I love to talk about this party. This will probably the best party I will throw in the first 24.99 years of my life, as it should be. The theme of my 21st birthday party was prom. I rented out the Philadelphia Senior Center. Everybody bought tickets beforehand, $15/ticket. Approximately 120 people showed up. There was a DJ, there was a photo station and it had the one thing that real prom was missing, an open bar. Never could I ever have done this alone though, there was a team of people always there to help me out. Towards the day of the party I actually had people ask me how to get invited to the party. I figured that was a good sign.
The Prom Committee: You don’t need to do it alone. The first thing I found when I started thinking about this idea was that I wanted people to brush ideas off of, not necessarily do the work, but provide an opinion before I pulled the trigger. I came up with a group of three ladies with backgrounds in marketing, graphic design, and residence life. I asked them all if they would be part of my committee, and we met over bubble tea once or twice.
from left to right: Chrystina, Chelsea, Kate & Jai
I could talk all day about this party, but instead I’m going to hit the key points of the party planning:
Because this will be the first prom you can (legally) drink at, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough food to absorb the alcohol. I decided that soft pretzels were they way to go. They’re cheap, you can buy them in large quantities, and they’re delicious.
Do your location research. I looked far and wide to find a place that was going to allow me to bring in my own food and alcohol so I didn’t need to pay a vendor to make it happen. I also made sure to choose a place close to transportation so nobody needed to drive.
Don’t break the bank. If it’s a big party like this, consider the fact that your guests might be willing to contribute. The committee calculated all the costs ahead of time and determined it would be about $15/person. After deciding that that was less than the cost of going out to dinner – and realizing that it would be all you can drink, I decided to have people pay for prom tickets. This was also a way to make sure they were going to show up.
Read the invitation 10 times before you print it. 10. Have other people read it for you. Check your facts. I printed all of the invitations with the wrong address on them. My friends Madison and Matt spent a whole evening helping me change that. Oops.
Make sure that you have help the day of and the day before the event. Three of my friends from high school – Tory, Courtney and Kerry came up two days before the party. They helped me bake, carry things, decorate, and keep me calm throughout the whole experience. I’m 100% sure I couldn’t have done this without those ladies.
from left to right: Courtney, Chrystina, Kerry, Tory
My one regret. I really wanted to send everybody their “prom picture” as a thank you note, but after the party I was so exhausted and the thought of trying to get everybody’s address and send out thank you notes seemed too great. Never will I ever make that mistake again. I really regret that – and as many times as I’ve thought about doing it now, it seems stupid to send out thank you cards a year and a half later.
Every good prom has a theme. I decided to go with “Let the Good Times Roll”. The colors were blue, turquoise, and white – and all the decorations and tableclothes were bought to match.
I decided against serving dinner due to costs. We made cupcakes, mini muffins, brownies, and more – and then we bought a large tray of pretzels to provide savory options throughout the evneing as well.
For a party with 120 people we should have bought 2 handles of rum, 2 handles of vodka, and 5 boxes of franzia. I assure you that I bought at least double that. Here’s the alcohol I ended up buying for my 25th birthday party.
The Playlist of the Evening:
This was one of my favorite parts – we listened to everything. We listed to Top 40 hits, NSYNC, 90s hits, Disney songs, Broadway Musicals, it was awesome. Here’s a copy of my most recently created party playlist.
Besides dancing we played one ice breaker even at the party. I’m a huge fan of Never Have I Ever and I decided it would be a great game for everybody to get to know people at the party. I put about 40 pieces of construction paper in a large circle and had everybody stand on one. Then I used a microphone to say pre-written Never Have I Evers and if somebody had done it they had to move around the circle. The first one to make it back to the spot they started in won a small prize. Here’s the list of questions I used to keep things PG13.