What to Look for in Prom Venues

Updated January 16, 2019
teens dancing in a ballroom

Today's prom night venues are only limited by your imagination and prom budget. If you want to create a memorable event fit for teen prom royalty, start by finding the ultimate prom venue.

Where to Look for Prom Locations

Standard event locations and unique venues require advanced booking, particularly if you live in an urban or suburban location. Plan to reserve your venue six months to a year in advance.

Standard Prom Venues

Proms are often held in the same places as other school dances or wedding receptions. Any one of these places can often be booked for free or cheap and totally transformed with the right decorations and furniture:

  • School gym
  • Cafeteria
  • Auditorium
  • Banquet hall
  • Fire hall
  • Large rooms in restaurants

Unique Prom Venues

If you have the freedom to get creative with your prom location, consider uncommon venues such as:

  • Local zoo
  • Group camp lodge at a state park or campground
  • Local aquarium
  • Botanical gardens
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Empty storefront
  • Yacht or riverboat
  • Outdoor beach pavilion
  • Castle or mansion
  • Large library
  • Closed off parking lot
  • Outdoor festival space
  • Nature center
  • Empty warehouse

Consider Travel Time

Not all high school students drive, meaning parents might be providing the transportation. Because of this, you don't want to plan for your prom to be too far away. Look for a location within thirty minutes of the high school. The same is true for kids taking limos and car services who might charge by the mile.

Keep Safety in Mind

Everyone knows prom is supposed to be fun, but it also needs to be safe for teens. Steer clear of any venues that might be hosting other adult parties on the same night such as hotels with multiple banquet rooms. Look for locations with a big party room and not many other places teens can sneak off to.

What Prom Venues Should Include

Like other large party events, prom spaces need to include room for sitting, dancing, a DJ, and food and beverage stations. Make a list of the different sections you plan to have at your prom and look for spaces that fit your setup.

Room for Everyone

The first thing you need to look at in possible prom venues is the capacity of the room that is available to rent. It should comfortably fit the maximum amount of people that could be attending. Look at the number of tickets sold for prom the past three years and find the average of those numbers to estimate how many people will attend this year.

The Most Bang for Your Buck

If you choose a location outside of your school, there's no doubt the venue will take up a large portion of your budget. Save on other costs by choosing a venue that includes some or all of these items into one cost:

  • Tables, chairs, and linens
  • Dishes and silverware
  • Drinks and appetizers
  • Decorative elements like candles and vases
  • Vendor booking services such as securing a DJ
  • An event planner to take the lead on decorating

Awesome Amenities

To make it easier on prom chaperones, look for:

  • Bathrooms that are close to the main event space
  • A separate entrance or entrance near the event room
  • Clean and maintained exterior and interior
  • Well-lit, safe neighborhood
  • Venues with no bar

Teen-Friendly Menu

Many teens pay a lot to attend prom, so meal they are served should reflect the cost. Choose either a sit-down, buffet-style, or family-style meal if you include one with foods and drinks like:

  • Pop and mocktails
  • Bite-sized desserts
  • Cookies
  • Mini burgers
  • French fries in a cup
  • Gourmet pizza

Finding the Perfect Prom Location

Providing this all fits within your prom budget, the next step in planning the prom is choosing a date. If this was already decided, you only need to make sure the desired prom venue isn't booked for the chosen date. If it hasn't been chosen yet, it's a matter of coordinating the available venue dates with the available dates for the school.

What to Look for in Prom Venues