How to pay for prom on a budget


Ashley Spencer

Students dance at the 2015 prom, which was held at the Jenks Aquarium.

The Broken Arrow High School prom is fast-approaching, with less than two months until the Apr. 30 dance. Girls are kicking it into high gear as they search for the perfect dress, and guys and girls alike are trying to scrape up the money to pay for their big night.

A prom dress typically costs anywhere from $100 to $400, although some girls will opt to spend much more than that. For guys, renting a tuxedo is in about the same range. For the girls who don’t have that kind of money, there is a Facebook page for a group called Cinderella’s Closet.

In this group, people sell their prom dresses for much less than they paid. Girls can also post what kind of dress they are looking for and how much they are willing to pay. They will get plenty of comments within minutes. This page is a great tool for both before and after prom. Unfortunately, it is a closed group. If you want to access it, request to be added by the author on Facebook and you will be added.

The next order of business is a little lower down: the shoes. Cinderella’s Closet also has shoes for sale, but shoes are usually best when purchased directly from a store. Shoes can cost anywhere from $20-$100, depending on whether the girl wants flats or heels, fancy or casual.

Accessories range from the essential clutch to the optional corsage. A clutch purse is essential for prom because it is a place to store the essentials: phone, make-up, bobby pins, gum, etc. Clutches can be fairly cheap or relatively expensive. It depends on what girls are willing to spend. If they plan on only using the clutch for one night, they probably should not spend too much money on it.

Another important part of girls’ appearance at prom is jewelry: necklaces, bracelets, earrings and so on. They should not over do it – perhaps just pick a few pieces that will glisten under the lights. They may already have the jewelry they need. If not, it is up to them what to spend. A good price range might be $20-$50. As for the optional corsage, it is typically $35-$40, and the boutonniere is $15-$20.

Now for the fun stuff: hair, nails and make-up. Some girls may opt to meet at a friend’s house before prom and get ready together, doing their own or each other’s hair, nails and make-up. However, for those girls choosing to get professionally beautified, Jorden Blocher, an award-winning local hairstylist at After FX salon, has some price ranges.

“It is $35-$50 for hair depending on the stylist/salon, and nails range from just a polish ($25) to shellac ($35),” Blocher said.

When it comes to make-up, Sephora, Ulta, MAC and Bobbi Brown (at Saks Fifth Avenue in Utica Square) offer professional services for around $50.

Before the dance, there are a few things that need to be in order. Naturally, tickets must be bought. For Broken Arrow’s prom, tickets are $50 and can be purchased the week before prom (Apr. 25-29) in the Student Union. This year’s prom will be held at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK. The theme is The Great Gatsby.

Since the dance will have water, flavored slushies and a light dessert bar, dinner beforehand is encouraged. Depending on where they go and how many people they go with, dinner can cost students anywhere from $15-$30 per person. After they eat, they will need a way to get to the dance. The two most popular modes of transportation are limousines and party buses. The price for renting those typically starts at $400 a night so, unless they are going with a large group or have a lot of money to spend, prom-goers might want to just take their own car.

Prom is a momentous occasion, one that the attendee, or at least their mother, will want to capture with a billion or so pictures. There is the option of standing by a tree in their front yard with their date or their friends and having their mom take some pictures on her ancient camera, or they could snap some selfies with their phone. If they would rather bring in a professional, those can get to be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

No matter what students choose to do to prepare, they should focus on having a magical night that will not soon be forgotten.

Low end total: $400 (not including photography or transportation)

High end total: $900 (not including photography or transportation)