Local News

Priceless Prom Memories Can be Costly

Posted April 19, 2000

— The prom is an annual rite of passage for high school seniors. While students are consumed with choosing just the right gown or tuxedo, parents are worried about how much it is all going to cost.

As she tries on dresses, Heather Henry looks like Cinderella; her mother is playing the role of fairy godmother.

"I paid $100 on her dress, she paid $200 on her dress last year for starters," says Dana Henry.

The shopping duo is back at it again, looking for this year's perfect prom dress. Seven gowns later, Heather finds it -- a periwinkle number priced at more than $200.

"I'd probably get it in a different size, but I love this color, and I love the way it fits me," says Heather.

It is all for one night that will last a lifetime in memories.

Being the prince of the ball carries a hefty price tag too.

Bobby Staten's prom tally is $150 to $175, not including his tuxedo. It was on the house since he works at a tuxedo shop.

"The main expenses were dinner, corsage, gas, different accessories you might want to buy for your tuxedo," he says.

Wadry Ademu-John, can attest to that. "So far I've gotten the tuxedo, and the shoes and now basically I need a hat and a cane."

Years ago, proms were free. Students would raise money during the year and decorate the gym. Today it costs an average of $40 per couple just to attend.

For those who want to spare no expense, there is the limousine rental. The cost is usually split among two to five couples.

"The basic cost for a prom evening will run you $395 to $450 and that includes gratuity," says Ernest Bryant.

The expense might be great but the memories are priceless.

The best advice to cut down on the cost is to shop around and compare prices. Parents should work out a way that students can contribute to the cost, even if it is a minimal amount.

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