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Prom - How much is reasonable?

(103 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.

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Fri 08-Feb-13 13:03:28

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

TheWoollybacksWife Fri 08-Feb-13 13:19:07

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

This website has a horrible name but a lot of quite-nice dresses

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.

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