Desi Prom: 19 Ways to Turn Your Boring Prom Into A Bollywood Party

Article on how you can organize a desi prom
Pooja Jena

Table of Contents

Prom season is here and excitement is in the air. The past couple of years were so consumed by the pandemic, you weren’t sure you’d see your prom. But everything turned out well and now is the opportunity to organize the most exciting prom party. A “desi prom” party.

Why “desi”? you ask. Well, if you’re reading this article, you are already mesmerized by Indian culture. But if not, it is the most colorful, exotic, and lively theme you can go for!

Yes, floor-length gowns are pretty but have you ever seen a girl walk-in in a shiny lehenga? It is *a chef’s kiss*–stunning!

But Indian outfits and lots of colors are not all there is to a “desi prom”. There are many more ways to add an Indian touch to your prom and we are here to help you with that.

A. Diversity in Planning Committee

Planning is a key step for every prom or any event for that matter. So to ensure that you include Indian members in your committee.

If possible, try to get representation from different states of India. You’ll be surprised to see how many new ideas come to the table this way. India is too diverse to be represented by just one state.

B. Desi Prom Invite

India is not just home to scrumptious food and outrageous clothes. We are also the hub for all things artistic.

There’s a difference you’ll notice in Indian invitations as opposed to the ones around the world. We show ‘minimalism’ the exit door and call for really creative cards.

An Indian themed invite for your Desi Prom
Credits: Bobotemp

C. Desi Prom Playlist for DJ Night

You know, India doesn’t just have Bollywood but multiple industries across states. We also have Tollywood, Mollywood, and lots of different ‘woods’ for different states.

So you know, you have a pool of music options for the DJ to play. Don’t just search for Bollywood music when curating your playlist.

Here are some playlist options for different moods throughout your desi prom night:

We get that many people might not relate to music that’s completely in a different language. So, you could try this playlist to familiarize your audience with your desi theme.

D. Indian Buffet

Honestly, this one is tough to write about. India has too many delicacies to offer. But, if you don’t know where to start, these are some easy-to-find/cook dishes:

For starters:

  • Pakora
  • Samosa
  • Kebab
  • Banana chips
  • Papri chaat
  • Idli
  • Dhokla

For the main course:

  • Biryani
  • Bisi Bele Bhat
  • Kadhi Chawal
  • Pav Bhaji
  • Dosa
  • Dal Makhni
  • Butter Chicken/Paneer


  • Kheer (Rice Pudding)
  • Halwa
  • Gulab Jamun
  • Seviyan
  • Jalebi
  • Shahi Tukra

This doesn’t even represent 2% of Indian food but could be a starting point for your buffet planning. You could even DIY some of these dishes if you can’t find the right caterer.

E. Desi Prom Photo Booth

Yes, a bunch of props is definitely on the list. But, that’s not all!

Get props for your desi prom
Credits: PartyPropz

You could even get face masks designed after different Indian celebrities. We are sure your guests would have a lovely time posing as them.

If your budget allows, you could even have Indian celebrity cutouts. This would be a budget-friendly version of Madame Tussauds. With this as decor, you could keep the rest (the backdrop) as a plain color. Spending here would result in spending less in other departments of decor.

Bollywood themed party
Credits: WeddingWire

F. Dresscode

When we talk about Indian outfits, sarees, lehengas, and kurtas might come to your mind. While these are great desi prom outfit options, we have more to offer!

Every state of India has its own costume. You could get the most out of this theme by including them as well. You could have people representing different states the way we see in beauty pageants.

G. Chunni Decor

This decor idea is a very cost-effective way to amp up your decor. In fact, this is something you can do without much shopping at all.

You just need old dupattas or discarded sarees and drape them like curtains.

Chunni/dupatta decor for your desi prom
Credits: Exporters India

Look at the image above for simple chunni decor.

H. Antakshari Game

This is a game every Indian has played at some point. This game starts with a rhyme and whoever the last word of the rhyme lands on, has to sing with the last alphabet.

For example, if the rhyme ends with “M”, then the person it lands on has to start a song with that syllable. For example, “My silly valentine” could be the response. And wherever the song ends for this person, the next person has to start a new song with the new syllable.

For example, if the song ends with “valentine”, then the next person will sing a song that starts with ‘N’.

The person may or may not sing the complete song. They just need to sing a couple of lines before nominating the next person.

You could use a karaoke setup for this. It is a fun way to involve everybody and provide in-house entertainment.

I. Bollywood Dumb Charades

We have all played charades. But, do it with a twist at your Desi prom. Only allow Indian movies to be enacted.

J. Bollywood Entrance Songs

If you’ve ever seen a Bollywood movie, you know there’s a song every few minutes. Usually, every time a new key character enters the movie, a song plays.

This idea is inspired by that phenomenon. To make your guests feel special, you could dedicate an entry song to each one of those as and when they arrive at the event.

You could even station some of your student photographers as paparazzi for them.

K. Stalls for the States of India

Did you know, each state of India has its own USP (unique selling point).

Talking in terms of Food, this is what the states have to offer:

  • Maharashtra: Vada Pao
  • Gujarat: Dhokla
  • Punjab: Sarso Saag and Makke Ki Roti
  • West Bengal: Kosha Mangsho
  • Kashmir: Rogan Josh
  • Tamil Nadu: Pongal
  • Assam: Papaya Khar
  • Bihar: Litti Chokha
  • Andhra Pradesh: Pootharekulu
  • Goa: Fish Curry
  • Mizoram: Misa Mach Poora
  • Odisha: Chenna Poda
  • Chhatisgarh: Chila
  • Jharkhand: Dhooska
  • Uttar Pradesh: Tunde Ke Kebabs
  • Uttarakhand: Kafuli
  • Manipur: Kangshoi
  • Meghalaya: Jadoh
  • Kerala: Appam
  • Madhya Pradesh: Bhutte Ka Kees
  • Rajasthan: Dal Baati Churma
  • Haryana: Bajre Ki Khichdi
  • Arunachal Pradesh: Thukpa
  • Sikkim: Momo
  • Karnataka: Bisi Bele Bath
  • Nagaland: Pork with Bamboo Shoot

But, there’s even more! The states also have something unique to offer that’s not limited to food. If finding these different unique cuisines is difficult, here are some cues you could use to design your state-wise stalls:

  • Uttar Pradesh: Taj Mahal
  • Rajasthan: Meenakari Jewellery
  • Gujarat: Gandhi
  • Punjab: Suits and jootis
  • Himachal: Snow and all things woolly
  • Odisha: Temples
  • Andhra Pradesh: Brass
  • Arunachal Pradesh: Wooden handicrafts
  • Assam: Tea and silk
  • Bihar: Madhubani
  • Chattisgarh: Terracotta pottery
  • Goa: All things beachy and floral
  • Kashmir: Pashmina shawls
  • Karnataka: Coffee
  • Kerala: Gold
  • Madhya Pradesh: Carpets
  • Maharashtra: Leather and Kolhapuri chappals/sandals
  • Mizoram: Bamboo crafts
  • Odisha: Canvas and cloth paintings called “Patthachitra”
  • And more!

To give your attendees a glimpse of India, you should definitely set up such at your Desi Prom.

L. Hookstep Contest

Did you know that each Bollywood song comes with a choreography? These are repetitive movements that stick to one’s mind. These hook steps are famous and recognizable for all Indians.

If your audience identifies Indian cinema well, then you could have a guessing game based on it.

If not, you could learn these steps and ask your attendees to imitate the hook steps. The one who does it the best wins of course!

M. Mehendi Tattoo Station

Yes, tattoos are all the rage but they are also lifelong commitments. Not everybody is ready for that. Moreover, your prom night is definitely not the best day to make such a decision.

So, with dilemmas like these, comes the solution of temporary tattoos. This goes really well with the idea of a desi prom because we love henna tattoos!

Get yourself a henna tattoo artist and give your attendees the live experience of getting henna tattoos

N. Color Palette

Now let’s discuss the color palette of your desi prom decor and furniture. You could incorporate lots of bright colors. Or, you could also have a red and gold theme as you can’t go wrong with it. It also represents the richness of Indian culture.

O. Party Favors

We Indians love “return gifts”, which are nothing but party favors. So, get some for your event too. Some interesting things you could have as your party favors are: Indian sweets, snacks, or chunni.

P. Ditch the Corsage

Forget the traditional flower corsage and ask your guests to wear bangles instead!

Q. Lantern Decor

Paper lanterns are not only easy to make but also excellent as decor. So, you could make a bunch of these and have a beautiful desi prom venue.

DIY paper lantern decor for desi prom
Credits: Craftastic

R. Pallu All the Way

Our dupatta/chunni/sarees are all flowy and you’ll always see some fabric around the neck.

So, in Indian proms/farewells, you’ll always see people posing like this:

Pallu holding pose for farewell and prom
Credits: India Today

So make sure you have a designated place for pallu hold photos since many of your guests will show up in sarees/lehengas.

S. Royal Crowning

India used to be a monarchy and we are proud of the culture we hold. So, don’t forget to get inspired by royal wearables when designing a crown for your desi prom king and queen.

Royal crown inspiration for desi prom
Credits: Hindustan Times

And these are all the ways that will help you upgrade your prom to a desi prom. We are sure more ideas will come up when you put your prom planning committee together.

If you stumble at any point during prom planning, go through this guide for help. And, if you happen to look for other themes, click here.

But, if you feel you found this article then be sure to sign up for our newsletter below. We assure to get back to you with more such event planning ideas.

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