7 Prom Etiquette Tips

The pandemic kept us living under strict restrictions but now, we are finally getting back to normal and just in time for prom!  A prom is undoubtedly a milestone event in any teen’s life. For some, it is their first interaction with a formal occasion.

It is a night characterized by laughter, happiness, and timeless memories, especially with your date, and etiquette brings it all together. The following 7 prom etiquette tips will guarantee you and your date have a memorable and well-mannered evening.


Don’t be late for your prom date or any special event. It’s bad manners to keep someone waiting, and if this is your first outing, it will leave a bad impression on your date and their parents. Try to arrive at least 10 minutes early!

2. Attire

Choose formal yet age-appropriate attire. Though a night of fun and excitement, it is still a school event with teachers present who can and will send you home for dresses too raunchy or too revealing. You can never go wrong with a well-fitted garment.

3. Corsage/Boutonnière

While many things have come and gone, this time-honored tradition has stood the test of time. When purchasing either, ensure it compliments your date’s outfit. Place the corsage onto the girl’s left wrist or right if she is left-handed. Girls can pin boutonnieres to the lapel of their dates. Take it further and coordinate your outfits to make corsages/boutonnière stand out even more. Corsages must be purchased in advance, collected in the afternoon, and refrigerated until you meet your date.

4. Transportation 

The prom logistics are just as crucial as the event and should be finalized prior to the evening. As a show of maturity, most prom-goers opt for alternative transportation apart from their parents. This could be group ridesharing, a fancy limo, or a dedicated driver. Don’t forget that whoever is the designated driver must refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages.

5. Respect The Parents

The utmost respect must be shown to your date’s parents when interacting with them. It is customary for parents to want to speak with the date to go over ground rules, take photos and wish the couple good luck for the evening. Respond with, “Yes sir or yes ma’am” unless otherwise told, and always be polite.

6. Dining Etiquette

While none is born knowing their salad fork is separate from their dessert fork, proms are announced months in advance and give you ample time to brush up on your dining etiquette skills. All aspects of prom are formal, including the dinner, and prom-goers must employ the correct table manners while dining. Guys, let your date choose her preferred seat and pull out her chair. Girls, be gracious and pleasant and appreciate your date being a gentleman. For both: Napkins must remain on your lap, elbows must always be off the table, and when in doubt, use your silverware from the outside in.

7. Compliment Your Date

Never miss a chance to tell your date how amazing they look. This helps boost confidence and reassures them, which will definitely make the evening go smoothly. Smile and interact with your date pleasantly and have an evening to remember. 

Now that you know the fundamentals, have fun and enjoy every minute of the night.

1 comment

Etiquette has never gone out of style. One VERY important thing I learned was ALWAYS watch your language around your date’s parents AND your date.

David Jensen October 29, 2023

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