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swimmermom3

Trying to be gracious about prom

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Where is the emoticon with the dropping jaw?

 

What I want to know is how many of these kids are borrowing money for college. One would think that they could have a grand time on $100 and put the rest toward their educations. $1000 won't pay for a semester of college but $1000 less debt is a good thing.

 

Jane the Curmudeon

 

Back the forklift over here to take care of my jaw as well.

 

I'm curious who is paying for these proms -- can't be the kids, can it?

 

And my other concern is how much prom is mimic-ing a wedding "2nd most important night of my life", and all.

 

And isn't this an interesting quote:

 

Parents in one of the lowest income brackets from the Visa survey reported planning to spend the most on prom. Those who make between $20,000 and $29,999 a year will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000

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Here is what dh and I and assorted teen sons have decided upon.

 

One, if they are dates (vs going as "just friends") to his prom, he should cover all expenses he decides upon and can afford except her dress.

 

Two, if they are going as "just friends", then each friend should cover their own expenses, except tickets unless the prom is both their proms. (so if they attend different schools, or she is a junior, then he should pay for tickets if it is his prom, or she should pay if it is her prom.)

 

Three, we don't have a problem with any of the expenses you list, but the bottom line is whether it can be afforded or not. If it can't then that's pretty much the end of that. (and taking money out of college fund to cover it is not an option).

 

Four, if we could afford it, we'd probably be willing to cover the tickets, tux, and fancy dinner. (dh said to see if they can get group discount by all going to the same place to rent their tuxes. Also, send in your HUSBAND to see about the cost of buying (not renting) a tux. Then send in your son to get that price. Many places inflate the price for prom. We have done this for dh and the boys for other formal events with positive results.)

 

Five, if ds is truely serious about this girl and sees a future with her, he needs to be honest and give her a reality check. If she needs money to feel loved or appreciated or whatever, then a quiet half joking kind reminder that she is not dating Donald Trump's son might give her some food for thought. It's likely she honestly is just young and thoughtless about the pressure and unrealistic demands she is placing on him. If she can't handle that, then maybe after prom they need to discuss their relationship.

 

Six, it sounds like your son is usually a frugal responsible guy as far as money? If so and he can afford to have a once every 5-10 ridiculous indulgence? I'd not be upset about it. If he rarely spends money unnecessarily and can afford the indulgence, then I'd let him even if it's not my personal idea of what I would consider a worthy indulgence. Some guys get a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of spoiling the people they love/like. My dh is one of them. If he only shows love (whether its all she wants or his own default) by buying stuff for her? Yeah, we'd have a sit down discussion about that. But once every many years he wants to go all out within reason for someone? Let him enjoy it without criticism.

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My older kids have all attended prom during high school. FWIW, our kids wouldn't be able to spend that kind of $$ on prom b/c they don't have type of disposable income and we wouldn't agree to pay for it.

 

We did something similar to what you describe for oldest ds and his now wife/tehn girlfriend----provided a very nice meal at home and serve it restaurant style in a "private dining room." (it is actually what dh and I did way back in high school for my proms. Dh and I were high school sweethearts and he took me to both my jr and sr proms. :) ) The boys wore nice suits or shirt/tie and our dd bought beautiful dresses used from a group that specifically collects donated prom dresses for girls to purchase for $5! They can borrow their father's car vs. driving their beat up junk mobiles.

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It is a delicate dance because if ds does not spend that kind of money, then he can be seen as cheap and uncaring and he is neither. He wants his girlfriend to have a wonderful evening and will work hard to make that happen. It may not look exactly like how she envisioned it, but I think he can pull it off. I hope. Gulp.

 

 

But people who know him and care about him--which presumably includes the young woman in question--won't think that at all. People who don't know him...who cares what they think?

 

Your son's plans sound wonderful. You and Mr. Swimmermom3 have done a good job. :cheers2:

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I'm curious who is paying for these proms -- can't be the kids, can it?

 

And my other concern is how much prom is mimic-ing a wedding "2nd most important night of my life", and all.

 

 

The parents here pay for the prom from what I can see. Prom shopping has begun at Macy, JCP, Kohls and Burlington coat factory.

News has not been in full swing yet but nearer to prom, news would be talking about prom almost every night. Its a media hype.

 

I don't know where prom is held here. Back home we have prom at hotel ballrooms or country club ballrooms. Guys just came in long sleeve shirt and pants, ladies just came nicely dress :) We (hubby and I) don't go with dates either. Prom is a graduation party for us.

 

ETA

It was $50 for prom and includes buffet dinner in 1990.

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This is an excellent question. There has been a decided push to ultra glamorize the experience. One trend that disturbs me is the over the top invitation where the boy does something outrageous and public (and often videotaped) to ask the girl to prom.

 

 

I wrote up a post about that and then deleted it. It's crazy. I have had female students in tears due to the lack of creativity and public acknowledgement of the prom invite. :glare: :confused1:

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I'm very happy with the way hs prom has worked out. The tickets are in the neighborhood of $25 each. There is a place in town called The Fairy Godmother which rents dresses for prom for just $50. Both of my girls rented their dresses this way last year. We also had to pay $10 for parking and my middle dd needed shoes to go with her dress. Altogether, it was under $200 for both of my girls.

 

My 14yo actually found a great prom dress at Goodwill for just $25 a few months ago that she is planning to wear if it still fits her at that time. It does still fit her now, but I don't know if it will fit her then.

 

The hs prom in my area is for all highschoolers and my youngest is planning to go every year. My 17yo is certainly looking forward to this year's prom.

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Does the school make a profit from the ticket sales? $110 a couple and no food! That is crazy.

 

 

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I remember that when my brother's boys were going to the prom, my brother and SIL picked up the tab. They wanted them to be able to go and have a good time without having to worry about the expense.

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<snip>

However, I don't really see any way for your son to cut corners here without leaving the girlfriend disappointed and sad. Prom is a social experience, and opting out of the limo ride and dinner with friends in a restaurant where his date gets to show off her dress and feel part of the group undercuts a huge aspect of the evening.

 

<snip>

You can certainly insist that he stand on one side of this line you're drawing, but it won't leave his girlfriend with happy, warm fuzzy memories of her prom experience.

 

Honestly, from what I read elsewhere, the plan these kids have come up with and the associated costs are pretty frugal. According to this article, the average last year was over $1,000:

 

http://usatoday30.us...ding/54224068/1

 

 

But no matter what, one couple cannot ride in the limo, it only seats 8 of the 10 people. (so a rather silly part of the plan, lol)

 

I do agree that prom is more social, and that missing out on dinner with friends is a pretty big deal. I would recommend skipping the tux for a nice suit (very, very common) and using that money for dinner out. He will come out ahead, and girlfriend will likely have more fun. If no tux makes her just as unhappy, then I think she's being a bit difficult.

 

My oldest is 9th grade, so has gone to several dances but (home school) prom is still a few years away. imo, it should be a fun and special night that does not match the cost of a mortgage payment. I'm actually okay with limos if the alternative is a giddy teen driving, lol. It's not the worst of the expenses. I don't think boys should rent a tux, and I don't think girls should pay a fortune for a dress - I think $500 for dress, makeup, hair, nails, is absolutely insane. My kids can do that if they choose to pay for it, lol.

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Let's see - DS19 went to his senior prom. We paid for a tux because he didn't have a suit that fit thanks to a grow spurt $75. DS bought dinner and flowers, his date bought the tickets. Total about $200 including the tux.

 

DD19 went to both her junior and senior proms. She bought the tickets, her date paid for dinner. She had a new dress for each prom - under $100 since I was paying for the dresses. She has gotten reuse on the dresses at some formal events in college, so that worked out fine. For dd, including the dress, shoes, tickets and flowers, it was about $175.

 

Both my kids had jobs in high school, so they paid their share from their wages.

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A bit off topic...my mom's church had a program last month for girls going to prom. They collected over 100 dresses, shoes, jewelry (new jewelry), and purses. The girls could choose all of their items for prom, for free. It was so fun to help the girls find dresses and accesories. The girls and their moms were so grateful. One mom even said that it meant she could pay another bill that month. We're already planning for next year.

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I don't have a teen, so no advice, but it does strike me that if your son walks away from this evening with even an inkling that maybe this whole princess bit isn't all that attractive, then that just may be the best $473 he ever spends.

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I am amazed at the expectation that the boy pick up the tab for all that! If he invited her then he buys the tickets, that's it. If she wants the fancy stuff then she pays her way. Maybe he needs a girfriend with more realistic expectations? And it being second only to her wedding? Really? Pathetic! I really don't get this Prom thing, maybe I need an education about it. It's just a party, it's not life changing.

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A bit off topic...my mom's church had a program last month for girls going to prom. They collected over 100 dresses, shoes, jewelry (new jewelry), and purses. The girls could choose all of their items for prom, for free. It was so fun to help the girls find dresses and accesories. The girls and their moms were so grateful. One mom even said that it meant she could pay another bill that month. We're already planning for next year.

 

What a lovely thing to do!!! :hurray:

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But no matter what, one couple cannot ride in the limo, it only seats 8 of the 10 people. (so a rather silly part of the plan, lol)

 

I do agree that prom is more social, and that missing out on dinner with friends is a pretty big deal. I would recommend skipping the tux for a nice suit (very, very common) and using that money for dinner out. He will come out ahead, and girlfriend will likely have more fun. If no tux makes her just as unhappy, then I think she's being a bit difficult.

 

My oldest is 9th grade, so has gone to several dances but (home school) prom is still a few years away. imo, it should be a fun and special night that does not match the cost of a mortgage payment. I'm actually okay with limos if the alternative is a giddy teen driving, lol. It's not the worst of the expenses. I don't think boys should rent a tux, and I don't think girls should pay a fortune for a dress - I think $500 for dress, makeup, hair, nails, is absolutely insane. My kids can do that if they choose to pay for it, lol.

 

If a boy showed up at a prom in our area and he wasn't wearing a tuxedo, he would stick out like a sore thumb. I have never seen a boy go to a formal dance in a regular suit. Suits are only worn at semi-formals. Maybe other places are different, but I would definitely ask around before deciding against the tuxedo.

 

And actually, if the boy doesn't already have a nice suit, it may very well be cheaper to buy or rent the tux (and the shoes if he doesn't have nice dress shoes) than to buy a new suit.

 

Sadly, the total cost of a prom is terribly high. Aside from the price of the prom tickets and the clothes, hair stylist, makeup artist, and manicurist, most of the kids we know rent limos for the night and the next day, hire a photographer, go out to dinner at a nice restaurant, and then spend the night and the next day at a resort-type hotel or a nice hotel in the city. It really adds up.

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I am not Mormon, but have spent countless, countless hours with the youth camp that happens every summer on the campus where I work. I run lights and sound in the concert hall, where all the sessions are held, so I've had a peek into that culture. I think that yes, in general, our *whole* culture has glamorized prom, but that there is probably another dynamic at work here, too. In the LDS community, weddings and wedding proposals and courtship in general are highly ritualized and romanticized, and the expectations about all that are openly discussed, modeled, etc. I would be more surprised if this young woman *didn't* say this was the second most important night in her life. It could be that she never really put together the costs, really added it up, before now.

 

That said, it sounds like your boy is handling this so well! Truly. Working with the LDS groups made me realize just how much variety and diversity there is in our culture, and navigating relationships across those boundaries with kindness and tact can be tricky for adults! Good work, all of you!

 

And, may I just say? I had an evil thought. What if I sent my boy down so he and your youngest can watch and learn? *snort* Can you imagine the commentary? ;)

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I am so not looking forward to this with my teens. My daughter (gr11) has already pointed out to me that there are things called "promposals". She says you can catch some on Youtube. Boys asking girls to prom with an airplane banner. She heard about a girl nearby who was asked by following rose petals into a room that he had decked out at the school. I've told her to please not expect this kind of thing (her boyfriend is very down-to-earth). I don't know where all of this comes from. I asked her what kind of wedding proposal these girls expect if this is just being asked to prom! Very strange.....I guess this is the generation gap....

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How we handle money in our house -- My kids have all worked before the end of high school so they had a reasonable sum of money tucked away in the bank. Our rules for their money -- 10% to the church, 50% into "long-term savings" (i.e. college) and 40% into short-term savings. The 40% is theirs to spend as they see fit. For the most part the money has stayed in the bank accumulating non-existent interest, but each kid has done at least one surprising thing with a bit of the money. Dh and i just remember that it is THEIR money -- they earned it and they can spend it as they like.

 

Since your son has earned the money, I think the decision on how to handle this lies with your son. Yes, I totally agree with you that this whole scenario is nuts, but if he WANTS to spend his money that way (or he WANTS to keep the girl happy -- which amounts to the same thing) I think you should let him. He earned it so he gets to spend it.

 

I still remember the time I mis-spent a trivial sum of money while in downtown Boston. Thankfully it was only ~$30, but in junior high that was a LOT of money to me. Ever since, when tempted to spend, I ask myself if the item is another Faneuil Hall lure.

 

This episode may be HUGELY educational to your son. He may learn the importance of friendship and supporting others' dreams, or he may learn that the lure of fun does not make up for the shrunken bank account in the morning. Either way, he learns and he wins.

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I am not Mormon, but have spent countless, countless hours with the youth camp that happens every summer on the campus where I work. I run lights and sound in the concert hall, where all the sessions are held, so I've had a peek into that culture. I think that yes, in general, our *whole* culture has glamorized prom, but that there is probably another dynamic at work here, too. In the LDS community, weddings and wedding proposals and courtship in general are highly ritualized and romanticized, and the expectations about all that are openly discussed, modeled, etc. I would be more surprised if this young woman *didn't* say this was the second most important night in her life. It could be that she never really put together the costs, really added it up, before now.

 

??? I AM Mormon and that's not my experience AT ALL! Perhaps you are thinking of *Utah* Mormons? All the Mormons I know have kept their weddings very cheap (less than $2,000 for mine including *everything* - my dress, bridemaid dresses, food, rings - including engagement ring, decorations, etc.) and have done prom extremely cheap as well (often having moms make their dresses or borrowing someone else's for free and often skipping the expensive restaurants and limos because it's not a good use of their money). That's pretty typical in my circle of the LDS community. Wedding proposals aren't ritualized or romanticized at all either. I've seen on Mormon movies (portraying typical Utah Mormon culture) where they do, but that's not the case on the east coast. Courtship, well, Mormons date/hang out here like everyone else does. I know plenty of kids from church who have gone to prom and NONE of them felt it was the "second most important" night of their lives. It was prom. A dance. I have found Utah Mormon culture is quite different from my experience as a Mormon who has never lived in Utah.

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This was my experience also. My school had a junior prom and a senior ball. I skipped the senior ball because it was the same day as the state track meet. Dinner was normally included at the venue, which was actually the same place my aunt had her wedding reception.

 

This was a little more than a decade ago. I spent $100 on a dress, and my grandmother altered it for me. That was a lot less than most of my classmates. Maybe $20 on shoes? I had a hair appointment the day of, and my aunt took me out a couple days earlier to get my nails done. Combined that was about $100. Limo was $100 per person, but my family paid for my date also because I had invited him. A couple kids drove their father's classic car or rented a nice car, but nearly everyone went in a limo. Tickets were around $120 or so for both of us, but that did include dinner. I don't remember what we did for a corsage. We went to about a dozen homes meeting people to take pictures, and bought pictures at the prom also. There were activities at the school after that.

 

In contrast, I wore clothes I already owned for my wedding, we had a civil ceremony with a couple people there, and we might have stopped for McDonalds on the drive home before my husband had to go to work. The cost was a fraction of my prom.

 

Yes, the whole thing is a waste of money. There are lots of other things people waste money on too. If you choose to waste money on this, it doesn't guarantee that you'll spend the rest of your life burning money. No one ever died because they didn't get the perfect prom either though.

Ha! I wore a dress from a place that was closing and nabbed a $800 dress for $99! Had the train cut up and created a christening gown for my girls so I got double duty out of it.

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I'm amazed by the cost of the Tux rental. I bought my son a tux (he sings in choirs and will use it often) for less than that. It's not the highest quality, but it's perfectly fine. Look online and see what's available.

 

Laura

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I'm amazed by the cost of the Tux rental. I bought my son a tux (he sings in choirs and will use it often) for less than that. It's not the highest quality, but it's perfectly fine. Look online and see what's available.

 

Laura

 

Tuxes are expected at proms here. Ds found a rental for $50. I found a complete tux package online for $99 :D He wore that tux twice junior year (his prom and then-girlfriend's prom) and three times senior year (his prom, two other proms--he was the date for friends at other schools). He has worn the tux twice so far in college for various formal events.

 

We paid for ds's and dd's prom tickets, which included a full, very nice meal, the dance itself, and an after-prom party at school. We knew the approximate costs freshman year. Ds's dates paid for their prom tickets.

 

Ds drove one of our cars for his prom. If limos were involved for date proms, the dates/parents assumed those costs. Ds would drive to the meeting place.

 

We gave dd a budget of $400 last year for her ticket, dress, shoes, accessories, makeup, hair/nails, and limo share (the parents decided we didn't want the girls, all going stag, to drive). The dress was expensive at $200 but is stylish and modest (hard to find!) and suitable for formal events in college. She found clearance shoes at DSW, wore my jewelry, borrowed a vintage beaded evening bag that had been my mother's, did her own hair and nails, and paid her $36 share of the limo. Total cost was $360.

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??? I AM Mormon and that's not my experience AT ALL! Perhaps you are thinking of *Utah* Mormons? All the Mormons I know have kept their weddings very cheap (less than $2,000 for mine including *everything* - my dress, bridemaid dresses, food, rings - including engagement ring, decorations, etc.) and have done prom extremely cheap as well (often having moms make their dresses or borrowing someone else's for free and often skipping the expensive restaurants and limos because it's not a good use of their money). That's pretty typical in my circle of the LDS community. Wedding proposals aren't ritualized or romanticized at all either. I've seen on Mormon movies (portraying typical Utah Mormon culture) where they do, but that's not the case on the east coast. Courtship, well, Mormons date/hang out here like everyone else does. I know plenty of kids from church who have gone to prom and NONE of them felt it was the "second most important" night of their lives. It was prom. A dance. I have found Utah Mormon culture is quite different from my experience as a Mormon who has never lived in Utah.

 

 

Have you ever been to EFY?

 

ETA: I just did some mental calculations, and I would guess that I've participated in at least three dozen EFY weeks over the last several years. I eat with these kids, talk with them, hear ever presentation, have gone to some dances, and in my experience, it's all about courtship and recruitment. It occurred to me as I was making my coffee this morning (it's still early here) that maybe EFY is like the Hollywood of Mormon culture, and that "regular" folks don't go in for all the brouhaha. So I'm not at all surprised that your experience is different. Relieved, actually.

 

I want to clarify that I have made strong connections in the LDS community, and I have watched several of the counselors grow up and settle into marriages and careers. They come back to visit, bringing adorable babies, and I really value those connections. I was very careful with my wording, and do not mean to disparage the community at all, just to say that expectations can be different, cultures can be different. I don't know Lisa's son's friend, but it's *possible*, after what I've seen, that she does, in fact, see this as one of her two big princess days. I think he's doing a fabulous job navigating that.

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Yes it is a lot of money. If it isn't within the budget, the do not spend it. It isn't worth any kind of debt, very little is. But Prom is a big deal to many high school seniors. It is the last big party, dance, night out with friends before they all go their separate ways. Most kids going want to make a big night of it.

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Have you ever been to EFY?

 

ETA: I just did some mental calculations, and I would guess that I've participated in at least three dozen EFY weeks over the last several years. I eat with these kids, talk with them, hear ever presentation, have gone to some dances, and in my experience, it's all about courtship and recruitment. It occurred to me as I was making my coffee this morning (it's still early here) that maybe EFY is like the Hollywood of Mormon culture, and that "regular" folks don't go in for all the brouhaha. So I'm not at all surprised that your experience is different. Relieved, actually.

 

I want to clarify that I have made strong connections in the LDS community, and I have watched several of the counselors grow up and settle into marriages and careers. They come back to visit, bringing adorable babies, and I really value those connections. I was very careful with my wording, and do not mean to disparage the community at all, just to say that expectations can be different, cultures can be different. I don't know Lisa's son's friend, but it's *possible*, after what I've seen, that she does, in fact, see this as one of her two big princess days. I think he's doing a fabulous job navigating that.

 

Nope. We couldn't afford the costs involved with that (flight to UT, etc.). I do know some people who did and they found some of the people really over the top. Utah Mormon culture is just... different.

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The OP said that as a gentleman he's expected to pick up the tab. Expected by whom? Has the girl said she won't help pay? Or does the OP say he should pay?

 

That's the first step and everything else falls into line after that. Your ds needs to say, "I simply can't afford the limo, dinner, etc, by myself. If you want those we can split the costs."

 

If your ds won't say that, then I feel sorry for the girl. He's forcing her to miss out on something she's waited years for. That's unfair to her and is an outdated view of being a gentleman. We teach girls that they don't have to depend on a man for happiness, but that's exactly the lesson if he tries to control who gets to pay for these things.

 

If your ds does tell her about the money and she refuses to help, then she gets what she gets and she gives up her dreams of a special night. Her own fault and choice.

 

If she agrees to share the costs--problem solved!!! She has the night of her life, she learns to take charge of her life, and your ds has a happy date. Win-win.

 

And just because some of us think it's stupid that this night is important to her, shame on us. Just because it's not important to us doesn't mean we should sniff and poo-poo what is important to someone else.

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On tux rentals-it may be too late this year, but if you check band/choir suppliers, it's not uncommon to use tuxes for stage band uniforms, and the rental per school year may well be less than it costs to rent just for prom. Usually you have to buy a tuxedo shirt-those are available at Michaels or similar stores.

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??? I AM Mormon and that's not my experience AT ALL! Perhaps you are thinking of *Utah* Mormons? All the Mormons I know have kept their weddings very cheap

...

 

I have to agree with NicoleM. Maybe I live too close to Utah (plenty of Utah Mormons here in Oregon) or that most of the Mormons here are affluent? It is definitely a different culture.

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I am so not looking forward to this with my teens. My daughter (gr11) has already pointed out to me that there are things called "promposals". She says you can catch some on Youtube. Boys asking girls to prom with an airplane banner. She heard about a girl nearby who was asked by following rose petals into a room that he had decked out at the school. I've told her to please not expect this kind of thing (her boyfriend is very down-to-earth). I don't know where all of this comes from. I asked her what kind of wedding proposal these girls expect if this is just being asked to prom! Very strange.....I guess this is the generation gap....

 

 

Sounds more like a generation Grand Canyon from where I'm sitting ;)

 

Why do so many people have to turn everything into a big, huge It's All About Me Special Event? It's the girl's prom, not her first trip to the moon, for crying out loud. I'm not suggesting that the kids shouldn't do the limo and all the other stuff if it's what all of their friends are doing; I'm just so tired of hearing people actually believe that, "the prom is the second most important day in her life." :rolleyes: Drama Queen much??? (And I guess if she has a baby one day, it might just maybe, sort of, possibly come in at a distant third on the "most important day" list... you know, unless her honeymoon trip is really, really nice...)

 

I know that teenage girls can be pretty over-the-top, but seriously, if this girl thought even for a single minute that the prom would be the second most important night of her life, it's very difficult for me not to view her as being incredibly shallow and clueless.

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Sounds more like a generation Grand Canyon from where I'm sitting ;)

 

Why do so many people have to turn everything into a big, huge It's All About Me Special Event? It's the girl's prom, not her first trip to the moon, for crying out loud. I'm not suggesting that the kids shouldn't do the limo and all the other stuff if it's what all of their friends are doing; I'm just so tired of hearing people actually believe that, "the prom is the second most important day in her life." :rolleyes: Drama Queen much??? (And I guess if she has a baby one day, it might just maybe, sort of, possibly come in at a distant third on the "most important day" list... you know, unless her honeymoon trip is really, really nice...)

 

I know that teenage girls can be pretty over-the-top, but seriously, if this girl thought even for a single minute that the prom would be the second most important night of her life, it's very difficult for me not to view her as being incredibly shallow and clueless.

 

 

Or graduates college. Or wins a marathon. Or pays off her house. Or owns her own business. Or wins the Nobel Peace prize. Or watches her child stand up for someone who was defenseless. I think if prom is the second most important day in your life then you are setting yourself up to have some low expectations.

 

My wedding day was pretty amazing but I kind of hope it isn't the best day of my life because then that day would be over and I guess I'd just have nothing to look forward to in life. :) Prom (and I went to four of them) isn't even in my top twenty for life events. In terms of "awesomeness" and "importantness" think prom falls between the day when I found out my health insurance covered getting my wisdom teeth taken out so I didn't have to pay out of pocket and the first time that DD was really focused at tennis class and got a huge compliment from the coach.

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I am so not looking forward to this with my teens. My daughter (gr11) has already pointed out to me that there are things called "promposals". She says you can catch some on Youtube. Boys asking girls to prom with an airplane banner. She heard about a girl nearby who was asked by following rose petals into a room that he had decked out at the school. I've told her to please not expect this kind of thing (her boyfriend is very down-to-earth).

 

Yes, I was just talking about this with a friend who is a high school teacher and apparently it has become really popular. It is consuming a lot of energy in school and it can be stressful both for boys and girls. Boys feel this pressure to produce something more creative. Girls who aren't getting asked publicly feel left out - or if they get asked by a guy they aren't sure they want to go with pressured into accepting.

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Let me preface this by saying that I think prom has, in general, gotten out of hand. I would have trouble not rolling my eyes and/or smirking at a kid who told me this was the "second biggest night of her life." And I think the idea that the guy has to be responsible for so much of the expense is not fair. (Although, do keep in mind that her dress probably cost at least as much as his tux rental and that she has other expenses for things like shoes and accessories and make-up . . .)

 

However, I don't really see any way for your son to cut corners here without leaving the girlfriend disappointed and sad. Prom is a social experience, and opting out of the limo ride and dinner with friends in a restaurant where his date gets to show off her dress and feel part of the group undercuts a huge aspect of the evening.

 

I think, in an ideal world, your son and his date would be part of a group who shared your family's convictions about appropriate use of money and/or were willing to work as a group to find compromises that would be more comfortable for you and your son. But neither of those things seem to be the case.

 

You can certainly insist that he stand on one side of this line you're drawing, but it won't leave his girlfriend with happy, warm fuzzy memories of her prom experience.

 

Honestly, from what I read elsewhere, the plan these kids have come up with and the associated costs are pretty frugal. According to this article, the average last year was over $1,000:

 

http://usatoday30.us...ding/54224068/1

 

 

I totally agree. I went to a regular, middle class, public school in Southern California and the expenses you have described are way less than we spent in 1992! I flipped pizzas and worked retail in high school to be able to afford nice things, but my parents certainly never got up and arms about the expenses of prom. Our prom tickets were around $100, we all went in limos, rented hotel rooms for after-parties, had nice dresses and tuxes, hair done, etc. As a public school kid, what you described seems very normal to me and I am surprised that so many people here think otherwise.

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I totally agree. I went to a regular, middle class, public school in Southern California and the expenses you have described are way less than we spent in 1992! I flipped pizzas and worked retail in high school to be able to afford nice things, but my parents certainly never got up and arms about the expenses of prom. Our prom tickets were around $100, we all went in limos, rented hotel rooms for after-parties, had nice dresses and tuxes, hair done, etc. As a public school kid, what you described seems very normal to me and I am surprised that so many people here think otherwise.

 

I attended two proms, I seriously don't remember what we spent. Limos, hotel rooms, and tuxes were appropriate for some, but there wasn't an expectation of that. I remember there was a balance, at least in my two experiences. I don't think we did the limo for either one, my dress was probably bought on sale, one dinner was cooked by the family.

 

What I read in the OP is an imbalance of what she is expecting and what she is willing to pay for. Her ds seems hesitant to see it as a necessary expense. IMO, that's a mature viewpoint. Boys shouldn't be coerced into paying more than they can afford or their parents are willing to budget for a one evening event.

 

Using the old analogy, if all of your friends jumped off the cliff, would you? There is not standard minimum protocol for a prom, I believe that is what many of us are responding to, that prom can't somehow be a memorable experience without all the bells and whistles. If a person is important enough to take to prom, they should be important enough to have a conversation and a compromise about what the prom event means to them.

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Or graduates college. Or wins a marathon. Or pays off her house. Or owns her own business. Or wins the Nobel Peace prize. Or watches her child stand up for someone who was defenseless. I think if prom is the second most important day in your life then you are setting yourself up to have some low expectations.

 

My wedding day was pretty amazing but I kind of hope it isn't the best day of my life because then that day would be over and I guess I'd just have nothing to look forward to in life. :) Prom (and I went to four of them) isn't even in my top twenty for life events. In terms of "awesomeness" and "importantness" think prom falls between the day when I found out my health insurance covered getting my wisdom teeth taken out so I didn't have to pay out of pocket and the first time that DD was really focused at tennis class and got a huge compliment from the coach.

 

 

Love this.

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I attended two proms, I seriously don't remember what we spent. Limos, hotel rooms, and tuxes were appropriate for some, but there wasn't an expectation of that. I remember there was a balance, at least in my two experiences. I don't think we did the limo for either one, my dress was probably bought on sale, one dinner was cooked by the family.

 

What I read in the OP is an imbalance of what she is expecting and what she is willing to pay for. Her ds seems hesitant to see it as a necessary expense. IMO, that's a mature viewpoint. Boys shouldn't be coerced into paying more than they can afford or their parents are willing to budget for a one evening event.

 

Using the old analogy, if all of your friends jumped off the cliff, would you? There is not standard minimum protocol for a prom, I believe that is what many of us are responding to, that prom can't somehow be a memorable experience without all the bells and whistles. If a person is important enough to take to prom, they should be important enough to have a conversation and a compromise about what the prom event means to them.

 

 

I really needed to hear this tonight. Ds did have the conversation with his girlfriend and there will be no compromise. When he tried to explain to her that he wants her to be happy and to have her dream prom, but that he is also worried because he does not have a regular job at this point and the market in this area for work for teens is very tight, she told him, "I don't want to hear about money; my dad is always talking to me about money." She talked about how the proms looked on TV and no one ever talked about how much they cost. She is from an affluent family and courting is definitely romanticized. For her, $400-500 is meaningless and to have any other arrangement other than my son paying the whole tab would be unthinkable. And yes, my son was one of those guys frantically thinking of a really grand "promposal."

 

Anyway, ds was pretty quiet tonight. He finally said, "Mom, I don't get it. There are two of us going to the prom; it's our prom, but what I think doesn't matter, even though it is my money?" I think he now knows the answer to that question. During his conversation tonight, there were several complicated reasons as to why they needed to have dinner at the restaurant and to see if they could still get a 10 person limo which is over twice as much as the 8 person limo because of an extended time commitment. My son very slowly agreed to everything. I watched his face watch her expression when he said "yes." Sometimes it is very hard to be a parent.

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I really needed to hear this tonight. Ds did have the conversation with his girlfriend and there will be no compromise. When he tried to explain to her that he wants her to be happy and to have her dream prom, but that he is also worried because he does not have a regular job at this point and the market in this area for work for teens is very tight, she told him, "I don't want to hear about money; my dad is always talking to me about money." She talked about how the proms looked on TV and no one ever talked about how much they cost. She is from an affluent family and courting is definitely romanticized. For her, $400-500 is meaningless and to have any other arrangement other than my son paying the whole tab would be unthinkable. And yes, my son was one of those guys frantically thinking of a really grand "promposal."

 

Anyway, ds was pretty quiet tonight. He finally said, "Mom, I don't get it. There are two of us going to the prom; it's our prom, but what I think doesn't matter, even though it is my money?" I think he now knows the answer to that question. During his conversation tonight, there were several complicated reasons as to why they needed to have dinner at the restaurant and to see if they could still get a 10 person limo which is over twice as much as the 8 person limo because of an extended time commitment. My son very slowly agreed to everything. I watched his face watch her exp<b></b>ression when he said "yes." Sometimes it is very hard to be a parent.

 

 

So sad for your son. I had hoped the girl would offer to help pay. I'm disappointed in her and feel so, so sorry for your son.

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I really needed to hear this tonight. Ds did have the conversation with his girlfriend and there will be no compromise. When he tried to explain to her that he wants her to be happy and to have her dream prom, but that he is also worried because he does not have a regular job at this point and the market in this area for work for teens is very tight, she told him, "I don't want to hear about money; my dad is always talking to me about money." She talked about how the proms looked on ........................" Sometimes it is very hard to be a parent.

 

 

Yes, it is very hard to be a parent and only becomes more complicated as they get older.

 

I am sorry that his girlfriend had so little concern for your ds and his welfare and that her perspective is that only **her** needs should be front and center.

 

There are very serious life lessons here. The question is whether or not your ds learns them before or after he goes into significant debt.

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So sad for your son. I had hoped the girl would offer to help pay. I'm disappointed in her and feel so, so sorry for your son.

 

 

I, too, was hoping she would see the light when approached gently. As I've said in previous posts, I was feeling somewhat sympathetic towards her, since I didn't think their plans sounded terribly extravagant by contemporary standards and I understood her desire to be with the group.

 

However, the latest update has me picturing her stomping her pretty little foot and having a mini-tantrum, and I'm feeling less understanding.

 

I laid out the situation before my 15-year-old son, who has not yet faced the prom thing. I asked him how he would handle a similar situation.

 

He said:

 

- The guys should all get together and talk things through without the girls present. Your son may find he is not the only one who is feeling uncomfortable and stretched, and they may be able to present a united front.

 

- If the five guys can managed to band together, they may be able to find some cost-saving opportunities by booking things as a group. For example, they might try contacting a few local restaurants (I'd go for non-chain, independently-owned places) and asking whether they might arrange a fixed price dinner for a group for a lower per-person cost than just showing up and ordering individually off the regular menu.

 

- My son -- who prides himself on being a pretty snappy dresser -- also says he does not necessarily think a tux is mandatory for these occasions. His suggestion was to try and encourage the whole group of males to think in terms of looking nice and emphasizing personality, rather than bland and expensive. If all five of them show up dressed in nice black suits with new shirts with French cuffs and matching ties and pocket squares and maybe fedoras, that shows they put thought and effort into the appearance thing and is fun and different (and, coincidentally, less expensive). He says his first step would be to have each guy go through all the closets in his house and pool together everything that might fit anyone. Once they decided on a theme or a look, each guy would buy only what he needs to complete his ensemble.

 

- If the rest of the group won't go for that approach, then they might try showing up at the tux rental place all together and asking about a group rate.

 

- If none of the above works out, or if it doesn't make enough of a dent to bring the budget into a comfortable zone, he suggests getting the parents involved, making sure that both families understand what's going on.

 

- If none of that made a difference, he'd find the money and take his girlfriend to prom and get on with his life. Although he thinks it's a bit silly to spend that much money on such and event, it's not worth saving $100 and wrecking his relationship with the girl or causing drama for his friends.

 

I hope your son can find a way to make peace with this, one way or another. He's not wrong that it's unfair he has so little input.

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, she told him, "I don't want to hear about money; my dad is always talking to me about money." She talked about how the proms looked on TV and no one ever talked about how much they cost. She is from an affluent family and courting is definitely romanticized. For her, $400-500 is meaningless and to have any other arrangement other than my son paying the whole tab would be unthinkable...

 

Anyway, ds was pretty quiet tonight. He finally said, "Mom, I don't get it. There are two of us going to the prom; it's our prom, but what I think doesn't matter, even though it is my money?"

 

Hugs to your son. He sounds very mature and sensible. She sounds like a thoroughly spoiled brat.

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Sigh. My DH and I were high school sweethearts. We went to three prom/balls together, and two homecomings. We were thrilled that he got to borrow his parents nicer car :) He did take me to dinner, and for the Senior balls wore a rented tux (no where near $145), he got me a corsage, and he paid for everything. Not sure what the total would have been, but I can imagine he spent around $150 and this was over 20 years ago. He wanted to do it all, though, planned everything - I never knew where we would be eating, etc.

It certainly is traditional for the guy to pay, but if she is insisting on certain things the way she is - well - then she should pitch in (especially/at least for the limo). Also - two people can have a very nice dinner for 2 (especially without wine!) for $50... Have him shop around more for the tux rental - go online and look for deals or coupons...,

Otherwise, I agree with the above posters in that this could be a VERY good learning experience for him as to what he DOESN'T want in a girlfriend/wife. If that is the case,,,, money well spent :)

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She is from an affluent family and courting is definitely romanticized. For her, $400-500 is meaningless and to have any other arrangement other than my son paying the whole tab would be unthinkable.

 

 

:grouphug:

 

:cursing: I am thankful my affluent cousins and nieces are much more level headed even at that age. I don't see the connection between affluent family and romanticizing courting. It is more of peer pressure and media hype.

 

ETA:

We (my girl cousins, nieces and I) have been taught from young that guys do not equal ATM (automated teller machine)

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I hate to say this, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if this girl dumps your ds right after the prom. She wants a "dream night," not a real boyfriend. Believe me, I have seen it happen more than once, and the poor guys felt so incredibly hurt and used.

 

If she cared at all about your ds, she wouldn't be behaving this way. Period.

 

I think he should ditch the girlfriend and use the prom money to buy something he really wants, or save it for when an event comes up that really matters to him, not to some shallow, entitled girlfriend. (And this has NOTHING to do with whether or not $500 means anything to her. It didn't mean anything to me, either, at that age, but if a boyfriend couldn't afford to take me to nice places, we found other things to do... because I liked the guy, not his ability to buy me stuff!)

 

Ask your ds what he would do if he was in his girlfriend's place, and his date couldn't afford the Dream Prom. Maybe that will make him realize that she's nothing more than a user who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. I would be willing to bet cold, hard cash that if he tells her he won't pay for her Dream Night, she'll dump him immediately and cheerfully find another guy who's willing to meet her every demand, never looking back at your ds.

 

Sorry to sound so mean, but I really think your ds is being set up to be hurt. :(

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Ask your ds what he would do if he was in his girlfriend's place, and his date couldn't afford the Dream Prom. Maybe that will make him realize that she's nothing more than a user who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. I would be willing to bet cold, hard cash that if he tells her he won't pay for her Dream Night, she'll dump him immediately and cheerfully find another guy who's willing to meet her every demand, never looking back at your ds.

 

 

:iagree: I also liked the idea to talk with the other guys if he knows them.

 

I, also, asked my 16 yo son about this. He had a two-fold answer. HIs first answer was it is your son's decision. I think you know that.

 

BUT his second answer was "Why doesn't she have to pay for this stuff if she wants it?"

 

I don't know about her dumping him, depends on how long they have been dating and she, after all, has gotten everything she wants.

 

If I was you, I'd button up past maybe suggesting the other guys and asking the question from Catwoman.

 

BUT I would Pray! Really, really hard, that he and she don't end up at the same school. He doesn't need this for life and neither do you.

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I just wanted to say, that fwiw, I think whatever girl ends up with your son is very blessed. It is really too bad that she doesn't see that. I hope he can see clearly how she is treating him. It is sad when the nice guy ends up being treated like crap.

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I agree 110% with catwoman.

 

He needs to be blunt with her. Better to know she isn't as into him as he is into her before spending a bloody fortune than after, yes?

 

He doesn't have the money to do it all. The end.

 

Either enjoy sitting next to her boyfriend while he drives her instead of the limo or find another bank account to date. Maybe her dad can talk to her about that too. :/

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