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?

Pootles2010 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:00:40

Weeell, not having teenagers myself I'm not sure how things are now, but i had £50 for a dress, and £20 to go towards limo that was shared between 8 of us, which was back in 2002.

£185 sounds a huge amount to me, but if its within your budget thats fine I guess. Could you say if she wants over that she has to earn it? £5 for washing the car, etc etc.

Roseformeplease Fri 08-Feb-13 13:02:33

I think £150 will buy you a wedding dress, so far too much. She can, surely, do her own make-up and hair and nails and TBH, who will notice these, especially the nails. £35 for a ticket? I would bring that up with the school. How do poor families pay for this or is it "exclusive" for the wealthy?

Yes, agree about the idea of "Proms" being stupid and expensive. I would give her a budget that you can afford to include everything and stand very, very firm.

EBay for dresses and accessories. Tell her she can keep the change from whatever you give her and make the planning and finding the things she needs part of the experience but she is looking for bargains and deals, not designer stuff.

Whatever you choose to spend, as long as you can afford it then it's reasonable.

However I do think that your DD should be expected to stump up for some of her expenses from her pocket money/savings.

Sugarice Fri 08-Feb-13 13:06:13

It really tests the pocket of parents of teenage girls , this prom lark.

We just paid for the tux hire, thankfully they walked to the venue so we didn't have to factor that in..

My friends dd had a lovely dress from Coast which she could wear again , nice shoes and lovely jewellery which came to about £250 plus her share of the Limo hire.

ubik Fri 08-Feb-13 13:06:45

Blimey we used to go to Top Shop/Chelsea Girl for an end of term disco! shock This was 1985 though.

eggsy11 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:07:26

I rented my prom dress. It was a £600 designer number that cost me £50 for the night. Wish I would of bought one though, look in TK Maxx!

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Fri 08-Feb-13 13:08:52

My DD got her dress off Ebay, a friend's DD got her dress from TKMax, both were lovely.

My DD did her own hair and make up. The school put on coaches from the school to the prom venue and back again at the end of the night. Her dad took her to the school and picked her up and dropped her off here at the end of the night.


ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 08-Feb-13 13:11:14

She was very rude to pull a face- there is plenty of time to pay someone to do makeup/hair/nails- when SHE can afford it herself.

She can always babysit to save up to pay for whatever extras she wants.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 08-Feb-13 13:11:33

DS1 is going to his prom later this year. I'm absolutely gobsmacked (I hate that word, but it's the only one that will do) at the price - £52! He's paying for most of it. I think it's that without any drinks. He's pretty good about paying for stuff himself. He's been working since he was about 11 and so I don't begrudge him it, but we won't be paying for any transport or anything else. He has to pay for his drinks, but we may buy him a Matalan/Asda dress suit as it will be useful for him in later life.

In your case I would seriously encourage your DD to do her hair/nails/make-up herself. Can't she and a few of her friends get together at one house and do it together? That would be fun I should think.

calandarbear Fri 08-Feb-13 13:14:08

This is hard, I don't have teenagers but I know when I had my prom back in 1999 I had a monsoon evening dress that cost £160, my mum had given me a £70 budget but my Nan paid the rest. I didn't hire a car or have my hair/nails/makeup done.
So I actually think £150 isn't a lot but I am sure she could do it for that and still look lovely.

WorriedMummy73 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:16:07

Prom's piss me off! Why have we adopted this American thing? Do our kids even know what 'prom' means? Why are 16 year-olds having a limo? My DD is 11 - she knows now, before she's even started secondary school, that this garbage is something she will need to fund herself. I cannot afford money for dresses that will be worn once. I will certainly not be paying for a car of any bloody sort - what's wrong with a taxi these days? We had a disco when I left school, no one bought anything special to wear, no elaborate hair/nails etc. This whole thing has got completely out of hand and I would like to meet the person who first thought a prom was a good idea at a British secondary school and slap them.

havingastress Fri 08-Feb-13 13:18:20

ebay is your friend grin

DD1 had her Year 11 prom 3 years ago. She bought her dress from this eBay shop for under £100. She picked up shoes and a bag in the sales. She did her own make up but had her hair curled and put up at the hairdressers and shared a car with friends at a cost of about £20. Your budget of £150 would have covered all her expenses.

However, there were girls in her year that spent £400 on their dresses. shock

noblegiraffe Fri 08-Feb-13 13:19:19

Some girls will be spending well over £150 on the dress alone if Y11 at my school are anything to go by. Interestingly, I was talking to some of these girls in Y12 and they all wished they hadn't spent as much, they'd got caught up in the hype, and when it came down to it it was really just a disco in the school hall where most of the time was spent hanging around waiting for the after-party.
Your budget sounds sensible, your DD however might struggle to see it that way, if she is one of the girls that spends the whole of Y11 planning her outfit.

Trills Fri 08-Feb-13 13:20:31

Depends what you can afford.

£150 sounds generous to me.

She needs to learn to shop around - and remember that if you buy a dress from a highstreet shop in your town there is a good chance that someone else will have the same dress.

niceguy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:21:12

To be fair she pulled a face but she did accept it. But I am just trying to check that I am not being unreasonable. Interesting replies so far.

I'm very much with those who think proms are a stupid waste of money. But we are where we are.

The thing is, we do live in quite a deprived ex-mining town so it's not like the school isn't already aware there are parents which will be struggling. Yet for proms you should see it. Apparently last year a few people arrived by fucking helicopter. I shit you not!

Sugarice Fri 08-Feb-13 13:21:47

My ds2 has already told me he isn't going to his later this year.

His reason ; It's not my scene and why would I want to go to an overblown school disco where it's going to cost £50 for a suit I'll hate and I won't wear again.

It's hard to argue against that.

Sugarice Fri 08-Feb-13 13:22:49

nice don't forget the cost of photographs which are done at the event.

Trills Fri 08-Feb-13 13:24:00
FlorriesDragons Fri 08-Feb-13 13:26:22

Proms - they are American, they are gimmicky but they're here and I intend to embrace them when the time comes for my children.

£150 sounds plenty to me, just give her what you can afford and help her work out how to do things as cheaply as possible. TKMax is your friend!

5Foot5 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:26:50


My DD had her prom last summer. She got a really lovely dress for £60. I would have shelled out a bit more but this was the one she liked best and it suited her very well. Killer shoes for £40.

Hair and make up was something that she and her friends did together as a pre-prom thing. They all went to one friend's house and helped each other get ready which I think git them in the mood very well.

We thought they might want to club together on a vehicle but the venu said that their turning circle wasn't big enough for stretch vehicles so most people didn't bother with that but just had lifts with parents.

But you can get 7 in a stretch limo so sharing the cost shouldn't cost that much

calandarbear Fri 08-Feb-13 13:27:20

Someone arrived at my brother's prom in a helicopter it was 2004 or 5 we are in the midlands.
The general consensus was 'what a cock' some people take it too far.

FlorriesDragons Fri 08-Feb-13 13:27:21
Greythorne Fri 08-Feb-13 13:28:33

I think we have to accept that this is becoming a special tradition for young people these days.

And whilst I like the idea of saying to your DD "here's £XXX, to be spent as you see fit" and then leaving her to make some hard choices, I would feel uncomfortable for the following reasons:

-- getting professional hair and make up is, IMHO, way over the top. It sets a standard of beauty that is literally not attainable by your DD on her own. This is a dangerous message: "you need professional grooming to look good enough for big events".

-- going in a limo is preposterous. In today's economic and environment context, 15 and 16 years olds being driven to a party at school is ridiculous.

So, I would set a budget and also define what it can be spent on:

-- dress
-- hair do at local salon
-- new make-up from Superdrug or equivalent

NO make up artists, hairdressers at home or limos.

And the budget for the lot would be around £200.

ElectricMonk Fri 08-Feb-13 13:30:31

I think that £170 would easily be enough for everything except transport, as long as she spends it a bit more wisely. £150 is do-able, but only if she already has dress shoes or good make-up supplies.

For example - dress agencies will charge less than £100 for a lovely, practically new and high-end highstreet/low-end designer dress, and there are lots of bargains to be had on e-bay too if she's prepared to look carefully. Alternatively, there's an online company called Light In The Box which sells gorgeous dresses for fantastic prices - just need to factor in customs, shipping time and delivery costs from the US. I'd budget £80 for that.

With make-up - if she wears make-up more than a couple of times a year, it would be more cost effective to go to some counters and get the assistants to show her how to choose and apply it so she's happy to do it herself. MAC offers a special deal where you pay £20 for a "makeup lesson" in which they show you exactly how to create the look you want, and you can then put the £20 booking fee towards products. I wouldn't recommend their foundation (a NO7 counter will help her to find a good colour match for under £15), but she could get her foundation applied at a different counter and then get the MAC bods to show her how to find the right shades of blush, eyeshadow, lipstick etc and apply them well. If she's doing her own make-up, she will definitely need a foundation brush at the very least - Real Techniques (from Boots) give the best finish for "drug store" prices IME and are very easy for novices to use, she couldn't possibly go wrong with the Expert Face Brush, and any old powder and blush brushes will do. IF she will wear it again, I'd budget £50 for make-up supplies (assuming that she doesn't already have the things I've mentioned).

Shoes are the real bugger, in my experience - New Look is generally the best for cheap-ish, fairly comfortable formal shoes and usually come in at under £30. I'd budget £30 for shoes, unless she already has some that could work.

The extra tenner would be for hair supplies.

NB - My prom was about 8 years ago, and my dress was £40 from TK Maxx, my shoes were £10 from New Look, my make-up was shite because nobody taught me to do it properly, I went in the family car, and my hair looked dreadful, courtesy of my mum. My folks would happily have spent more, but I just wasn't bothered - I only went because my mum made me. In retrospect, the only thing I regret was the make-up - it would have been a good opportunity to get some nice stuff and learn to apply it properly for the future. Despite all of that, I do think that what you "should" budget for this comes down to what is reasonable for your family's finances, what your DD is prepared to contribute (either in the form of money or labour), and what it will take for her to enjoy the evening without feeling self-conscious - not what any of us tell you.

willoughboobs Fri 08-Feb-13 13:31:58

i would say around £500 is what i would spend on my dd as a way of treating her for finishing a big part of her education smile

If thats what she wanted i would do it for her as its a once in a life time thing and a pretty big deal for them at that age smile

januaryjojo Fri 08-Feb-13 13:33:02

OP, I am in the same boat!

DD has her prom in may. Meal at a hotel is £32.

We went looking at dresses, the one she liked was £200.
Every other dress after that one wasn't right for one reason or another hmm

Anyway we went out for another dress shopping expedition the other week, I strongly told her that whilst yes the first dress was lovely, but at £200, was not happening, so she can say no to all the rest but the £200 dress was not happening regardless, jeans and t-shirt it'd be.

Funnily enough we found a dress that day smile

Almost identical to the first, but half the price. And it was half price in a sale.

£100 for a dress may sound a lot, but to hire one, which was the other option I was looking at, we were looking at £80-£90.

So for a tenner more we have the dress, and we can sell it on this time next year.

Luckily my SIL is a hairdresser so can do all that gumph.

Limo is our current headache, the girls just can't seem to agree on it at the moment.

It is bloody expensive and we don't earn a lot either, so compromises have to made.

I did look on eBay and in tk maxx. They had some lovely dresses, but I would look in a shop first and try some on.
DD was adamant she wanted flouncy flouncy big dress, think gypsy wedding esque, but when trying some on she has dress between flouncy and straight, sort of a line?

Then go to eBay, amazon etc and get as close as you can.

wonkylegs Fri 08-Feb-13 13:34:15

The term Prom is American but the end of school event has been around for years - 20yrs ago ours was called a Leavers Ball, and involved dresses & tuxes but not limos
(limos weren't so prolific in Somerset back then).
It's up to you what you can afford / think is reasonable. I've still got all my ball dresses from over the years (thankfully haven't changed too much in size) and sixth form, university & professional functions mean that they've got more than one wearing which means that they aren't as scarily expensive as they would have been for one off events. Bearing this in mind classic rather than ultra trendy is your friendwink

WorriedMummy73 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:35:54

Oh my Holy days! This is insanity on every level! Make-up sessions? Professional hair and nails? Are we raising well-balanced young women or future Towie stars/footballers wives? When did all this nonsense become the be-all and end-all? I'm sure the boys aren't worrying so much about whether someone has the same suit.

VengefulCrumpet Fri 08-Feb-13 13:37:53

My SIL has just spent £450 on a dress for my DN. I was shock. But it was ok because it was reduced from £1000 hmm.

It's bloody rediculous! I can't believe people waste so much money on a dress for a 16 yo for one evening!

gordyslovesheep Fri 08-Feb-13 13:40:06

TK MAX - for dresses - way less than £100

I think £150 is more than enough - it she chooses to spend most of it on a frock then she has less for eveything else - her choice

Scholes34 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:41:36

For £500 we could do a lot better than what effectively is a school disco.

Thankfully, my DD's school is a little more low key, but the event is still enjoyed by the children. It's organised by the Year 11s themselves, takes place in one of the school halls, which is decorated in style. This keeps the costs down and those with enough good news slips through the year (ie most of the Year 11s) get their ticket free as a reward for doing well in their final year.

DD has already said she'll be going for a nice dress that has use beyond the "ball".

Unfortunately, niceguy you're no doubt going to have to spend along the same lines as everyone around you, as the last thing you really want is your DD feeling uncomfortable at this big event in her life.

specialsubject Fri 08-Feb-13 13:49:50

we are where we are because people fall for this nonsense. And the idea that you are not acceptably dressed for a party unless it has been done professionally needs to be scotched right now (BTW professional make up always looks ridiculous)

she gets a dress from a charity shop for £50 or less. She gets a tenner for makeup etc. If she wants anything else, she buys it.

it's a party, and a kids' party at that. Time to teach her a sense of proportion.

Dahlialover Fri 08-Feb-13 13:52:25

My twins took me round loads of prom shops with their friends and mothers. I had thought £75 each would get a nice dress, but they had to have these over the top bright coloured things with huge net skirts!

Luckily, we went round at Feb half term when the sales were on. DD2 liked a bright red one which cost £180! (all the others were mostly over £200!!!!). We went to another shop and DD1 found a lovely long dress with jacket which would look good at any formal do, for £120 and we went back and got the red dress - £300 in total. We got shiney shoes at Next which have been reworn, and they had their hair cut and blow dried and straightened (a lot of the girls had OTT curls but this is not possilbe with DDs very straight hair, and they needed it cut anyway). I did their make-up (not OTT!) They shared a vintage cadillac with friends so that was £20 each.

The red dress is cluttering my wardrobe and is enormous. You need an agency to sell defunct prom dresses!

I went along with it because my parents would never have dreamed of buying me an ordinary new dress, never mind this. I enjoyed it, and they looked lovely.

They had another event when they left sixth form - it was more grown up, with cocktail dresses and suits, rather than the tux and big dress -they bought their own dresses etc as cheaply as they could (£8). Looked nice then too (if a bit on the tarty side!)

stormforce10 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:53:51

Ouch. I'd better get saving. DD is 7. I dread to think how much a prom is going to set us back in 10 years time.

I just put prom dresses into ebay search and it came back with over 164,000 results. Maybe there would be one there that she'd like?

Tasmania Fri 08-Feb-13 13:54:23

Roseformeplease - Most people I know spend more than £150 for a wedding dress. At least 5x that, and I know many - me included - who spent at the very least 10x that.

And £35 for a prom ticket is the norm (or even the lower scale of things - going to a theatre in London can often cost more than that). My prom was over a decade ago, and as I recall, it actually cost a bit more than that - so if adjusted for inflation, it would be much more expensive than the ticket price the OP has to pay. Granted, I made the dress myself (sewing, appliqué, etc.) but the materials alone cost something in the region of £130 in today's money. Why I didn't just buy a dress? I couldn't find the style I wanted (early century / dinner in the Titanic style), and it would have cost much more than £130 if I had.

Pootles2010 spent £70 on her prom dress and limo alone. Not sure how much the ticket was, but let's say her total expenditure was roughly £90... back in 2002. Adjusted to inflation, that would have been about £125 in 2012. Calandarbear already admitted she spent £160 on the dress alone back in 1999.

If I shop for "special occasion" dress these days which - as it happens - I am, I can't find a lot of dresses I like below a certain amount of money. No price snobbery there - if I challenge myself shop price-blind I often choose the most expensive dress, and end up not buying anything at all because nothing can compare to that dress.

As a parent, it's easy to say "it didn't cost that much in my days", but really... take into account inflation, and how things have changed. Back in the olden days, you may have had a prom in the school gym. These days, it's hotels, etc. - venues where you often pay £50+ per head for a rather simple wedding (and much more if you want a more glamorous one).

Anyway, if you want to have fab dresses that look like they should cost more, I would second tkmaxx and eBay. There are loads of Chinese dresses on eBay that look like they should cost £££'s, but because it's made in china and all that, it actually isn't that expensive. In the Far East, having your special occassion dress custom-made by a seamstress is normal. Only wealthier types can buy Western Designer goods, and they often are made there anyway. Some eBay sllers often make the dresses made-to-measure, too.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Fri 08-Feb-13 13:58:08

I'm sure the boys aren't worrying so much about whether someone has the same suit. don't you believe it worried DS2 had his last year and the boys were just as bad planning and talking about their suits. he tried on hundreds some designer some high street and agreed in the end that the one that fitted him best and looked good turned out to be a £30 Primark special grin his matching grey shoes cost more plus the corsage and tie to match his dates dress still cost us around £100 total.

She should be able to do it for less than £150. Dress from TK Maxx or Ebay - she should be able to find something for around £50 - £70 and it means that she knows that no one else will be turning up in the same dress. Make up - get it done by MAC, it's gone up to £30 but you do get to spend that on stuff. Hair will cost about £20 - £25 if she has a blow dry at your nearest salon - she will need to time this though, and get her make up done first.

I'm so grateful that DD's school doesn't do proms.

FergusSingsTheBlues Fri 08-Feb-13 13:59:30

Im agog. Its a fecking PARTY...not a wedding.

150-200 is fine.
Professional makeup, NO, but you could take her for a free makeover at debenhams if she needs guidance.
Updo, a frock and shoes
(Everybody looks the same at these things anyway.)

niceguy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:00:45

DD has so far done incredibly well at school and from the parents evening I had last week, she's on course to get pretty much A's across the board. If she puts the effort in then she can probably up some of those to A*'s.

So from that point of view she's worked hard and I am happy to reward her. The shoes thing I'd completely forgotten about since as a bloke I have a black pair, a brown pair and a pair of trainers. Actually I'm lying. I don't own a brown pair!

So on balance perhaps £150 is too low. £200 may be more reasonable. I'll have to agree a way for her to earn that additional £50. I may as well get something out of it! grin

Is she likely to be off to Uni next year? It might be worth buying a dress which would do a uni black tie function or two - not a massive prom meringue, but a nice cocktail style or similar as she'll probably get wear out of it there (if she doesn't go off things qucikly).

Toomuchtea Fri 08-Feb-13 14:02:42

I did push the boat out for DD as for nearly all her life, her clothes have been second hand or cheap as chips, so I spent £200 on her dress, but absolutely everything else she paid for from her wages, or did herself. It was a big thing for us as most of her friends are Jack Wills/Abercrombie clones, and for once, DD could feel she was on the same playing field. Most of the time she's quite happy to be different, but this once she wanted to do the thing, so we did. She did love it, I have to say. And we both loved going to get the dress. DS, whom we picked up from university on the way to choose the dress, gave his gracious opinion from the depths of the sofa provided for spare males, and it was a rather lovely family time.

niceguy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:03:57

Nah, she needs to go to college before they have proms at college too!?!?!?!

I'm glad I have boys. And mine won't be able to leave school until 18 even if they want to, so I suspect practices will have changed a bit by then. Mind you, our sixth form leavers ball had unlimited alcohol iirc, and dodgems. It was ace.

I think giving her a budget, and assistance to spend it carefully, is generous. She has three months to earn or save more if necessary, I assume?

The after party sounds terrifying. Am I getting old?

Fifteen-year-olds shouldn't he wearing foundation unless performing under stage lights. It ruins their skin and makes them look daft.

chirpchirp Fri 08-Feb-13 14:06:20

I think £150 is a lot but if that the budget you are comfortable with then that's your prerogative, I would definitely agree that anything over that she should pay for herself.

Point her in the direction of the hair, makeup and nail tutorials on YouTube. There isn't a 40's hairstyle I now can't recreate with a teasing comb, tin of hairspray and the tutorilige of Cherry Dollface. Surely part of the fun of getting ready for prom (not that we really had them back in my day) is getting ready with your friends, doing each others nails etc.

riverboat Fri 08-Feb-13 14:15:09

£150 sounds lovely. She can get a nice dress for between £70 and £100, and then choose between either a share in a limo, or getting her hair done or whatever. It would seem very extragent to me yo pay for an expensive dress PLUS professional hair and makeup PLUS limo PLUS ticket...

Does she have a weekend job at all? Could she get one or do babysitting to earn extra money if the prom means that much to her?

atthewelles Fri 08-Feb-13 14:38:15

They're called debs dances here in Ireland. They used to be mild enough affairs - dress probably made by a mum or an aunt, hair washed and blow dried, quick bit of make up applied at home, and someone's Dad drove everyone to the hotel.
Now they've gone waaay OTT. Designer dresses, fake tans, professional make-up, manicures, drinks party in someone's house with all the neighbours and relatives invited and bringing presents, hired limousine to go to the hotel, and on and on and on. They must cost an absolute fortune. They used to be organised by the school but a lot of schools want nothing to do with them anymore and the kids organise it themselves.

DizzyZebra Fri 08-Feb-13 14:51:13

I think your budget is VERY reasonable.
I was talking to OH about this after i saw a discussion online once where Mums were talking about getting credit cards and loans to pay for it. Ridiculous IMO.

My daughter is a long long LONG way off that but if her 'prom' were tomorrow this is what i'd set;

Dress - Up to £60
Make up - Plenty of aspiring make up artists around who will do it at half the price of the salons - And they do make up for photoshoots etc, they are brilliant. You can get a full face done for around £20. Some will even do it for free as long as they can get some high quality photos of their work for their portfolio.
Nails - Again £20 is enough.
Hair - TBH I don't think they need fancy hair styles and i would be reluctant to pay a stylist.

If she wanted to chip in with mates £20 each for a limo i wouldn't mind but she wouldn't be getting one for just herself.

sue52 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:52:07

DD had a few freinds over for the pre prom make up, hair and nails session. I think they enjoyed that part as much as the prom. I bought her dress from an internet company called Light in the Box which was much cheaper (and custom made) than anything we could find locally. Limos were not such a Big thing here and only a couple of girls had them, I just put the car through the car wash to spruce it up a bit. I do agree that it's getting out of hand when I read about the huge sums of money that some people fork out.

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

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.

memphis83 Fri 08-Feb-13 18:55:39

A lot of the wedding dress shops that sell evening gowns have huge sales at the moment as they are selling stock they got in for new years balls. Our local one has all of them between £50-90 some are 75% of original price.
You she get new varnish and stick on nails from Boots and then just get her hair done?

Chandon Fri 08-Feb-13 18:57:57

Haha, yes, spreading out my two fantas to last all evening. In a T shirt I had cut the neck off to make it slip down my shoulder, eighties style.

How come this generation of kids is soooo much more entitled? how come they are obsessed with fake status symbols like limo's?

Why does it depress me so? Why? Maybe because I think we had just as much fun with a lot less money, and that this obsession with money will not lead to hapiness????

PeppermintBark Fri 08-Feb-13 19:00:18

Just be grateful the UK hasn't adopted homecoming as well! My two are in a US high school (we're all British) and it all came as a shock to me. Homecoming is when former students come back to the school and there are whole day events and separate evening events for students and alumni. These require new dresses also - and all the high school is eligible to go every year.

DD1 can go to Prom this year - it's for the equivalent of lower and upper sixth students at her school. We found a nice dress on sale, and I suspect that the evening will go as follows: dinner for a group of them at one of the parent's houses, with the other parents helping out. The dance is held at school, but there will probably be no limos as we are all lucky enough to have nice cars that we can take them in (and we're all pretty tight when it comes to unnecessary spending!). After there may be a sleepover for the girls, but definitely no after-parties. Obviously being the US there will be no alcohol involved - it's an expulsion occurrence if a student is caught with alcohol.

In terms of spending, her dress cost about $125, it was reduced from much more. She and her peer group are sporty and not really into make up so she won't need much in that department. For once I will spoil her and take her to get her hair put up - the guy who cuts her hair is begging her to have it done as she has tons of the stuff. Normally she just leaves it down.

What we have made sure of, though, is that every time she has been to a formal occasion, she has chosen items that she will get wear out of in the future. So we don't have to buy new shoes, for example. Her dresses are always cocktail style, not fussy or flouncy so they won't date.

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Feb-13 20:29:50

Christ - we have limos for end of primary school - fortunately neither of my elder two were in any way fussed about the Y11 prom. Probably on account that it is so passe to them (having done the primary thing)

marriedinwhite Fri 08-Feb-13 20:44:10

My dd is 14. Her school fees (Surrey) are about £15k per annum. What prom? Have just questioned DS - "oh yea proms, no-one really does them; they're some sort of crap for losers"

If there was a prom; she would get a 2nd hand or semi homemade dress, she might get her hair done at the hairdressers; I would help her with her make-up and nails. I cannot imagine more than £120 would be spent on it by any sane person.


Wishiwasanheiress Fri 08-Feb-13 20:53:25

Don't let someone else do her make up. Can cost 50 and she will hate it. Ask her to book in at debenhams. Get them to do a look then take her to rimmells in boots for stuff to copy it.

Nails- 35 for set of acrylics/gels. Go to Chinese bar for cheaper by drills. Let her spend here if she wishes as these last a month if done well. Preferably do bio sculpture or gelish type which is like a thicker nail polish, usually without extensions, and is uv heated. Definately get a month out of those and are kinder to nails. Again approx 30.

Dress- where from? Coast 150. Top shop 150?! Here best to buy loads mags and copy a style maybe. She needs a bit of gok wan -ing. He's got website. Check it out on channel 4 and save £.

Dunno about limo etc... Hope helps....

niceguy2 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:34:10

One of our best friends is a hairdresser at a 5* salon so she'd have done her hair for next to nothing or for babysitting. But she's working on that day but maybe she can squeeze her in cheaply. I'll ask.

I'll also suggest she looks at Lightinthebox and eBay before committing to a dress. I do want her to have a special day but obviously there has to be limits.

Adversecamber Fri 08-Feb-13 23:09:54

I have a DS and am hoping he will end up exactly the same measurements as DH so he can borrow his tux.

That's quite interesting, reading the sub-text of this thread, Proms seem to be a bit of an anti-status symbol. That will eventually filter down and no one will be seen dead in a flouncy dress/limo. Unfortunately that inverse snobbery may take a few years to filter down ...

HollyBerryBush Sat 09-Feb-13 07:38:04

For a lot of the girls, I suppose, it is the only opportunity they will ever have to get glammed up. With marriage being on the wane, its unlikely 50% of them ever will, or be a bridesmaid. Which is quite sad in a way, that events that you or I would have taken as common place and rights of passage are no longer with us.

Chandon Sat 09-Feb-13 08:31:22

But it is not a right of passage, but a rite of passage, isn't it?

I never thought of it as a "right" to glam up.

And the whole idea that marriage is all about the wedding, and glamming up, makes me a bit sad.

Is it some kind of world wide Cinderela syndrome?!

HollyBerryBush Sat 09-Feb-13 08:33:02

Pardon my typos hmm, Cinders!

Chandon Sat 09-Feb-13 09:00:09

grin I like it that you call me Cinders now, after what I wrote!

Sorry if it was a typo, I tought you meant it was a "right" to glam up. This whole Towie glamming up culture makes me so depressed.

cuillereasoupe Sat 09-Feb-13 09:13:30

My mum borrowed a formal dress from a friend of hers for me to wear to my leaver's ball (way back in 1992). I shudder at the memory - black velvet bottom half, ruched gold lamé top shock it was like something Bet Lynch might have worn to a wedding grin

In the end I got something from a charity shop and customised it with scissors until it looked like something Helena Bonham Carter might wear to the Oscars. Much cooler grin

cheerup Sat 09-Feb-13 09:20:55

I'm nearly 40... I've never been to a prom. I've never been a bridesmaid. Not things I've ever thought of as rites of passage tbh.

I spent just slightly more on my wedding dress (cocktail - been worn since) than the OP's suggestion for daughter's prom. For my wedding I wore nice shoes, make up and nail varnish as well as washing and blow drying my hair. All by myself.

I will be delighted to see my two girls all dressed up for their proms (if they choose to go). I will buy them reasonably priced dresses and shoes (as I would for myself for a special occasion) but I will not be paying for professionally done make up, up dos, limos and especially not for false nails. They are only 3 and 6 so still hopeful that they will grow up not to aspire to the Towie lifestyle although time will tell!

Flobbadobs Sat 09-Feb-13 09:49:21

Proms are massivley popular here, full blown do's with big dresses, tuxedo's and it seems to be a competition as to who can arrive in the most outlandish way. Last year the paper reported fire engines, old coaches, coach and horses, the full whack. I'm dreading it.
DS had one when he left primary school but that was lovely, free and very emotional. The high school he's at now really go to town at prom time! And we'll be doing it 3 times! Wail.....

EnjoyResponsibly Sat 09-Feb-13 10:00:13

Check the student discounts. Most shops selling prom will increase as half term approaches. She'll need school ID usually.

landofsoapandglory Sat 09-Feb-13 10:19:48

Get her to look at Sexy Her (shit name but great dresses). DH is in the RAF so we go to a few balls, I refuse to pay a lot of money for a dres I will wear once or twice. Most of the dresses on Sexy Her are in our local bridal/prom dress shop that is now closing down.
This one was £159 in there and is now £89 in the closing down sale! The quality is great too for the price. If you are unsure of the sizing or anything you can ring up, and if you order it now they will usually make it in any colour for you.

Having a boy isn't much cheaper TBH. DS1's suit was £110, his shirt £25, silk tie £20 and shoes £45, haircut £10. He wouldn't go in a limo because it is the height of chavviness in his opinion. He wore his suit twice before he grew out of it.

DS2 is trying to persuade me to spend £190 on his suit before the shoes, shirt, tie, pocket square etc!

kickassmomma Sat 09-Feb-13 12:07:31

When I had my prom not so long ago I
Chose a dress from a shop where way parents paid on installments which really helped. I have a cheapish hairdressers anyway but missed two hair cuts to save the money to have my hair cut and styled for my prom. Make up? Surely she does her own everyday? So she can do it herself again! I didn't have to pay for a car but friends of mine shared a limo and it only cost them about £8 a head? Pretty cheap!
You don have to have a budget but think logically those things she can doe herself i.e makeup and nails she doesn't need doing by some over priced beautician! smile

Beaverfeaver Sat 09-Feb-13 14:01:07

I am going to a prom soon. The dress I bought was £30 in the sale. Will use old shoes.
Do my own make up and my own hair and share a lift.

Cost to me before drinks: £35

5Foot5 Sat 09-Feb-13 18:12:12

Do they wear seatbelts in a limo out of interest?

Don't think they have to.

When DD was 11 we hired a stretch Hummer so she could have all the girls in the class and we had them just drive around for an hour. I had to go in with them but the bloke said that seat belts were not compulsory.

The girls tended to frolic from one end to the other quite a bit so I just stationed myself in the middle to keep an eye on things.

zukiecat Sat 09-Feb-13 19:30:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jellybeans Sun 17-Feb-13 00:39:37

My DDs will be on a budget. 100 max for dress. I will buy bag and shoes from New Look or ebay. Hair accessories and jewellery cheap end. But not limos or hair and make up. DD does a great job of her own hair and make up. 150 sounds good to me. I don't understand those who pay hundreds.

itfcbabe Sun 17-Feb-13 01:12:09

My son had his prom last year,his tux was £60 to rent with tie,waistcoat etc,brought his shoes from ebay. My daughter who was leaving year 6 also had a prom,her dress was £10 from new look,shoes £5 from ebay,I'm a qualified beautician so i did her make up and nails for free. Some of the girls had very expensive over the top dresses , remember when my oldest daughter who us in year 9 now had her year 6 prom one of the girls had a dress that was £400 i looked at it to wear to renew my wedding vows in,that was ridiculous,what is going to wear to her year 11 prom?

BlatantLies Sun 17-Feb-13 01:27:30

My DD and I spent some time prom dress shopping this week and I was amazed at how many lovely but very affordable dresses we found. She is not buying one just yet but her current favourite is less than £40. (reduced from £190) If you are on a budget you should get you DD's to have a look around now as we found loads of heavily reduced dresses in House Of Fraser, Coast, debenhams etc.

We even found several pretty purple chiffon dresses in H of F (Oxford) for £3 (yes I typed that correctly '3') shock They were large sizes though.

lljkk Sun 17-Feb-13 10:31:55

Maybe Proms have spread because they are a great idea that the young people enjoy? Just a thought.

I think that I would budget about £200 for a y10-y11 prom, if I could afford it. I imagine one could pull it off well for as little as £50, too.

We have quincieneras where I'm from and £200 would be a pittance amount to spend on one of them.

athy123 Wed 26-Feb-14 19:18:58

For my DD, her dress was £420 which was the cheapest in the shop, £89 for the limo and about £150 for hair, makeup and nails. But only because this is one of the most important days of her life, finally finishing secondry school!! She knows she can't expect any of that ever again. Just one night to be spoilt so I wish you luck in spending under £200 it's very difficult nowadays!

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