Behind the scenes of the teenage prom experience


A visual representation of how much money teenagers spend on prom night.

Haylie Williams and Madysen Hawley, News section editor and Viewpoint section editor

Dresses, tuxes, hair, makeup, and so much more. An expensive array of variables all for one night: Prom, the highest anticipated high school event that students plan weeks and even months in advance for. A night that has been  depicted in all coming of age films, adding to the excitement of the day they finally get to experience. 

According to Amarra, “on average a prom girl will spend about $900 – $1000 on their prom night.” But let us  break down where that money is really going and what goes into the extensive preparation.

Ticket costs 

Ticket prices depend on the individual school, but they often rise as the event looms closer. The tickets for this year’s prom started at $55 dollars and increased by $5 each week. By the time they sold out, they were up to $65. Buying tickets in pairs is an option usually provided, often at a reduced price. Some schools may even offer a package at the beginning of each year to get a cheaper price for prom and other events, such as the Pack Sticker, a sticker bought at the beginning of the year which provides reductions to school events 

Dress / tux costs 

Depending on how a prom dress is acquired, according to Prom Girl they can be anywhere from $100 to $600. While the typical method of buying a dress can be expensive, there is the option to buy a dress second hand or even to make one yourself. Buying a dress may also come with the task of alterations which can range from $5 to $95. 

Senior Lorelei Brooks made their dress for senior ball and is doing the same for prom. Looking to not only save money, but to also make their dream dress come to life. They took inspiration from Pinterest and Vivienne Westwood dresses. They used other pieces of clothing they already owned for measurements, which saved them money on a pattern. In total it only cost them about $25 for materials, far less than what most pay for a new dress. 

“It [has] definitely been fun to have a project to work on the last couple of months,” Brooks said, “I think if someone has the time it would be really good for them to do.”

Tuxes are often an outfit of choice as well, and buying them new can cost just as much if not more than a dress,, ranging from $500 to $1000+. They often come custom made to perfectly fit the buyer.

Renting dress/ tuxes

Renting tuxes and dresses is also a possible option to reduce expenses surrounding the event. Tux rentals vary between $60 to $130.  Prom dress rentals are less common than tux rentals but can be extremely cost effective. Rent the Runway, a prom dress rental website, has a variety of dresses ranging $30 to $300. 

Party bus/ limo costs 

Party buses and limo rentals are one of the more extravagant variables included in prom preparations and the costs are often split between members of a friend group. Despite the perceived luxury, the limo experience is not as expensive as one might believe. At certain companies in Ventura county, limo services cost $99 per hour, with a three hour minimum, and that gets you eight people. If that price is split between the eight people, it’s about $38 per person.

The details and variation of prom, obviously depend on the way in which you prepare for it. There are aforementioned ways to minimize spending if one decides to do so. The event is one dreamed about by high school students, and the amount of money one puts into it is based on their financial circumstances and passion for the event.