What Is Too Much Money for the Night of Their Lives?

One thousand, one hundred dollars.

For a woman whose dishwasher door is harnessed together by duct tape that amount could surely buy me a new appliance. Heck it’s enough to buy two.

It’s enough for a family of five to enjoy a memorable week at the beach this summer.

It’s two months rent or mortgage payments for someone out of work.

But to spend that amount on one night for Prom?

USA Today reported that sum was the average amount families were spending on Prom this year, $1078 to be exact.

I don’t get it.

Last year, my son went to Prom as a junior. Granted this was my first experience with the dance. I didn’t go to my own. Yes, I know. Sob. Sob. Lest you think me a social misfit, I did go to other formals during my tenure in high school so I have an appreciation for the cost of high school fairytale hoopla.

This is probably going to be unpopular with a lot of folks – okay with a lot of mothers, but why does so much money need to be expended on dresses that cost more than my wedding gown, corsages that match the exorbitant dress’ color, expensive photographers, dinners and after-Prom parties?

One exception I make to all this madly flowing money is a hired coach for the evening. You might think me some heartless, unsentimental sop surely driven that way because she never got to go to her Senior Prom, but nothing is too much to pay for the safety of a child.


So I give them the expense of a limo ride but other than that?

Spending more than we have to make ourselves feel better never works. Well, it never worked for me. Isn’t that how we got into this economic debacle we are trying desperate to wake up from?

If we didn’t learn anything from borrowing money to buy overvalued real estate, didn’t the Kardashian/Humphries wedding teach us something? That beautiful people, clothes and setting at the tune of millions of dollars bought a lot of nothing. Nothing that makes this world a better place anyway. Kids need to learn that Prom on a budget is cool – well, if not the popular thing – that it’s certainly something to take pride in.

What’s wrong with giving our children a range for a dress that’s very comfortably within our lifestyle? When shopping for my wedding dress, one that I loved cost $1,400. Another one cost $590 that I loved -- a little bit less. We bought the less expensive puffy-sleeved, puffy-skirted Princess Diana knockoff.  I got married in the late 1980s.

It was a lovely wedding and I don’t think my memories are any less wonderful because of the dress. Honestly, it was all a blur of reception hall, people, photographers, food and a nervous stomach anyway.

What is Prom but a blur of people, photographers, food and a nervous stomach?

If we want to buy our daughter the dress she loves, why not tell her she is going to make do with mom’s photographs, a less expensive meal and no big blowout after-event?

If you’ve saved up to give your child the Prom night of their dreams (or is it yours?), my hat is off to you. Though I might not agree with allotting so much money to a high school function, you are fiscally disciplined and are to be congratulated.

Now if your child paid for their own Prom festivities, I need your email address – STAT. You obviously are doing a much better job at this parenting thing than me.

What do you think? Prom blow-out or no?




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