Updated on: Jul 19, 2023
Prom is the night that high school students have looked forward to ever since they entered as freshmen. While the prom planning committee wants to make it the most magical night, they are also working on a budget. However, just because there is a strict budget, doesn’t mean that the decorations have to show it. Below are some affordable ideas to decorate your school’s prom and give the students a beautiful night to remember. As always, prom decorations are a major key in hosting a great school dance!
Affordable Prom Decorations
1. Streamers and Sheeting
If there is a hankering for excitement and beauty combined into one, why not look into acquiring some streamers? Streamers and sheeting are affordable prom decorations. They can come in a variety of colors and prints, as well as with glimmers or not. Streamers and sheeting can be used on tables, ceilings, walls, and the sides of a walkway. These are great options for wedding or prom decorations.
2. Confetti and Glitter
Confetti is a staple when decorating any special event, especially when going over your prom decorations! Confetti and glitter are quite affordable and if fairly easy to get ahold of. Especially during the time of prom, some big named retail stores release prom-themed confetti packages which can be of great use. Using online retail stores could be another great option.
When entering a high school prom, one of the first prom decorations that can be seen is a huge banner welcoming the students to their prom! The banners can read such as, "Welcome Class of 2021 to your Senior Prom!" or get a custom banner based on the theme of the prom! You could also get a large custom sign and prop it up on an easel to get a more sophisticated feel. This is a staple in prom decorations and should usually be included.
4. Invitations and Tickets
To attend a prom, the students must have a ticket or some form of invitation. Because this event is typically for the upperclassmen, having a fitting invitation is a major step when deciding on prom decorations. The invitations must, of course, match the theme as always!
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A huge part of your prom decorations is tableware. Typically when throwing a high school prom, there are a series of glasses for beverages as well as dishes for meals and snacks. Picking the right color and the right style is especially important when choosing your prom decorations. Obviously, every aspect of the prom from its theme to its colors needs to be coordinated.
If the mood of a prom is a bit dark and more personal, the best prom decorations to include are candles. Candles and tea lights can be purchased in bulk and a variety of different sizes. This is an excellent way to save some money while also purchasing as many prom decorations as you can in one moment. Candles add to the overall vibe and can also be purchased without a specific scent. You could also invest in battery-operated tea lights and be able to reuse them!
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Chandeliers are a fantastic way to add a bit of class to your prom decorations. There are a variety of styles and vibes that could come into effect. There is nothing grander than entering a large room with a beautiful chandelier to light up the night as well as the dance floor! The options and opportunities are endless. Chandeliers can be accompanied by drapes or even small twinkling lights. This is a simple and affordable way to add some class to your prom decorations.
8. Disco Ball
If a chandelier is not the aesthetic you are going for when it comes to your prom theme, a disco ball might be more up your alley! A disco ball provides a retro theme and really brings your lighting game up a notch. Nothing is more memorable than a giant disco ball spinning gorgeous flecks of light around the room.
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9. Flower Wall Decorations
When organizing and figuring out which prom decorations to acquire, a host can shoot for something very elegant such as flowers. Flowers can be incorporated throughout the prom setting. Flowers can be hung from ceilings, given to the young women as they enter (which can serve as a souvenir), and can also be hung across walls on streamers. A giant flower photo wall can be achieved by purchasing flower panels or you could create one using individual flowers. Because of how versatile flowers can be, they can truly be incorporated into any prom decorations.
10. DIY Centerpieces
Why buy centerpieces when you have a creative team of students with fresh ideas helping plan prom? At prom planning meetings, brainstorm some DIY (do it yourself) centerpiece ideas. Some great places to start searching for these ideas are on Etsy and Pinterest. You do not have to make each centerpiece exactly how you see it on the internet. There is nothing wrong with picking and choosing what you like and adding your own spin on it.
Prom - Prom Night Party Centerpiece Sticks - Table Toppers - Set of 15
Prom Centerpiece Sticks INCLUDES 15 balck and gold table toppers in three different shapes, 15 wooden dowel sticks and stickers for easy assembly. Black and gold party table decorations are perfect for a prom night party.
Prom Centerpiece Sticks SIZE five Prom table toppers, 10.75” wide x 7.5” tall; five dance the night away table toppers, 7” wide x 3.5” tall; and five circle table toppers, 5” wide x 5” tall. The unique design and variety of pieces makes this table decoration kit an impressive addition to any prom night theme party.
EASY PARTY DECOR: Prom table decorations can be used as centerpieces when attached to the included dowels and inserted into vases or floral arrangements. They easily accent your prom night party candy buffet when you add them to apothecary jars. Table toppers are also a great addition to any photo booth. The large shaped cut outs will make your party pics instantly shareable. Prom centerpiece sticks are sure to make a statement however you choose to use them!
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11. Thrift/Antique Store
Another idea of easy decor and centerpiece ideas is going to a local antique shop. Antique shops have affordable centerpiece options all the time. You can buy a candelabra for example. The same goes for a thrift store. Thrift stores have colored glass vases in many different shapes and sizes. They also have candles that haven’t been used yet. This is a great affordable option if you’re looking for centerpieces that have an eclectic aesthetic to them.
12. Holiday Lights
This is a big money saver because you won’t need to go to the store to buy them! Put out an announcement to students that prom will be illuminated with holiday lights or string lights. Have guests donate Christmas lights and hang them up at the prom venue. Not only will the room look pretty, but the students who donate will feel like they’ve had a part in the prom decorations.
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13. DIY Photo Booth
You don’t have to use half the budget renting a photo booth when you can easily make one yourself. First, find somewhere in the venue with a solid backdrop. If there is no place at the venue with a solid backdrop, hang up a bed sheet or fabric. Next, have a table with a bunch of props that students can choose from. Colorful feather boas, silly large glasses, and sparkly plastic hats are just some options. For school spirit, add your school’s baseball cap and accessories that are the school’s colors. Students can use their cell phones to take pictures.
If a photo booth is too much to rent, consider making your own version of it. Have a solid backdrop and many props that guests can choose from. Students can take photos with their own cell phones to share and post. Be sure that you have a volunteer or faculty watching over this station so that none of the props find their way to the dance floor or out the door.
14. Table and Chair Decorations
A huge part of prom decorations is the table and chair decorations! The table and chair decor for a high school prom are typically very formal and elegantly set up. You can usually find a similar setup at a wedding. This setting typically involves a beautiful piece of cloth in which wraps around the chair and is followed by a ribbon of sorts tying the cloth into place. The tablecloth typically matches the chair and can vary in color and style based on the vibe and theme.
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15. Flower Leis
If your high school is hosting a Hawaiian-theme prom, flower leis will add a tropical touch. You can hang these leis around the venue to dress it up. Students can grab leis as they please and wear them on the dance floor. Flower leis can be purchased for less at the dollar store or on Amazon.
16. Wooden Letters
If your school has a woodshop, students can make letters for prom. Some ideas for what they can cut out is the abbreviation for the high school, the year, and the word “prom.” This is another great idea for showcasing students' work and having students feel prideful about their work. Students in art class could be in charge of painting and decorating the numbers/letters. Students will find a great photo opp in taking pictures in front of the numbers/letters.
17. Balloon Arches
Balloons are inexpensive and easy to put together. Many parties that cater to a large crowd make balloon arches for the entrance to the party. You can either order this or do it yourself. Get heavy wire and bend it into an arch. Then blow up your balloons. The balloons can be one color or variations of color. Make sure it goes with your theme. Buy string and tie the balloons to the wire until it looks full. That's all you need! It doesn't have to be an arch either. You can do balloon pillars as well.
Create a balloon arch that matches the theme for students to walk through when they arrive at prom. This will be a great photo opp for the students and will get guests excited as soon as they walk through the door.
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18. Projector Pictures
This is a great way to decorate your prom. A projector is something that you can continue to use at proms in the years to come. Announce to students that there will be a projector highlighting them at prom. Make an email that students can send their pictures to so that they can be showcased on the projector screen. You don’t have to have a screen to project the pictures onto, any wall will do!
19. Stand Up Props
Another great prom decoration is stand-up props and silhouettes. Depending on the overall theme, these props can vary. For example, if the theme of a prom is Casino Night, there could potentially be a large, life-size stack of casino chips in all sorts of colors or similar props. These props could serve as a great photo op as well!
The best way to decorate a specified wall for photographs, divide sections of the room, or spruce up the place is by adding curtains to your list of prom decorations. Some many fabrics and prints can be chosen. Some of these options would include beaded, metallic, solid-colored, or even in a specific print depending on the theme.
Incorporating murals in the prom decorations are a great way to decorate a room and fill up unwanted space! Many types of murals could add to the overall vibe of the prom and the prom decorations. Some of these could include, Motorcycles, Red Carpets, or even a Mystical Forest.
22. Red Carpet
There is nothing like walking down a red carpet as soon as you get to prom to feel like royalty. The red carpet can double down and be used for the prom court to walk down as their names are announced. These make for great prom decorations because every student deserves to have attention on them for at least one night.
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Edible Prom Decorations
From dessert tables to snow cone machines, here are some delicious ideas that you can use to decorate your prom. There are so many themes and so many edible decoration ideas, don't be afraid to search the internet for some unique ideas. These are ideas that you can use to sweeten up your prom decor while keeping it a very tasteful night.
23. Dessert Table
If your school has a culinary program, this would be a great opportunity for its students to showcase their talents. The culinary department may do this for free or for very cheap. If your school does not have a culinary program, consider allowing students with a passion for baking to make desserts for the dessert table. Again, this will give students a sense of pride when they see their peers enjoying their work. Plus, you won’t need to buy store-bought items, which will save some of the budgets which could be used elsewhere.
A dessert table can be easily dressed up to go along with the theme of the prom. Have all the generic desserts such as cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. If you want to incorporate some less generic desserts, you can use desserts such as cake pops, chocolate-dipped pretzel rods, candy rocks, and chocolate-dipped marshmallows.
24. Walking Candy Bag
Once prom is over, there will be high volumes of people trying to leave at once. If the guests have a sweet tooth, give them a goodie bag to fill up with their favorite candy on their way out. Purchase these small clear treat bags that students can fill up with whatever they’d like. If you purchase somewhat small bags, it will limit the amount of candy that each student takes.
25. Cotton Candy
If you are having a carnival theme prom, a cotton candy machine is great to invest in. Whether your school has the money in the budget to purchase one because they could use it for other events or if you rent one for the night, a cotton candy machine is a great touch. Have several flavors that students can choose from.
26. Snow Cone Machine
Consider buying a snow cone machine for your prom. This is similar to buying a cotton candy machine. It will satisfy the guests' sweet tooth while creating a tropical atmosphere. Buying a snow cone machine is a really good investment for the school as well.
27. Candy Confetti
Instead of buying confetti to go on tables that won’t ever go to use, you can use colorful candy in place of table confetti. Depending on the theme of the prom, you can choose different candies to scatter on the tables. For example, if the theme of your prom has gold in it, you could use gold truffles. If your prom has different theme colors other than gold, Hershey’s kisses can be wrapped in almost any color.
28. Food Fortunes
Since prom is held at the end of the year, send the students home with hopeful messages about their future endeavors. The prom planning committee can get together and think of a handful of messages to print out and add to cupcakes being served at prom. To do this, make the cupcake as normal, and before frosting, gently push the fortune down into the cupcake. Cover the top with icing and what your guests enjoy their fortune as they eat.
29. Cupcake Toppers
The icing on the cake of any sweet prom snack is themed cupcake toppers or cupcake holders. You could either DIY these yourself or find an assortment of toppers that fit your color scheme or party theme!
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Prom Cupcake Wrappers and Treat Picks Kit INCLUDES 24 assorted shaped paper cut-outs, 24 clear treat picks, 24 cupcake wrappers, and adhesive dots for easy assembly. DIY Prom cupcake decoration kit is perfect for any prom night party.
Plastic clear treat picks SIZE measure 3.5” tall and are packaged in a food-safe environment. Prom shaped paper cut-outs vary in size and coordinate well with pick size. Cupcake wrappers are cut with a decorative edge and adjust to fit cupcakes 1.75” - 2.5” Wide. Wrappers measure 1.75” Tall. Wrappers are meant for one-time-use only and should not be baked.
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PREMIUM PARTY SUPPLIES: Clear treat picks are made of food-grade plastic and are packaged in a food-safe environment. The Prom paper cut-out toppers are professionally printed, double-sided on sturdy cardstock paper with themed art on one side and a coordinating pattern on the back. Cut-outs will quickly attach to the clear picks with included adhesive dots and then easily insert into your party appetizers or desserts.
EASY ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED: Clear treat picks and Prom shaped cut-outs and cupcake wrappers are packaged with easy assembly instructions. Prom Cupcake Treat Pick Toppers and Wrappers use a No-Mess Glitter Print: Our cupcake toppers are designed with a printed image of glitter, eliminating glitter flake while maximizing bling effect!
Prom is an exciting time. School is about to end, seniors are about to graduate and move on to their next adventure, and summer is just around the corner. Don’t feel that the bank has to be broken to throw a wonderful prom. Get creative and start brainstorming with your prom planning committee. Check out our prom committee planning guide to see ideas on budgeting and other decoration ideas. You may surprise yourself with the ideas you come up with.
Written by Laura Sastre, Amanda Breivogel and Mackenzie Tolrud; Contributor: Jack Leduc