Megan Braun: Prepping for prom? Prepare to pony up

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 15, 2015

For most high school students, prom is the most exciting part of the school year. For those who decide to take part in this highly anticipated event, be prepared to fork out a large chunk of money.

According to a survey conducted by Visa, the national average cost of attending prom is a whopping $978 per couple. The survey also found that parents are likely to pay for more than half of the costs of this teenage rite of passage.

Melanie Beck, a senior at Carson High School, said that her parents pay for all costs concerning prom. “I love getting pampered and going out all dressed up,” she said.

Below is a breakdown of costs as sourced from local high schools and businesses.

Prom ticket: $40 ($80 per couple)

The first step in heading to prom is purchasing the event ticket. At West Rowan High School, a single ticket is $40.

“The ticket cost helps cover the cost of the venue, food, decorations and security, along with any other costs associated with the event,” prom organizer Gail Funderburke said.

Prom dress and alterations:  $405

A new prom dress can run between $100 and $500 depending on where you shop. Rowan County offers several prom boutiques, including Maia’s Fashions in Downtown Salisbury, Encore Elegance in China Grove, A Perfect Dress in China Grove, and Hope’s Bridal in Kannapolis.

“I spent $395 on my dress, plus $10 in alterations,” Michaela Fink, a senior at Rowan County Early College said.

Stores like Encore Elegance not only offer brand new gowns, but also hundreds of consignment gowns, allowing shoppers on a budget to find their perfect gown at a reasonable cost.

Accessories: $75

Making sure the outfit is complete requires the perfect shoes and jewelry. In some cases, the accessory list may include a wrap, gloves, hairpiece or a clutch.

Hair, nails, spray tan and makeup: $115

Getting primped for prom is one of the most exciting parts of the entire prom experience. At Oasis Salon and Spa, located on Mooresville Road, appointments are already filling up for prom days. Oasis can be a “one stop shop” for prom prep, offering hair, makeup, spray tan, teeth whitening and nail appointments.

“We offer customizable prom packages depending on what the specific customer needs done,” owner Beth Lewis said. “Start booking your appointments now – the afternoon appointments get filled fast.”

According to Lewis, a basic hair, nails, tan, and makeup appointment costs around $115.

Tuxedo rental:  $100

Making sure that the tuxedo matches the prom gown is of very high importance. At the Thread Shed in Downtown Salisbury, tuxedo rentals start at $79.99 for a basic tuxedo outfit. This price includes the coat, shirt, pants, and choice of tie or bowtie and vest. Shoe rentals begin at $19.99.

Dinner: $50

Even though some schools provide dinner for prom goers, some people decide to eat elsewhere on prom night. The average price for a nice dinner for two is approximately $50. 

“Our group is going to dinner before prom, and then to a breakfast place afterwards,” Hayley Wilhelm, a Carson High School senior said.

Corsage and boutonniere: $30

It is customary to give your date a corsage or boutonniere when attending the prom. A wristlet corsage made of three sweetheart roses with baby’s breath is $19.99 at Salisbury Flower Shop. A single rose boutonniere is $9.99.

“Corsages and boutonnieres are made the night before the prom and should be picked up the day of the event. It is important to order the flowers a few weeks in advance due to the Mother’s Day holiday,” Meagan Sherman said.

Photography: $100

Local parks usually attract many prom goers who want to take photos on their special day. While many parents assume the duty of photographer, there are some couples who hire a professional to capture the moment.

Jennifer Burroughs, owner of Burroughs Southern Light Photography, charges $100 for a short prom photo shoot.

“For $100, both parties receive a disk with all edited photos,” Burroughs said.

“Although iPhone photos are great, hiring a professional photographer gives you someone who is focused on your event, giving special care to getting the right images for your special day and one who is looking at all aspects of the venue, lighting, and weather to insure you are receiving exactly what you want,” she added.

Transportation: $65

Most students choose to drive themselves to prom, but some prom-going groups may choose to rent a limousine. For a six-hour limousine rental including eight passengers, All-Star Limousines charges $525. That price comes out to around $65 per passenger.

“We stay quite busy during prom season. Last year, since so many proms were held on the same night, we found ourselves extremely busy and limited on the amount of limos we had left,” Victor Acosta said. “It is a good idea to book your limo about eight weeks ahead, since prom season is also the beginning of wedding season.”

Megan Braun is a North Rowan High School senior and Salisbury Post intern.