We had the most unique opportunity to throw prom for our sweet daughter Madison! We pulled out all the stops and had a lot of fun with it. Branden’s daughter, Madi lives in California with her mom and her prom was cancelled because of the coronavirus. She has been broken-hearted about it and had bought the most beautiful dress to wear and now it would simply be hung on a hanger in a closet. When we found out she would be coming to Utah to visit family we knew we had to throw together the most amazing PROM ever!!! She is so deserving and works so hard at school and asks for very little. She takes so many AP classes and studies for hours every single night. She has worked hard enough to get into BYU on a scholarship, needless to say we are SO proud of her! So we started putting some ideas down on paper to get this magical prom going!
When we first had this idea we had to start looking at where we could hold prom. We don’t have a particularly large backyard so we started thinking outside the box-neighbors, parks, venues…We finally decided on a reception hall. The biggest reason we went with this venue was because of the killer price and the views were incredible. We had a great deal worked out because of being a city resident. Not just being a city resident but also holding it on a particular day and time-they had discounts for certain days. We were flexible on the day because we had the whole week to work with. Find a place that works best for you and start there and then you can start picturing the party! Utilize your friends, city facilities and find something in your budget to make it work.
After we had decided on the venue we then had to start thinking about all the decor, balloons, flowers, food, entertainment, and music.
Lets start with flowers. I ordered these from a cute little darling flower shop by us, Painted Daisy. They were great to work with and if your local they have amazing stuff. I told them what I wanted to spend and they made it work, I had no idea what I wanted so I gave them a general idea and they put together the most beautiful arrangements. Another great option is Costco. If you have the knack for making little arrangements/bouquets this would also be a great option! Their flowers are incredibly cheap and SO, SO beautiful! Corsages and boutonnieres may be a little tougher to do but you could let the florist know what flowers you bought for the centerpieces and they could match according to the party or the dress and tux. I let them know I wanted to go with neutrals and that was really all the direction I gave them. I felt I had to go with a florist for the lack of time on this event.
Decor is always so fun! It can be very intimidating if you have a large space to decorate like I did. I tried to focus on one certain part of the room so there would be a focal point where people’s eyes went. As you walked in the venue your eyes went straight to the food and dinner table. This was a very small gathering so there was a lot of open spaces. My sweet sister-in-law set up a photo backdrop for pictures and it turned out awesome. An option for a backdrop is also a super cheap queen or king size flat sheet. Bam, works perfect! I ordered a balloon arch for it as well. These can be easy to make but again I didn’t have the time to learn how to make a balloon arch for the first time so I decided to have it made. Any party store can do this for you. I got my balloon arch at Pioneer Party in Lehi. You can see we even brought some decorations from home, the baskets will stems in them added so much! The venue also strung lights across the ceiling, it was such a magical touch. We have similar lights but we didn’t have enough and they so kindly offered to do it for us. These are similar lights that look so cute and really add a lot to the space. I used some extra material to the middle of the table and threw some artificial greens on it to feel woodsy. I really liked the look of the table not having a tablecloth. Tablecloths can add so much but this time I went with the bare tables, they were so pretty and rustic. We also used a lot of battery operated flameless candles that were awesome because the risk of fire is low but also they look so real. They can come real fancy and have a remote to turn them on and off! On the food table we used some pieces of wood that had been cut 1-2 inches thick and it added so much to the table. Be creative and use everyday things to add to the decor and it will come together.
I also want to add the table settings that I used were so pretty and so simple. I bought some gold chargers around the holidays and they are durable and so classy. To make it feel like we were using real plates I went with a plastic plate that had a gold line around the edges and gave the appearance of being fancy and still worked great for being disposable. These plates were beautiful and also came with a dessert plate, silverware and cups and was very reasonable. I also love to use cloth napkins, this only makes sense with a super small group unless you can find them to rent. They look so dressed up and wash up easy. These cloth napkins are the ones I have and love them.
Photography. Photography is EVERYTHING! I mean can you even believe this photo?! Photos are the only thing you’ll have to document that night. You want those memories captured to carry on the feelings you had and shared with your loved ones. If you’re trying to stay tight on money find a college student studying photography to document the night, if the budget allows-hire a professional. We always hire Michelle from @MichelleMadsenPhoto to do all of our photography. She travels with us and everything because she is just THAT good. So I would say put the bulk of your budget in photography if it allows. You’ll look back on these photos for forever!
Food is a close second to the most important thing, amiright? LOL! Food is just too dang good! Food can vary so much if you’re planning to do it yourself or have it catered! Catering can take the work out of it for you which is what I opted for on this event. We did Cafe Rio and it was awesome. We had to shop around little though because we had such a small group that most places only offered quantities larger than 20. We only had a group of 9 so I definitely didn’t need a lot of food. We wanted Costa Vida but their minimum was 20 and Cafe Rio’s minimum was 12, perfect! Shop around and get the best prices. A while ago we were hosting a neighborhood thing and I wanted soup catered, obviously my first choice would have been Kneaders but the best price was Olive Garden. Both great choices but one definitely left some more cash in my pocket. A really great inexpensive idea for a party is having a soda bar. I wrote a whole blog post on it and it’s a fun easy idea. One thing that is also really important with food is what dessert you’re going to feed everyone. The main meal is good but everyone wants dessert, of course. I went with Madi’s favorite on both dinner and dessert. She said tacos and Nothing Bundt Cakes. I ordered the Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes for her dessert and they were the perfect size for entertaining. I also ordered cookies from the very best @SugarCookiesBySteph. Her cookies are fantastic and I used this as a favor as people left to take with them. This again is something you’ll want to shop around for to find the right dessert for the occasion and person! It can save you so much on shopping around and finding the right meal for you and your guests. I get asked a lot about how much food to plan on for people and this was the best I could find that I follow and it has been a huge help.
Entertainment is also a big part of hosting an event. We had thought of hiring a DJ but we knew we wouldn’t be at the venue that long so we opted for the AUX cord they offered us and created our own playlist and played music through the speaker system the whole night and it didn’t cost us a penny. If a speaker system like that is available opt for that, it can save a lot. With a wedding or bigger event you would obviously want something more professional, check out people that the venue suggests or ask around to give a family friend some business. Some good playing music makes the dancing that much better. I mean-I get out there and look like Elaine from Seinfeld and everyone boos me off the dance floor! One of the biggest things that entertained us was the LIMO! We had more fun in that thing than anything. Definitely not a necessity and pretty pricey but we danced and sang out hearts out!
Realize that things will happen throughout the event, kinks will happen and its important to just go with the flow! Try your best to remain calm and only stress if this will impact you in 5 years. If it can be resolved in 5 minutes don’t stress over it. Let the little things roll of your back, and ENJOY!
Here is the single most important piece of information I will give you…are you ready? Do whatever you have to do to make sure YOU enjoy the night. Catering, not catering, making a balloon arch or ordering one, do whatever it is that you have to do so that its also enjoyable for you too! Hosting and planning events can be so stressful and can end up being miserable if you’re killing yourself so find a way to enjoy it and have fun! I employed the help of family and friends to make it an enjoyable experience and it made everyones night to pitch in and help and be a part of the special night. Whether it’s prom, a wedding, or a baby shower HAVE FUN!! Oh, and make a million lists to keep yourself on track!
The biggest help for ideas comes from Pinterest, that is where I get all of my inspiration from. There are endless ideas and people have done everything every which way so go there and search your little heart out! Before you enjoy the party make sure to take pictures! We want to capture things as they were before they are taken over by your guests. I’ve gathered ideas and items over the years of throwing parties, it’s on of my favorite hobbies! I’ll find things on a closeout deal and save them and use them for parties! You can use everyday things at a party to make it come to life! PARTY ON, FRIENDS!