Is prom worth the cost?


Free glitter high heels image, public domain shoes CC0 photo.

A special proposal can – and does – lead to hundreds of dollars being spent on one night in high school. Lots of students look forward to attending prom, and lots of students will spend the money so they can look and feel their best on that night. It is a very exciting night, even considered a rite of passage, but is spending upwards of almost $1,000 really worth it?

A prom dress can cost anywhere from $100 to $800, depending where it is purchased. Then there is the cost of pairing it with shoes, nails, necklaces and quite a few other accessories. For a girl to spend this much money for a dance in high school is already absurd, but the price does not end there. Add on the cost of hair, makeup, skincare essentials and a corsage, and she is one expensive teenager.

The cost of prom for guys is significantly lower, with the combined cost of a tux, boutonniere and maybe a matching tie coming to around $200. Then a prom couple has to purchase tickets to participate in the grand march, a dinner, pictures and sometimes after-party tickets. The bare necessities give prom a really high starting cost, but some are just too devoted to care about the money going into it. 

If pretty much everyone can agree that prom is getting to be too expensive, why do they keep spending so much on it? Well, the fear of missing out is a big factor. Prom is a special occasion only certain grades get to experience, and not everyone has the chance to go. Students in general do not get the chance to dress up in fancy formal wear very often, so it is exciting to get to do so even for one night. There is a little competition in mind as well, with looking the best or taking the best pictures and so on, so some are okay with splurging a little money to fulfill that win.

Prom’s purpose is to create memories. It is one event in a year that students get to enjoy being around each other for an entire night. Sometimes, it is the last event that students will get to be around all of their friends at the same time. Is it possible to put a price tag on those kinds of memories?