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Prom Night Prep: Etiquette Advice for Teens (and their Moms!)

As a mother of a teenager who is getting ready for the social event of the season, prom night, I understand the questions and anxiety that come with this major event. Will their outfits match? Should they wear a wrist corsage or a pinned one? Should we hire a photographer? Prom night means a lot to our teens and parents, so I thought I'd share some prom etiquette tips to help them have a great time.

Please Don't Be Late

With so many activities like hair appointments, last-minute dress adjustments, photos, and dinner, prom night can be pretty stressful. So, it's important that your teen plans ahead and is on time for all their events. Encourage them to add extra time to their schedule, especially if they're going with a large group. Being on time is not only about their enjoyment but also about thinking of others.

Making Memories

When it's time for prom photos, make sure your teen fills you in on where and when they plan to take pictures with their dates and friends. And yes, I'll be there, son. You better believe I'll be there to capture your sweet, smiling face. If not all the parents can take photos, texting them some of the pictures you take is a nice gesture.

Now, a quick note to the parents: Before you hit that 'post' button on social media, make sure everyone in the photo is okay with it. And kids, allow your proud parents to share a few pictures. We cannot resist showing off our amazing teenagers!

Meet the Parents

If your teenager is going to meet their date or their friends' parents, it's important to remind them of the value of making a good first impression. Encourage them to greet the individuals with a firm handshake, make eye contact, smile, and confidently introduce themselves. And just a heads up, this is definitely not the time to roll up and honk until your date comes out (actually, that should never be a thing).

Dinner Out

Dinner on prom night is perfect for showing off those table manners. Quick reminders include chewing with their mouths closed, engaging in appropriate conversation with those around the table, resisting the urge to check their phone, and treating servers with respect. Remind them to leave a tip if they are not used to paying the bill.

Who pays?

When it comes to expectations for prom night, it's all about communication. I'm a big advocate for breaking down traditional gender roles and rules, especially when it comes to who pays for what. Advise your child to have an open and honest conversation with their date about who is expected to cover the costs of dinner, prom tickets, transportation, and any other joint expenses that may arise. Setting clear expectations beforehand can help avoid any awkwardness.

And while we are talking about chivalry, it's absolutely okay to offer to open the car door for your date.

Be Present

Finally, urge your teen to put away the phone and soak it all in. Prom is about making memories with friends, dancing the night away, and enjoying the experience. Have fun!


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