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. 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.
2. 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 glimmers or not. Streamers and sheeting can be used on tables, ceilings, walls, and on the sides of a walkway. These are great options for wedding or prom decorations.
3. 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!” This is a staple in prom decorations and should usually be included.
5. Invitations and Tickets
In order 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!
6. Table Wear
A huge part of your prom decorations are table wear. 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 need 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 can be purchased in bulk and in 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.
8. Engaged Dance Floor
A great way to increase the likelihood of enjoyment is by having an engaged group dancing. Music and pounding lights is great addition to the amount of prom decorations one has. Giving the guests the opportunity to be able to truly enjoy their prom and all of the great prom decorations is a major key to a successful night.
Chandeliers are a fantastic way to add a bit of class into your prom decorations. There are a variety of styles and vibes that could come into effect. There is nothing more grand then 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.
10. 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 all 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. Because of how versatile flowers can be, they can truly be incorporated in any prom decorations.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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. 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.
14. Table and Chair Decorations
A huge part of prom decorations are the table and chair decorations! The table and chair decor for a high school prom is typically very formal and elegantly set up. You can usually find a similar set up 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.
15. 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.
16. Flower Leis
If your high school is hosting a Hawaiin-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 cheap at the dollar store or on Amazon
17. 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.
18. 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 a 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.
19. 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!
20. 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. These props could serve as a great photo op as well!
The best way to decorated a specified wall for photographs, divide sections of the room, or to spruce up the place is by adding curtains to your list of prom decorations. There are many fabrics and prints that 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! There are many types of murals that 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.
23. 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 the attention on them for at least one night.
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. For the most part, these are pretty generic ideas that you can use to sweeten up your prom decor while keeping it a very tasteful night.
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. Dessert Table
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.
27. 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.
28. Candy Confetti
Instead of buying confetti to go on tables that won’t ever go to use, you can use a 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.
29. 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.
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. You may surprise yourself with the ideas you come up with.
Written by Amanda Breivogel, Jessica Clark, Mackenzie Tolrud, and Tiawnie Castrejon