We may all have different feelings about prom: worry, excitement, or just general disinterest, but one thing we can agree on is its hefty price. Some students may spend close to $1,000 on the entire event while others will keep their budgets closer to $200.
The final price of prom depends on many factors: how much you spend on your clothes, shoes, dinner, and possibly even makeup and hair. For those items, students can choose how much to spend. But the ticket price is non-negotiable. This year the tickets are selling for $100.
While some students may perceive the price of the tickets as expensive, they don’t begin to cover the actual cost of putting on a prom.
Senior Katie McAdams, one of the members of the prom committee, said that the committee does its best “to make sure that the students are paying a reasonable price.” For example, this year they “didn’t want to have to raise prices even though the venue is much more expensive – about $10,000 more expensive.”
Planning begins early in the year and includes booking a venue, finding and booking a DJ, booking photo booths, deciding on a theme and the decorations, organizing the Prom Court, finding prizes for the raffle, designing and printing the tickets, and making a Facebook page for videos, promos and updates.
This work is all done by the prom committee, which is made up of “a very small group of students, so [the job] can be very overwhelming. The venue this year was around $35,000, the DJ was $1,800, the photo booths were $1,680 and the decorations, raffles, and another photographer can cost another $2,000 – depending on the year,” Katie said.
According to Katie, “Prom has a very low budget,” and the only way for the committee to make money to cover costs is by selling tickets. This year, selling the tickets at around $100 each will just cover the cost of the hotel – meaning the committee will have to find another way to pay for the rest of the costs. Katie clarified that the committee does “not make a profit at all.”
Katie said that they “decided to make the tickets just a little bit more expensive, only $10 more,” in order to pay back the school. Prom committee also tried to cut back on their spending on decorations this year and “instead of hiring poker tables that cost roughly $3,000,” they are going to borrow tables from school. Next year, they are also “considering asking the Booster Booth or the PTA for sponsorships,” as they will most likely not have any left over money.
“The Prom committee works very hard to please everyone and does the best it can to ensure everyone has a good night,” Katie said. “In the end, the choice is ultimately theirs, but dressing up for a night with all of your peers with music, photo booths, raffles, games and activities isn’t something I’d want to pass up on.”
While some students might consider prom an overpriced event, junior Zoe Ong isn’t “sure if [prom is] overpriced or not,” as she understands that “space in Singapore is never cheap.” She believes that prom is an experience “unique to high school,” and she recommends students go with a good attitude as it will be “worth the money if you make it worth it.”
To reduce the cost of attending prom, students can get creative. Junior Ju Young Oh suggests selling “some things on Carousell or on any responsive second-hand selling platform and make some cash.” Students could also buy cheaper dresses, or as Justine suggested, “renting a dress and doing your own hair and makeup,” is a good way to still enjoy prom without breaking the bank.
And if you’re really creative, check out some great duct tape dress and suit options.