If you’re the parent of a high school senior then your child is in the last lap of the K-12 years. The students who will be parading in the commencement procession may have known one another from preschool. This is particularly true of Manhattan Beach where families seem to stay put. The anticipation of graduation is both exciting and bittersweet and for many, the highlight of the pre-commencement festivities is prom. For Mira Costa High School students, prom is June 4 at the Universal Studios Hollywood Globe Theatre in Universal City.
A lot of preparation goes into prom. Shopping is at the top of the list for most girls. Should she wear a gown or a mini-dress? The hair and nail appointments have to be timed perfectly to maintain the “just walked out of the salon” look. Deciding on a purse can be the most challenging choice of all—it has to be cellphone and lipstick friendly, yet small enough not to be in the way and easy to carry.
Shoes are less stressful to choose because they usually come off soon after the party starts but blisters are to be expected. A change of clothes needs to be packed and stored somewhere for after-prom festivities.
Boys have it easier: They rent a tux, wear a black suit, or go a bit more avant-garde in jeans, a white T-shirt, a tuxedo jacket and white sneakers. Pockets serve them well.
The next hurdle is the date. To go alone or as a couple, that is the question. My heart goes out to the boys. Traditionally they do the asking, leaving themselves open to brutal rejection. Up next, the girl who doesn’t get asked versus the girl who wants to leave her options open and elicit potential dates from one or two boys. She decides after lengthy deliberations with her friends. Many go as friends, girls and boys alike, taking the pressure off completely.
Once the pairing, matching and grouping is settled, then transportation has to be organized. Encourage limousines.
The pre-prom and the after-prom are the bookends to the main event. Pre-prom is where families gather for the send-off in a small setting. The icing on the cake is the after-prom festivities, a big deal—perhaps a party that goes late into the night. The culmination of all this is 24 hours of sleep.
Here are some do’s and don’t’s for parents:
Do remind your daughter to get a boutonniere for her date. She pins it on the left lapel. Order a week in advance. Keep refrigerated.
Do remind your son to buy a corsage for his date. The color should match her dress. I’m partial to the wrist corsage. Order a week in advance. Keep refrigerated.
Do attend pre-prom if one is planned. It gives you the chance to meet parents and friends alike. It’s also the only time you’ll have a photo-op with everyone dressed and ready to go.
Do get the name and phone number of the limo company, or anyone who will be driving. Find out as much about the transportation as you can for after prom and beyond.
Do find out as much as you can about the night’s activities.
Do make sure your child has cash, plastic, identification and a cellphone on vibrate.
Do get the phone numbers of some of the parents and friends your child will be with.
Do request your child check in once during the night.
Do remind your child to make wise choices.
Do say, “I love you and have a good time,” as they get ready to leave.
Don’t call or text. Have faith. They’re OK.
Don’t cry as they leave.
Don’t wait up. Try to sleep. Remember this is only the beginning.
Best wishes for a magical prom night!