The Cost of Prom

Taylor Dunn, Contributing Writer

Believe it or not, at CB South, prom is right around the corner. Some people are already calling it “prom season,” though the actual prom is not until May. Clearly, prom is a big deal. This is not just at CB South but at essentially every high school.

At South, girls have already started purchasing their prom dresses. Just recently senior and junior Facebook groups were created specifically for prom. Girls post pictures of their dresses in these groups to make sure no one else buys the same one.

So what is the big fuss over prom? Many are unable to answer this question because no one is quite sure. It’s no secret though that prom is fussed over, and the cost for many people is outrageous.

Last year, Ann Carrns, a reporter for the New York Times, wrote that “according to the credit card company Visa, prom spending will reach an average of $1,139 per family.” This number increased by five percent from the previous year, and it’s likely to keep increasing as prices continue to rise.

Spending over $1,000 on one night would be considered outrageous on any other occasion, but prom is an exception. So this brings us back to the original question; what is the big fuss over prom?

The dresses, the tuxes, the limos, the flowers, and all the other things needed to have the cliché prom experience can definitely burn a hole in someone’s pocket. So why do high schoolers put so much time, effort and money into prom?

The truth is, there is no reason for it. Prom is a great memory and part of the high school experience, but there is no doubt that people take it too far. Aside from the unavoidable cost of tickets, which typically range from $60 to $80, students should try to cut down their prom budget this year.

Girls spend $250 to $500 on a prom dress on average. The most expensive dresses tend to be designer brands. Spending hundreds of dollars on a dress with a designer name is unnecessary because there are dresses that look almost identical and cost much less. Not many people can point out designer dresses either, so a dress from Macy’s or JCPenney’s will save money and look just as good.

Many choose to ride to prom in a limousine. They want to have the nicest ride to prom and arrive in fashion. Limos can cost up to $400. This is outrageously high to drive to a place that is usually not far from students’ homes. How expensive or fancy students’ transportation to prom is does not matter; what truly matters is that they get there on time and safely.

Many girls will also go tanning for prom. This is very dangerous as a cause of skin cancer, and often no one can tell who went tanning and who didn’t anyway. It really is not worth the risk. It also is not worth the expense. Tanning can cost up to $40 a session, and many people start to tan a few months before prom.

Some students spend so much time trying to look picture perfect for prom that they forget what prom is truly about. It is not about who looks the best, who has the prettiest dress, or whose makeup and hair is most glamorous. Prom is about spending time with your friends and classmates, having fun and making memories. Americans will spend $6.6 billion on prom this year, but the true purpose of prom is priceless.

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