What to expect from prom




Ugh, it’s prom season.

Parents, get ready to open your wallet, suffer through emotional turmoil, and make some tough judgment calls.

My second time around, I’m an experienced prom parent. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

I’ve discovered there are many components to the prom experience. If you’re a first timer, I ‘m going to share so you, too, are as prepared as possible. Remember, you can never be fully prepared.

Here’s what to expect:

Step one: The ask. If you’re the parent of a boy, get ready to help brainstorm a creative way to ask a date to prom. What? Did you just suggest a simple ask? (Eye roll, that’s not happening!) Today, asking a date to prom involves some grand gesture that could range from a surprise serenade to extravagant sign in the cafeteria to PROM? spelled out on a pizza. Promposals are a big deal and they are only getting bigger because they are getting share on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. My son told me his girlfriend already has a dress. Yet, I’ve spent the last week trying to help him come up with a creative promposal. Things were soooo much simpler when I was in high school!

Step two: The ticket, clothing, the limo.

Get ready to shell out some serious cash. I feel fortunate that my second child is a boy. Buying that dress last year was emotionally and financially draining. By the way, lots have changed since you went to prom and simply bought a dress from the department store. Today’s dress stores  now have a registry of each high school and they won’t sell the same dress to more than one girl at each school. The girls also post pics on Instagram to stake their claim to a particular dress. Don’t think you’re finished once the dress is bought and the pic is posted. Your daughter will need earrings, shoes, and her hair styled. She also will need her nails done.  Parents of boys, you will come to discover that tuxedos cost a pretty penny too. (Look for coupons!) While tuxedos are still mainly a rental item, boys are investing in high-end accessories, such as bow ties, suspenders and silk pocket squares seen on celebrities or sports figures. A survey out this week estimates teens with spend an average of $919 on prom this year. Yes, I know, it’s ridiculous!

Step three: The photos

Pre-prom now require a picture spot and lots of tissues. A lot has changed since we snapped a few photos on the way out the door. Picture taking is a highly orchestrated gathering of teens and their weepy parents. This is an Instagram extravaganza where pics are posted almost as quickly as they are taken. A some point, the limo or party bus arrives, teens jam inside and parent stay behind stunned, talking amongst themselves about how quickly time has passed and how grown up everyone looked formally attired. This is when the tissues come in handy.

Step four: The after party.  The hotel, the alcohol, the indigestion.

No one goes straight home from prom. Most couples and their friends rent a suite at a hotel or spend the night at a designated friend’s house. Some kids drink. Some kids throw up. Hope yours is not one of them.

Step five: The recovery

The next day, your child will arrive home. You will ask how prom was and they will reply with a sleepy grunt. You will ask again. They will slip under their covers and go to sleep. They will wake up and you will ask again. You may get some small details, but not the comprehensive account of the evening you as the parent so desperately want to hear. You will think you will get more details over time. You won’t.


That’s the prom experience from my perspective. I hope I have prepared you!


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