Prom prep made easy

May 8, 2015, 1:56 p.m. | By Amalia Chiapperino | 7 years, 7 months ago

Helpful tips to maximize your prom budget and minimize your stress

With prom night fast approaching, the endless costs and preparations can seem a bit daunting. Here are some easy tips and ideas for those short on time and money that will guarantee a wonderful evening.

Clothing choices probably make up at least seventy-five percent of what goes into planning one's prom night. It can also be one of the biggest costs, besides the tickets themselves. This can be especially true when buying prom dresses. So for those who still haven't managed to find a prom dress, or who are looking to spend as little as possible but still want to look and feel amazing, consider dress rental. It's not just for tuxes, and it's an awesome way to save money and find a dress that no one else will be wearing.

Still, if renting just isn't your thing and you want to be able to keep whichever garment you end up wearing, try a vintage or thrift store for a very unique and affordable look. Some of the money saved from forgoing a department or boutique store purchase can be used to tailor the dress, which will go a long way towards ensuring a perfect fit and eliciting a lot of confidence. Regardless of where the dress comes from, finding a tailor shop to fit and adjust your dress is a good idea, and usually a relatively inexpensive one at that.

And for those willing to race against the clock (or spring for overnight shipping), online stores offer a diverse range of dresses and are often a bit cheaper depending on where you go. Sites like ModCloth and Bluefly also tend to stock a lot of dresses with reduced or sale prices. Just make sure you read the sizing chart well to make sure you get a dress in the mail that will fit well in time for the dance with nothing more than a few minor adjustments.

Tux rentals are a much more economical choice than buying a brand-new suit. Plus, since it's only yours for one night, you can get whichever color or style you want and not have to worry about how it looks down the road. Grey, black, and white are all perfectly acceptable options and any colors would add some refreshing variation to the mix. Better yet, see if you can borrow one from an older sibling, cousin, or family friend in a similar size who may have purchased one for their prom. Or, skip the tux all together and just wear a nice suit. Cheaper and still just as nice looking, especially when accented with a rocking bow tie or tie. Plus, a purchased suit is something you might actually wear again in your life.

In terms of shoes, the biggest concern is often comfort, because no one wants to spend four hours or more with their feet feeling like they're on fire because of the heels that they're wearing. For girls, one option would be to skip the heels entirely and just wear comfortable flats or smaller pumps. Or, heels could be worn for pictures and then discarded in favor of something a bit more comfortable for the actual dance. But if the idea of wearing anything other than heels does not appeal to you, shoe inserts are highly recommended. They are cheap and make a big difference in the fit and feel of a high-heeled shoe. Who wants to spend their prom night limping around in pain?


I'd always recommend skipping corsages and boutonnieres entirely, but since that doesn't appeal much to most prom goers, here are some quick tips for couples planning on wearing corsages and boutonnieres.

Photo: A white corsage will go with any color combination.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

If you want to match, but one or both of you going hasn't yet decided on a dress color or a tuxedo/cummerbund combination, just get white flowers. White corsages and flowers are elegant and pretty, and will match with just about every other color out there, if the matching thing is important to you.

And if you've already maxed out a budget, it is surprisingly easier than it looks to make a corsage or boutonniere at home from flowers that you may even have in your garden.

Hair Styling and make up

This is one area where it is the easiest to cut costs. You may not feel like the most pampered person on the planet, but none of that will matter when you'll still look and feel amazing on prom night, without the stress of having spent so much time and money getting ready.

For hairstyling, if you really don't trust yourself (or your friends) to pull off whichever style you're looking for (here are some styling ideas), then find a local beauty school instead of a fancy salon. The students will still know what they're doing, and they'll charge a lot less to style hair than any professional hairdresser.

Make up tips depend much more on personal preference, but I will say this: don't feel obligated to get a manicure or spend a lot of money on make up if it isn't your thing. And if it is, see if any friends would be willing to paint nails or lend make up or hair curlers, or anything else you might need. Chances are they would, and getting ready as a group can be a lot more fun anyway.

Ultimately, your prom experience is what you make of it. But if you're short on time and money, these tips will guarantee an awesome night, without the stress or cost of a more traditional route.

Tags: fashion prom

Amalia Chiapperino. Hello and welcome to SCO! I'm Amalia, a senior and one of the managing editors. I love to read and spend most of my time outside. Cold weather and rain make me unbelievably happy, and I am a huge fan of history and foreign languages. More »

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