*This story was co-written by Jordyn Laudanno and Mallory Muller
MSD Seniors are preparing for prom on May 11. Trying on dozens of dresses, finding exact color matches for their shoes and preparing jewelry to accessorize with for the special day can turn out to cost more than it’s worth.
The theme has not yet been announced, but most girls have already decided on their gowns for the occasion. Stores such as Mario Pucci in Boca, La Casa Hermosa in Wellington, Rashawn Rose in Davie, Boca Bridal in Coral Springs and Camille La Vie in Sunrise have been raided and sold out of their most popular prom dresses.
“I am really happy that I already have my dress picked out. It was a frustrating process but I ended up finally buying something at Mario Pucci,” senior Gabby Furetta said.
Designer dresses such as Jovani and Sherri Hill range from $200 to over $1000, and some girls are willing to spend top dollar if it means they find the “perfect” dress. With over 400 girls in the senior class, it is inevitable for students to be eyeing the same dresses. To avoid this problem, an Instagram account was made to reserve a dress for an individual girl attending prom.
“The purpose of the prom dress account is to ensure that no one gets the same dress as someone else, whatever we receive on the account we post. I think it is a good idea so that people can either get ideas or know if a dress is taken,” senior Emily Grusky said.
With the senior class being as large as 819 students, dresses are scarce at boutiques. Many enforce the policy that they will refuse to sell the same dress to a girl attending the same prom, making dress shopping a little more frustrating amongst those who still have yet to find a dress. Prom dress stores such as Rashawn Rose highly enforces that you tell the employee’s what school you attend in order to buy the dress, and does not allow customers to take any pictures in dresses that you are not 100% sure you are buying so that girls do not get confused about what dresses are taken and what dresses are not.
“I went to California over spring break and still couldn’t find one. So now I have to go maybe an hour north to find a dress,” senior Madisyn Menchaca said.
As the date comes nearer, girls are stressing to get their alterations and accessories, which could add hundreds to their total for preparation. Whether a dress needs to be hemmed, taken in or widened, it will only add to the fixed cost of the dress.
“I went into prom dress shopping with the intent of not spending a lot, but was soon faced with the fact that most of the dresses I liked were over $400,” senior Natalie Mistretta said.
Finding a dress online might seem easy, but the horrors of spending hundreds of dollars and not receiving what the buyer promised comes with the ease of simply having a dress shipped.
“I bought my first prom dress online from Vienna, I found them on Instagram. The dress I saw in the picture was the one I’ve wanted since I was a freshman. It was the perfect dress. It was a total of $580, and it was a final transaction. What I got it, it looked nothing like the picture. I am trying to sell it on eBay, Craigslist, literally any app to sell in order to get my money back,” senior Ana Solano said.
Store retailers that distribute designer dresses online often make their transactions final to scam customers as well. It is almost too easy to be scammed from a website, looking at the products reviews written by customers who have previously purchased is always a good idea.
“After a lot of frustration my mom finally decided to buy me a new dress. I found my new, beautiful dress on Alamour the Label. They were so nice and helpful, and the dress was legit. They are the real deal but I had to spend another $400,” Solano said.
Almost a month before prom, girls are booking hair, makeup and nail appointments, estimating another $200 more or less. Tickets have yet to go on sale, and without the help of Hollister funding the prom, tickets can be estimated to cost another $120, we are lucky enough to have won something to take some weight off of our soon to be checks. After parties and limo services also factor into the special night, costing another $150.
According a survey from Visa, American families were spending an average of about $919 on their prom amenities. Although it is common in our community for students to spend even more than that. Ways to save money on prom could include buying a used dresses, since they are only worn once, or renting a dress. Having a friend that can do hair and makeup well might help too.
Without doubt, prom is an expensive splurge, but also a once in a lifetime experience for many. The money spent can easily be used on something that is a necessity rather than a want. Yet the question remains: how much is too much?