It’s prom season, and if you have a teen, you know that prom isn’t the same as it was back in the day. Couples don’t go just by themselves anymore – they go in groups – packs of kids ranging from 10 to 40. Dresses can be long, or way short. Limos are almost an expectation, not a luxury. So, with all these crazy expenses, how can we help kids save their (our?) money? Dinner at home.
Now, just when you think your teen will roll their eyes, let me tell you about how we did it last weekend for our group of 18. One parent volunteered her home that had a big dining room/living room combo. We brought in a 6-ft. folding table, some folding chairs and had 10 kids at one table and 8 at the other. We borrowed linens, flatware and decos from other parents, relatives and friends. We went to discount stores to purchase candles to match the china of the hostess. We used tulle to decorate the chairs and tables, floral arrangements from a friend’s wedding the week before to decorate the front walk. We made place cards using inexpensive photo frames from the craft store.
In order to plan the food, the host dad created an invite for each kid that had them select their main course – grilled salmon, or herb roasted lemon chicken. We listed the entire menu so kids could alert us of any allergies. We charged $10 per kid to help defray some costs. The RSVP and money were due the week before so we could plan accordingly.
The day of prom many hands made light work. Two dads put up the outdoor decorations while two moms decorated inside and set the tables. One mom made the chicken and brought it over. The host dad grilled the salmon and the broccoli. Host mom baked potato casserole and defrosted the cheesecake purchased at Sam’s Club. That evening, we had a team of parents dressed in black and white who served as waiters and “bartenders” (sparkling cider and lemonade purchased on sale at Safeway). We had charts and timelines, and everything went off without a hitch.
Best yet, one mom who is very handy with a camera came and took candid shots all evening. So, not only did the kids get a great meal in a relaxed atmosphere for the same price as a fast food meal, the kids now have a CD of photos from the evening…capturing the magic of the night.
Now, the $10/kid didn’t cover all our expenses, but it was less than we would have spent sending our kids out for a nice dinner. It was so fun to do for the kids, and they were so appreciative. Drop us a line if you want more details on how we did it, or want us to email you a copy of the invite or our timeline.