How to organise a prom committee

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Once an American phenomenon, the prom has arrived in Britain. More than 85% of British secondary schools now hold a prom to celebrate school-leavers. Proms are gala affairs, usually involving dinner and dancing. Prom planning is typically done by committees of students.

The head of a prom committee has a great deal of work ahead, but keeping certain essential steps in mind can simplify the process and help ensure that the committee will organise a prom that everyone will enjoy.

Organise a prom committee

Recruit widely. While it would be great to work with all of your friends on the prom committee, remember that the prom is an event for everyone. Having a wide variety of students represented on your prom committee will help ensure that everybody's interests are heard.

Choose the leader of the committee. Whether you want to take on this role, nominate someone else to do it, or put it up to a vote, the committee leader needs to be very organised and responsible. The leader will motivate the other committee members, and also have to make sure that everyone else on the committee completes his or her tasks - and will need to step in if somebody fails to get things done on time.

Schedule a first meeting. This meeting will be an opportunity for everyone on the committee to get to know one another, and to have a discussion about who will take on which roles.

Plan a schedule of meetings for the rest of the year. That way, committee members will have plenty of opportunities to talk about any problems that arise and to make decisions that need to be discussed by the entire group.

Create a list of prom committee roles and associated tasks. Planning will be facilitated if committee members divide responsibilities. Some important roles include overseeing the choice of venue and date, money, decorations, promotions, entertainment (including music), food and drink, and clean-up.

Assign committee roles

Decide who will be in charge of choosing the venue and date. Arguably the most important task undertaken by the committee, venue selection is often the responsibility of the committee leader, the entire committee, or even put up to a vote by the entire student body. The scheduler should keep in mind that, with most British proms being held over just a few weekends in June and July, competition not only for venues but for associated requirements like limousine and tuxedo rental may be fierce. Availability may thus play a large role in when your prom will be held, and also in how easy it is for attending students to make their arrangements.

Select a treasurer. The treasurer will be responsible for paying vendors, for allocating any funds provided by the school, and also for making sure that enough money is raised from selling tickets to cover the costs of the prom. For example, the treasurer will be the one to tell other committee members how much they can spend on decorations, entertainment and food.

Put somebody in charge of theme and decorations. This person will oversee the choice of a theme (if desired) and source and choose the decorations. He or she will also need to make a plan for decorating the venue before the prom starts, which will most likely require recruiting a team of helpers.

Choose a promoter who will be responsible for advertising the prom venue and date and for encouraging students to buy tickets in advance.

Select someone to be in charge of entertainment - a key part of any prom. The person in charge of entertainment will need to decide what kind of music to feature, and then hire a DJ or band to play it. He or she may also hire a photographer to take pictures of prom attendees.

Choose somebody to oversee food and drink. This person will have to decide what to serve, select a reliable provider, and make sure that there is plenty of food and drink for everyone who attends. Food and drink will also need to be served, or at least set out buffet-style, and the person in this role will need to make those provisions as well.

After the prom ends, everything will need to be shut down and cleaned up. Many venues will provide these services, but the person in charge will need to make sure that everything happens as required and deal with any problems that arise during or after the prom.