DIY Prom: Special Nights I’ll Not Regret

Junior Prom- Our Fancy Dinner!

Junior Prom- Our Fancy Dinner!

For both my junior and senior prom, I decided to go a DIY (do it yourself) route rather than pay hundreds of dollars for a school function. Between the ticket, dress, boutonniere and corsage, and all the rest of the frills, a prom can get expensive, and I was sure that there would be an unfortunate display of sexy dancing to sexy pop and rap. Not my idea of a nice evening.

Our first “prom” was really just a great event Andrew and I concocted to have fun away from the prom. My mom did my hair in a fancy braid before the event. Andrew and I bought the materials for a chicken parmesan dinner and cooked it ourselves with the help of his mom. This created some fun stories! Then we both dressed up for a candlelight dinner in the Suchyna dining room, flowers and all! His brothers and sisters were kicked out to their grandparents for the night. Andrew surprised me after the meal with a gift of a gorgeous locket necklace.

After dinner we worked on a scrapbook of our adventures for a bit, and once it got dark Mrs. Suchyna played the piano for us as we had our first dance. Beforehand we had put together a playlist of old songs to plug in to a computer we rigged up in the backyard, and we spent the night dancing in the grass with bare feet, at my request of course. That was a beautiful night. I had never danced with Andrew before, and we had the privacy and romantic atmosphere to relish the moment. We even practiced a Waltz we had taken a demo dance class to learn! In order to extend the experience, I spent the next day at Andrew’s house as well doing fun things.


Awaiting Andrew’s arrival for senior prom

For my senior year, I decided that we should go all out to invite youth group friends to a real DIY prom. We still spent far less money than what we would have attending the school prom, and I felt it was much more memorable over all. I made sure to include modesty guidelines on the fancy home-made invitation. I bought a gorgeous midnight blue, knee-length dress at the mall for under $40 (J.C. Penny?) and paired it with a little white short-sleeved sweater and shoes that I already owned. My one splurge (and I use that word lightly) was that I always imagined having my hair done professionally for prom, so I was thrilled to go to a salon and spend the additional $30-some to make that dream come true. I also purchased an inexpensive white boutonniere at Tops grocery store for Andrew.

Andrew winces as he doubts my ability to not stick him with the pin.


By the car getting ready to leave.

I asked the youth minister of a nearby church if we could use their gathering room for the dinner and dance, since I felt like their room would fit the event best, and since using the room would be FREE! (What was also nice about doing it at a church was that we could all attend a Saturday evening Mass prior to the prom and walk right over. Which we did! The priest even gave us a special blessing.)

Andrew and I take a picture with Mother Mary

Andrew and I take a picture with Mother Mary

I spent a long time researching inexpensive catering places, and was able to find a place that could provide food for around $7 per person, which was the cost I put on the invitation for attending the event. We brought our own snacks and dessert.  I used tea lights in mismatched glass jars and party decorations that were lying around in the basement for added ambiance. The only decorations I actually purchased were a couple of Japanese lanterns and plastic table cloths.


One of my friends (who brought his guitar) breaks out into a spontaneous worship jam session.


The food has arrived hot and ready to eat!



For music, I used an online playlist I had created of songs with clean lyrics and beats. My friends enjoyed being able to go over to the laptop I had hooked up to the room’s sound system and pick a song they liked. No extra money for a DJ.

The guys fiddle with the sound and the songs!

The guys fiddle with the sound and the songs!

Everyone had a blast dancing. When we had our fill of music, anyone who wanted to could head over to the nearby bowling alley for an optional midnight bowling.

Sure, this all took a little time to put together, but most girls want to put in the time to make their prom night special, and for me, this was the night I wanted to create. Oh, and by the way, even though I was throwing the event, I made sure Andrew knew I wanted him to ask me to the dance properly, because I am a believer in the art of chivalry.



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