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School Proms - are they out of hand?

(102 Posts)
Grandmama Thu 29-Jun-17 19:14:58

GD1 is 16 and has finished GCSEs and it's the school prom this Friday. It is costing a fortune. The Prom ticket is £30. Two dresses are needed - the Prom dress (which I have shortened to save the cost of an alteration shop) and the dress for the after-Prom party plus shoes. There is the cost of two make-up sessions with a beautician. GD and some friends have had a practice make-up session with the beautician and she will do their make-up before the Prom. This will involve DD taking an afternoon off work because GD cannot get to the beautician's village on public transport. GD is today buying a clutch bag and possibly a necklace. Some of the girls are talking about a spray tan.
DD and SIL are not at all happy about the scale of the expense but there is so much peer pressure. For parents on a low income this must be really difficult. It's DD's first big 'do' so DD and SIL are grinning and bearing it because they don't want her to look back in future years and feel that she was the odd one out with her friends. What do other grans think?

JackyB Mon 03-Jul-17 11:59:11

In Germany, there has always been a dance for the school leavers (my husband left school in 1968 and has photos of his)

There is the formal graduation ceremony with boring speeches by councillors, head teachers, school governors and the like, and a couple of acts performed by the best musicians or dancers in the year, and at the end, the whole year gets up on stage and sings a song about friends, solidarity or the like.

A few days later they have a full dinner dance, for which they dress up. At our school (where all my 3 sons went and where my DH taught for 30 years) the only jump was when they moved from the school hall to a local hall, and because of health and safety were no longer allowed to bring the food themselves but were obliged to use professional caterers.

The entertainment is largely provided by the youngsters themselves - the school band, power point presentations of madness on school outings or baby pictures of the children, impressions of teachers, sketches and pseudo-prizgivings. And the obligatory male ballet (best if there is a proper ballet dancer, belly dancer or ballroom dancer among the girls in the year).

All the effort and expense go into the fun part of the proceedings. The girls do spend time and money on their dresses, but, unless things have radically changed in the last few years, there is nothing like the fuss made that is being described here.

travelsafar Mon 03-Jul-17 07:58:59

W11girl I agree.Speaking to my 16year oldgrand daughter yesterday about her prom she said it was rubbish nan, half of my friends left after about an hour as they said it was boring. I think the actual preparation and the choosing of dress, hair and make up is the exciting bit, the reality is so different!!! But how expensive it all was just to be bored.

W11girl Mon 03-Jul-17 07:34:52

In a word YES! Ridiculous waste of money!

Rhinestone Mon 03-Jul-17 04:12:16

Thank you Mimiro and Maggiemaybe- **Steve *needs some education. People are people. Ones culture is not better than another. There are people in every culture who indulge their children. You have a choice to do that or not. To blame Americans is ridiculous.

mimiro Sun 02-Jul-17 20:52:57

was going to go off on your anti american crap.
but its independance day heregrin
and listing all the weird british things would take to long

to everyone else most american girls save up for or make their dresses and most american boys hire/rent their tux's or suits if very formal/
for some this will be the only time they will ever get to go to a formal dance.
1970's- hating the idea, my bf at the time and i decided to go to please parents,i was in a gorgeous tux and he was in full blown drag that my mother assembled....
great fun then traded off and went to dinner.

leeds22 Sun 02-Jul-17 20:20:17

First holy communion dress (long) bought for me aged 7 and somehow I managed to get into for confirmation aged 11. It was soooo tight! Lol

Relieved that sons' school didn't do a prom night, maybe it did and they didn't mention it.

1974cookie Sun 02-Jul-17 18:04:07

It seems that the really competitive thing is the transport that they arrive in !!
I have known ice-cream vans, jeeps, even a tank.
When I used to go to the summer balls at Cambridge, it was in a bog standard Taxi, and we walked home at the end. He in his white tie and tails and I in my ballgown, and we were not the only ones to do so either. Simpler but Happy Days.

Daddima Sun 02-Jul-17 17:23:17

I think the prom for the 17+ers is probably here to stay, but I think the proms for primary school children, and the " graduations" from nursery are a bit much.
Now, for those of a Catholic persuasion, how about the First Holy Communion celebrations? May not be as big a thing outside Scotland and Ireland, but it's getting seriously out of hand here. We saw an open topped bus go through the town with a banner on the front saying, " Caitlin's First Holy Communion".

robbienut Sun 02-Jul-17 11:48:48

My eldest went to his school prom in 1999 and I hired his outfit. It was held at school so he walked there lol. He was not really that bothered about going to be honest. My middle son will be in Y11 next year and does not want to go to the prom - which is his choice. It wouldn't cost much for him either - my daughter on the other hand is likely to be entirely different. I know she will want to go but I'm not spending a fortune either!! If she wants a really posh dress we will hire something - if she is prepared to compromise we will buy her a dress she can wear again. I think the amount of money some parents spend is ridiculous. I have no intention of giving into any peer pressure my daughter might be under - it's our money not theirs!!

ffinnochio Sun 02-Jul-17 07:31:19

I'm afraid I dislike bigotry stevej.

daphnedill Sun 02-Jul-17 06:50:59

And then they go through the whole lot again after A levels!

Lillie Sun 02-Jul-17 03:18:02

The reality is that many 15 - 16 year olds have Saturday jobs where they earn around £25, so if they only work for a term, 12 weeks, they can easily save up enough money to pay for what they deem necessary for the event.

willa45 Sun 02-Jul-17 01:28:58

Maggiemaybe....Thank you!

Maggiemaybe Sun 02-Jul-17 01:14:24

We can't blame the Americans for this, or anything else we choose to adopt and adapt from their culture. We're big boys and girls responsible for our own actions. As for stevej4491's anti-American rant, well, how rude is that?!

willa45 Sun 02-Jul-17 00:55:36

It's very American ..I dislike it's not very American! Actually, spending money ridiculously and trying to outdo other people is not exclusive to Americans, but I won't even go there.

I'm not the only American who agrees that proms, weddings and birthday parties have gotten way out of hand. When I was in school, prom was a dance that took place in the school. The school gymnasium was the usual venue for high school proms. We sold greeting cards, books or hosted bake sales to raise money and we made the decorations ourselves. No live music or DJs...the music came through the PA system. Clothes were the biggest expense and many of the mothers sewed their daughter's dresses.

Nelliemoser Sun 02-Jul-17 00:34:11

In the early 1970s I had a woven fabric Kaftan coat and a huge fur coat which one of the girls in a flat I was in did not want. Too embarrasing to think about now.

Nelliemoser Sun 02-Jul-17 00:26:08

Newquay I fully agree about "Proms" and the "invite every child in the class" to a birthday party.
The schools could do so much to talk about this with parents.
My real objection to these events is the cost which can cause so much upset and hardship for those who cannot afford it.

Newquay Sat 01-Jul-17 23:25:07

I really feel the schools should take a lead in "damping down" this whole nonsense.
Using school,premises for example with simple catering (no alcohol of course!) and why on earth don't they have some sort of "shop" for prom outfits for used ones to be sold on?
Must say my DGDs bought their dresses online for v reasonable prices. Did each other's hair and make up too.
I agree it's another bad American import.
Digressing, just got in from a choral concert, junior school choir with adult choir. Some of the children esp older girls were just so badly behaved, preening and pulling faces. Then when they finished their songs some "adults" "parents?" Whooped and shrieked! Is that from some vacuous stuff on the telly?

Iam64 Sat 01-Jul-17 22:17:47

Live and let live, just saying.
No posts here bragging about over spending. Not everyone likes big celebrations, I don't others do.
i recognise peer pressure and the role of parents in helping their children understand that.
As for disliking anything American, judgemental biscuit well and truly earned.

Christinefrance Sat 01-Jul-17 21:57:12

Bit of a generalisation stevej4491. Americans are like most groups of people some good some bad etc.

Sheian57 Sat 01-Jul-17 21:10:22

It was just coming into fashion to have a prom when my kids were leaving school. Just my daughter had a normal price party dress and new shoes and did her own makeup and we dropped her off at the venue arranged by school however both my sons steered clear. They said they were just happy to be leaving school and had no interest in dressing up to be with their classmates and teachers, that they had spent all their school lives with. Looking back that was sensible. We celebrated with a family meal out instead. It takes a bit of courage and common sense not to be sucked into spending large to brag to others. Leave it to the shallow celebrities who have more money than sense and love to show off. Get a reality on life people and say no. Just saying.

Jennylynn Sat 01-Jul-17 20:35:06

Wildswan16 how refreshing..

Jennylynn Sat 01-Jul-17 20:33:36

American commercial marketing and exploitation. I'm anti Proms, baby showers and Halloween and it's definitely getting out of hand!

stevej4491 Sat 01-Jul-17 20:12:17

I'm afraid I dislike anything American,anything on TV with an American accent,oh my god get it off. My vision of Americans, is all teeth and talk!!! sorry folks.

wildswan16 Sat 01-Jul-17 19:06:52

None of my 3 boys went to any proms - they just couldn't see the point and were not going just to "follow the crowd". The one who went to uni didn't even go to his graduation ceremony - they said they were proud of themselves for passing, they knew their family were pleased and proud - and that was enough. They didn't need to parade in front of a whole lot of strangers. They are all perfectly sociable and very nice young men, just did their own thing (thank goodness).