone in the committee. Spend time getting to know each individual and try to pinpoint their main strengths. Those who show strong communication skills would be best suited to visiting different vendors, such as the venue and caterers, and negotiating a price. On the other hand, members who hold academic strengths and are incredibly organised would be ideal for managing finances.
2. Set A Budget
Without a strict budget, you will have no real foundation to work from. Expenses quickly build up, and in no time, all money will be gone on only a half-planned prom.
When setting a budget, be realistic. Many components of a prom such as a venue are not going to be cheap unless you opt for throwing the celebration on the school premises, which means that a large percentage of the budget must be set aside to cover the costs. Allocate time in the initial steps of the planning process to thoroughly research the average price of different components of the event. Familiarising yourself with realistic costs means that not only will you avoid setting a budget too low, but also avoid going way above expectation and paying more than you should have done. It is always highly recommended to set aside a contingency fund, which is a little extra budget which is allocated to any unexpected events that may arise nearer to the time.
If you’re hoping to use a strategic method of keeping track of your budget, Microsoft Office has tonnes of different spreadsheet templates you can use to your advantage.
3. Consider Sponsors
Some of the biggest events are funded by a host of high-end sponsors, so why not consider this route when prom planning?
Although you’re unlikely to be able to persuade well-known brands to sponsor your prom, you would be surprised at the number of local businesses who would be eager to lend a helping hand. Whether you hope to gain small donations, venue decorations or even catering, it is always worth reaching out to a handful of potential sponsors to show your interest in their business – you don’t know unless you try!
Be careful not to begin contacting everyone and anyone in the hope that you will get a reply, not only will you be wasting their time, but also your own valuable time that could be spent on more important tasks. Opt for only companies that you could see benefiting your event, such as those mentioned in the paragraph above.
When contacting potential sponsors, enlist the help of the committee member who has fantastic literacy skills to construct a professional, yet friendly email to send out. Try to keep the email as personal as possible, a generic, brief email will automatically be seen as spam and will not grab the interest of a business. Fundly has a great guide to sponsorship letters including 12 handy templates to help you begin writing.
4. Shop Around
The ongoing rule when planning any form of event is never to go ahead and book with the first vendor that strikes your interests, particularly if you aim to save money. While the quote provided may appear to be reasonable, you can never get an accurate idea on the lowest price achievable without compromising on quality unless you shop around.
If you begin your search for the perfect, low-cost vendors in advance, then it means that you will be given a little extra leeway in terms of time that you have to decide. Many may even allow you to reserve free of charge for a limited time until you make a definite decision. Especially when searching for your prom venue, visit a number of different locations, get an idea of a quote and then compare each against each other.
5. Book In Advance
Vendors can be sneaky; they want to make as much profit as possible at the expense of their customers. Along with demand comes a spike in prices, which means that it is vital to, after thorough research, book each component of the prom as early as possible.
The Summer months are the prime time for prom season in the UK. Not only can students enjoy their celebration in the sunshine, but it is also the end of exams, which means that they can let their hair down guilt-free. With proms becoming ever more popular, vendors know that they can afford to up their prices nearer to the months of June or July as school committees will be in a rush to book a venue. The nearer that prom approaches, the more expenses vendors will become, so always ensure that your bookings are made as far in advance in possible to bag the lowest price.
6. Opt For Digital Promotion
In the digital age, students nowadays are glued to their mobile phones and spend every free moment scrolling through their favourite social media channels – so, use this to your advantage!
As social media channels come with no additional cost, they can be used as an excellent free resource to begin promoting your event. The most creative member of the prom committee can be given the responsibility of promotions and use online resources such as Adobe Photoshop to create a digital poster advertisement. It is your choice the channels you use to begin advertising. While some schools have their own social media channels, others remain private, which means that a private Facebook event could be created and all guests invited.
Not only could invites be sent through social media, but also email. Once your digital poster has been designed, they can then be forwarded to all students in their final year of education. Included should be the date, time, venue location and how to purchase tickets.
7. Research Entertainment
Choice in entertainment can make or break an event, which means that the final decision must be thoroughly deliberated.
No prom is complete without a DJ, which means that this must be your first port of call. Before reaching out to external companies, begin looking a little closer to home and ask around as to whether any members of the prom committee or students are keen DJ’s and could lend their hand on the night. If you are able to enlist the help of someone to provide music for free, then this would be a huge percentage of your budget that could be put towards a more high-end form of entertainment.
Party photo booth hire remains one of the most popular prom entertainment ideas and is guaranteed to bring fun to every guest throughout the evening. It allows students to take funny snaps with their closest friends and enjoy instant print outs to take home as a memorable keepsake. With years of experience providing photo booth hire in London to some of the most extravagant proms in the capital, we’ve created the perfect personalised experience for students. With customised printouts, backdrops and a variety of themed booth packages, we can guarantee you’ll find a booth to perfectly compliment your event!
8. Light Catering Options
The mistake that many prom planners make is presuming that guests would like a sit-down three-course meal when really, this is rarely the case. When wearing a perfectly tailored suit or prom dress, the last thing you want to do is sit for hours eating a heavy meal. With this in mind, opting for, instead, light catering options will not only avoid a dull three-course meal but will also prove cheaper.
There are many different cost-effective catering options aimed at those who would like to provide a light buffet-style meal where guests can snack if and when they are hungry. One of the most popular types is a set of vintage sweet stalls including candy floss, pick ‘n’ mix and a chocolate fountain; we love the selection on Sweet Lounge!
9. Rent Decorations
One of the biggest culprits for wasted money when planning a prom is decorations. It is common for schools to change their prom theme each year to make the event personal to the students, which, unfortunately, means throwing away old decor and purchasing more. Rather than buying new decorations, we suggest opting for the renting route. Hiring venue decorations from reputable companies such as Party Doctors will help towards saving a huge chunk of money and will also mean that none are wasted once the event is complete.
Not only will renting venue decorations help towards saving money, but it also means that you can afford to opt for options a little more weird and wonderful.
10. Stay Organised
Last but not least, one of the most effective ways to ensure that you save money when prom planning is always to remain organised. It can be easy to get caught up in the ‘snowball effect’ and become overwhelmed with expenses that you hadn’t quite anticipated. If you spent time initially creating a budget spreadsheet as mentioned in point two, then you will have a head start on remaining organised.
Always ensure that each member of the prom planning committee take notes throughout the process and report back to the team at each stage. It is highly recommended to get together once a week for a quick meeting to discuss any updates.
Save Money On Prom Planning!
Being given the responsibility of planning the well-awaited end of year prom is an honour, and while it may be stressful, a successful event will most definitely prove incredibly rewarding. We hope that our guide to saving money on prom planning has helped to ease the strain a little and give you some inspiration on where to begin preparations!