How To Organise a School Formal, Social or Graduation Party

How To Organise a School Formal, Social or Graduation Party

By Lana Conin
Event Manager
Forever Formals

High school formals, socials and university graduations are an important milestone and a reward for all your hard work. Most of these events are organised by the teens themselves and sometimes don’t realise what goes into organising an event, how far in advance you need to book etc.  So here is a list of some important things that will help you with organising the event you want.

When To Start Organising Your Event

We get a lot of kids contact Forever Formals a month or two before their event, which doesn’t leave much time to organise. Not to mention that most venues will already be booked out.

The best idea is to start looking into it at the beginning of the year. This way you will have your choice of venue and/or packages rather than having to agree to the only venue that has availability because you waited too long to book.

When school goes back in February start talking to your classmates about what they’d like to do and how much they are willing to spend. Then get a group together and talk about what kind of formal, social or graduation party you want. There are so many different options out there, you can have a themed event, have your event on a boat on the harbour etc.


You’ll also have to decide where you want to have your event. Do you want to stay in your local area or travel to the city? A lot of people have their event in Sydney CBD because there are so many amazing venues but there are also some amazing venues in and around your local area that you most likely don’t know about. That’s what companies like Forever Formals are for. We have our own venues but we can also find new and exciting venues for you.

If you contact a company like ours you won’t have to worry about too much, we do most of the organising leaving you free to deal with who is coming to your event.

If you are organising the event yourself you’ll need to start by contacting a few venues for quotes. There are some great websites out there like Venuemob which make it easier for you to find a venue. Venuemob also has a form you fill in to send to the venues that is great, it asks you how much you want to spend etc. Don’t put the full amount you want to spend, some venues will sell the same package to a group paying $90pp that they’ll sell to another group for $110pp because people put their budget in so if you’re willing to spend $100 per person just let the venue know you’re willing to spend $80pp because chances are they’ll up the price. If they don’t then you either save some money or you can use that extra money to get some extras for your event (like a photobooth).

Remember to add what you want from the start. For example if you want a one course dinner and a DJ and unlimited soft drinks add that into the comments section. If you want a quote for any extras like a photobooth, live band, decorations etc. wait until the initial quote comes back, as I said, some venues will charge more because they know they can, so wait and see what the initial quote is.



Choosing Your Venue

Choosing your venue is really important and I would recommend checking the venue out in person. A lot of venues that have pics online that look amazing but when you go it’s obvious that the pics were taken years earlier which is why it is so important to go check it out.

It also gives you the chance to see the venue staff at work, funnily enough some venues have horrible staff – it makes you wonder why they chose hospitality when they can’t even manage a smile!

If you are organising this yourself you’ll need to find a venue that offers a free event planner to help you (The Med Sydney is a licensed event venue in Sydney CBD that offers free event planners), you’ll find this will take a lot of the load off for you.

Check out the social media pages. This will give you a good idea of what kind of events the venue puts on and what the venue will look like decorated. It will also show you if the guests were having a good time – if you can’t find any pics of events on a venues social media then that is not a good sign. These venues make their living off events and the best way to show what they can do is through social media so a venue with no pics is rather odd.

A lot of school events book for a certain number of people yet obviously you can’t guarantee how many people will be coming. If you can, try to get a rough number by asking people. Last year I planned a formal for 150 people but a week out from the event the group only had 55 people. Most venues would have cancelled, if they can’t make money they won’t bother but this group had booked at one of our most popular venues and they still let the group have their formal. They didn’t get a photobooth or DJ but the venue have a professional camera and took pics for them and we had the organiser make a 4 hour playlist on a USB which was played throughout the night.

So be sure to ask what the minimum number is, this is a really important question. It’s also important to confirm the hours you want the venue, ask about security (most venues must have security, its the law so find out if that’s included in the quote) and if you want to decorate the venue ask them if you can (some venues won’t allow it).


Most venues have packages on offer which are usually quite similar – 3-4 hours venue hire, food, unlimited soft drinks, security. Some will have other little things included but this is the standard that venues will offer.

But there are other things you can include (be sure to check with your venue first) that will be super fun.

A photobooth is a super popular extra added on to these types of events. You get a personalised message written on the top and bottom of each photostrip and it includes unlimited prints. It’s a really fun way to get pics with friends.

A live band is another great idea. Hire a band to play your fav songs while you dance the night way!

Light Shows are really cool. A lot of venues have laser lighting, smoke machines etc and can put together an amazing light show.

Light up dancefloors are something that is becoming popular again. Some change colours every few minutes while others change colour every time your feet touch the ground.

Decorations are the most popular extra, from simple balloons and streamers to full on life size cardboard cut outs and table centrepieces there is so much you can do to make your event look exactly how you want.

A red carpet entry and posing wall are a really fun way to start your night and you can come back to the posing wall at any time during the night to get more pics. Some posing walls are just nice backgrounds, others are made from real flowers, some are of your school/university logo or the venue logo etc.



Whatever you decide to do remember its your event. Don’t let event planners or venue managers talk you into something you don’t want or need, this is all about you.

Forever Formals is a free service, you do not pay us for our services so get in touch to see some amazing packages or check out our website. If there’s nothing you like or nothing in your area contact us and we’ll find you some great options.

For more advice on planning formals, socials or graduation parties start following Forever Formals Sydney on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or contact us directly.


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