How To: Organize a Prom Dress Swap

prom dresses

Prom season is right around the corner and the big night can be costly and so not earth-friendly. A dress swap is a great way to keep tons of dresses from ending up in landfills where they’ll spend the next few hundred years decomposing and polluting the earth. It also offers a less fortunate girl the opportunity to get the dress of her dreams at no cost!

Don’t know how to get a dress swap together? Here are a few tips:

  1. Get help. It’s great that you can multi-task but this can get out of hand so recruit your friends!
  2. Schedule a day and time for the swap. Make sure it’s around prom season so girls are excited about the big day and are interested in exchanging dresses.
  3. Advertise the event. Put up flyers at schools and around your neighborhood (like stores that are popular with teen girls). You may want to reach out to your town paper to see if they’ll advertise the event at no cost. The more girls who attend, the more dresses to choose from. Note: Be sure to include contact info on the ads.
  4. Set up rules before the event. Post these rules with the ads (and around the facility on the day of the event). To be fair, people who attend the event need to bring prom attire to swap.
  5. Get a facility. See if your school will let you use the gymnasium or cafeteria. Or, maybe your church or community center will let you use a large room or rooms. Just be sure you have enough room for the estimated turn out. Consider if you want a runway to showcase dresses. If you have to rent a place, you may need to charge admission to cover your expenses.
  6. Organize the area with tables and racks. See if local clothing stores will lend you some for the day. After all, it's for a good cause. Hang dresses in the same size together. Use tables to sort jewelry, accessories and shoes. The shoes should also be sorted by size. Plan on having full length mirrors and changing rooms available for the girls.
  7. Plan events to coincide with the dress swap. This is a good opportunity to cover health and safety issues for prom. Consider inviting experts on drug and alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, etc.
  8. Make it fun! Have music playing in the background (an iPod on shuffle should do). You can raffle prizes like hair and make-up sessions. See if companies in your area will donate a service – it’s a great chance for them to market their services.
  9. Sources: The Heart of New England