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Prom finances depend on choice of accessories

Staff writer

With prom around the corner, students and families figure the special event will cost anywhere from $150-$600, or more. It’s no surprise the cost is substantially less for guys.

Marion senior Brad Stone rented a tuxedo for the first time last year to attend Future Business Leaders of America awards ceremony, and he knows the tux plus flowers will cost about $150.

“It’s easy,” Stone said. “My mom will pay for it.”

For the girls, the prom budget is vastly more complicated and detailed.

Styling hair can cost $35-$50, or more, students said. Shoes cost $35-$45. Nails is another potential expense. Jewelry and a purse, too.

“I don’t have to worry about hair because my sister does my hair,” said Molly Hess, a sophomore, who estimated she would spend about $300-$400 on prom.

Shelby Felvus plans to spend about $600. When Felvus went to prom last year as a freshman, she says she spent about $300.

Felvus said the dress usually accounts for the bulk of the cost, and although renting or borrowing a dress would be cheaper, the reality is that girls want to own their garment even if they only wear it once.

“Most people buy the dress,” Felvus said.

Underclassmen girls attend prom if upperclassmen ask them. For many parents, paying for their freshman or sophomore daughters to dress up for prom comes as a surprise.

Marion High School Librarian Lori McLinden said that when her daughter Lauren attended prom as an underclassman, the family tried to keep expenses down. When Lauren went as a freshman, she borrowed a dress. When she was a sophomore, the family spent $100 on a dress. As a senior, they spent $300.

“My husband was not thrilled at all about having to buy a dress for her freshman and sophomore year,” McLinden said. “Sure, for her senior year, we said, ‘You can have anything you want.’ And I spent just as much on hair and getting her nails and makeup done as the dress.”

At Hillsboro High School, prom budget is on the minds of juniors Alex Ratzlaff and Shannon Heiser. They both enjoyed trying on expensive dresses at Foggy Bottom, a Wichita formal wear and prom store. But neither plans to overspend.

Heiser’s sister is going to style both of their hair on the big day and put on their makeup, too.

“People say prom is so expensive, but I don’t think they try to be cheap,” Ratzlaff said. “They want the full prom experience, with their hair done and nails and everything.”

At Marion, seniors attend prom for free. Juniors can sell $100 worth of magazines or pay the $100 fee, to attend.

Girls can also increase their expenses by opting for high-heels for show and a pair of flats to dance in.

For guys, expenses are more limited, especially because shopping may not be a favorite activity.

“That hour in the flower shop I’ll never get back,” senior Braden Fahey said.

Last modified March 4, 2015

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