Nothing is more stressful than a last minute prom, planning should be very similar to planning a wedding but on a much smaller scale! Use this timeline, check-list, and these prom tips to make for a truly magical experience on prom night!

Start 3 months out from the big day:

  • Find a date! Then decide if you would like to go to the prom with just your date or with a group of people. (If you don’t have a guy lined up, still consider if you will want to go as a group).
  • Transportation: If you are going with a group of friends, you will need to book a ride, otherwise the male will take care of the transportation (traditionally speaking). If you are planning a large group, elect one person to handle all of the transportation plans, so things stay organized. Limos and limo buses are the way to go because they can fit 2-24 people at a time. It’s a good idea to reserve your choice of transportation three months in advance. These services will be in high demand during this prom/graduation/wedding season. Early booking will provide a lower price and the type of car/bus/limo that you want. Make sure you and the group decide on how long you will need the ride for.

Make sure that you have allowed for enough time! Consider things like:

  • Will each person be picked up at their house or will all of you meet and be picked up in one spot?
  • Photo time. Consider everyone taking photos before, during, and after getting in the limo.
  • Travel to dinner before or after the dance and travel to and from the dance.
  • Will everyone be dropped off separately or in one spot?
  • Allow about 30 minutes of wiggle time (extra time) so that if someone is late etc. it is covered for.

Make sure to quote prices at several different establishments, let them know what the previous place said because many places will negotiate their price to win your business (a plus to this horrid economy).

After deciding on a place/price, make sure your entire party can afford it when split equally among everyone. Then talk about the tip. The tip should be about 20-30% of the total price. Collect everyone’s money, including tips ahead of time. One person should be in charge of tipping at the end of the night. Don’t fight over the tip or tip amount in front of the driver, keep it classy. You can also tip at the beginning of the night; this could provide a better experience because you will have a happy driver.

  • Dress Planning. Look for styles online and pick a few so your search is more narrowed before shopping. Talk with your parents about your style choice in advance to make sure you are on the same page. Also discuss your budget with your parents ahead of time as well. Those two issues can lead to major fights and an ocean of tears so work them out ahead of time. Your parents may be so pleased with you responsible decision to discuss it ahead of time and your mature attitude about even having a discussion about it all, that they may be more inclined to give you what you want.
  • Body: Has your diet of fast food caught up with you a bit? Start your fitness plan now. Nothing extreme, forget body wraps and just eat a little better (Do eat, nothing will add up fat quicker than starving yourself!), add some fun cardio in your life and you will be good to go.
  • Start a Skincare Regimen: This is really important to start early; there is nothing worse than an accidental breakout from using a new product! Also, it takes time for your current breakouts to clear up and your skin to benefit from your new regimen.

Consider doing the following:

  • Exfoliate your face with a mild scrub once a week to smooth away dead cells.
  • Apply a moisture lotion containing sunscreen.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to insure a healthy and moisturized glow.
  • Take your vitamins.
  • Keep lips moisturized by using a lip scrub and conditioning with a good lip balm.

What to Focus on 2 Months out From the Prom:

Go Shopping!  Go find your perfect prom dress. Ask if that store offers any in-Store Deals. Sometimes, prom stores will give out specials to people who buy a Prom Package (which includes a dress, shoes, and jewelry at their store). If you go to a special occasion/prom store, the staff is usually well trained to help you match your jewelry to your dress and your shoes! Keep in mind that these are shoes that you will be walking and dancing in for easily 3-8 hours and more if you have additional plans after prom.

  • Undergarments: After you buy your dress, try on your dress with the bra/underwear that you plan to wear on prom night. Your undergarments may seem to be the right size, color, shape, etc. but you never know what horrific mistakes can arise until you put everything on and dance around in it!
  • Nails: Even if you plan on having your nails done professionally, either way you should stop biting your nails now because you need a nice manicure for prom!
  • Schedule your beauty appointments. You should schedule to have at least your hair, makeup, and nails done for prom. To look like prom perfection, consider also scheduling for a spray tan, whitening your teeth, waxing, facial, etc.
  • For makeup, schedule a trial one-two weeks out but still book for the day of. The trial is just to get on the same page (trials usually cost half-80% of the full price because they still spend over an hour talking with you and still use a lot of makeup product during the trial and in many cases, they travel to you.
  • If your makeup artist will be traveling to you, only go with individuals or companies who require a contract because if they don’t show up, you have something to protect yourself because it is common to pay in advance.
  • The artist should have asked you to fill out a questionnaire to establish your type of skin, color, style, etc. Definitely make sure to note if you have any allergies, get irritated by and certain brands or have any skin conditions.
  • Airbrush may sound better and be more expensive but it is not always the best option, talk with your artist and see what they recommend.
  • Let them know that you will want a small lipstick and foundation sample to keep in your purse on prom night.
  • Only schedule with an artist who has a good portfolio. If you see a gallery full of ‘eh’ pictures…run. You don’t want to be added to it, right?

What to Focus On When You Only Have 1 Month To Go!

  • You or your date should purchase dance tickets.
  • You or your date should make your dinner reservations if you’ll be dining out.

2 Weeks Out:

  • Transportation: Pay for your limo at least two weeks before your prom. If the limo service is pre-paid there is less of a chance they will lose your reservation.
  • New shoes can and will ruin your night if you let them! Start walking and dancing in your new shoes to avoid getting blisters on prom night.
  • Go shopping for a small survival kit for your purse:
  • Small mirror.
  • One tampon.
  • Lipstick and Chap Stick. (Have your makeup artist give you a sample of the color that she uses on you, ask the artist before the appointment).
  • A couple Band-Aids.
  • A mini travel makeup container with a few drops of foundation in it. (Have your makeup artist give you a sample of the color that she uses on you, ask the artist before the appointment).
  • 1-2 Makeup wipes in a Ziploc bag.
  • Always keep pepper spray…you just never know.
  • Withdrawal some cash to have on you for prom night.
  • Pack of tissues.
  • Gum or mints.

1 Week Out:

  • Try on everything, including accessories, to make sure the finished look works. By everything that includes shoes, so many people just try on a few things and are so surprised when prom night comes and something doesn’t match or look right. Address any last minute alterations that may be needed.
  • Go Sunless Tanning 1 week out and again the day before prom. (Keep in mind that your current foundation may not match your color anymore, but sometimes you don’t need it!)

Here are some tips for getting a spray tan:

  • Take some time and be sure your skin is exfoliated (from head to toe) first! Look for dry areas (especially the areas at the elbows and knees). Dry skin types darken faster and deeper than other skin types.
  • Hydrate your skin first. Usually the salon will have a crème to apply before going in.
  • Sometimes the tanner will rub on to your clothes a bit (so wear a dark colored and lose fitting outfit. (The product is better these days, so don’t worry too much if your outfit isn’t loose fitting).
  • Make sure to use any block-out lotions they give you for your palms, bottoms of your feet and nail areas.
  • Don’t wear booties! It may be gross but the booties will leave a weird tan line that will almost definitely show with heels!
  • Do wear a cap! Put it as close to your hairline as possible but don’t let it touch your hair, especially if you are blonde! Don’t worry too much about a tan line as long as you get it close, it doesn’t happen very often.
  • Go in naked or with just underwear! This will avoid any weird bra lines when you are in your dress!
  • Don’t go too dark. If it wasn’t dark enough, then select a darker color when you return the day before the prom. Be careful though, because if your face gets too unnaturally dark then it will distort your features. Make sure to really wipe off your face when you get out, any missing or wiped off areas can be made up for with makeup…it will look better.
  • Make sure your makeup artist knows that you will be spray tanned so she can bring some darker shades of makeup.
  • Do a Make Up Trial. Be very honest! If you have a hard time with voicing your opinion, bring a friend or family member with you who will speak up for you. A good artist can work with your ideas. Expect for the makeup to be a bit heavier than normal, special occasion makeup usually is. It will look just right under the lighting you will be under and will look flawless in photos. Don’t judge the make up too much right away, after about 30 minutes the makeup will settle in. Go out in public with a friend and see how many compliments you get! If the majority of people are giving you that ‘eh’ vibe perhaps you should see what your options are on booking another artist.
  • Know what HAIR style you want!
  • Show your stylists in person or email examples so they are prepared in terms of time and product.
  • Make an early appointment!
  • Make sure to bring one or a few barrettes or some sort of hair accessory that matched your dress. This is common for prom and you don’t want to rely on what your stylist has available.

The day/night before:

  • You should call the limo company and ask all of the appropriate questions:
  • Get the name of the person you are talking to
  • Get a confirmation number
  • Get an emergency contact #
  • Find out your driver’s name
  • Confirm addresses of all pick-ups
  • If you aren’t already waxed make sure to shave your legs! You don’t want to have to mess with that on the day of!
  • Get all your essentials together (don’t forget to charge your cell).
  • Call your friends and date to make sure all the pre- and post-prom plans are set.  Also, confirm your appointments with the salon and restaurant.
  • Relax!  Treat yourself to a soak in the tub and go to bed early so you will have plenty of energy on prom night.

Last but not least:

  • Be Safe! Prom is not synonymous with losing one’s virginity! Make sure you are comfortable with your date and have a back-up plan if he turns out to be a creep! Party the night away, but don’t go overboard. Adulthood is so close, why rush it? Enjoy being young and have a fantastic night!

Jenny Houston is a professional blogger that writes for NightMovesProm.com, a leading designer of prom dresses and Quinceanera gowns.

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