The Do’s and Don’ts of Prom

How to Handle Prom like a Pro

Preparing for prom can be a stressful experience. But it doesn’t have to be as long as you follow a few simple rules. No one will notice if you forget which fork to use first at dinner—but they will take note if you fail to practice basic do’s and don’ts like the following:

# 1 Don’t Assume. The rules of prom etiquette have changed. Once upon a time, the guy always did the asking—and was expected to pay for the tickets, limo, dinner and pictures. His prom date would pay only for his boutonniere. Today, the person who asks—boy or girl—is expected to pick up the prom tickets. Everything else is up for negotiation, with the costs often split. So make a point of talking about it before the big night—it will ensure you avoid awkward moments like when it’s time to tip the limo driver or the bill arrives at the restaurant.

#2  Do Wear a Classic Tux

If you’ve ever seen an old photo of your father in a powder blue tuxedo with satin piping, you already know why you can’t go wrong with a classic black tux. If you insist on standing out from the crowd, add a splash of color with a vest, cummerbund and/or tie that will match the color of your date’s dress—or wear a top hat and carry a cane.

#3 Don’t Be Texting and Talking on Your Phone

Rules about bringing a cell phone to the prom have relaxed in recent years. Today it’s common to see everyone on their smartphones, snapping photos and recording video throughout the night. But the old rules still apply when it comes to texting and talking on your phone. If it means ignoring your date, keep your phone in your pocket.

#4 Do Follow Old-Fashioned Etiquette

Prom is still an occasion where you’ll spot that nearly extinct virtue—chivalry. That means holding the door for your date, letting her get into the limo first, and seating her before taking your own chair at the restaurant.

#5 Don’t Forget to Make Dinner Reservations

You don’t want to show up at the restaurant and find out there’s a waiting list. Make a reservation and don’t be late—most busy restaurants won’t hold your table for more than a few minutes.

#6 Do Plan Ahead

Ask your date what color she’s chosen for her prom dress so the corsage you buy her and the ribbons don’t clash with her dress. Also be sure to ask her if she’d prefer a wrist corsage or a pin-on corsage.