4 Ways to Kick off Prom Night

women with corsages toasting

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For teenagers, celebrating the prom begins well before the actual event. With all of the preparation and anticipation, it’s hard to imagine the day leading up to the prom could be about anything else. Start the party early when you host a pre-prom party to kick off the event, and maybe even help to expel some of that nervous energy.

  • 01 of 04

    Mocktail Party

    Young woman in gown with three men in tuxedos
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    No matter how much you wish you could, you can’t go with them. You can, however, host a gathering that takes place just before the limo arrives to whisk them away. A pre-prom gathering that resembles an elegant cocktail party allows you to be a small part of the formal celebration (and gives them an excuse to get dressed early). Drinks should be non-alcoholic (hence the name, “mocktail”), while the bite-sized fare is probably the best choice to lessen the threat of mess or spills on their formal attire.

    For your mocktail party, serve sparkling water or cider, served in champagne flutes, non-alcoholic punch or a signature mocktail. Because they're traditional at most cocktail parties, an assortment of fruit, cheese, and crackers is a good place to start building your party menu. These are light snacks that may be just enough to calm nervous tummies, and not interfere with the formal dinner ahead at prom. If there is ample time before dinner will be served, however, you can supplement the menu with a few additional choices, such as:

    • Cheese puffs
    • Shrimp cocktail
    • Sushi
    • Mini meatballs
    • Chicken or beef skewers
  • 02 of 04

    Pre-Prom Breakfast

    Directly above view of a brunch with pancakes, waffle and burger with fried egg in a restaurant
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    Sure, they’re graduating from high school, but that doesn’t mean they’ve learned the value of a good breakfast. Take advantage of the fact that they’ll wake up in party mode by hosting a pre-prom breakfast party that delivers not only a good time but sustenance as well. Since it’s too early for their formal attire, invite guests to come dressed in their pajamas (as a throwback to the slumber parties of days gone by). Or, if the prom has a theme, build your breakfast party around it. If the prom’s theme is “Midnight in Paris,” for instance, you could decorate the breakfast room with Parisian-themed decorations (think pink and black color scheme with miniature Eiffel Towers), while your menu could include baguettes with jam and Café au Lait.

    Easy Breakfast Menu Ideas for Prom Day Breakfast

    • Non-alcoholic mimosas (substitute non-alcoholic, sparkling wine or lemon-lime soda for the champagne)
    • French Toast
    • A variety of muffins, bread, bagels, and spreads
    • Breakfast Casserole
    • Cinnamon rolls
    • Set up a coffee bar with flavored coffees, creamers, and toppings such as whipped cream, nutmeg shakers, and cinnamon sticks
  • 03 of 04

    Home Spa Party

    Mother and her adult daughter drinking tea with facial masks applied
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    Host a home spa party in the morning or afternoon before prom so that guests can be pampered and primped in preparation for their big night. Gather a group of your teen’s friends at a salon, or bring a stylist to your home to help with things like hairdos, manicures, and makeup. Friends can even help style each other. And don’t forget the guys, who can be included in the fun with things like last-minute haircuts or manicures for men.

  • 04 of 04

    Photo Booth

    Laughing young women friends at photo booth
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    The before prom pictures are as big a tradition as the prom itself. While formal poses are must-have, candid shots also make some of the best keepsakes. A photo booth is a hit at any party, but at a pre-prom party, it also helps to alleviate nerves and set the tone for silly fun.

    A photo booth also keeps the group in your backyard, rather than off to a park or other outdoor location to pose for shots. And let’s admit it; we want them to linger until the very last possible moment, don’t we?