How North Polk Becomes Prom Ready

The Steep Cost of Formal Dances


Students wore their outfits for dinner, pictures and the dance but change into regular clothes for after prom.

Olivia Moody, Newspaper Editor

With the rush of prom weekend finally coming to an end, it is a good time to reflect on all of the planning that goes into a singular dance. 

The North Polk 2022 Prom was held on April 30, starting off with the grand march at 7:30 p.m with the dance following. After the dance, students went to Great Escape in Pleasant Hill to participate in laser tag, bowling and much more for after prom. 

Prom is a coveted American High School tradition that takes a lot more stress and planning than many might think, especially for only one night. 

The prom committee started meeting months ago to discuss themes, decorations, music and much more. Overall, the prom committee had a budget of $2,000 to beautify the high school commons, as well as purchase items such as king and queen sashes, balloons, photo backdrops, confetti and glow sticks all to create the theme of blisstopia. The heftiest prices for prom are hiring a DJ as well as paying police officers to be present at the dance to ensure students’ safety. The total for just the two officers and a singular DJ was $1,447. 

The prom committee are not the only people putting in the work to get ready for the dance. Students buy dresses and suits months in advance, often going to many different stores to find their perfect outfit. Students also have to hunt down jewelry, shoes and makeup for their final look. Students research nail and hairstyles to match their outfits and book reservations to get them done right before the big day. Promposals are planned, dinner reservations are booked, picture locations are intentionally set, limos and party buses are reserved. 

A slew of students shared how much they spent on their prom outfits. 

“My dress was on sale, so normally it was $500, I got it for $250. My makeup and hair… I’m getting it done by someone, but last time it was $75, so I’m going to go with $125,” shared junior Maggie Doll. 

When it comes to dresses, Trinity Miller spent $250 on her entire outfit, but Hallie Winther and Sydney Houston were able to find dresses for $70 and $90. Lucy Berry went above and beyond with a singular dress that cost $600. 

Like Cayden McCoy, many people opt to rent a suit for prom but even that can be costly. McCoy’s rented suit was $350, but Masen Bonner’s purchased suit was only $300. 

Junior Tyler Sullivan went above and beyond by investing in a suit that will last him a lot longer than a high school prom, “In total, I spent about $700. My blazer and pants were about $500, I bought a suit for later on in life, and my shirt was about $100 and my shoes were about $100.”

The stress and price of all of this planning, along with school work and sports really adds up. While there are ways to deter costs and stress, like going with a small group or buying an outfit secondhand, some students opt out of prom simply because they can not handle all of the planning that is involved. 

While all of that adds up, students are simply excited at the prospect of getting to spend the night dressed up with all of their friends without having to think about the hardships that come at the end of the year. For seniors, it is a way to celebrate the closeness of graduation and have one final high school experience before being whisked away into adulthood.