Subourbon Mom

Prom–The New Wedding

Ahhhh…spring. Cheers and whistles ripple across athletic fields as the sports season winds down. Pollen hangs in the air like a miasma, and prom dresses fly off the racks at all of the local stores faster than the NBA punished Mr. Sterling.

Looking at prom through parent goggles is a strange odyssey.

images-6Let’s start with dresses. Our newspaper listed some numbers associated with prom. Apparently, the amount spent on average for prom dresses: $250 to $500. I was floored—until I went prom dress shopping. (Word to the wise—waiting until three weeks before prom is not a good idea. There are only size 00 and size 16 left.)

For a mere $100-$200, you too can own a cheaply-made dress with plunging neck- or backlines that would make Christina Aguilera blush, and enough fake jewels sewn on to make Cher look like a Quaker. God help you if you want something else—which is (thankfully) what Daughter #1 wanted: something less flashy but still long, and in a regular size.

We found a great resource, “Rent the Runway,” where you pay a minimal amount ($25-$150) to rent a brand-name runway dress for a week. While none of those dresses appealed to Daughter #1, I’m keeping it in my back pocket for the next event I have to go to. (If anybody ends up using this catalog, let me know how it works out!) In the end, we bought a beautiful dress (for you women who care, it’s a glorified maxi) that she will be able to wear a dozen times, and not get stuffed into the closet as a precursor to all the bridesmaids dresses she will be wearing in her twenties.

The average amount guys spend on a tux these days? $120.

As for transportation, I don’t think many of my friends took limos to prom. These days, the amount many teens (i.e. their parents) spend on transportation: $400.

Seriously? What’s left for the wedding?

My generation was the first (I think) to instill the school-sponsored after-prom party, which we attended for the least amount of time required before going out on our own to a party at someone’s house, and usually with a fair supply of “social enhancers” to go with us. Lately, I’ve heard some parents talking about what their kids are doing after the prom, and a couple of them mentioned the kids might be getting hotel rooms.

Um, maybe I’m out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure nothing good ever came from a bunch of (or two) teenagers renting hotel rooms.

And of course, there’s the increasingly popular “asks” to prom: signs on overpasses, messages on car windows, and a bedroom filled with balloons, just to name a few. It sure makes my wedding proposal, which was perfectly romantic and in no way public, seem like we were Ward and June Cleaver. I would hate to be a guy and have to ask someone to prom these days—talk about pressure! It seems that if you don’t do something spectacular to ask your date, you’re just not really trying. And, if you do something spectacular, God forbid she says no. Talk about humiliation! I don’t know if I’d ever recover.





As long as we’re skirting the prom/wedding border, why don’t jewelers come up with a “prom ring?” For a mere $100 or so, you can rent a specially-designed ring for your date, which indicates she has been asked and accepted—it would help eliminate any questions or guesswork. Plus, it’s just anther step closer to an actual engagement ring.


Or why stop there? Why not just schedule spring break right after prom? Since so many kids go to the beaches or other exotic places on spring break, why not just make it a practice honeymoon? It would probably be cheaper than an actual spring break trip, since many of the Caribbean locales are just starting their off-season in May.

So again, I ask, what’s left for the wedding? Just sayin’….


Oh, and no, I didn’t forget that I promised the underwear post this time…it just had to take a backseat to prom–some rituals just need to be commented upon.

6 Comments so far
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I was so shy, I asked my date to the prom by dropping a note in her locker. When she confronted me in the hallway a period or two later, she was so happy to accept, I thought there must be something wrong with her.


Comment by Bruce

Well said, Libby. So glad my kids and grandkids are past prom. Some prom pics I saw in the paper were (in the stone ages when I was prom age) inappropriate. sd


Comment by energywriter

My oldest, the boy, asked a girl by spelling it out in Christmas lights on her lawn at night, ringing the bell and having a bouquet of flowers at the ready. This time used his radio connections to pre broadcast his invitation on the radio while his friend made sure she was listening when he showed up again with bouquet of flowers! He’s good. Best thing I did was buy Hume a tux for same price to rent, now he has one, we just buy a bow tie to match his dates dress.

Daughter wanted the original dress from the exclusive shop that registers your dress so they won’t sell it to anyone else at your school. Ahh really?


Comment by Patrice

Oooooh…he did a good one! The exclusive dress…wow…I didn’t even know stores did that!




Comment by libbyhall

God help me when Sabrina goes to her first prom! 😣


Comment by Lacy

Start saving now!


Comment by libbyhall

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