Prom on a Budget
Cost-Cutting Tips for Prom
By Kelli Kendall
The dresses! The decorations! The music! Prom is an event that will yield priceless memories treasured for years to come. Unfortunately, creating the prefect prom experience can get pretty pricey. The average prom, including everything from the prom tickets to the pre-prom dinner, can cost upwards of $300 for a couple. Luckily, there are a number of ways to cut costs and still keep the fairytale prom experience.
The Dress and Tux: Typically costs $65 and up!
Some might argue that the outfit is the most important part of a prom experience, especially for most female prom-goers. Finding the perfect outfit within a budget is easily attainable, but may take a little extra effort.
Shop Early! The most important factor when dress shopping on a budget is starting early. Many quality dresses can be found online for better prices than a similar dress in a store. Just be sure to start early enough so that the dress will arrive in time for the big event.
The Bridal Dress Sale! Another tip for dress shopping is to check when bridal stores have dress sales. Many bridal stores also carry a wide selection of formal dresses at affordable prices.
The Corsage and Boutonniere: $20 and up!
No prom is complete without the corsage and boutonniere. Prices for these two pieces can vary drastically from store to store. Some grocery store floral departments sell boutonnieres for as low as $5 and corsages for as low as $20.
Avoid the Florist. More often than not, it will be less expensive to buy these pieces at the floral department of a grocery store rather than at a florist where the prices could be twice as much.
Type and Number Matter. Be aware of what flowers will be on the corsage and how many. The type and number of flowers on the corsage will also determine the price. Carnations are normally a moderately-priced flower to include on a corsage.
Go Natural! Most proms are held in the spring and summer when flowers are naturally in bloom, so consider making your own corsage with flowers from your garden or possibly those of a friend or family member.
The Pre-Prom Dinner: $30 and up!
Dinner for prom-goers can vary from simple to extravagant. A couple will typically spend at least $30 on their pre-prom meal. Depending on what restaurant they dine at, that price can stay moderate or skyrocket.
Have a Potluck! Dinner doesn’t necessarily have to be eaten at a restaurant. Get a group of friends together and have a potluck at one person’s house. Each person can bring one dish, creating a full and interesting meal for less cost per person.
Family-Style Dining. Still want to eat at a restaurant? Get a group of friends together and find a restaurant that does family-style dining. Family-style dining will almost always even out to less per person than ordering single person entrees.
The Limo (two hour rental): $150 and up!
For some, how they arrive at the prom is just as important as what they are wearing. It seems to be a growing tradition for couples to show up to the prom in a limo or other luxury ride. The problem with luxury is that it can take up a huge chunk of any prom budget.
Split the Rental. The great thing about a limo is that it’s large enough to fit multiple people. Splitting the rental fee with one or two other couples instantly makes it much more affordable.
Go Untraditional. This could also be a great time to call in a favor of a friend or family member. Know someone with a nice car? A convertible maybe? See if you have any options for borrowing someone’s car before signing a rental agreement for that luxury ride.
The Pictures: $10 and up!
Getting pictures taken during prom is the perfect way to remember all the memories that will undoubtedly be made over the course of the night. Most proms will have a professional photographer somewhere within the dance selling photo packages that can be purchased. These packages can add up pretty quickly.
Make It a Group Event. Cut down on the cost of the professional photos by buying packages with groups of friends so that the cost can be divided between multiple people.
Bring Your Own Camera. Bring a disposable camera or two to the dance and take pictures throughout the night. It will be like reliving the prom all over again when you get your pictures developed.
Budgeting the Expenses
How much money is spent in each area is truly up to the prom attendee. If the dress is the most important part, go all out and spend the extra money for that perfect dress! Be prepared though to take that extra expense from somewhere else, like the dinner. Some prices will be fixed, like the price of the tickets, so don’t forget to factor that into your budget. Most importantly, don’t forget to just have fun! Prom is meant to be a memory making experience with friends. Take the time to plan up to the event, but once there…let loose…have fun…and enjoy the prom!