Prom 2015: Overall spending down, but cost of promposals on the rise
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on April 28, 2015 at 1:30 PM, updated April 28, 2015 at 6:04 PM
Parents of high school students have reason to celebrate: The cost of prom is going down.
A nationwide survey conducted by Visafound that the average American household will spend $919 on high school’s most storied night — a 6 percent decrease from last year.
And while the majority of the annual tab includes the cost of tickets, attire, limousine rental, flowers, photographs, and after party festivities — the single biggest prom-related expense actually precedes the annual dance: the “promposal.”
According to Visa’s findings, the pomp and circumstance of the promposal is on the rise. At least one third of the annual cost of prom — about $324 — will be spent on securing a date to the big dance, according to Visa.
“Prom is a fun night for the kids to get together and dance, but spending $300 plus on a promposal to simply ask your date is exorbitant,” said Nat Sillin, Visa’s head of U.S. Financial Education.
“Promposals strike me as a wasteful fad,” said Sean Graw of the bargain-hunting website Bradsdeals.com. (Len Melisurgo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
Promposal — a combination of the words “prom” and “proposal” — is the term used to describe an over-the-top, public invitation to the prom, which mimics a marriage proposal. It can range from a candlelight invite to choreographed YouTube performance.
Promposals date back to the early 2000s but have become a common part of the prom lexicon in recent years, with pictures and videos of the invitations flooding Instagram and Twitter.
“Promposals strike me as a wasteful fad,” said Sean Graw of the bargain-hunting website Bradsdeals.com. “I look at what some teens are doing and see it as a ploy to gain internet stardom and go viral.”
In addition to noting how exorbitant one teenage trend has become, Visa’s annual survey also highlighted regional and economic disparities with the big night. The Northeast, for example, leads the nation in prom spending.
Northeastern families are likely to spend an average of $738 for most prom-related expenses and about $431 on promposals, creating a tab of $1,169.
Midwestern families meanwhile continue to be the most thrifty. They will spend an average of $515 on prom night and $218 for the promposal, leading to overall expenses of $733.
“It’s hard to deter teen girls from spending a lot on a prom dress, in part because dress buying is about the experience,” Graw said. “On everything else, though, big savings can be had.”
New Jerseyans tend to spend more due to population density in suburban areas and a higher cost of living compared to other parts of the country, Sillin said.
Graw suggests students take advantage of closeout offers from retailers’ overstock stores including Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus Last Call and said websites such as Groupon.com and Livingsocial.com often have limousine deals.