10 Prom Etiquette To Follow

Prom Etiquette
Maximize your prom night by dressing appropriately and being punctual. Compliment your date and greet others with a smile. Mind table manners and limit phone usage. Also enusure and respect personal space, drink responsibly at after-parties.

1. Arrive in style — but dress appropriately

As with any occasion, observing proper clothing etiquette is key. Check the invitation, see the theme, and find a fashion ensemble that suits the event.

Is it a semi-formal or a formal event? If it’s the latter, young men should find a tuxedo. Meanwhile, formal prom dresses are usually long gowns for girls. If it’s semi-formal, a short dress (but still a fancy one) will do. Men, on the other hand, can opt for a dark-colored suit and tie.

Traditionally, the girl pins a boutonniere to the lapel of their date while the guy brings and places a corsage onto the girl’s left wrist (right if they’re left-handed).

Wear something that’s well-fitted and comfortable. Avoid wearing sneakers or flip-flops unless your dress code allows it. Proper grooming is also essential. So make sure you have clean nails and neat hair.

Pro tip: If you want a cohesive look, coordinate your attire with your date.

2. Make your date feel special

The prom is a big night for you and your prom date. Complimenting them is the way to go if you want to make them feel special.

Authenticity is at the heart of any words of appreciation. So when complimenting them, be sincere and avoid exaggerated praises. It’s also a good idea to be specific. Instead of generic remarks, focus on particular things that caught your eye. It could be their hairstyle, their outfit, or an accessory their way.

Appreciating your date also goes beyond just the way they look. Be balanced and express how you like their qualities, such as their personality or sense of humor. 

3. Respect the time and be punctual

Punctuality is one of the most important prom manners you must observe. Being late can cause inconvenience to your date and your/their group of friends.

Arriving on time is a great way to reflect your character and dependability. You must consider your preparation and travel time for a special event like this. Also, factor in the venue of your prom. Especially if it’s far from your home, leave early to avoid traffic-related delays. 

You must also communicate with your date and inform them when you will depart for the prom. The parents of your prom date will also appreciate it if you let them know when their daughter will be home.

4. Greet others with a smile and a handshake

Introducing yourself and greeting others with a handshake and a smile is part of prom etiquette. It’s a respectful way to engage with other prom-goers and people you meet, including parents, chaperones, guests, and teachers.

If you’re greeting non-students, address them respectfully and use appropriate titles (for example, “Hello, Dr. Smith, It’s a pleasure to see you tonight.”). Whoever you’re engaging with, you must not only extend your hand and give off a sweet smile; making eye contact is a way to demonstrate your politeness and confidence.

5. Mind your table manners

Knowing and following basic dining etiquette is important because it mirrors your manners and social skills. If you want to leave a positive impression on others (especially your date), this is one of the fundamental things to do.

When eating, take small and polite bites. Don’t slurp any food or beverage. Napkins are there to wipe your mouth but do it as discreetly as possible. And while you can engage in pleasant conversation, refrain from speaking if you have food in your mouth.

Proper posture is also important. Don’t lean on the table or slouch when eating. You mustn’t only fidget with utensils. If you’re reaching across the table for items, asking others to pass them to you is polite.

6. Navigate the dancefloor with grace

youngsters dancing at a prom party
Youngsters dancing at a prom party

One of the key things to remember when dancing during prom night is to respect personal space. Whether you’re doing a slow or more upbeat dance, you must maintain an appropriate distance from your date. 

But apart from minding your partner’s personal space, you must be aware of other dancers on the floor. Be mindful of your movements to avoid stepping into or bumping into others.

If you’re asking someone else to dance, approach them politely (e.g., “May I have this dance?”) and respect their response, whether yes or no. If you’re the one declining, keep it as polite as possible. You may say something like, “Thanks for asking, but I’ll have to sit this one out.”

7. Balance togetherness and technology

One of the most commonly asked questions about prom etiquette tips is about cell phone usage. And the straightforward answer is to avoid using it excessively. 

Unless it’s an emergency or you’re conveying necessary messages, you must avoid tinkering on your phone — or any other gadget. You must spend your time engaging in conversations and enjoying this event. 

Just in case you use it, be discreet. Step away from the main crowd to lessen distractions. Also, keep it on silent or vibrate to avoid disturbing others.

If you’re using your phone to take snaps, be mindful when posting the photos on social media. Avoid sharing unflattering and inappropriate photos of others.

8. Drink responsibly

youngsters holding a drink
Youngsters holding a drink

If you’re of legal drinking age and there are alcoholic drinks during prom night, remember to drink responsibly. 

Remember that many good manners are lost under the strong influence of alcohol, so keep your consumption in check. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Only drink what you’re comfortable drinking.

When drinking, pace yourself as well and hydrate with water. It’s also important to have a designated driver or arrange alternative transportation — never drive when you’re drunk to ensure your and your date’s safety.

9. Express your gratitude with thank you-notes

Like how you’ve put an effort into doing your promposal, you must also make it a point to give a thank-you note to your date. It’s a thoughtful gesture of appreciation, an expression of how much you’re grateful they’ve spent such a special occasion with you.

But apart from your date, you must also show your thanks to the host and the people who made the night possible and memorable.  

While you can send a simple email, writing cards is the more meaningful way to do it. And you must better offer them in person so you can verbally thank the recipients.

In writing the notes, express your gratitude from the heart and personalize them to reflect the unique experience you enjoyed. It’s best to give these notes within a week after the event.

10. Show responsible conduct at after-parties 

Sometimes, a prom party isn’t enough to contain that youthful fun. And if you’re planning to attend an after-party or two, you must still present respectful behavior. 

Firstly, know and observe the host’s rules. What’s the curfew? Which spaces within the property are off-limits? Then, be mindful of noise levels, especially if the party is in a residential area. 

Like with the prom night itself, you must also drink in moderation during after-parties. Look out for your and others’ well-being. If you feel uncomfortable or notice something concerning, courteously leave the party. Seek help whenever necessary. 

Knowing and practicing proper after-party manners can help you end such a memorable night on a grand note.

What does the girl pay for at prom?

When discussing prom etiquette, talks about who should pay for which always come up. If you’re wondering what a girl should pay for at prom, it usually includes the attire and accessories they will wear. They also shoulder the cost of getting their hair and nails done and the photo souvenirs they want to bring home. 

Most of the time, the guy pays for the prom ticket. They also pay for the corsage of their date while the girl takes care of the guy’s boutonniere. As for transportation, modern prom-goers split the bill (e.g., rental fee, gas). 

There are no set rules in the division of expenses. It will vary depending on personal preferences and agreed-upon arrangements.

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