Mention the word prom to any teenage girl in America and you’re likely to be met with squeals of uncontrollable excitement. Utter it to any teenage girl in the UK and, until recently, you would be met with little more than a dismissive shrug – because historically the prom has not been big business in Britain. But all that is changing; the prom has officially arrived and more time, money and attention to detail is being ploughed into its production every year.
The American prom (abbreviated from promenade – a term socially understood to mean the “formal, introductory parading of guests at a party) began around the mid-1800s, to promote social etiquette and manners in young graduating students. It was a time for dressing up and fraternising with the opposite sex; as the decades marched on, it became a time for broken curfews and spiked punch.
In today’s modern world, when proms are experiencing a phenomenal boom outside of the United States, there are many anxiety-inducing decisions to be made (what to wear, how to arrive, which after-party to attend…) and it’s not uncommon to see prom organisers attempt ambitious theming – all discussed at weekly Prom Committee Meetings, naturally.
With prom popularity growing year by year, we take a look at some crucial aspects of this time-honoured teen tradition, and some ways to enhance the party.
It’s the very first thing a girl considers and potentially the most important decision she’ll make in the prom planning stages. She needs to feel special and confident, wearing a dress that draws gasps from onlookers and highlights her best features. Thankfully, prom gowns have come a long way from ruffles and rhinestones, and with high-end designers like Jenny Packham now offering a range of designs in Debenhams, refined elegance has never been more accessible to young women.
Whilst it might seem old fashioned, the ritual of asking someone to prom, or waiting to be asked, will never lose its significance, and we love nothing more than an unusual invitation. Forget impersonal text messages and awkward conversations after class – it’s all about grand gestures.
When your date falls through or no eligible candidates present themselves, there’s nobody better than your best friend to attend with. Some modern gals even prioritise their friends over a date as a fail-safe way of maximising fun and minimising drama.
For the guys, too, image is important. If they haven’t plucked up the courage to ask a girl out prior to the prom, a sharp look and some careful grooming will help give them the confidence to at least ask for a dance. We love to see young men veer away from more traditional tuxedos and experiment with alternative styles.
This may seem a little far-fetched, but believe us when we say that limousines are out and helicopters are in. Extravagant it may be, but the likes of helicopters and speedboats are gaining popularity and the importance of making a bold entrance is increasing.
With any party, the venue is everything. The right venue will set the right tone, and has the power to make young guests feel very grown up for the night. With the days of schools dances taking place in school gyms behind us, we’re pleased to see prom organisers adopting creativity and flair. The annual New York Met Gala has been known to initiate party trends, and we’re expecting to see many more dramatic entrances like this one make their way into prom design.
Theming doesn’t always mean fancy dress: inventive ways of dressing a venue can bring so much character to a space, ranging from the lighting and furniture design, to props and installations.
Food that the targeted demographic can relate to is a must, and we thoroughly endorse the rising popularity of street food trucks for prom night, as a fun, informal solution to catering. Prosecco Pops are also a nice touch if the crowd is old enough.
Finding entertainment that will appeal to young adults and isn’t your average rock band is also crucial. Roaming magicians, LED dancers and neon stilt walkers are all solid choices with enough “cool factor” to impress teenage guests, while photo booths and hashtagging stations will ensure your prom is talked about on social media, which could help drive ticket sales for next year.