I Went to an Adult Prom This Weekend and Here’s What It Was Like

It’s prom season! Just because you’re 30 doesn’t mean you’re excluded!

Since graduating high school a decade ago (dear God…) I had a lot of reservations about what it’d be like to attend one as an adult nearing thirty. Aside from being (legally) able to dance the night away with a Malibu Bay-breeze splashing from my cup to the dance floor, I asked myself: can you really capture the essence of a prom out of high school?

adult prom lauren stubbs photography

My friends booked a hall for the evening and decked it out in gold and silver. Balloons bounced from the ceiling and rolled around the tiled dance floor that ended up greased with foot sweat once the stamina for wearing heels wore off. Couples took cheesy prom pictures, gripping their partners’ bellies, forcing a smile to the photographer with a cheesy, galactic backdrop fitting for the Star Wars theme on no other than May the 4th. The men donned floral chests and the girls, thrifty, handmade corsages that fell off with the faintest flick of the wrist. We ordered drink after drink and by the end of the night, men with beer bellies had somehow stripped down, becoming semi-naked on the dance floor, and we’re holding on to our best friends, buckling them in the back of our car for safety.  Basically, it was the plot to our senior prom.

adult prom night

Despite only being out of high school for a decade, I needed to recapture that nostalgia of being 18 again: carefree, getting dolled up with a fresh face of high-end mascara, 5-inch heels, and a dress that was too tight because back then, breathing was more of a guideline, than necessary. For one night, we all had the chance to go back in time and grind to DMX and Britney Spears, snap selfies and slow dance with the people we loved all while leaving enough room for the Holy Spirit, if you’re like me and went to Catholic School. We voted for our best friends to be Prom King and Queen and while I sat there, smiling, watching them dance with a love that’s blossomed over a ten-year span, I realized that this captured the spirit and memory of my proms way back when.

adult prom courtney dercquProm was a time when you thought the person you were dancing with was the same person you were going to marry. It was a time filled with hope, friendship, and romance. Back then, prom was the best night you’d encountered in your young, adolescent life. I remember thinking back then, how life couldn’t have gotten better.

Now, as adults, watching all of my best friends get married or engaged, become parents to children we lovingly consider nieces and nephews, we realized how much life has improved since high school. It’s more stressful, to say the least, but ten years later, unlike what we thought we knew when we were eighteen, careless, and free to do whatever the fuck we felt, we learned the true meaning of one of my favorite prom themes: Happily Ever After. I’d do an adult prom every year moving forward, and I’d highly recommend your group trying it out, if for no other reason than to appreciate all the good times you had – and still have moving forward.




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