Prom - How much is reasonable?

(102 Posts)
niceguy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 12:58:05

DD has started to talk to us about her upcoming prom.

Obviously it's a big thing for her and I do really want her to enjoy it. I'm not adverse to treating her and whilst we are fairly comfortable, we don't have a magic money tree in the garden.

So far she would like a beautiful dress (obviously) but of course her hair doing, nails and she's not sure about what to do about the car or whom she will share with. Also she's asking about how much it will cost for someone to do her make up.

My fiancee and I have discussed this and think that it would be better for us to just give her a budget. Out of that she can prioritise herself and make up any shortfall out of her allowance/savings.

I've told DD that her budget is £150 and she's pulled a bit of a face because the dress she was looking at is over £100 so it doesn't leave her much for anything else.

How much do others spend on their child's prom? To me £150 + £35 for the ticket is just shy of £200. Surely that should be enough? Or am I being unrealistic and proms are just a very stupid expensive thing we've inherited from American movies?

Moominlandmidwinter Fri 08-Feb-13 15:08:08

I agree with others about trying TK Maxx and Ebay. Or you could look for a bridal outlet, they might have suitable dresses.

However, 'prom' is currently a dirty word in my house. My year 6 DD is having a prom this year, as she leaves primary school. She's 11 FFS! Her best friend's mum rang me last week, to say that she is organising a limo for her DD and her closest friends, and could DD join in. I was totally put on the spot, so didn't feel I could say no. DD would be very upset about being left out anyway. I was called back, to say that a limo had been secured at a fantastic price- £180.00. This is between six girls, so I've got to shell out £30 just for that (the venue is a five minute drive from our house). I will firmly put my foot down about a dress, DD can either wear one of her party dresses, or she can have a new one for no more than £30.

I have four daughters, so can see that this is going to cost me a fortune over the next few years!

footphobic Fri 08-Feb-13 16:13:06

Eldest dd has her prom this year and we have recently got her dress. I agree Ebay is your friend.

She tried on and chose a Coast dress for £220, and I listed a search on Ebay till the same one came up in 'as new' condition and bought it for £29. It fits like a glove, is beautiful on her and she is beyond thrilled with it, so am I! No one would know it had previously been worn. The alternative would have been brand new but with a modest budget and she chose the one she loved from Ebay.

Shoes will be a style that can be worn again, not planning to pay more than £20 ish. A few £'s for new make-up if needed, though she'll probably borrow mine, and I will help her with it and hopefully hair done at our local salon where a nice up-do is around £20, nothing over done, the girls there do lovely natural pretty up styles.

Actually I think it's nice to see them all dressed up, it's something to look forward to and the majority of them love it and it doesn't go too far but I don't like it at all where you hear of it getting out of hand cost wise and I personally wouldn't do that. I'm glad it's not an issue where we live.

highlove Fri 08-Feb-13 16:31:36

I'm horrified by how much people seem to spend. We had a but of an issue when DSD demanded £180 for hers - dress/limo/shoes/etc. she had been behaving REALLY badly (way beyond teenage stroppiness) so DH said no. Cue world war 3. To be fair to her, she used her savings and paid for it herself.

While I think it's nice for them to get dressed up and have these memories, I just can't believe what pressure there is to spend huge amounts. I mean limos - WTF? They're 16 FFS! She only lives 200 yards from the school! And what about the kids whose parents can't pay - in quite aware not all 16 year olds have a few hundred quid in their savings they can dip into.

And schools charging £50-odd for tickets? Jesus.

TheCatIsEatingIt Fri 08-Feb-13 17:07:45

We didn't have such elaborate things when I was a teenager, but I've seen DH's friend's pictures of his daughter and her friends going off to theirs (very proud Dad!). All of them had stunning dresses and very professional-looking hair, make-up and nails. They shared a limo. I don't know how much was spent, but it looked expensive. The family don't have loads of money, the dad probably earns about the national average, mum's a care worker so less, and they've got lots of children, so they'd have had to budget carefully for DD1's glamour.

AmberSocks Fri 08-Feb-13 17:10:32

light in the box.com

Annunziata Fri 08-Feb-13 17:13:10

I think you're being really reasonable. If she wants more, make her earn it.

Do you know anyone willing to 'do' the hair and make up a bit cheaper? Or offer to have all her group round to yours to get ready.

I think it can go overboard, but it can be lovely too.

ruby1234 Fri 08-Feb-13 17:14:59

My daughter got a beautiful dress from TKMaxx for around £30, together with matching bag and shoes for about the same. Her and her friends did their own hair, nails and make up between them on the day. They shared a limo between maybe 8 of them, cost around £12 each I think.
For my son's prom, I bought a tux and shirt on ebay, then made a note in my diary and the following year, pre prom time, I sold it on ebay and made more than my original money back.

Jins Fri 08-Feb-13 17:22:00

DSs school has taken a sensible approach. The venue is secret so no going out hiding booze in the grounds before hand. They all leave from school on a coach and that seems to have stopped the limo issue.

havingastress Fri 08-Feb-13 17:36:16

Seriously. EBAY. Where the crazy mothers who spend £300+ on a prom dress sell them afterwards for £30! Win win!

I bought my wedding dress on ebay. Maggie Sottero. Cost new £1500. Cost to moi - £150. grin

I know some people think buying second hand is horrid, but when you're talking prom dresses for 16 year olds, I think anyone is mad to buy new. Especially when there are so many 'worn once' prom dresses on ebay.

I think it's ridiculous to spend a lot - regardless of how amazing they think they look caked in make-up and fake tan with ridiculous hairdos and a garish polyester dress, they will look back at the photos and cringe. <Voice of bitter experience>

It's just not the rite of passage and significant life event that it's made our to be in the States - if she wears a thirty quid dress she might strop about it now but I doubt she'll give it a second thought by this time next year.

nkf Fri 08-Feb-13 17:40:36

This is one of those parallel universe threads that mn throws up from time to time. I will comment on only one thing. If she gets a makeover in a department store, she will be orange.

Dancergirl Fri 08-Feb-13 17:44:54

OMG a limo for a primary school prom??? shock

Do they wear seatbelts in a limo out of interest?

zebrafinch Fri 08-Feb-13 17:45:37

We paid £70 for a local dressmaker to make a dress to DDs design. It fitted superbly, lots of girls went to her she was booked up months in advance

MolehillAlchemy Fri 08-Feb-13 17:49:50

£160 on my DD's dress but that was 8 years ago. We drove her there, I did her hair, and she did her make-up.

ExDH paid for other DD's dress 4 years ago, and that was about £200 - it's still hanging in my wardrobe and is beautiful. DD plans to have it on a dummy when she moves - like a work of art. She didn't want to do the whole limo thing as thought it was naff.

It's such a once in a life-time event, and such a lovely memory for them. I'd be tempted to err on the side of being as generous as you can afford.

BackforGood Fri 08-Feb-13 17:52:27

I think £150 is plenty too. Only my ds has had his so far - bit more reasonable as the suit I bought him would also come in for weddings, funerals and interviews. Theirs was £35 but included a professional photo. One of his mates organised a limo and he (ds) offered to pay for that... about £12 I think he said.
My nieces have all looked beautiful for their proms and none has spent more than £100. I'd have thought a 16 yr old should be able to put their own make up on, and do their hair (or time it so their usual 8 weekly haircut is on prom day)

BackforGood Fri 08-Feb-13 17:53:23

It's not really a once in a lifetime though, is it ? They do it all again in Yr13, then again for a Summer Ball at University.....

IAmLouisWalsh Fri 08-Feb-13 17:58:19

Ours is £15 a ticket, heavily subsidised by fundraising. Limos etc are banned - they all go on a coach from the school. We pay for tickets if kids can't afford them and have dresses that we can loan for the occasion. We also pay suit hire if the lads can't afford that. One kid went wearing my jewellery one year, and I have known staff lend shoes to the kids. We arrange make up and hair/nails with the beauty students at a local college - they come in and do that on the afternoon of the prom, then the girls go home to get ready.

And some of the silly sods still spend hundreds of pounds they don't have on dresses, fake tan etc. We can't win.

MolehillAlchemy Fri 08-Feb-13 18:01:40

Once in a life-time in that they'll never get to do it again with all their friends from the last five years. It's a rite of passage - to be in revealed as a beautiful swan in all your finery, whereas before you'd been in scuffed shoes with your tie at half-mast pretending not to chew gum.

I'm quite good at makeup, if your local to North Wales I'll do it for nothing! smile

freddiefrog Fri 08-Feb-13 18:29:27

I definately second (or third, fourth, fifth, not sure where we're up to grin ) TK Maxx, I bought a beautiful Reiss dress in our local one for £45

My DD had an awards ceremony and I treated her to an up-do - my hairdresser did it for £10, a manicure - local salon was £7.50

Our local secondary has banned limos, they lay on the school buses from their usual pick up places before and after

Chandon Fri 08-Feb-13 18:39:42

The whole limo, makeover and professional nails things is just so tacky.

A new dress ( e bay or tx maxx fine IMO) fine, I get that.

The rest is just Towie bollox

Startail Fri 08-Feb-13 18:44:28

The shoes to go with my ball dress cost £9 (one odd pair in the sale).

They also went to a wedding this summer

DDs friends prom dress is from a dress exchange. I don't what it cost, but it won't have been silly. She looks stunning in it because it's, different and exactly her.

You need to keep your eyes open and use your imagination.

Loads of web sites do affordable bridesmaids' dresses in every colour and styles.

A slightly off beat colour, lose any big fabric flowers add some bling. Many things are possible, without breaking the bank.

DizzyZebra Fri 08-Feb-13 18:45:14

IAmLouisWalsh - I actually like the idea of banning limos. I would feel for those who can't have it and feel left out, i think a coach is better.

Annunziata Fri 08-Feb-13 18:45:38

Limos seem to have gone out of fashion up here in Scotland.

MechanicalTheatre Fri 08-Feb-13 18:53:09

I think limos are just completely unnecessary, as are getting hair, make-up and nails professionally done.

My mum would have hit the roof if I'd asked her for money to go to a school disco (we didn't have proms). Beyond, you know, £2 for some fizzy juice.

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