Etiquette Advice: Manners Worthy of a Prom Queen
While manners for formals used to focus primarily on place settings and using the right fork for your salad, today's etiquette for formal events has changed with the times. Of course, using a fork is important, but it's more important to make sure that you're not spending all night glued to Instagram than to worry about which utensil to use! On the other hand, gross habits are always a major turnoff. Just think of the last time you saw someone sneeze into the air or spit on the ground when getting out of the car: Eww! Good manners make a huge difference in any situation, so good prom etiquette is super important for setting the right tone for your big night. For more prom advice on manners from PromGirl, please read on, and thank you, kindly.
What Does it Mean to Have Good Manners?
Good manners are gestures made that make a positive impression on those around you, while bad manners leave your friends or date grossed out (and maybe even running for the door). General etiquette advice includes smiling to be polite and holding your tongue to think through your thoughts before speaking, but etiquette for formals, like prom, addresses a host of behaviors, including attire and arrival time.
The easiest way to start using good manners is to consider how people around you might feel about your actions. Has anyone ever given you a compliment that made you smile? Well, if something as small as "You look nice" brightened your whole day, think how others would feel if you returned the favor. When you keep people in mind, showing good manners for prom comes fairly naturally. Ever heard the old rule, "Imagine that your parents are watching?" While it might be old, the sentiment is still true and gives a good sense of what should and shouldn't be done at prom. Thankfully, your parents won't actually be hovering over your shoulder all evening, but keep in mind those common parental reminders like, "Say, ‘Excuse me,'" and, "Get off your phone and talk to people around you." The biggest, most defining prom manners can easily be divided into a set of prom night do's and don'ts. Follow PromGirl's breakdown below, and take your prom etiquette game to the next level.
What Are the Prom Night Do's?
Good manners aren't restricted to the "Thank you" uttered at the end of the night. You will want to be on your best behavior all evening at prom. Every action you take plays into the impression you make. Explore PromGirl's list of prom night "do's" to go beyond the basics and set the right tone.
- Ask your date to prom well in advance
- Arrive on-time (or early!)
- Come to the door when picking up your date or meeting up with your friends
- Bring a corsage or boutonniere
- Hold doors open for others
- Be conscious of prom attire to avoid wardrobe malfunctions (yikes!)
- Make eye contact during conversations (your phone won't run away if you look up)
- Introduce yourself and greet your prom date's family
- Engage in conversation with those around you (your texts will still be there after prom)
- Offer to pay at least your part of the prom costs
- Use a napkin and proper table manners at the dinner table (don't spit your food back on the plate)
- Respect your date's personal space
- Follow through with plans made with friends prior to the event
- Say "Please" and "Thank you"
What Are the Prom Night Don'ts?
Avoid any potential drama on prom night by leaving the bad manners at the door. Rude behavior is never invited, and even some unintentional bad habits may leave a sour impression. Why be gross when you can be classy? Be proud of your behavior at prom by avoiding the prom night "don'ts" below.
- Avoid asking your friend's date, or someone that they are planning to ask, to prom
- Don't arrive late! (to prom or any of the activities before and after)
- Don't expect prom flowers and arrive without a corsage or boutonniere for your date
- Avoid wearing inappropriate prom attire
- Don't ignore your prom date or group of friends
- Quit spitting in public
- Don't roll your eyes (even when you think no one is looking)
- Avoid making mean jokes to or about your prom date
- Don't spend all night on your phone
- Stop avoiding your date's family
- Avoid letting your date pay for everything
- Don't use prom night as an excuse to act crazy
- Quit chewing with your mouth open or using clothing as a napkin at the dinner table
- Don't fail to say, "please," and, "thank you"
- Avoid overstepping personal boundaries