How to Prepare Yourself and Teen Daughter for Special Occasions like Prom

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I have a had more than a few special events lately to prepare for with my daughter so I thought I would share a few tips that I have picked up along the way. Inspired by a post by Denise Hughes, I too thought I should pass along the knowledge one mother to another on how to prepare your daughter for special events. As you know I recently went through the 9 month process of preparing my daughter for her cotillion, where we introduced her to society.  It was a wonderful once in a lifetime experience but that now has drawn to an end but luckily we have one more monumental event to plan for PROM!!! I very sadly was not be able to see my daughter on her big day, as I was watching my other son walk across the stage for graduation in TX.  So I wanted to make sure she had a very special experience and she said she did, so I thought  would pass it along!

In the movies, the American Prom is depicted as one of the most memorable experience of our child’s high school life.  I remember my own to be experience to be rather mundane, so although my daughter asserted her and her friends have everything under control and tried to assert that are totally appreciative with just being together, I could tell that there plans for prom were leaving them a little uninspired.  So I wanted to make sure that this was a day she remembered in a positive way and something parents can just do a little better so here were a few of the things we did to make her day special:

·    Find the dress- the moment we knew we would be out of town we started on a hunt for “The Dress”.  No holds bared, no reasonable price would turn us away, no style off limits… however after trying every fabulous dress in every boutique, the dress still eluded us.  Then out of a stroke of genius we went to a local Ross and randomly pulled every formal gown in our size and as luck would have it, only 2 dresses in, we found the "ONE".  It was the perfect blue (my daughters friend (on left) and my daughter Brandy, (on the right)) and under $40. 

Dress trips to share with daughter:

  • Get alterations early if needed, we lucked out and didn’t need any. 
  • Store the in a safe place, free from sibling’s hands and spills.
  • Share dress color with date so he can coordinate and possibly brand and small description with friends so you can avoid purchasing duplicate dresses.
  • Get the shoes and walk around in them a bit. They will feel different once you are walking around in them. Take the sticky tags off so they are not fumbling around the last minute all dressed up with a sale sign on their shoe.
  • Get the matching accessories as soon as you have decided what you are looking for. You just don’t want to their outfits to be lack luster missing something in the millions of pictures that will be taken.
  • Take a small purse for your lip gloss, cash, tickets, school ID and a charged up cell phone.
  • Find the perfect undergarments, they are important and sometime overlooked.

·      Take Time for the Teachable Moments- My baby was so happy we found the dress she was ready to just put on some shoes and show up to the prom but moments like this give the opportunity to broaden their horizons, appreciate the gifts of others, visualize great things, teach them planning and teamwork can yield great rewards and money is not as important as friendship. If there is a call to be made, have your daughter do it on speaker so you can step in if you need to but she learns the responsibility and planning necessary to make good things happen.

·      Figure out the Logistics Ahead of time-
  • Tickets- one or two? Are they attending as a couple or a group?  I say both. Go as a coed group.  It takes the stress out of having to get a prom-posal to attend. Also make sure all you dues are paid, as they will restrict your child participation if they owe any fees and that can get embarrassing and expensive so call to check if they are in the clear.
  • Friends- they should go with friends that will make this a safe, fun experience to remember.


  • Finances- what is total budget for each? All attendees might not be able to contribute the same so estimate a little high to adjust for the individuals who cant afford to participate equally.
  • Cash- Estimate the cash she will need and go to the ATM ahead of time.

  • Food- my baby was pretty ok with the original plans to go to their favorite Olive Garden, as it means something to them however they were more than happy to accept the recommendation to up the quality level. You could have a big formal dinner at your home but since we were not going to be there we chose our favorite restaurant Mikes American Grill
  • When selecting the place think of:
  • Location- Pick a location that is not to far from your home or the event.
  • Ambiance- This place should be good for pictures and make them feel special. Don’t forget these pictures will be with them for life.
  • Price per plate- Reasonable pricing options make the event more enjoyable.
  • Flexible Seating Arrangements- don’t get upset if you can’t be settled all together at one table. Small groupings at formal events can be intimate and seating can be located close together, so you don’t loose out on sharing the experience but are in small conversational groupings
  • Reservations- some really busy places will only take reservations for larger group prior to their peak time so be flexible in your arrangements.
  • Transportation- book early if possible and calling around for prices can really help.  It can be expensive but let everyone pitch in.
  • Ask “what is available in you price range?’
  • Don’t be afraid to list the price from Internet sometimes they will work with you and you could stumble upon an alternative that is even better then you thought.
  • We choose JMD Limos as their quality pricing an flexibility seemed far superior to the rest.


  • If they are using the car, wash and fill it up, so you have one less thing to do that day.
  • Pictures- Ask a friend that is good with a camera to capture the moment. Sometime we get all into the experience we forget to memorialize the event.

  • Plan where you want to get some shots, the meeting place, the dinner location, the limo, the prom, after party. Check out Pintrest for ideas.
  • Get fun photo props- It is great to dress up and you will wants dome nice pics but don't create a prom-zilla and allow them to have some fun.

·      What’s the Evenings Agenda?

  • Hair and Nails- Get these early if possible as you don’t want to worry about them last minute. Hair stylist book up quick so make sure you schedule in advance and know what you need to bring.
  • Shower- Schedule enough primping time, it always runs over and on this day reservation don’t wait.
  • Makeup- Have a friend or a plan for what style you want to try. Thank God for friends with steady hands (my daughters friend (on left) and my daughter Brandy, (on the right)) 
  • Dinner- Just meet up for a delicious time and make sure that there is enough tie to eat enjoy your meal, take pictures an d get back before the transportation arrives.
  • Transportation to and from event- Make sure you confirm before anyone leaves what the rally time is and what time the limo will leave . Make sure you have the numbers of individuals so they know who to get in contact with if there is a problem.
  • After party- what is the curfew for the evening? Take the time to ask and see what is being considered. Offer healthy options like snacks and a movie at you place after.
        §  Party on the road in the limo
        §  Eat greasy after prom food in your formal-ware
        §  Host a Karaoke Party
        §  Watch a Movie until the we hours in the am

·      Don’t forget to have some fun-


  • Pre-Porm PlaylistDownload a list of your favorite songs to get you in the fun mood amidst the chaos.
  • Movie Prep- Leading up to the prom watch top Prom movies of all time like Footloose and Never Been Kissed. 
  • Corsage exchange- Order your corsage in advance if you can.  Pick it up the day of and then do an exchange. Anyone who brings ones gets to play and gets one. You can assign the swaps or allow other s to steal your selection. Just another fun thing to do while waiting for the transportation to arrive.



  • After party- what is the curfew for the evening? Take the time to ask and see what is being considered. Offer healthy options like snacks and a movie at you place after
         §  Eat greasy after prom food in your formal-ware
         §  Host a Karaoke Party
         §  Watch a Movie until the we hours in the am
         §  Go driving, take pictures in DC
         §  Go Bowling
         §  Have an old fashion sleep over

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