From dresses to hair and make up, shoes to transport the school prom can cost a small fortune! I speak from experience being the mum of a daughter who has recently passed through the doors of this rite of passage. I think my son will be less bothered and just grateful to have finished school.
For months before the day talk is full of speculation on the dresses, where are they getting them from, how much are the paying and why are they paying that much. Moms' are given the unenviable task of booking the hairdresser, beautician, transport anything from sports cars to horse and carriage to helicopters (I kid you not!)
Trawling the high street looking for bridal boutiques who specialised in prom gowns, I was shocked at how high the prices were and had to remind myself (and my daughter) that she wasn’t getting married!
It was ludicrous to think of the money being spent on gowns when the girls will probably grow out of them anyway. I don’t know many women who can still get into their wedding dress and, if they could, when would they have an occasion to wear it again?
So here are my top 5 tips to help ease the pain (financial and emotional) when Prom shopping.
1. Have a budget in mind and stick to it.
I had a budget for each item, so I knew how much I ideally wanted to pay for the dress, shoes, hair, makeup, transport etc. Then if you can make savings on an item you can add the extra to something else without going over your overall budget.
2. Contact local colleges
Hair and beauty students are always looking for models and this is a great way to get pampered on a budget. Don’t worry each student is fully supervised, and their work is constantly checked, it may take a little while longer to get your hair and makeup done but you have peace of mind.
I have made some great contacts and now have numbers to call for special occasions, such as a prom. Who’s to know you haven’t been to Toni and Guy, you will still look spectacular.
3. Think outside the box
Don’t just head straight to the nearest bridal wear shop or internet store. I know of plenty of mums who didn’t have the time to shop for dresses so ordered quite a few off the internet only to find the quality, size or colour wasn’t right and then had the hassle of sending them all back.
4. Check out charity shops and wedding fayres
Yes, I mean it! We looked in numerous charity shops who were selling wedding dresses with a view to having one altered and dyed. It was here that one shop owner told us about a wedding fayre being held in the local town and all their gowns were there.
Here we bought a beautiful vintage ball gown which ticked all the boxes, colour, size, price (bang on budget) and, as it was made by Ian Stuart, London the quality speaks for itself. All that remained to do was to have it dry cleaned.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask.
As time was running out along with the budget, I asked a few friends if they could help. Our neighbour owns a Porsche (transport sorted), a friend we made while having beauty treatments at our local college did hair and makeup (below budget) and along with her new dress my daughter wore my tiara from my wedding outfit, she looked stunning.
I have put together a Prom Collection which has an ever growing selection of accessories from jewellery to evening bags to compliment any outfit. It's definitely worth taking a look.
Once the preparations are over all you need to remember is this may be the most important night of their life and they are desperate for it to be perfect, but once you wave them off it’s down to them to make it a night to remember.
So, if you ever get to the point where you are in this crazy situation, just stay calm, breathe and keep to your budget, you can do it.