For many, the prom experience is the apex of high school memories, an event that is months in the making where every decision is scrutinized and planned out in advance.
However, the memories of prom can bring unexpected expenses. The perfect hair, skin and nails can cost hundreds; the national price tag for the average couple is well over $1,000.
But the perfect prom doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some tips to have a great prom ex-perience with out the hefty price tag, while patronizing local businesses in the process.
Dress: A dress worn once by a girl last year is just a good as a brand new one. The best way to save money on a dress is to either find a used one or make one. Stores like Sweet Repeats and the VAC thrift store have nice used dresses for less than half the original price.
There is also the option to borrow or buy a dress from a friend. Most college-age girls have an abundance of perfectly good prom and bridesmaid dresses that they are more than willing to sell for a low price.
For just about every dress available in clothing stores, there is a pattern available in a fabric store.
Starting from scratch, the girl has the opportunity to pick out her favorite color, fabric type and style. She can also sew it to fit her own body shape. The dress becomes fully customizable.
Make-up: Every girl wants to glow in her prom pictures and the best way to do that is a little bit of make-up. While some make-up stores are offering makeovers for higher prices, there are some less expensive options for those willing to do the research.
Local Avon Representative and Unit Leader, Jackie Seger, says that each Avon representative is independent and owns their own business. Representatives have the option of running that business however they like, Seger says, but most would be willing to give someone make-up advice in ex-change for a purchase.
Mary Kay representatives are also willing to give makeovers in exchange for the purchase of a few items. With these options, a girl has the opportunity to not only spend less money, but also go home with the make-up she chooses to buy. These representatives and consultants can be found by typing in a zip code on the perspective websites, www.marykay.com and www.avon.com.
Hair: As with all aspects of prom, the least expensive way for a person to have her hair styled is to do it herself. However, there are also budget options that some stylists offer. According to Raye Fowler, owner of Shaggy Chic, if someone chooses a style that requires less time, most stylists will charge less. One of the options Fowler talked about is called a chignon.
“You don’t have to spend an hour doing curls so the stylists can whip it up in a hurry,” said Fowler.
The chignon hairstyle is an off-center, sometimes messy bun that rests on the lower part of the head.
According to Fowler, chignons are very modern and current today.
“A lot of big stars are wearing them and they are a little bit messy so they are current,” said Fowler.
Some other style options that Fowler mentioned are the French twist, braids and knots.
“The French twist will never go out of style, they are always a classic,” said Fowler. “You can do them at home. I recommend getting them done by a stylist but it would save you money.”
Tan: According to Tracey Grooms, owner of Electric Rayz, the best way for girls to get a tan with-out spending to much money is to “get a package deal that will offer them the most visits available and go with a lower end lotion.”
Grooms also recommends looking for coupons in the paper. Electric Rayz has a coupon in the Calhoun Times offering five visits for $5, making it $1 per visit.
She says that while girls don’t want to hear it, there is such a thing as tanning too much.
“For prom, the girls should look good in their dresses, not people noticing their tan and only talk-ing about how dark they are. You want your tan to complement your dress,” said Grooms.
For all three of the proms (Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville), Electric Rayz is planning to have a Mary Kay representative available for appointments to do makeovers in exchange for the purchase of products. Electric Rayz also offers UV teeth whitening while tanning.
Nails: Prom is one night; the pictures from prom will be on Facebook forever. The dress is impor-tant because it and a girl’s face are the focal point of pictures. Her nails are not. That $35 French manicure and pedicure might show up in one or two photos, but the dress and makeup are going to make an appearance in just about every photograph. An inexpensive alternative to going to a nail salon is to get together with some friends a day or two before and do each other’s nails.
Jessicah Bennett’s Fairytale prom dress
For Gordon Central senior Jessicah Bennett, 17, prom is a special and personal event.
“It’s that one thing,” Bennett said. “It shows you are just about to graduate and your life.”
Bennett is heavily involved with the arts and related or-ganizations such as the International Thespian Society and Tri-Am Music Society. She was also selected as an All-Star cast member for her role as Dorothy Brown in a “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” For her prom dress, she decided to steer away from the drama-like look that she is familiar with throughout her many theatrical productions.
But, she did manage to find a show-stopping gown.
At her prom, she will sparkle in a one-of-a kind Cinderella gown: a strapless, plumberry to deep purple trandescent colored dress that changes colors when she moves. The corset lace up back is both slimming and stylish.
Nor did she have to travel to Paris or New York for it, ei-ther. She shopped close to home with her mom.
“It was a mother-daughter experience,” Bennett said. “It was special to me.”
While the mother-daughter duo wouldn’t consider it a budget-friendly find, Bennett did manage to pay for it by saving up money for the occasion. The remainder of the cost her parents helped pay.
She also proved that finding the dress of your dreams in less than a 45 minute drive in Rome is possible.