Perfect Prom Planning

If you (or your kid) is on the prom committee, it’s time to turn everything up a notch, because the big night will be here before you know it! Here’s a checklist to make sure you are on the right track for February.

  1. Finalize the theme. No more discussions – it’s time to sit down and choose the idea that best reflects current trends enjoyed by your student body. Some schools put it up to a vote (seniors only, seniors and juniors, juniors only), while others let the committee choose. Regardless, get this done ASAP, because there’s plenty relying on that theme. Stuck for ideas? PromNite.com has the top seven prom themes trending for 2018. Seventeen Magazine agrees with many of these and offers a few extra ideas, too.
  2. Book your photographer. If you’ve waited till February, drop everything and get this nailed down! Prom season is a busy time for photographers, and you want to make sure you hire somebody who has previous experience with proms.


  1. Book your deejay. Check reviews online and refer to the previous prom committees notes. You want a deejay that will keep the party going, as well as somebody who is up on the latest music. A great deejay will also help you pick a theme song for the night, as well as songs for prom royalty announcements. Complete deejays fit the bill – and you can add on a fun Photo Booth too to make the evening even more memorable.


  1. Get to work on decorations, invitations, and posters. Once your theme is decided on, committee members need to start collecting decorations and designing posters to match, plus invitations if you use them. Don’t forget to set a budget for both! If your decorating team starts dreaming big, decide if their ideas are worth an additional fund-raiser…and if you have time to pull it off.


  1. Choose your prom favors, if that’s part of your school’s tradition. Many schools today do a custom t-shirt, but traditional options include drinkware (vacuum hot/cold travel mugs, upscale water bottles), picture frames, custom candy, or candles. If it matches your theme, consider headphones or other tech accessories, key chains, or sunglasses. If you have time and a big enough crew, consider a swag bag filled with coupons or samples from local vendors and a few small gifts.


  1. Recruit chaperones. Within a month of your prom, you should have your parent and teacher chaperones lined up. Plan on having two adults at each entrance/exit, one adult in each bathroom, three or four adults to roam the parking lot, and one adult for every 100 students in the prom venue. If you have dress codes, add another chaperone per 100 students to check garments (plan for adequate space for this, too). If your prom is more than 3 hours, you may want to increase the number of chaperones so they only have to work half the evening.


  1. Order items for your prom royalty by a month of your prom, if that’s part of your school tradition. This may include voting ballots, crowns and sashes. Also, consider ways to freshen up your whole prom royalty experience, such as having faculty and staff choose students to represent all facets of your school (academics, sports, fine arts, community service, etc.) or using baby photos on the ballot (names hidden, of course).


  1. Meet with the caterer and choose your menu within a few weeks of your prom – the caterer will inform you about an appropriate date. Don’t try to be fancy – make it a meal you know you and your peers will enjoy.


  1. Recruit your set-up and clean-up teams. It always helps to give them a little extra incentive, such as a big discount on their ticket, free meals while they work, etc.


  1. Meet with your school principal (or dean) to go over plans. Accept suggestions – the staff at your school has been through this more times than you have, so they are bound to have thought of something you haven’t yet.
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Keeping it real…and within your budget

Since research shows that financial problems still land on the top five list of issues married couples quarrel about, it doesn’t make sense to start out with a wedding that’s beyond what you can afford.

Many women – and some men – have thought about their dream weddings for a very long time. Once engaged, however, there can be a sense of “sticker shock” when they realize that all those dreams come with a very real price tag.

Here are the best tips we’ve found for keeping your wedding on budget:

1. Talk realistically about your budget with your spouse-to-be. Discussing finances now is laying a good foundation for your marriage. Both of you need to be honest about current expenses and what part of your income you can set aside for wedding expenses. Discuss what sacrifices you are each willing to make to maximize the dollars you can put towards your wedding, such as making your morning coffee at home instead of hitting up a coffee shop, bringing lunch from home every day, adding a couple weeks between hair appointments, etc. Just make sure that each of you are willingly making sacrifices, and that the sacrifices are equitable. Also, if parents or other family members have offered to contribute, get actual dollar amounts for their contributions, so you know what you have to work with.

2. Set your priorities…and be willing to let go of some things that are lower on your list. A Practical Wedding has some great advice about how to combine your list and your spouse-to-be’s list into a cohesive priority list that will satisfy both of you.

3. Think of sticking to your budget as an act of love. Too often, one partner will ignore their own feelings about money in order to indulge the desires of the other. In reality, it’s more loving to say something like, “I know you really want to have this for our wedding, but  it’s outside of our budget, and I want us to start out our marriage on solid financial ground. Our future together is more important than anything.”

4. Don’t hire a vendor without checking references. There’s nothing worse than watching every penny, only to have your hard-earned dollars wasted on somebody who is incapable of giving you what you asked for.

5. And don’t hire family unless they have actual skills. It may seem like a frugal idea to have Cousin Tilly make your wedding cake or Aunt Martha sew the bridesmaid dresses as a wedding gift to you and your beloved, but as the infamous Titanic Wedding Disaster story proves, a well-meaning relative may not be the most reliable choice. If Uncle Ray has real experience as a hair stylist, by all means, ask him to do your do, but otherwise, stick to the pros.

6. Bundle services when you can. Sometimes you can save a lot by going with a reception hall that also offers catering, or a photographer who will bundle engagement photos with wedding photos. Your Complete Weddings + Events team also bundles services, so you can get your deejay, photographer, photobooth, videographer and custom lighting in one package deal.

7. Pay as you go.  Huffington Post has a great article that covers a lot of details in wedding budgeting. One idea there is to divide your total budget by the number of months preceding your big day, which will help you determine how much each of you have to set aside from your paychecks. Then, get a credit or debit card just for wedding expenses and put your monthly wedding allowance toward that card. When you opt for a card that pays rewards like mileage or cash back, you could even help finance your honeymoon while you pay for your wedding.

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Trends for 2018 Weddings

Whether you are planning a wedding that is on-trend or counter-trend, you need to know what’s hot in 2018.

Brides Magazine says ultra violet is the on-point color of the year, along with black accents or 3-D florals on traditionally styled white wedding dresses. They’re eager for feel-good menu items – think breakfast, food trucks, or made-to-order pizza – as well as quirky dessert tables and hanging floral arrangements at down-sized, more intimate receptions.

Martha Stewart Weddings is envisioning potted plants as wedding decors, smaller wedding parties, and a trend back to indoor weddings – which makes sense since there are fewer concerns about hot summer days and drippy spring, fall or winter clouds. Couples may start focusing more on “after parties” following receptions, which will feature see-through venues (think lots of glass or transparent tents), colored candles, and textured linens.

WeddingWire.com says navy blue tops the color palette with silver or chrome accents. They predict receptions filled with unique foods, creative desserts (but yes, formal cakes are still in!), hanging floral arrangements, and fresh entertainment ideas. That includes new spins on the photo booth, which your Complete team would be more than happy to execute for you.

HuffPost got a sneak peak at the International Wedding Trend Report and came away with some really interesting ideas, including an emphasis on the Japanese philosophy, Wabi-Sabi – finding beauty in imperfection. They anticipate ultra-personalized weddings and receptions with smaller guest lists and pointed to ultra violet and moody color combos for palette.

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