How to Find a High School Prom Venue
Planning a high school prom dance can be exciting for students, parents, and teachers, but can also be a source of stress. There are a lot of things to keep track of: where the event will be held, decorations, music, refreshments, photographers. Here is a planning guide to assist the prom planning committee in locating the perfect prom venue.
Before finding a venue, there are a few important details that need to be taken care of ahead of time.
• Date of event. Look at a school district master calendar to see which weekend will conflict with the fewest extracurricular events. This date will be what the rest of the planning guide is based around.
• Budget for event. Talk with a school administrator to make sure that everyone knows exactly how much is available to spend. If a fundraiser is necessary, assign one or two members of the planning committee to organize a prom fundraiser to help offset the various costs. Having and keeping to a strict budget will assist in negotiating with vendors.
Finding a Prom Venue
The earlier a venue is booked for a large-scale event like a high school prom, the better. Reserve a space no later than 20 weeks prior to the event date.
To narrow down venue options, talk with administrators or past prom committee members to see what people have done in previous years. Some schools may not want formal events held at hotels or far away, so be sure to check with administrators for any off-limits locations. Look online or in the phone book for nearby museums, convention centers, galleries, hotels, even public libraries and university spaces to get a feel for the selection.
Some things to look for in a prom venue:
• Is there a clear front entrance where guests can check coats, submit tickets, etc?
• Is there an area that can be separated off for photographs?
• Will the venue facilitators set up the space, or is that something the prom committee will have to do?
• Are there cleaning supplies available for post-dance cleanup?
• Is there an area for on-site dining, or will guests need to book restaurant reservations elsewhere?
• What kind of decorating options are available: can anything go on the walls? What have people done in the past for formal events?
Give some thought to questions and come in to any venue tour with a checklist.
When it comes to price, bring someone along who can help negotiate. If the committee decides to hold the event at the same location as previous years, the venue may be willing to strike a deal, especially if things have gone smoothly before. Keep extra expenses (AV equipment rental, on-site refreshments) to a minimum or ask for a discount on these items.
The most important thing is to visit any potential prom site in person: do not book any space sight unseen and without talking over the contract with the venue facilitator. Get any discounts or additional agreements in writing and ask the site manager to sign it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from committee members, parents, and school staff members.