School Dance Planning Checklist: Plan early, enjoy success later.

homepage2You’re planning the next school dance, and you’re feeling like a rookie on the first day of training camp. No worries. You can put together the ultimate, fun dance party. You got this. Take a deep breath and use this handy school dance planning checklist we’ve put together for you and your dance planning committee:

  • Date. You may be given a pre-approved date. If you have to set the date, do it early. You may have to get approval from a school board or administrator to get the date on the school calendar.
  • Space & Location. If you have to use the school gym, make sure that the gym has been reserved (don’t assume!). For dances held off school property, do your research. Does the school need to be concerned about liability and insurance? What are all the expenses involved with each location?
  • Approval (if needed). If you need to get approval for a date, location or budget, don’t procrastinate. Submit your proposal early to ensure that you can make all the important reservations early: hall space, DJ, after dance party entertainment, caterers, etc.
  • Budget. Set your budget, or use the budget given to you. Remember that you can negotiate prices with many vendors. Share your budget numbers with everyone on your dance committee so they know their financial parameters before they research locations and vendors. Doing so will save you precious planning time, and minimize wasted energy.
  • Ticket prices (if applicable). If you have to set ticket prices, settle on a number as soon as you know your budget. You may also need to get approval for this aspect of your dance as well.
  • Pick a theme. Selecting a theme gives your dance committee direction for every aspect of your dance. Use your best judgment as to the appropriateness of the theme for your school.
  • Food. If you have to find a caterer, start contacting local caterers now. Make sure you know your budget, amount of food needed, dance date and time and the availability of a kitchen if one is available. Don’t know what kind of food you need? Ask the caterer for suggestions. Select your food based on your theme (i.e. candy beach balls for a beach theme, neon cupcakes for your glow-in-the-dark party, etc.).
  • Lights. Usually the lights come with the DJs, but make sure you ask. Find out what school dance packages include lighting. If you need lights for the chaperones, look around for the best deals. You don’t want to waste your whole budget on flashlights. Find out before the night of the dance how to turn off your gym or event location lights.
  • Music. You can’t have a dance without a rockin’ DJ. Don’t cheap out—the best DJs make the party, and make the party great for everyone. If you want a good DJ, book early. If you want a good deal, refer the same DJ to your boss, other schools, friends and anyone else throwing a dance party. Many DJs offer referral discounts.
  • Decorations. Select one of your most reliable dance committee volunteer to cover your decorations. Give them the theme and budget so they can find deals, while still setting the atmosphere. If the DJ is providing lighting, let them know so they can factor the lighting into their decoration purchases.
  • Set the play list. If your school wants input on the play list, contact the DJ before the party and give them your play list or parameters for songs that can be played.
  • After dance entertainment (if applicable). Outdoor movie? Gaming party? If you need after dance entertainment, talk to your DJ. Many DJs offer after dance entertainment packages perfect for your occasion.
  • Chaperones. Put the word out early so parents can get the date on their calendar. Make personal asks for the best chaperone turnout.
  • Set up. Plan for the worst, celebrate the best. Plan to set up earlier than you think is necessary to accommodate emergencies. Early set up is essential to a successful dance.
  • Dance, dance, dance! Your work is not done. Once you’ve got everything set, make sure that you have volunteers willing to talk to vendors to make sure all your planning is being executed smoothly. Having someone for each part of your dance—DJ, caterer, chaperones—ensures that you are not trying to fix all the emergencies at once. When all the pieces of your dance puzzle fall together, relax and dance, dance, dance!

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