Prom Savings

Plus: Prom themes and party ideas

Don’t tell Duckie: Last spring, Northeastern prom-goers spent a steep average of $1,104 on the big dance, according to a Visa-conducted survey. That’s a lot of cash for a single night. Here are a few ways to save yet still enjoy in style. 

Popular 2015
Prom Themes

• 1920s Gatsby
• Casino
• Hollywood glam
• Fairy tale 
• Masquerade
• Paris
After Party Ideas
• Bonfire
• Game night
• Bowling competition
• Midnight movie marathon
• Karaoke

How to save on the dress

Guys have been doing it with tuxes for decades, but gals are just catching on to the beauty of renting a prom dress rather than shelling out for a one-night-only outfit. Online formal-wear sites like and have the latest designer looks (like the Marchesa Notte halter-back pictured here) for a fraction of the cost of buying. lets you shop by price range, starting at $50 or less. 

To stay on trend, check out designs with embellished or mesh bodices, or cut things off with a shorter hemline. Don’t care as much about 2015 silhouettes? Hit a local consignment shop for last year’s gowns. Click here for a list of readers' favorite area consignment shops.

How to save on hair, makeup & nails

Host a primp party the afternoon of the prom. Take the girls to your local Sephora or Ulta for a free mini-makeover (get on the stores’ email lists for offers and be prepared to buy a lipstick or two), then come home so they can paint their nails and (up)do one another’s hair, using YouTube beauty videos as a guide. 

Prom tip: Comfort is key. Both girls and boys should break in their prom shoes at least a week before the big dance. 

How to save on the ride

Limos are increasingly limited in appeal. Share transportation costs among a dozen-plus couples and rent a party bus that seats up to 30. Live within the heart of the Philly metro area? Book a group-accommodating Uber XL (shown at right) or Uber SUV for a superlow fare (the XL, left, starts at $3, plus 25 cents a minute and $2 a mile). 

How to save on prom pictures

A single, on-site professional prom photo can cost upward of $75, but your camera phone’s more than equipped to snap a pic that captures the evening’s enchantment. Shoot some pre-prom 
couple candids or gather photo booth–type props and let the kids get their kitsch-pose on.

Categories: Money, Party Features