With prom season around the corner, it's time to start getting those dresses, tuxes and everything else for that special night in order, but what's very well a tradition for many, seems more like a strain for the pocket book. Our Candace Hopkins explains.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Many students consider their prom a once in a lifetime event, but that experience comes with a high price tag.
"It's an expensive night with the dress, the tickets, everything, it can get a little outrageous," said Cazenovia High School senior Laura Gregg.
Those expenses will go towards not just dresses and tickets, but also accessories, hair and makeup, and hiring a limo. In 2011 the average family spent about $807 on prom, and a recent survey by Visa shows many expect to spend about over one thousand dollars this year.
Experts recommend setting a budget before shopping to help keep expenses on track, but that can be a challenge for parents eager to please their children.
"We had a budget, but the budget was definitely not what I was thinking, maybe it's a little more over the top of an experience, you know, we have to have the biggest limo, and the most expensive dress", said Parent Julie Wilder.
But finding that perfect dress doesn't always have to break the bank, with many retailers, like Boom Babies in Syracuse, stocking a variety of dresses in a wide price range."We have dresses from about 150 dollars to about $400. The economy in China has changed and that's reflected in the prices of the dresses, so we work really hard to keep the down," said Owner Lorraine Koury.
When it comes to limo service, experts said while price is important, finding high quality service should be the priority.
"Go see the people, make sure they have the proper insurance, and make sure they're licensed properly, and ask for references," said Joseph DiDomenico, Owner of American Limousine Service.
In the end, many students, like Gregg, will be prioritizing their purchases."You have to budget yourself, and know how to spend money on what you want, and what's practical".
Experts said many of this year's dresses are influenced by Hollywood fashion, but said it's important for students to remember that when looking back on their proms, most won't remember what they wore, or how much it cost, but instead the happy memories made that night with friends.