By Kristi Vannatter


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With so many things to remember on Prom night, these tips will help you keep things running smoothly.

Your prom will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable events from your high school years. Prom is an incredible milestone in a teen's life. Therefore, every detail should be thoughtfully planned out in order to guarantee a successful and magical evening to remember for years to come.

Your Date
Be sure to ask your date early, at least three weeks before the affair. Girls need time to shop for that special dress and guys need to reserve and get fitted for a tuxedo. Corsages and boutonnieres also must be ordered ahead of time. Under no circumstances must a date forget to bring his date a corsage. You wouldn't want your date to feel unadorned while all the other ladies are showing off their colorful blossoms. It is most polite to inquire about the color of your date's dress so that you can order a corsage that will match or complement her gown and not clash with it. (You wouldn't want to order a red flower if she is wearing orange.) The trend is moving away from traditional corsages and towards wrist corsages and nosegays. A wrist corsage is an elastic band on a flower that can be worn as a bracelet and a nosegay is a small bundle of flowers to be carried. A young lady usually presents her date with a boutonniere, a small flower for his lapel, most likely a rose or a carnation.
     Many of us have scars to prove that we have been mistakenly jabbed from the pinning on of a corsage or boutonniere. Here is the foolproof way to alleviate the drawing of blood at the beginning of your date:
     Always place the corsage on with the flowers on top, just like they grow. Insert the pin horizontally into the fabric of the dress, back through the fabric and slide the pin over the stem (around the middle) and then back through and out of the fabric. This not only holds the corsage securely, but creates four holes in the dress. Make sure the flower is pinned in a comfortable place, not too close to her face and where it won't be crushed when dancing. If a strapless dress is worn, it is acceptable for the lady to pin her corsage onto her handbag.
     A gentleman's boutonniere should be placed on his lapel at the buttonhole or where it should be. Holding the flower in place, insert the pin into his jacket, then up through the fabric and flower stem and back into and out of the fabric.

You and your date should decide together how you will arrive at the prom — by car, carpooling with others, or by a car service, such as a limousine. A limousine can be a lot of fun and definitely takes the pressure off of driving and finding parking. However, don't forget to factor in the cost of the driver's tip when you call ahead for an estimate. An average tip is 20 percent of the total bill for the driver. You may want to get two or three other couples together and split the cost. If you decide to carpool, be certain you have chosen a responsible driver and one who has vowed to not consume any alcoholic beverages throughout the entire evening.

It is customary to go to dinner before the grand event. However, it certainly does not have to be the most expensive restaurant in town. It can even be a dinner or potluck at someone's house. Many couples are taking part in progressive dinner parties. This would involve four different houses: One for appetizers, the second for soup and salad, the third for the main course, and the last for dessert. The parents usually enjoy progressive parties because they can not only be involved in serving the food, but they always enjoy seeing each couple looking their best in their fanciest attire. If you decide to go to a restaurant with a group, first make a reservation and, second, try not to disturb others around you by celebrating too loudly. You can save your excitement for the dance floor. Remember that many upscale restaurants will add on a service charge for larger parties of eight or more. Check your bill when it comes to see if the tip has already been added. Keep in mind that many restaurants will not split the bills for each couple. Therefore, the gentlemen should make the financial arrangements beforehand. It is probably easiest for each to bring cash. The other option is for one to charge the entire bill and each gentleman would promptly pay him back.

This will probably be the most fun of the entire evening. However, many couples spend so much time at dinner and at the after parties, that they miss out on a lot of fun at the dance itself. Make sure you don't cut yourself short of the event that many classmates have spent countless hours to plan and organize. One of the most exciting moments of prom is seeing everyone dressed up and looking glamorous and handsome. Remember to express to everyone how pretty or attractive they look and don't forget to get your picture taken. These photos will serve as reminders of your remarkable evening for many years.

This is the part of the evening where creativity will come in handy. My senior prom year was quite memorable because we went to a friend's house where her gracious mother and father served an enormous breakfast for all of us. If no private home is offered, someone in your group may come up with some unsafe suggestions like the beach, all-night clubs, or rented hotel rooms. Use your common sense and don't make a decision that will put you or anyone else in jeopardy. You will undoubtedly regret it later. Discuss your curfew with your parents and stick to it. Many parents will be reasonable to extend your curfew time later than normal for this special occasion.
Once again, I want to stress the importance of planning and organizing early. Both you and your date should be involved in the planning. Visualize how you want the evening to be and follow through on all plans. The earlier your plans are settled, the less stress leading up to the grandiose event. Have fun and most importantly be safe!

Kristi Vannatter, an actress and singer who works for the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, has starred in numerous commercials and is currently a pageant coach and consultant. Kristi also is the host of the television show At the Top of Her Game, airing on Monday nights at 6 p.m. in Florida.

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