Prom Queen on a Budget ~ A Mother's Prom Survival Guide

 Prom season is right around the corner!   Our Junior is already brimming with excitement as the event approaches.   She's been mentally planning the evening for several years and has the perfect vision of everything it will be.


  Now it's up to me to facilitate the dream and make it all happen.  I'm a veteran at this and I'm feeling good about the endeavor.  I have a few tricks up the sleeve and am confident she'll arrive at the dance put together and looking fabulous.  This is the plan I've devised from my past experiences with formal dances.

1.) Start early, like yesterday.  Last minute formal shopping is no fun.  If the prom is in six weeks and you've done nothing it's time to get started.  Being ill prepared will turn a happy weekend into a stressful nightmare.  Spare yourself and get busy.

2.) Set a budget.    Prom dresses range in price from $50 - $50K.    Have an up front discussion with your daughter and make your financial expectations clear.  Prom season does not have to cost a fortune.  Being up front regarding your budget will avoid potential disappointment and enable your daughter to start serious dress shopping.

 3.) Know her Measurements.  At some point you will need these.  Write them down and keep them handy.
EHow - How to Take Measurements

4.) Make a list.  There's nothing worse than realizing on the eve of the prom that you don't have a bra that works or that your shear dress is actually translucent.  Make a list of undergarments and accessory necessities.  Make sure that you start with things you already own.  Grandma's rhinestones or Mom's pearls might be the perfect accessory.  Last year's bra or slip may suffice.  Save your budget for necessities only and it will stretch further.

Her Room ~ Bras, Panties, Etc.
 5.) Think Outside the Box.  Bridal shops and boutiques are generally a good place for prom dresses.  Dresses can be custom ordered and altered on site. Some shops even offer off the rack options.  If you opt to take this route make sure that allow several weeks for ordering and alterations and be sure to pick up the dress several days before the prom.  Alterations aren't always perfect and you need to allow time for last minute fixes.  Bridal shop and boutique prices begin at around $150.  However, the majority of dresses are more expensive.

Modern women have a definite advantage when prom shopping.  Shopping via the web opens infinite possibilities and enables a girl to have confidence that she will be the only one wearing her dress of choice.  LYST is a fabulous site for prom season.  It showcases dresses from 1000's of boutiques, designers and department stores.  LYST offers high end, gorgeous options. There is a huge variety with dresses in every price range.  You can create a collection of dresses for comparison and invite friends to view the collections and offer opinions. 

This fabulous Gown is only $60 at!

Sites like Ebay and Etsy have huge selections of vintage formals.  They offer gorgeous, timeless dresses that any girl would be proud to wear.  Be careful, check feedback, return policy, double check measurements and clarify all questions before purchasing a dress at an auction site. 

If your budget is limited do not panic.  There are many less expensive options.  Consignment and thrift stores often carry high end prom dresses for a fraction of the original price.  Places like Salvation Army or Goodwill stores often have many "diamonds in the rough."   If you can get beyond the lack of ambiance, you may be able to score fabulous dress for next to nothing.   These dresses are generally worn once and donated.  Most are like new. A trip to the dry cleaner and you'll be set.  For those on a tight budget these shops are a great place to start. 

6.) Encourage and advise while remembering that it is her prom, not yours.  Stand firm on issues of modesty and size (don't let her go to the prom with her boobs or butt hanging out).  Otherwise, stand back and allow your daughter to choose a dress that expresses her individuality. 

7.) Take the time to enjoy the moment.  Remember how fast she's grown up how it seems like just yesterday she was a toddler?  Even if you're feeling stressed and not seeing eye to eye on every matter.  Take a deep breath and enjoy your time together.  Blink and you'll be reading wedding blogs.