Creating an event timeline may seem like way less fun than choosing your prom dress or planning an after party. However, what the whole thing lacks in excitement, it makes up for in sheer usefulness. A timeline gives an event organizer or prom committee a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour agenda for your party, helping you make decisions and avoid huge mistakes.
How to Create a Prom Timeline
Begin with the earliest thing that will happen on your prom day (or even, possibly, a day or two before). This could be equipment rental delivery, dance floor installation, arrival or the DJ, or room setup. Then, pretend like you are actually walking through the days and hours that follow.
What is happening when you visualize the day unfolding? Is someone signing for delivery? Who is it and when? Record the information on your timeline. Does someone with school keys need to open the gym? Record that. Anytime a specific adult needs to be present with money, keys or the right to sign for delivery, you need that information on paper with the name of the responsible party next to it.
If you are part of a prom committee, someone has the contracts (or, you should have contracts!). Read them. DJs list the date that they book, the time of their performance and also their setup and break down times. Put all of it in your timeline. Keep reading, incidentally, to find out what kind of space and power requirements your DJ has so you can designate exactly what is needed and ensure that it is available.
Not hiring a DJ, but planning to use an audio system, iPod and responsible student for your music? Okay – record it! In such cases, it is even more important that you determine things like setup and breakdown details so you can fill everyone in.
If your venue is off-site, ask the sales manager who is working with you on the event for a copy of the “BEO” or “Banquet Event Order”. The BEO works something like a timeline from the venue perspective. You should still have your own, because it is your responsibility to review the BEO for accuracy before signing it. And once you sign it, you have confirmed that everything on it reflects your wishes and you could have a lot of trouble getting things changed on prom day.
Make sure your timeline has a beginning and end time for the actual event, guest arrival and departure information, transportation information if you rented busses or motor coaches to move everyone to and from the site, catering information and photography details.
It is a lot of work putting together the ultimate prom event timeline, but go through the process at least 3 or 4 weeks before the event. You’ll be able to predict things that might go wrong due to scheduling and fix them before they become irritating or disappointing on the big day. Share your timeline with all of your vendors and anyone playing a planning, setup or execution role on prom day to keep everyone on the same page. Do these things and you will be on the road to having a great, magical prom day.