Big Bucks for a Big Night

April 24, 2006 – Posted at 5:59 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Many of us remember our senior proms....a long, long time ago. While those memories will last us a lifetime, kids these days are going more and more extravagant to celebrate the big night. But how much is too much?

Prom season represents one-third of the $1 billion dollar retail industry for formalwear and after talking with students in Jonesboro, it's not hard to see where that money is being spent.

"Somewhere around $250-$300," said JHS Junior Class President Mark Gibsol.

JHS Senior Katie Beineke said, "Overall, around $400."

"For me it was probably around $200-$250. Some people spent $400-$500 and that was just guys, I can't imagine what the girls spend," laughed Valley View Senior Chris Saito who attended VVHS Prom earlier this month.

"Probably about $400 for the dress, makeup, limo and everything," said Valley View Senior Erin Hartshorn.

According to Jonesboro students, you have to have everything.

"You have to find a dress, which is price-ranged to about $300 on average," said Beineke, "Then you get your nails done and then the hair, which is about $50 if you get it along with your makeup."

"You want to go to a nice restaurant, a lot of people get limos, get a tux and the flowers," said Gibsol, "It's pretty high up there in expense."

JHS students will get their chance to dance at the prom this weekend. The Junior Class is spending around $3,500 to put on the prom.

"I think it's an important event. They are making memories they will never forget," said Gussi Causey, JHS Junior Class Counselor.

Facility and counselors at JHS have been collecting used prom dresses for students who can't afford to buy one.

"We do have students who can't afford to go spend $300 on a dress. So we have several in our counseling office right now and we have given some of those out. Those are dresses that they can keep, so we do go the extra mile to help the kids that really don't have the money to do it," said Causey.

Some students work to save money for the big event, but in most cases it's the parents that pick up the tab.

"My dad will be paying for it!" laughed Beineke.

But for the excitement and anticipation, students say it's worth the costs.

"Prom is what you make of it, and this year it was really good," smiled Saito.

Teenagers may be faced with the challenge of affording priceless prom memories, but if you stick to a budget, you can still dance the night away without a care.