Prom Etiquette – What the Experts Say

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In a world where the standards keep changing, couples look very different than they did 20, 30 or 50 years ago, and society is accustomed to a fast-paced, web-based lifestyle that has never existed before, is there any room for etiquette and prom? Is etiquette even a thing anymore?

Yes. In fact, some people would argue that in a world where your actions can and WILL be “Insta’d” against you (far more socially devastating than having them held against in you in a court of law!), etiquette can save you from making mistakes you didn’t even know were possible.

Now, we don’t claim to be the etiquette police, and you can take or leave “nice advice” as you wish. But we did consult the world of etiquette gurus and collect some of the best available advice to help you socially navigate prom so that your most viral photos is of you looking amazing in one fabulous prom dress, and not some shame-inducing faux pas you will never be allowed to forget.

How to Decline

Need to turn down a promposal? CosmoGirl and Seventeen.com to the rescue. They warn that the two good reasons to turn someone down are that you’ve already been asked by someone else, or that you cannot attend. If you say no because you can’t attend, then show up with someone else, you’re being really hurtful and rude. When you turn someone down, always thank them and give them a good reason why you can’t go (that spares their feelings), like “Thank you so much for asking, but (name) already asked to.”

They also recommend that if someone asks you to dance, say yes for at least one song. It probably took a lot of nerve for them to ask you – don’t humiliate them by rejecting them (even if they cut your hair in kindergarten!).

Phone or In-Person

HuffPo, experts in, well, all things, indicates that asking in-person is best, and phone is second best. Do not invite someone to prom by email or text (bad!). They also advise that while whoever asks usually pays, it’s okay to ask and then work out a “going Dutch” situation, as long as you do it up front and both parties are clear about the arrangements.

Mind Your (Cell Phone Manners)

Oooh. We really like this one. From TheSpruce.com, mind your cell phone manners. Don’t spend all night texting or glued to your screen. And if you take photos with your phone, be kind. Don’t intentionally photograph and share images meant to make people look bad.

Most experts agree that the important part of prom etiquette is simple courtesy. Deciding who will pay, who will ask whom, how to turn someone down, whether or not you should open the door for someone or share your jacket, and all of those seemingly old-fashioned, yet still totally relevant choices generally comes down to a matter of avoiding hurting the feelings of others. If you keep that in mind, you can solve nearly all of your own etiquette problems and ensure a happy event for all.

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