For what seemed like forever, you’ve been dreaming about your first prom. It’s so magical—the perfect dress, the perfect date, going with your friends to the hair salon and crowding in front of your bedroom mirror while mastering makeup tutorials. And when you finally step onto the dance floor, and it’s dazzling with music and light, you know it’s going to be one of the best nights ever.
But despite what you see in movies and TV, what matters about prom isn’t the perfect dress or the perfect makeup or the perfect date. What matters is having fun and making memories, not running off to the bathroom every ten minutes to pull up your ill-fitting dress or spending the whole night standing against the wall because your crush won’t ask you to dance.
If you want to have the best first prom possible, just remember these tips:
- Pick a dress that fits
At the end of the day, prom is a high school dance. That means that no matter how many layers your dress has, or how poofy it is, you’ll end up dancing at a certain point. And you don’t want what you’re wearing to get in the way of having fun!
So make sure you pick the right dress (be careful with strapless!) and get the alterations you need. Try on all dresses with the underwear you’re planning on wearing, too.
- Choose comfortable shoes
The same goes for picking out the right shoes. We’ve all witnessed (or worse, experienced) the Carrie-esque horror that is blood staining a new pair of shoes. It looks terrible—and it’s painful too!
So while trying on shoes, don’t be too shy to dance around in them a bit. And when you get to prom, remember the age-old trick of taking them off when you’re sitting down.
- Give yourself extra time to get ready
With hair appointments and unexpected makeup mistakes, it’s really important to give yourself extra time to get ready. This doesn’t mean waking up early—after all, beauty sleep is essential, too—but it does mean planning out your entire day so you don’t end up messily applying eyeliner in the limo.
If you’ve got a date, you don’t want to make him have to awkwardly engage in small talk with your parents, either.
- If you’re going out before prom, plan it right
Prom’s a special night, and there’s no better way than getting ready for a fun night than having a fun day! Whether it’s having a dance party at home with the girls or going out for a nice dinner with a date, make sure you celebrate all day!
- You don’t need a date to have fun
If you don’t have a date, that doesn’t mean you won’t have fun. First of all, it’s way less stressful—if he forgets to bring the right corsage to match your dress, or shows up late, or doesn’t say the right romantic things when he first sees you, it can really ruin the night.
Besides, prom’s one of those magical experiences that’s best spent with friends, anyway. There’s less pressure, and friends are guaranteed fun.
- Take lots of pictures—but not too many!
If you’ve spent hours getting ready for prom, you’re definitely going to want to take lots of pictures. Mom and Dad will certainly want to get their share, too. Limo selfies are a must–but once you step onto the dance floor, remember to have so much fun you forget to take pictures all night.
Pro tip: make sure you fill in your brows if you want to look real good in those professional photos.
I know that you’ve spent hours perfecting the curls in your hair and making sure your makeup isn’t smudged—but if you end up as a wallflower on prom night, or sitting the whole night at your table fixing your makeup in the dim light, you’re going to run your fun.
Don’t forget to dance. Just dance, as Lady Gaga tells us to!
- Have fun at the afterparty
Whether the prom after party is planned by one of your friends, your school, or your community, make sure you save some energy for it. This is when you can change into some more comfortable clothes and chill with friends until the early morning.
Think games, pizza parties, Netflix, swimming in the pool until the sun rises.
- Know your boundaries
Sometimes, either at prom or at the afterparty, you might end up feeling pressured by your friends (or your date) to do something you’re not comfortable with. With so much hype and so many people there’s a chance this might happen.
Most importantly, remember to be safe—if a friend drinks too much, don’t be scared to call your parents for a ride. Stay in touch with them in case anything does happen: they probably had to face the same challenges, too, and they’ll know what to do.
- Don’t sweat the small things–remember to have fun!
Finally, remember to have fun. Even if you spill some punch on your white dress or one of your heels break, what matters is that you’re having fun with friends. It’s one of the last times you’ll all be together celebrating, and you want to make it count.
What about you? What advice do you have for someone going to their first prom?