How To Survive Prom ….When You’re The Mom

Have you heard the whisperings?  The biggest party of the year…well actually of your child’s High School career,  is just around the corner.  It’s PROM SEASON!  If you have a senior in High School there’s little doubt that the last few months have been leading up to this truly epic day.  Here’s where the unsolicited advice comes in.  It’s everything you and your teen need to know to survive that thing they call …PROM.

Three to four months in advance

Set your budget.  No big surprise.  Prom doesn’t come cheap.  There’s the dress (or suit), the shoes, hair, purse, and make-up.  You will need your teen to set money aside for the “ticket”, transportation and possibly “After Prom”.  See.  Spendy.

Go dress shopping.  In our neck of the woods this means you need to order that Prom dress at least 3-4 months in advance.  Did you forget?  Don’t worry. Some stores will sell off the rack and you can have it altered to fit your Prom Queen.

Two months in advance

Promposals? Hot button topic and deserving of it’s own post.  Some will be “promposed too”  some will do the promposing.  So many feel so much pressure to find a date to prom, but it doesn’t have to be this way if we set our kids up for success and provide a little reality check.  Dates are fun, but certainly not required to have an amazing time at the Prom.   Not sure your teen will have a date?  Encourage them early on in the process to organize a group of friends to go to Prom together.  There’s both comfort and strength in numbers.

Arrange After Prom.  Where will your teen be after Prom.  A house party?  A cottage?  Camping?  Back home with a few friends?  This it the time for the seniors to start making those plans and make sure you, the parents, are on board with their idea.

Three to four weeks in advance

Alterations. Pick up the dress or suit and make any required alterations.

Book hair & make-up appointment.  Have a girl? Hair stylists fill up quickly!  Be sure your teen takes pictures of how they would like their “do” to look.  Also time that appointment to be completed at least 2 hours before the event.  Our appointment started at noon and wrapped up by 2pm.  The first Prom event began just after 4pm. Fabulous timing!

Arrange Transportation.  Many graduates arrange groups and book Limos or Party Busses.  This is the perfect time to once again discuss the zero tolerance for drinking and driving.

Buy Shoes:  Not only should those fancy heels be purchased a few weeks before the big day, but they should be worn!  It’s always a good idea to break in new shoes before a big event.  One thing you can count on at Prom, standing.  A lot.  Shoes that fit and are just a little bit broken in will make your night just a little bit sweeter.

Accessories:  Plan and pick out those accessories.  Now’s the time to find earrings, necklaces, purses even what colour lipstick will be needed to go with that dress.

Outfit for Mom:  What, did you think Prom was all about the kids?  Okay, so it mostly is. But I bet that kid wouldn’t be graduating without your help!  So if you are a lover of family pictures you may want to pause for a beat here and think about what you will wear on the big day.  Nothing fancy, just photo friendly.

One week in advance

Order corsages/boutonnieres.   I’m happy to report this sweet tradition is still alive and well.

Two to Three Days in advance

Nail appointment:  Either at a salon, or you can save a little in the budget and do your own nails.

Purse Prep: Now’s also the time to take stock of everything that will be needed the night of the event.  Essentials in the handbag should include; Prom Ticket, cash, ID, phone, lip gloss and band-aids….because at Prom, blisters happen.

Reality Check:  Remind your teen that yes, Prom is a big deal.  A moment in time to celebrate their journey through High School and all they have accomplished, but help them keep it in perspective.  When you boil it down, it’s just another party. An excuse to dress up and have some fun with those you love the most.  Remind your teen that Prom can, and will be amazing but not to put too much pressure on themselves.  No event, party or evening is ever perfect.  Ever.  Encourage them to enjoy the moment, take a few great pictures, and make some memories that will last a lifetime.

Night Before Prom

Sleep:  Good luck with this one, but try and get that teen to get a good nights sleep.  Tomorrow is going to be a very long day.

Rules:  This is a perfect time to go over your own set of rules.  Doesn’t every teen love a few rules?

  • No drinking and driving.
  • Be smart
  • Stay together.
  • Be kind.
  • Have fun
  • Check in. Often.  That’s why God created cell phones.

Prom Day

Eat: You made it!  Remind your teen to eat. (you too)  It’s possible they will get so wrapped up in the excitement of the day and the “must do’s” on their list that eating falls by the way side.

Cameras: Double check that those cameras are charged and you’re ready to go.

Shoe Check: Is your teen driving?  Is she wearing heels?  Make sure there are some flats in the car for her to drive in.

Mama’s….it’s time to grab a kleenex.   Take a breath, embrace the moment and try and enjoy it. Ready or not, your baby is growing up and you know what?  You did great.


  1. we are so behind, my grad isn’t even thinking about it, he’s not planning anything. He’s not part of the inner circle.

    • Stephanie says:

      I think the one good thing about Prom, you don’t have to be in the “inner circle” to have a great time. It does help to make some plans ahead of time. Even just plans with one or two friends for the big night can make a difference. Best of luck to you and your son! Hope he has a great time.

  2. Susan L says:

    You are so organized! I look back at my prom and think I just got lucky. We muddled through. Or maybe it wasn’t as big a deal back then? There’s so much pressure on young people now.
    Your daughter and her friends looked beautiful on their big day and happy to hear it was a big success.

    • Stephanie says:

      There really does seem to be more pressure now. In all honesty, I’m going to blame social media. Everything, every look, move, dress, hair do is immediately broadcast on Facebook, snap chat and instagram. Better make sure your game face is on!

      Thanks for the kind words about my daughter and her friends. They are a beautiful group, inside and out.

  3. Corinna says:

    Your daughter and her friends are just beautiful. It’s such an exciting time!

  4. My oldest son graduates next year so we aren’t quite in the thick of the prom madness yet, but he has many friends who are seniors this year so he will be attending as a date. I cant even imagine the madness involved in prepping for a daughter but I’m sure it’s all worth it for the memories created.

  5. Shirley p says:

    Beautiful Grad photos so much to do to get ready for graduation. One of the schools here quit doing such a huge grad they have a ceremony and a supper; bit less stressful.

  6. Tania B says:

    This is such a great post! So useful for those of us who are facing these types of challenges. Thanks!

  7. kathy downey says:

    So much excitement at Prom time, your daughter and her friends all look so nice.

  8. This is a great checklist and timeline of things to remember/get ready in anticipation of prom. What an exciting time!

  9. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I don’t remember too much fuss when two of my daughters had their prom. I remember being lucky getting their dresses at a super price but don’t remember anything else about it all really. Mind it is around 20 yrs ago now. 🙂

  10. Judy Cowan says:

    So much to think about, love your daughter’s dress. So pretty!

  11. Kristi F says:

    I didn’t have much planning with my grad, just mostly concentrated on the dress. This is a good list though for those who like to make sure all the details are covered.

  12. Prom is definitely the most important day in a teenager’s life! I still have awesome memories from mine.

  13. Cheryl H says:

    Ahhh I remember prom, wasn’t a big deal back then, told my husband that now asking for a prom date is getting more extravagant than proposing marriage, lol great tips though

  14. Elizabeth Vlug says:

    Don’t know how I made it thru prom with our kids. Twice. Certainly was a whirlwind. We had parent parties as well, so after all the kids left in their limos we partied too. We moved to a small town 5 years ago, and here they shut down main street and have a prom parade. Yep, a prom parade. It’s a really BIG deal here. 🙂

  15. nicolthepickle says:

    Too much prom. Promposals are too much. 😛

  16. Melinda Jana says:

    wow super mom’s organizational skills to the max. great job! I wasn’t so well organized with my prom, at least I had my date, dress and ride figured out early on

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