Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Prom

Things Might Not Go the Way You Expect Them To.

Much like any girl attending prom for the first time, I wanted everything to be perfect: my date, my dress, the pictures, everything. Naturally, to achieve this flawless experience, I had everything planned when prom came around that spring. I asked the perfect date, found the perfect group, bought the perfect dress, and I just knew the pictures would be unforgettable. My plan was flawless, but prom, I found out, was not. While the evening was magical, it was no fairytale, and absolutely nothing went the way I expected it to.

First on the list of things that went absolutely, utterly, and unbelievably, horribly wrong was my hair and makeup. My parents graciously offered to let me get my hair and makeup done, to make the evening more special. It was quite an enjoyable experience…until I stepped outside into the sunlight and realized my face was orange, my hair was a frizzy nightmare, and I was the spitting image of an Oompa Loompa. Post-mental-breakdown, I had about 30 minutes before my date showed up to wash all of my makeup off and re-do everything, which was not part of the plan.

Budget Extra Time.

I wasn’t exactly planning to show up to prom Willy-Wonka-style, so I didn’t budget time for the emotional episode I ended up having, and the much needed motherly pep talk I received. Give yourself some extra time getting ready for prom. I promise, perfecting your lipstick for ten minutes is preferable to putting on foundation as your date pulls into the driveway.

Don’t Worry If You Don’t Have a Date.

No one likes to admit that promposals, while lovely, are extremely depressing. Watching all of your best friends get asked to prom can make you a very bitter person. Nevertheless, every girl in high school is waiting for someone special to prompose in the most nauseating, abhorrent way possible.

I think the only thing that truly did go right for me at prom was finding a date. I took the less traditional route, riskily promposing to someone I really cared about, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I made. Though promposing was terrifying, again, not going exactly as planned, I don’t regret it at all. He and I had a blast joking and dancing the night away. I’m not sure anyone else could have made the evening as funny and charming an experience.

On the flip side, having a prom date wasn’t all sunshine and roses. There was a lot to think about: who bought the tickets and flowers, making sure my date and I matched, what time we both would meet up, if my heels would’ve made me much taller than him, etc. There are a lot of things you get to enjoy by not having a date at prom. Don’t worry if you don’t get asked to prom; it will be fun either way! It’s not prom entirely that makes the experience special. It’s who you go with. Your best friends can make the night just as memorable and fairytale-like as a date could.


The whole point of prom is to have fun. After hours of getting ready and taking pictures, it was finally time to climb the industrial staircase into the lavender light of the ballroom that was our prom. I didn’t really understand why there were people sitting down at tables or leaning up against the pillars of the room. Prom was about having fun, and it sure didn’t look like the people that weren’t dancing were having fun; it looked like they were waiting for prom to be over. How ironic is that? These people paid to go to prom, were excited about it, yet when they actually got there, they just wanted the party to be over?

A lot of people are worried about how they look dancing. They say, “I’ll only dance to the slow songs. I know what I’m doing with those.” To be brutally honest, it’s dark at prom, no one cares about what you’re doing or how you look, and there are maybe two slow songs the entire night. Just dance and have a good time—no one is watching.

Remember Important Things.

My date was full of surprises. He turned out to be a pretty good dancer, was extremely polite, and I think my favorite of the surprises, very forgetful. Once I found out he forgot his ticket, I was too busy having a blast teasing him to realize that I also forgot something important: my ID. Luckily his dad was willing to bring him his ticket and my debit card has my picture on it. Most schools require you bring your ticket and ID to prom. Remember those things.

Most Importantly, Don’t Be Afraid.

A lot of my prom problems could have been solved through confidence. If I had been less afraid, I could have marched back into the place that Willy Wonka-ed up my hair and makeup and politely demanded they redo it. I essentially paid for a meltdown. Don’t be afraid. To tell your makeup artist kindly that she’s a circus act; to ask someone to prom; to dance. Don’t be afraid.