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Hey Mom and Dad: What Are Your Rules on Prom and Prom Costs?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

Personally, my prom was an unmitigated disaster—no joke, I remember it as one of the worst nights of my life, Murphy's Law encapsulated in one five-hour torture session. But for many teenagers, prom is a magical experience for which they wait through all of high school, and expect it to be perfect... no matter what the cost to you!

We've heard horror stories about prom dresses, tuxes and limos getting out of hand, and people spending really extravagant amounts on these things in recent years. Which brings us to this week's Hey Mom & Dad question:

With that time of the year rapidly approaching, what is the budget for your teen's prom and who pays for it?

Tracy Paddy: “We split costs in a variety of ways. She paid for the after-prom tickets—her date paid for the prom tickets. She paid for his flowers and her hair. She did her own nails, and I made her dress last year, the year before her Grandmother bought it for her. We do know people who treated prom as though their daughter was getting married. I think we spent under $300 last year, but we know people who have spent closer to $1000.” – St. Charles Patch Facebook

Kristine Snider: “I don't have a kid going to prom yet, but my thought is this: For my daughters, I'll pitch in a few hundred bucks for a prom dress and she pays the rest. I'll pay for the prom ticket and for the cost of a "reasonable" meal out. That's it. If they want an over-the-top prom, they will have to work for it.” – Geneva Patch Facebook

Stacy Carpenter Bella: “I spent $400 on her dress; she is paying for her hair and makeup and ticket. Considering my dress in 1987 was $100, that seems about right.” – Naperville Patch Facebook

Nikki Randa: “I graduated in '11. I was fortunate enough that my neighbor gave me her dress and when she bought it, it was a little over $300. I would have never paid that, but I did need to put some money in to get it tailored and cleaned up. It’s not worth it to pay big bucks for one night. Also, I wore flip-flops and I was so grateful I did.” – Woodridge Patch Facebook

Barbara Bayr Anderson: “I heard today that the average amount spent on prom is $1,500. Is this true?” Oak Park-River Forest Patch Facebook

Kath Williams: “I just love that I had a daughter who said, "Mom, I will borrow a dress for prom; could you donate [money] to bring clean drinking water to children who have none? (The Water Project.)” – Wheaton Patch Facebook

Cathy Mousseau: “Every year, People's Resource Center collects dresses for those girls who can't afford to purchase one. Call them if you need one or donate one if can.” – Wheaton Patch Facebook

Michele Grogan: “My son is going to prom; he paid for tickets. J I don’t know myself; besides tux, shoes, tie, etc. and transport and buying corsage, is there anything else I may be forgetting?” – Lemont Patch Facebook

Dorothy Cole Domrzalski:  “Proms in my day (LTHS class of 1975) were at McCormick Place with rented limousines and at least a day off school to have your hair done. Maybe it eased up in between [then and now.]” – Western Springs Patch

Tom Whitcomb Jr.: “Just another reason to remain childless.”  – Naperville Patch Facebook

So what's your take? Tell us in the comments.

Life.Is.Good April 30, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I think if these students were spending their own money vs. the evening being paid for, all or in part by their parents, the cost would be considerably less. This is out of hand.
DHD April 30, 2013 at 09:42 PM
*eyeroll* @ Kath Williams
D Smith May 01, 2013 at 01:50 AM
What is prom exactly, anway? So what's the point?
Gigi May 01, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I'm with you ... how precious.

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