Planning for Prom

You’ve heard it time and time again, and quite frankly, you may even be tired of hearing it.  “Attending prom is one of the most important nights in your life.”  At this stage in the game, it is probably the truth.  Yes, adults who attended prom are probably romanticizing the evening in their minds – however, a grown society of adults can’t be that wrong, right?

First things first…Decide with your friends that everyone wants to attend the prom.  For some, the idea of dressing up and attending a special event will be exciting, for others the task may seem daunting or not high atop the to-do list.  However, life is short and you get few opportunities for redos of these special events.  Our advice, based on experience, is to plan on attending.

Once decided that you will be attending, a few things need to be attended to early on and most has to do with a combination of logistics and this thing called supply and demand.

First the logistics:  Prom can be a bit of an investment…Tickets, clothing (purchases or rentals), hair, flowers and transportation.  It all adds up.  Talk with your parents and figure out if you will be entirely responsible, they will be chipping in and what sort of budget you will have.  Next, for service related items (hair and transportation) start making appointments and planning early.  Girls, if you will be purchasing a dress, and expect to need alterations, you should be picking out your dress early on.  Additionally, if you will be attending with a date, and want his tuxedo to match, colors should be decided early on.

Now, the supply and demand part:  Guys, do you plan on renting a tux?  They will be in high demand on prom night.  As such, securing your attire needs to happen early on to guarantee availability.  Otherwise, you may be stuck sporting your dad’s power blue 1970’s ruffled special.  Limousines and other transportation options are no different.  Wedding season competes heavily with prom season and limousines are in top demand during the warm spring months.

Know the law:  If you have been discussing any sort of SUV limo with your friends, you should reconsider.  The stretched Hummer, Escalade and Navigators that appear to be so cool are unfortunately out of your grasp in Connecticut.  There are a few companies with smaller sized SUV limousines in Connecticut, but they are few and far between.  By and large your options for limousines are 6-8 passenger stretch limos or a party bus, which features a limo like interior while accommodating larger numbers of passengers.

How do you know the vehicle is “prom legal?”  The easy answer is to ask about the license plates.  In Connecticut, if you will be picked up in state and stay entirely in state, your limo needs to have Livery or L license plates (these plates start and end in “L”).  Intrastate license plates (which start and end with Z) are not able to provide these services nor are out of state vehicles.  Party buses will not adhere to this license plate rule as most feature “bus” license plates.  If you talk to an out of state company who says they can provide services – hang up and run!  They are only in it for the money and are not providing ethical business services.  The consequence for using an illegal vehicle?  Towing of the vehicle and loss of your ride.  We’ve seen the cops and Dept of Transportation inspectors at area proms.  Do not become a statistic!

Does a limo seem out of your price range?  You are not alone!  If you want to get yourself to prom, without driving or being chauffeured by your parents, there are a few other options:  Town cars can accommodate 4 passengers and often have lower reservation time requirements.  Standard SUVs are also an option and can typically handle up to 6 passengers.  Occasionally, customers request van service and this is certainly an option as well.

What to expect:  Prom packages will vary by company and you should ask if the price quoted includes gratuity.  Sales tax is not charged on prom services in Connecticut and this should not be included in any CT limousine quote you receive.  Additionally, we encourage you to take the time and go see the limo you are interested in reserving.  Take your friends and make an afternoon of it.  This way, you guarantee something circa 1984 doesn’t show up, blasting 80’s tunes on its only modern feature, a satellite radio up front with the chauffeur.  Additionally, you likely will not find too many companies willing to provide pick-up and drop-off service.  Yes, this may be what you want to pay for, however, please understand that a significant amount of time goes into preparing the limousine for service, getting to/from the pick-up point and clean-up after the vehicle has been used.

Get it in writing:  Contracts are designed to protect you the consumer as well as the business offering service.  If you will be contracting for limousine, party bus or any other transportation services get everything in writing.  Additional items to ask about include extra time with the vehicles, deposits, payment options (cash, credit cards, etc) and timeframes and if there are any mileage charges.

Planning for prom can be a mix of fun and frustration.  If you start planning early and are aware of your budget, it should help minimize some of the stress in planning.  We can’t guarantee it will make everything perfect – however, it should help minimize any related stress.  Involve your friends, make a budget and then enjoy celebrating one of the most special nights of your life!


Sean Morris