Your school formal is often a lavish night celebrating the end of many years of schooling. Whether organised by a school or by a committee of student volunteers, it’s not simply about finding the right place, turning up and having fun.
To help, the Waterfront has put together its top tips for organising your school formal.
1) Get clear on what you have to do and by when
Ever heard the saying, fail to plan, plan to fail? For a formal, you need to organise venue, music, food, theme, invitations, menus/place cards, seating plan, entertainment, sponsorship, fundraising, security, permission forms, guest lists, official guests, thank-you speeches, run sheets, student liaison etc. Most importantly, you will need to decide who is responsible, and by when they have to deliver it. Task lists and timelines are your friend.
2) Pick your venue and date early
Some schools have a tradition of having their formal on a particular day. Venues book out quickly, so choosing yours and booking in advance (up to a year) is vital.
3) Set a budget
How many people are going to attend? How much are they willing to pay for a ticket? Multiply this and you will have a rough budget. Remember, the budget isn’t simply for venue hire. It also needs to cover food, drinks, entertainment, decorations and more.
Be mindful of your ticket price because it is not the only cost involved in getting ready for a formal – there’s also individual expenses such as outfits, shoes, hair and make-up – and you want to keep the ticket price accessible to all.
4) Pick a theme
Themes add excitement and colour to a formal. Students can decorate the venue or you can include a professional theming company in your budget. Themes we have been involved with at The Waterfront include Retro, Red Carpet Oscars, Butterflies and Colour themes.
5) Handle the guest list professionally
Schools may have rules about partners (e.g. whether they must come from your own school if it’s co-ed, or have to be school-age) so check this when organising a formal. Make sure you include an RSVP date. Keep accurate records of who is attending and if your invitations include pre-formal drinks with family members, track these too. Online ticketing and event booking sites such as EventBrite or TryBooking make RSVP management, issuing tickets and taking payments easy.