A senior prom is a night that countless high school memories are built around, and it’s definitely an event that schools stress over. Between tickets, rides, suits and dresses, students pay a decent amount of money for this final celebration, and some group of staff members at the high school are on the hook for making sure its a good time.
Last year we provided entertainment to dozens of high schools and, one in particular (highlights in the video above), was an enormous production with some potential challenges and the result was fabulous. Let’s look at some logistics:
- The guest count was over 400 – This includes not just the students of the graduating class but their dates as well, many of whom were from the other high school in town. We had guarantee enough volume in our music to accommodate 400 talking / singing / screaming teenagers, but also have the control to not make everyone deaf by the end of the night.
- Our stage was enormous – Even in a room that fits 400+ people, we were given a substantial stage. Not only did we have to look big on stage just so our presentation isn’t awkward in the space, we had to make sure our presence could be felt at the back of the crowd as much as it was against the DJ booth.
- The last company failed – The one note we were given by the high school was that their previous DJ didn’t play any of the students’ requests, even when they provided a request list in advance. We’re walking in with a group of students who were potentially primed for a disappointing if not terrible time.
We uhh…don’t accept failure as an option. So what did it take to design an explosive senior prom? Here’s a rundown of our design concepts:
Music is King
High schoolers and college students listen to a ton of music. So much in fact that Spotify has aggregated the data of their listening habits and the generation even has its own musical phenomenon – The Millennial Whoop. The mistake of not playing their requests is a huge one and not because as DJs we don’t know what they want. More importantly, they know what they want and very often high school students rally around particular songs. As a company, we explored their request list and added to it with music that we know surrounds their tastes and interests. Providing a great DJ doesn’t always mean just having the technical knowledge and skill to DJ.
Knowing the client is equally if not more important. We honored requests from the students in advance. We took requests throughout the night. We sent a DJ who played to their interest and not to his own. This isn’t just a consideration on our part—it’s foundational to how we plan all our events.
Without great music, there would be no party. That’s easily the bread and butter. But remember our guest count was 400. We needed this to be more than great music. It needed to be exciting. It needed to have more energy than all the teens on the dance floor. We brought a number of awesome services with us to meet the demand:
First we brought the largest custom Titanium Tower lighting package we’ve ever built. This meant building a “goal post” set up—with intelligent moving heads, ceiling washes, and LED uplighting—plus two additional lighting towers. No wall, ceiling, or s
ection of the dance floor was without light and color (which can be really difficult to achieve for a group that size if it’s not done properly).
Next we stacked our LED Screen Reel Memories package onto that huge goal post. This included a zap shot photographer who took candid photos which were added to a persistent slideshow throughout the
night, a live dance floor camera so the students could see how huge the party was, and a platform for the students to a video they themselves produced. These 70″ screens were large enough and set high enough that they could be seen from anywhere in the room.
For a truly explosive effect, we brought our CO2 Party Cannons—two jets that launch pillars of cold CO2 fog 20+ feet into the air, wrapped in colored and strobing light. Programmed alongside our Titanium Tower lighting package, we blasted these jets when the music, the dance floor, was at its peak, building tons of energy for an already excited crowd. This is a truly thrilling “next level” effect to see in person.
And, of course, the whole event had to be branded! Our monogram projector and customized step & repeat for the photo booth gave the event shape and purpose and designation. It wasn’t just a dance. It was the Senior Prom!
Interactivity for Everyone
If we know one thing is true, 400 teenagers aren’t going to dance the entire four hours. Most of them will, but some need a break. But some need something else to entertain them. Some need or want a little extra interactivity. So we didn’t cater to only the hardcore dancers of the graduating class, we brought a few things to give everyone something to do:
We started with a custom set of giveaways. This included fedoras, shakers, glow sticks and glow rings, and an LED light-up rose all of the girls. Sweetness, lights, sound, something to take away—giveaway perfection. In addition to our custom giveaways are our UV black lights which made the dresses, suits, shakers, and fedoras glow. While there was a ton of lighting, an aspect of a good light show means sometimes blacking out the room for effect—these black lights give shape to the dance floor without leaving everyone completely in the dark.
Another excellent takeaway that isn’t a giveaway came from our open-air photo booth. The step & repeat backdrop and customized photo strip kept that high-end event branding in place. Going with a backdrop instead of an enclosed booth meant many students—10, 12, more—could fit in a single photo, and with unlimited prints, none of the guests left without having their own copy.
Should This Be Every Prom?
Although this is an incredible production, it’s also honestly not necessary for every single prom. However the basic elements—music, visuals, interactivity—are significant to the design of the event. Even in small ways, having each of these elements helps to guarantee and event that stands out and makes a senior prom, whether it’s for 40 or 400 attendees, special. We particularly pride ourselves on customizing all aspects of the event to the needs of the client. Wedding, school, sweet 16: the choice is always yours.