Prom 2011: Paying for the Look
What a cool prom presence will cost.
For high school seniors, spring means prom. While student committees, class advisers and parent associations make plans for the event, the kids are focused on making the scene with dress, date and transport.
“Prom is huge,” said Mary Lappe, assistant principal at Annapolis High School. “The kids are so excited and there a lot of discussion and build-up leading to it.”
After a review of typical costs for both boys and girls, the average cost for each can be hundreds of dollars. Looking at the average costs for a dress, manicure, hair stylist, prom could cost as much as $500 for a girl, but more like $280 for a boy. (See detailed list at the end of the story.)
In January, Annapolis High senior Elena Diberardinis of Hillsmere started a Facebook page where classmates could post a photo of their prom dress. Dress registration is popular and helps girls avoid a dreaded duplication.
On the Annapolis High prom dresses Facebook page, posts reveal every style of dress from vintage 1950s purchased from Etsy, an online marketplace, to designer brands from high-end department store Neiman Marcus.
The cost of dresses the girls are favoring ranges from $100 to almost $400.
The anxiety of finding the right dress also is evident from the Facebook posts.
“I can’t find a dress! I’m freakin’ out,” lamented one young lady in January, four months before prom.
Fortunately, she followed up with a “this is the one” photo post last month.
Many girls go for tanning, manicure/pedicures, or hair styling at local salons before the big night. Laura Parry, owner of Oasis Tanning in the Hillsmere Shopping Center, said she definitely sees an upswing in business around prom season.
“We cater to these girls on their big day,” Parry said. “Spray tans are popular because they are UV free, last one to two weeks and can be applied a day before the event.”
Spray tans at Oasis start at $29.99 for a single session.
Alexander’s of Annapolis in the Festival at Riva is targeting the prom market with a $99 special, which includes an up-do hairstyle, express manicure and half-hour pedicure.
“This is an opportunity for our prom clients to come in and get the full salon experience at a reasonable price,” said Owner Alexander Westmoreland.
For guys, tuxedos are the dress of choice, and renting is a popular option. Men’s Wearhouse and Tux in Westfield Annapolis mall lists prices from $89.99 to $149.99, including everything but the undergarments.
Flowers are still popular for both boys and girls. Donna Cory, store manager at Gateway Florist on Bay Ridge Road, is using more dendrobium orchids with crystal or pearl accents for wrist corsages, with prices starting at $25.
Recently, she’s also made flower combs for girls’ hair, priced at $20. Boutonniere prices start at $11.
“It is crazy this time of year,” Cory said. “We will probably make up about 50 wrist corsages on top of the boutonniere orders.
David Blanchard, owner of Blanchard Limousines on Riva Road, is a graduate of Annapolis High School and frequently offers prom discounts. Ironically, he didn’t take a limo to his prom in 1981.
“Limousines for prom weren’t as prevalent in the early 80s,” he said. “The 10-passenger limo didn’t come out until later. Our most popular prom transport now is the limo bus, which can hold 18 people. It has a flat-screen plasma television, surround sound, flashing lights and leather couches.”
The cost of a limousine or limo bus runs from $600 to $1,400 depending on the vehicle and number of hours booked.
Not all seniors splurge on prom. At Annapolis Area Christian School, Tracey Cogliano’s son Adam, of Edgewater, and his friends passed on the limo for their prom on April 8.
Instead, they chipped in for a professional photographer to guarantee great photos.
Elena Diberardinis is still deciding between two dresses, both reasonably priced, according to her mom Laura. Elena plans on getting a manicure, but has chosen a hairstyle Laura can help with.
In the midst of all the preparation, it is the memories, not the dress or hair, that Laura treasures most.
“It’s been fun,” she said. “It’s a little stressful, but I’m looking forward to seeing her all dressed up. It’s hard to believe the day is almost here.”
Prom Planner 2011
Prom tickets: $65 (at Annapolis High if purchased after spring break).
Formal Dress: $100 to $400.
Spray tan: $30 (at Oasis Tanning).
Salon package hair/mani/pedi: $99 (at Alexander’s of Annapolis).
Tuxedo Rental: $90 to $150 (Men’s Wearhouse in Westfield Annapolis).
Wrist Corsage: $25 (Gateway Florist).
Boutonniere: $11 (Gateway Florist).
Limo: $600 to $,1400 (Blanchard Limousine depending on vehicle and hours used).