Sex & Singleness

5 Prom Alternatives That Won’t Ruin Your Life or Reputation

Perhaps, for whatever reason, you have decided not to go to prom.

Let me, first off, tell you a very important truth:

In ten years, no one is going to care.

I say that as a woman who graduated high school 11 (oh dear) years ago, and never attended prom, or homecoming, or any other kind of school-sponsored function (except powder-puff football). I know right now, it may mean the world to you and your friends might think you have officially lost your mind. The reality is, though, years down the road, your attendance of prom will not matter to the people who matter to you.

Still, it is rough.  It is rough listening to your friends chat about how they are going to do their hair, or listen to your classmates talk about the party that is going to happen afterwards.  You can feel left out, and I get that.  So, I went to Facebook and my e-mails here to try and find some creative ways to ‘replace’ prom.

First off, figure out what it is about prom that you feel you are missing.  It is likely you do not really care about the experience as a whole but instead one aspect of the ‘prom phenomenon.’  Depending on your personality you may feel like you are missing:

1. Time with friends
2. A reason to get all dolled up
3. A party (music, food)

Knowing what you find fun about prom will help you pick a solid replacement.  If you miss prom because you want to hang out with your friends, then you probably should not try to replace prom by doing a service project alone. Keeping that in mind, here are some ideas to help you not ‘miss out.’


A Youth Group Formal

This is the ‘obvious’ alternative.  Hopefully, it is more than just a “Christian prom.”  These should be well-supervised and a little less raunchy.  Get together with your youth leaders and people in your youth group to orchestrate your own formal dinner.  If your church supports dancing, then perhaps go to a ballroom or a local arts district for some ballroom dancing classes.  Here in DC, for instance, we have a ballroom nearby that offers dancing lessons for $10 every Friday night, followed by hours (until midnight) of free dancing to a live band.  It is a great experience.  Host a dinner at your church or local restaurant first and then head out for a night of (real) dancing.

Girls Day

Perhaps you really just want the time with your friends to get all dolled up and be girly girls.  There are so few occasions for women to put on formal wear, and the experience is just… fun!  Invite your friends over to your house for a prom ‘trial.’  Have them bring their dresses and take turns giving each other makeovers.  Then, go down to the local burger joint, dressed to the nines, and have fun.

Girls Night

This one was popular among girls in my high school (way back in the day).  Have a slumber party the night before prom.  I remember hearing funny stories of girls trying to sleep in their updos.  For that matter, host a clean (girls only) after party they cannot resist and help keep them from making huge mistakes.

DIY Party

Ok, so maybe you are like me and are not exactly the curliest girly girl in town.  Maybe ‘fun’ for you does not look like getting dressed up and having your hair done, or going ballroom dancing.  If you are more the type that is there for the party, then make your own!  Not a fancy party with a dinner, dancing, and dresses, but a party just the same.  Get a group of your friends together and go down to the local bowling alley, order some pizza and enjoy a few frames.  Or you could try laser tag, roller skating, movies.  If that is all too 90’s for you, then go to the beach or hiking.  Take whatever is fun for you, and add friends!

Giving Back

Prom can be expensive.  There is the dress, the hair, the nails, the accessories, the shoes, the limo…

If you have decided not to go to prom, then find a way to give back.  Take a portion of what you would have spent and donate it to a local organization.  Get a group of your friends together and go serve at a local crisis pregnancy center (did you know that post-prom season is one of the busiest for CPCs?  I know from my years of working at one).  Volunteer to clean up a local trail, visit kids at a hospital, or the elderly in a nursing home.  Find a way to invest in others instead of sitting at home upset that you could not do what you wanted to do.


Whether you choose to go to prom or not, make a difference.  Protect your friends and yourself.  Years from now, that is what is going to matter.

You are called to be a light, so get out there and shine.

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