Choosing between prom venues can be challenging.  Planning your prom is most often the first major gala that you will plan.  Choosing a prom venue like a prom theme can be as much fun as the prom itself! It’s your senior year and you want to plan a prom that reflects the uniqueness of your senior class and how far you all have come since entering high school. Planning a prom is no small undertaking. As a member of the prom committee, you will make choices and perform duties that will guarantee that you and your classmates enjoy a spectacular prom.

Prom Venue
The perfect prom venue depends on the overall character of your senior class. Some classes are more festive, formal, casual, or easy going than others. After four years of high school gatherings, impromptu get-togethers, or just hanging out, you should have a pulse of the character of your class and the ultimate prom venue you choose should radiate that same character.

Judith Chavarria of Abella Events, a New York-based wedding and events planning firm, says to always search for prom venues in groups of three to make sure you are comparing “apples to apples and oranges to oranges”. So if you are looking to have your prom on board a ship, explore a least three cruise lines. Comparing a cruise ship to a banquet hall is the same and both should be evaluated differently. She also says, “The best deals on prom venues are usually given when you book on a weekday.” It’s true. You may have school the following day but you’ll save a significant amount by booking your prom on a weekday. And lastly, Judith advises taking extra precautions when booking proms on board ships, “be extra careful when using unconventional prom venues like boats. Extra chaperones may be necessary.”

Before you start calling and visiting prom venues, you should estimate the number of people that will attend your prom. Sharon Williams, a corporate event planner for PowerMaker, Inc, a Maryland-based event planning firm, says that initially you can give a range of people attending. “You can then call back at a later date and give a more accurate number,” she says.

Prom Venue Extras
Now when it comes to the prom venue extras, Sharon added, “Some hotels require that you chose a prom DJ, prom band, prom florist from their list of providers with whom they have special contracts or arrangements with. If so make sure to request their preferred list. If it is a prom band or prom DJ you are looking into, ask for a demo or go hear the band before you decide.”

“And don’t forget,” says Sharon “ask for certain perks like a suite or a room to serve as home base or control center. You might ask for a complimentary room for the prom coordinator to stay in or where students can go to regroup. Just make sure this room is staffed with a responsible adult at all times. And don’t be afraid to let the banquet manager know that you are considering other prom sites.”

Prom Menu & Cuisine
Now when it comes to the cuisine, Sharon says that budget really dictates whether your meal is served buffet style or sit down. But Judith Chavairria says that although buffet style gives you another chance to be surrounded by your peers, you should be careful when choosing buffet style meals. “At that age, girls can feel uneasy in heels and accidents can happen while getting to and from the buffet and the table. With a sit down dinner, those types of accidents are minimized.”

Whether you choose buffet or sit down, do not be intimidated by the price per person. The items on the prom menu can be negotiated or swapped for inexpensive but tasty menu choices. Also ask whether soft drinks are included in the price per person and make sure you do not forget to include in your prom budget. Let your banquet manager know about special dietary concerns of students in your class.

Prom Site Décor
The grander your prom, the less you might spend on decorations. After all, what centerpiece or streamer can compete with crystal chandeliers, tulle valances, or scenic backdrops? Knowing this, you may opt for simpler, less expensive decorations or centerpieces. Judith Chavarria tells prom committees to “get creative with décor.”

You can even incorporate what your class has done as a group throughout the year. Sharon remembers her own prom committee using elements from their senior trip as a theme. Some other ideas for decorations include: balloon arches, metallic confetti, iridescent curtains, crepe streamers, floral sheeting, garlands, murals, and streamers.

Prom Site Pitfalls
Both Judith and Sharon agree that there are a number of common prom site pitfalls that you need to be aware of when planning your prom. Gratuities, or service fees, are not usually included in the price per person. They are calculated based on the total of the overall bill and can be as much as 20%. Then, there are taxes.

The other “gotcha” is ordering prom site extra service which is usually an additional fee. Estimate how much these fee will be and be sure to include them in the prom ticket price. Do not overlook reading the prom site contract. You should know what will happen if you need to cancel or change the date and how much money is refundable in either case.

With the basics of prom venues, prom venue extras, prom menu and cuisine, knowledge of common prom site pitfalls and prom planning under your belt while armed with these facts, you are ready for an exciting journey into the world of proms. Your classmates will thank you for planning an unforgettable prom night.


  1. Great guide! I can see how some would prefer sit down meal over buffet. I agree trying to walk back and fourth in heels with a plate of food may cause some to be nervous

  2. There is so much to think about when selecting a venue for a big event, especially one such as prom. It is an experience that you want your fellow classmates to remember for a lifetime! This post offers all the important points to consider!

  3. I believe your prom committee should be armed with a checklist that covers stuff… if you’re interested in planning the ultimate party: your school’s prom.

  4. This is fantastic! I love how you incorporate so many levels of planning to ensure that prom is a night to remember. Details matter- and you really help identify ways that planning committees can ensure that everything goes smoothly!


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