Prom Costs: The High Cost of Dancing

Melissa Burgett, Print Editor-In-Chief

For many teenagers, prom is the biggest and most formal event they experience while in high school. Yet, the pressure to compete with one’s peers for the most beautiful dress or the nicest shoes often overwhelms students experiencing the dance for the first time.
While ideally students should focus on having fun at the event, it is implausible to believe that price won’t be thought of during the months leading up to prom.

Some tips for keeping cost down may help ease the financial strain of prom and create fonder memories to look back on.

“What I did for prom last year to save some money was I got paper corsages for me and my ‘date’ Carmen, and I actually ordered them from Ms. [Laura] Garcia, an English teacher here at Mundelein. She has a paper flower business, and I only paid $10 instead of a normal price of $30-35,” said Junior Christine So.

Crafting your own boutonnieres and corsages is also simple, inexpensive alternative to do with friends.

Start by selecting the theme color of your look, and base your flower choice on that color. The most common choice of base flower for a boutonniere is a rose due to its traditional feel and beautiful look.

From a craft store, such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, buy one or two of your artificial base flower, some ribbon, glue, a package of boutonniere pins and gardener’s tape. You might also want to buy an accent artificial, such as baby’s breath or any other small flower. This should amount to about $20 or less.

To create the boutonniere, cut the stems of your flowers to about 3 or 4 inches long and tape them together with the gardener’s tape. Then cover the tape and excess stem with your ribbon, and glue to hold in place. You can then tie the ribbon, or let it hang curled from the piece.

Once the glue has dried, the boutonniere will be ready to be pinned.

Most girls will be experienced at some level in creating formal hair and makeup looks, which aren’t truly necessary to the prom experience, but many enjoy the prospect of looking different than usual for the dance.

“To cut down costs, me and my date (my friend) got our makeup done by my cousin,” said Senior Eleanor Ceisel.

As cliché as it may sound, getting ready is one of the most exciting parts of prom and can be more enjoyable when done with friends. Rather than pay a salon stylist to do makeup, girls can ask their mothers or their friends for assistance with their look.

The popular stereotype is that girls make more of an effort to prepare for dances, but their male counterparts also have a number of tasks to complete before the big day, such as outfit preparation.

“When I went to prom freshman year, I wore my tux that I use for concert choir. For prom sophomore year, I bought a vest and tie to go with my suit, which was cheaper than an actual tux rental,” said Senior David West.

Renting an outfit is an option for both genders, as is borrowing or buying used outfits.

Unless your size has changed drastically from your last event, it can be beneficial to simply reuse past accessories for prom.

Black or silver shoes are the most versatile for the dance process, as they can match about any color or style of dress and can be dressed down if necessary.

Hair accessories, such as pins or headbands, bracelets and earrings, can also be reused. Simple silver or gold accessories are also very adaptable.

Said Ceisel, “Prom isn’t supposed to make you go broke.”


The Cost of Dancing

Girls Guys
Dress (+$50 for alterations):

$200 from Windsor

$300 from David’s Bridal

$600 from Gipper (Sherri Hill)


$50 at Nordstrom

$70 at Macy’s

$75-$100 at Men’s Warehouse

$30 from Charlotte Russe$10-$50 from Shoe Dept. Encore$80-$150 from Macy’s

$80 at Designer Shoe Warehouse

$60 at Aldo

$125-$250 at Men’s Warehouse


Upwards of $30


$40 at JC Penney


$47 at Salon Gia

$60 at O Salon and Spa

$70 at Mario Tricoci


$70 (Blazer) at H&M

$100 at Burlington

$300-$400 at Men’s Warehouse


$40 at Mario Tricoci

$70 at O Salon and Spa


$35-$60 at H&M

$30 at Men’s Warehouse

Ticket: $75 for MHS 2016 Prom Ticket: $75 for MHS 2016 Prom
Rental: Unavailable Rental: Prices vary at Men’s Warehouse

$10-$25 at Debbie’s Floral Shoppe

$45-$60 at Flowerama


$20-$30 at Debbie’s Floral Shoppe

$35-$50 at Flowerama