By Noelle Smith
We’re in the middle of prom season, and high school students appear to be pulling out all the stops.
It’s a once, maybe twice, in a lifetime opportunity to have the time of your life. But as prom gets more extravagant, so does the price tag.
Christine Henning, a Valley High School Senior, says she feels like a princess in her $600 designer dress.
Henning’s mom and grandma split the cost of the dress.
“My grandma helped pay for some of it too because she is older and in a nursing home and so she likes to spend money on me. I’m her only granddaughter,” Henning said.
At $500 to $600 each, prom dresses can be a major investment. But other accessories add up quickly too.
A Visa survey found that families with teens are expected to spend an average of $1078 dollars on prom this year. That’s up from $807 last year.
Rhonda Deer owns Prom Elegance in West Des Moines. She says that amount is actually conservative in some cases.
“We’ve seen some gals that will buy the $700 dollar dress, $250 pair of shoes, and they’ve still got the jewelry, they’ll have their hair done, their nails done…” she said.
She also sees mostly moms footing the bill.
For Lana Pusin and her daughter Lisa, it’s laughable to think of spending so much money.
“We’re from Midwest, and originally we are from Russia…so no way,” Lana said.
As a junior at Valley High School, Lisa only spent $80 on her dress after a sale and coupon.
“I guess it’s like their one day to be glamorous like the movies,” Lisa said.
So why are girls and their moms willing to spend so much? Johnston High School Junior Emily Scott says it’s crazy that prom is like a taste of celebrity.
For some students, prom is a once in a lifetime that has no price tag.
The Visa survey also found that families making $20,000 to $30,000 are expected to spend more than $2600. That’s twice the national average.