prom

4 Memorable Prom Moments That Went Viral This Year

Written on June 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm , by

Prom isn’t only about the glitz and glam of whose wearing what anymore. It’s also about making a viral statement in a memorable way. 2014 prom season showed that your teen isn’t necessarily as superficial and out of touch as you may think.  From teens uniting to support a friend with cancer to one bold high schooler getting the attention of Vice President Joe Biden, the Internet was constantly buzzing about teens and prom.

 

Teen takes great-grandmother to prom

19-year-old Austin Dennison had the Internet singing his praises when this video went viral. The Ohio teen deiced to take his 89-year-old great-grandmother, Delores, as his date to prom. Delores, who recently had a heart attack and stroke, was never asked to prom. Austin even had the DJ play Frank Sinatra’s “I Love the Kisses of Delores,”—a song his great-grandfather used to sing to her—as their first dance.  How sweet!

 

Virginia teens unite to support a friend with cancer 

Seventeen teens of Osbourn Park High School in Virginia made a powerful and heartwarming statement when everyone decided to wear protective masks in support of Jared Hill. Jared was diagnosed with testicular cancer last September, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. His doctor told him that if he wanted to take his girlfriend to prom, he would have to wear a protective mask. So, everyone in their prom group did the same. This photo captures the memorial night that unified everyone.

 

Classmates of slain teen pay tribute 

After the lost of 16-year-old Maren Sanchez, who was stabbed to death in the hallway of a Connecticut high school, classmates decided to pay tribute to the beloved teen by dressing up and bringing out the gown she would have worn to their junior prom. The group photo taken was a bit controversial, with some saying it was inappropriate. But the sentimental gesture was felt around the world. The school even postponed the dance, but Sanchez was named prom queen.

 

Teen asks Joe Biden to Prom

When you want something go get it, right? That’s exactly what 18-year-old Talia Maselli did. The Newington High School senior mailed a handwritten note seven months ago, requesting that Vice President Joe Biden escort her to the dance. Her note was very straightforward: “I could only tolerate a high school dance if I was to be escorted by the most delightful man in America.” Of course, she didn’t expect to hear back. But to her surprise, Biden did eventually respond the day before the prom, with a note and a corsage delivered to Maselli’s home. What a way to get the attention of someone!

 

 

 

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6 Ways Parents Can Discuss Sex Before Prom Night and Graduation

Written on May 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm , by

By Leslie Kantor, vice president of education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Prom and graduation season is an excellent time to have conversations with our teens about sex—what they anticipate happening, what their date or friends might envision, and how to handle the potent mix of alcohol, drugs and sexual pressure that is likely in the mix.

Studies show that teens who talk with their parents about sex are more likely to make healthy choices like waiting until they are older to have sex, and using birth control and condoms when they do decide to. You can empower your teens to make smart, safe choices by discussing the importance of having good communication with partners and using condoms and contraception. Proms and graduations should be very positive events in a teenager’s life, and with your help, they’ll be prepared and able to focus on enjoying themselves.

Keep the lines of communication open.
Talking with your teenager about sex may be awkward and uncomfortable at first, and owning up to that can help relieve tension. You can try saying something like, “It’s totally normal that this feels awkward, but I love you and care about you so we need to talk about important things like this.” In time and with practice, it will get easier. The key is to keep the conversation open and ongoing.

Discuss expectations.
If you’re allowing your teen to spend the night outside the home or stay out later than usual, talk about what you expect of them and help them think about how to handle peer pressure or difficult situations.

Practice things to say and ways to handle different situations.
As parents, we can help our teens by warning them about the lines they might hear and situations they may find themselves in. We can help them practice assertive responses that feel right to them, from saying no to sex to setting boundaries about what they want and don’t want to do. For teens that are going to engage in sex, making sure they are prepared with condoms is essential, as is what constitutes consensual sex so that teens are clear that when someone is drunk, they can’t actually consent to sex.

Talk with them about preventing pregnancy and STDs.
The reality is that 63% of high school seniors have had sex. Even if you want your teen to wait until they are out of high school or much older to have sex, it’s still important that they know how to protect themselves from STDs and getting pregnant before they head off to college, or start jobs that will inevitably force them to face sexual decisions and pressures.

Make sure they’re prepared.
You might want to make sure they have condoms with them on prom night and consider having your teen get a method of birth control as well. Chances are that that first year away at college or working, opportunities for sex will arise, so it’s better that he or she is prepared.

Get more information.
If the thought of helping your teen navigate these decisions feels a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. Many college health centers provide condoms and birth control, and you and your teen can always visit a Planned Parenthood health center for information and care. They can also check out Planned Parenthood’s mybirthcontrolapp.org, which is designed to help older teens find methods that will work well for them, which they can then discuss with a health care provider.

For more information and resources on talking to teens about sex and sexuality, check out plannedparenthood.org/parents. Read more of Leslie’s work, here

Follow Leslie on Twitter @LeslieKantor.

 

 

My Daughter’s Prom Was a Big Success

Written on June 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm , by

 Guest blogger Marian Merritt, member of Family Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board, on her “prom mom” experiences.

All I can say is now that the prom is over, I’m so relieved and a bit exhausted! Even with that big sigh of relief, I want to tell you that M’s prom can certainly be described as a BIG success. A success from a parent point of view, because as far as I know, there were no problems or situations requiring me to run to rescue my daughter, her date or any of her friends from trouble. There were no frantic calls for emergency supplies of comfortable shoes, safety pins, hair spray or first-aid supplies. And a big success because my lovely daughter left the house happy and excited and arrived home smiling and exhausted.

The preparations began as usual with a trip to the local hair salon. Umberto Los Angeles was hopping with excited teens and their parents and there were two girls from the class leaving with finished styles just as we arrived. M began her salon experience with a manicure and pedicure in matching pale pink polish. Then she went off to get her hair washed. I think I was allowed to tag along at the salon not only to pay the bills but also to advise her on her hair style. She really wasn’t that interested in any of my suggestions from the salon magazines or pictures of celebrity hairstyles we found on the Internet. Then we looked at the Momster Prom 2012 hairstyle article on my smartphone while she was sitting in the stylist’s chair. That helped! M decided on long, romantic curls without any ornaments, clips or fancy braiding. And as it turned out, she was right because it was so pretty!

While M was getting her hair washed, another of her friends was getting the finishing touches on her updo with our hair stylist. So I had a nice chat with her, took a photo and emailed it to her mother. Then when M was in the chair, the other girl went off to get her makeup done at the MAC counter in the department store at the mall.

After M’s hair was completed, we drove to the home of a very close friend of hers we’ll call “J”. J happens to be extremely artistic and this skill extends itself to makeup application. She had volunteered to make M up and she was so good at it, I think I’ll have to hire her for my next big event!  She’s just that talented and took all the right steps to clean her brushes and keep everything professionally organized in kits from Sephora and The Container Store. She also spent a lot of time considering shades and materials to give M just the right soft, sophisticated look. I asked her how she learned to do makeup application at her young age and she replied, “from watching lots of YouTube videos and lots of practice.”

By the time we arrived back home, M’s date and steady boyfriend “S” had arrived with his mom. We had to sneak M past him so she could finish dressing without him seeing her. Then with her dress and glittering sandals and earrings in place, she emerged to loads of “oohs” from her boyfriend, his mother, her parents and even her little sister. Then we took a few photos in our living room as S put the wrist corsage in place and then we all jumped into the car for the short drive to the “pre-prom” festivities.

I’m not sure we had a “pre-prom” when I was in high school but what a super idea! One of the grad’s parents hosted a backyard event where the parents and siblings could visit with each other, take photos of the prom-goers and enjoy the warm summer evening together. Many of the families have become close after more than 15 years of having our children in school together. After an hour of socializing, the parents peeled off for other events and dinners back at home. A party bus came to the house to take all the kids and their dates off to the prom.

The prom was held in a party space that was, up until recently, a Hollywood nightclub. There were parent chaperones and security provided by the site. They had music and dancing and the festivities went on until about 1:30 a.m. when the party bus came back and took the kids home. One interesting innovation: there was a special “after prom” time during the evening where underclassmen and friends of the students who had purchased tickets could join the prom goers. That seems like a nice way to carve out separate events, raise additional funds and include as many students from this small school as possible.

After talking to few other moms today, most of the kids had a wonderful time. One boy was heard to describe the evening as “overrated” but he was the exception. For the other kids, last night they felt a connection to each other, an electric feeling that lasted all prom night long. There is something magical that can give two kids on a prom date a special bond and a lasting memory. At the same time, there’s an inherent pressure that prom night should be “perfect” and completely different from regular teen life. That kind of pressure can backfire and cause anyone to feel deflated, disappointed, and a bit of “is that all there is?” Fortunately, life will present many more occasions for our teens to put on some fancy clothes, spend too much money and stay out too late. But there is never anything quite as exhilarating as the preparation that goes into prom and for that, I’ve been happy to share all of it with you.

Marian Merritt is a mother of three (two teens and a tween) and works for security company Norton by Symantec. You can read her internet safety blog atwww.norton.com/askmarian. She serves on Family  Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board and has written the award-winning Norton Family Online Safety Guide, now in its third edition.

Prom Shopping for Teen Boys

Written on May 17, 2012 at 10:13 am , by

 

Guest blogger Marian Merritt, member of Family Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board, on her “prom mom” experiences.

If I were to say to you “prom” and “fashion,” you immediately think of dresses, long and short, sparkly and sleek. Did you even consider what the boys are wearing? Moms of boys deserve equal time here! As I’ve been worrying about what my daughter was going to wear to her prom, I completely ignored what her boyfriend was doing to figure his own clothing out. Before I discuss that, I have to think back to my own high school days and what the boys did back then for prom clothing.

At my Southern California high school, there was the usual assortment of groups and cliques, each identified by what they wore or how they styled themselves. Open up any of my yearbooks and you’ll see styles of clothing for boys and girls ranging from retro preppies (remember The Preppy Handbook?) and 50’s rockabilly styles to surfers and punks. It was a pretty fertile playground for fashion experimentation and embarrassing yearbook photos.

Influenced perhaps by their parents, many of whom were employed in the entertainment industry, the boys at my school were willing to experiment with clothing and hairstyles. Many of us followed the fashion we were seeing on TV and in local clubs: Farrah-feathered hair styled with mousse and gel, lace and leather, black eyeliner or pukka shell necklaces. Camp Beverly Hills t-shirts and tight, high-waist jeans.

When prom rolled around, most people seemed to conform what they wore to evening attire standards. As I recall, the nightmare for most girls was if their boyfriend chose a colored tuxedo or (shudder) the dreaded tuxedo shirt with a ruffled front. If anyone’s date showed up with “interesting” shoes like Vans surfer shoes or a flamboyant bowtie, I don’t recall any fuss. My own date played it safe in his father’s tuxedo with a plain front white shirt but he jazzed it up with an old top hat he’d found but was too shy to wear in any of the photos.

My daughter’s boyfriend styles himself a “hipster” in his everyday life: skinny jeans, funky hats and indie music tastes.  So I have to admit, I’ve been pretty curious if he’s spending any time putting his prom look together or is he going to play it safe with a standard black and white tux. M. told me he wanted to match his tie to her dress and when we dropped the dress off to be hemmed, we snipped a small bit of fabric to give him.  I asked his mom to give me a peek at what’s going on in their household:

It is now about 20 days until prom and M’s date S., who also happens to be her boyfriend of several months, has yet to take the first step to obtain his tuxedo. Well that’s not 100 percent correct: S. has summarily rejected his dad’s suggestion that he borrow the old tux that dad last wore to a wedding in 1991. Instead S. plans to go with his mom to a tuxedo rental shop sometime this week (or next). He hopes that they will still have some cool tuxedos in his size because he is slim. He does not want to wear a vest, but S. is most excited about the tie. In fact, S. has posed the question, “What do you think of a bow tie, mom?” S. believes that this may be one of the few occasions in his life that a bow tie may be an option. The tie is also important to S. because he hopes to color coordinate it and his handkerchief with M.’s dress. Then, there are the shoes and the socks. S. doesn’t want patent leather shoes, and he plans to wear his own hipster socks with hot pink heels. S. is pretty fashion conscious and yet he’s not sweating it because there are not too many choices for the young man going to prom. The biggest choice is the gal he asks and S. has got that covered.  He is very, very happy with his date. Oh one more thing, S is thinking about the corsage and boutonniere. He plans to go to the flower store soon, too.

Boys have many prom style options if they are willing to go out on a limb. From colored tuxedos (though I’m not a fan, personally) to varying the cut of the jacket (single breasted, double breasted, shawl-collared, etc.) to patterned or colored cummerbund, bowtie and pocket square, there are numerous ways a boy can corral a complete look that is true to their personality. Yes, there is pressure for the couple to achieve a “look.” It’s also possible the whole effort can go terribly wrong and condemn their prom night photos to the “Can you believe we wore this??” web pages of their future. No wonder so many kids decide to play it safe, get the standard black tux and just mess around with accessories that don’t cost much and can even be removed as the evening progresses.

Marian Merritt is a mother of three (two teens and a tween) and works for security company Norton by Symantec. You can read her internet safety blog at www.norton.com/askmarian. She serves on Family  Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board and has written the award-winning Norton Family Online Safety Guide, now in its third edition.

“We Found the Perfect Prom Dress!”

Written on May 9, 2012 at 9:26 am , by

 

Guest blogger Marian Merritt, member of Family Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board, on her “prom mom” experiences.

So let’s get caught up. M and I have been on the prowl for the perfect prom dress. Her stated requirements were that it be a flowing gown style with a fitted bodice. She prefers jewel colors like blue, green and purple. And we’d probably tried on or viewed online every blue, green or purple gown in Los Angeles and New York to no avail. At least until now.

Since I last wrote, we completed our amazing East Coast college tour. And it really was amazing: four colleges in upstate New York, New York’s Long Island and Philadelphia. We rode planes, trains and rented an automobile. We met eager tour guides and solicitous admissions officers. We asked a lot of questions and apparently toured the same cinder block dorm room four times.

And in between we shopped dresses. And then we went home, back to Los Angeles.

We then decided to ditch the suburban malls and department stores we’d been relying on. We headed downtown to the garment district where there were at least two massive bridal/prom dress emporia M had heard about. I was thrilled because downtown L.A. means wholesale and wholesale means discount prices, right?

It’s been a while since I wandered through the stalls and shops of Santee Street in downtown Los Angeles. I actually love the whole downtown shopping experience and many years ago, I even managed a wholesale clothes shop for a friend’s mom as a summer college job. I thought I was pretty cool with a key to open and close the store, manage the register and carry the zippered receipts bag back to their home each night. While much is the same in the “schmata district,” some had changed. Whereas before it seemed everyone spoke Spanish, Korean or Hebrew, this time I heard a lot of Farsi added to the spicy mix.

We chose to begin with the store with the more glamorous storefront. Two stories of open stock and a big crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling’s center. We were greeted by a nice, chicly dressed lady who quickly disappeared on us. Another bored but equally well appointed sales woman informed us we could only try on five dresses. Something about the stacks and stacks of dress racks and the little to no sales assistance and I was pretty unhappy. The disinterested staff only added to my confusion and disappointment. We drove all this way to be overwhelmed and left to search without help? It was almost a physical depiction of shopping on the internet gone wrong. The site might have a great home page, but then you find no system to help you locate what you need from the thousands of items listed on the site.

So we left and headed to the second store. Here, the entry was a little shabby and the security alarm beeped with each customer’s entrance. “Beep, beep,” as we walked in. No chandelier and the carpet was old and frayed. The sales staff didn’t appear as glamorous as at the first store but their smiles felt genuine, even if the stress of helping so many teens and their crazed moms was beginning to show.

The thousands of prom dresses hung in two levels of racks, extended both up to the high industrial ceiling and then back, back, back hundreds of feet in a nightmare-inducing fantasy of tulle and chiffon. The store manager played triage nurse and asked if we had an idea what we were looking for before she handed us off to another saleswoman. This gal was very young, terribly sweet and though she had trouble reaching the dresses on the higher tier, she never complained. Using a metal hook and bar device, she pulled a selection of beautiful teal, blue and purple gowns for us.

Then, M headed back to the dressing area under the supervision of a third and more seasoned saleswoman. The dressing area was a grouping of small dressing rooms, big enough only for one person and tucked in the farthest corner of the showroom. Each dressing room had a cafe door that allowed you to see the girl’s feet at the bottom and her head and shoulders at the top. To get in and out of each dress, the staff insisted on zipping and unzipping the dresses themselves, to prevent undue damage to the material. This meant each girl was compelled to step out of the changing room for assistance, and in many cases had much of their bare torso visible, at least on the side where the zipper was as they moved in and out of the dressing room.

There was by now a large assembly of about 20 people standing and sitting just a few feet away. Mothers, girlfriends, sisters were gathered to provide encouragement and advice. There were also a few young men (the prom dates, I suspect) and fathers standing around. It didn’t seem appropriate for each girl’s progress to be viewed by these men and boys so I turned to them, and as firmly and politely as possible said, “Please, all you men please step back and give our girls some privacy.” I was a little worried that I would offend someone but all the men stepped back quickly, almost relieved to put some distance between themselves and all the dress drama in this particular corner of the store. M was also happy I’d said something, though a little embarrassed I’d done it, too.

Dress on, dress off. Zippers down and up in rapid succession. I had some time between dress reviews for M so I started looking at the other girls and their dress choices. I didn’t mean to, but I found myself getting drawn into discussions with other shoppers about prom expenses and other concerns. One mother asked the price of her daughter’s dress and was told $450. She said, “I’ve never spent that much on a dress for myself!” then sank back in her chair dejectedly. Another girl, with an enviably sleek figure, was trying on a nude sheath dress, covered in small crystals that gave every inch a subtle and sexy shimmer. It was the dress a movie star might wear, a modern Marilyn Monroe singing to the President outfit. The gown was far more sexy than I could imagine on my own child but I had to admire how well the young woman looked in it. She was still hesitating over the purchase, despite her mother’s approval, and she wanted to see the dress in other color choices. Sighing, the group of middle-aged moms sitting around agreed, the girls were at the height of their beauty and wasn’t it great to see them so dressed up?

And then, M found it. The dress that made her smile and stand up a little taller. The saleswoman gave a sigh of pleasure and said, oh look, how pretty! It wasn’t exactly what M had described as her perfect dress. Far more crystals, and a natural, not empire waist. And it was quite a bit more expensive than I’d hoped. But otherwise, yes, it was a goddess confection of flowing fabric with two shades of teal blue that shift and dance in the light. The bodice is encrusted with chunky rhinestones.  M stood there, surrounded by the other girls and the admiring glances of my fellow prom moms. She gave a shy spin in the dress and asked if I could see the changes in color as she moved. I did, not only in the fabric but in the flush of excitement on her face. I asked her if this was the dress. She hesitated for the barest second and almost seemed surprised to nod back at me, yes. This is it. This is my prom dress.

Marian Merritt is a mother of three (two teens and a tween) and works for security company Norton by Symantec. You can read her internet safety blog atwww.norton.com/askmarian. She serves on Family  Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board and has written the award-winning Norton Family Online Safety Guide, now in its third edition.

Our Prom Mom Makes a Parenting Facebook Faux Pas

Written on April 18, 2012 at 10:05 am , by

Guest blogger Marian Merritt, member of Family Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board, on her “prom mom” experiences.

The two mail order dresses arrived! I have to admit, one of them was just stunning and at a great price. But M felt it was too fancy, too serious and maybe even too “mature.” Given the department store’s wonderful policy of free shipping and free returns, we may hold on to that one for a while, as a back-up, or even to use as a formal dress to wear in college. I think it’s good to have a few wardrobe options.

Unfortunately, I’m out of the dress shopping job this week while I’m out of town on business. M is going to have to go with a friend to yet another dress boutique in LA. Who knows? Maybe she will get lucky or feel less pressure without me. If not, you may recall we have a college trip coming and that still gives us a chance to shop in New York. (Someone should warn Macy’s Herald Square!)

So let’s stop to discuss another aspect of all this prom prep: the online world.

I committed a parenting social media faux pas and I need to share it with you. When my first blog entry went up on Momster, I linked to it on my Facebook page.  I allowed the accompanying photo to appear on my Facebook newsfeed. And then, (horrors!) I tagged M in the post! That meant all her friends suddenly saw the item, with the link to Momster and the photo of the dress. Including the dress that isn’t her  actual DRESS, if you know what I mean.

OMG! The drama that ensued! First, M was annoyed that her boyfriend saw the image and “MOM! He isn’t supposed to see the dress!!” Huh? I thought that was a wedding rule, not a prom rule. And then, the comments from her friends began, because they assumed she’d selected that red dress as the one. While all of them said they loved it, M felt compelled to post and re-post her statement that “THIS isn’t my prom dress! It’s just one we tried on!” So, the key lesson I learned is to avoid tagging her in my prom blogging, at least for the time being.

And I learned a neat trick our kids are using to keep their fashion faux pas to a minimum on the big night. As each girl selects her final dress choice, she uploads an image to a Facebook page (a RESTRICTED Facebook page for just the girls) to make sure no one gets the identical dress. That is brilliant! At my prom, there were three girls wearing the same ivory lace Gunny Sack dress and I was one of them. All night long, we each staked out our section of the dance floor and tried to stay out of photos with each other. It was a little upsetting (though very funny now). It’s quite a relief that with this wise use of technology, that’s one issue our kids can avoid. (Although I must admit, now I wish we had taken a photo of the three of us in our matching outfits.)

Ask your teens how they are deciding what to wear for the big night. Will your daughter’s dress match her date’s outfit? Do they have a group planning page? What about corsages or flowers (and do they still do that?) Will there be dinner before or dinner after? Group photos at one house? After-parties?  Do you have a curfew for your teen and will you lift it for prom night? Get those conversations going now and while you’re at it, maybe you and your teen should set some ground rules for each other about how to use social media wisely. Just as they may want you to limit any mentions of prom stuff in your own Facebook or other social networks, you should ask them to be smart about it too. Talk about making sure their social network activity is thoughtful and considerate of others. Not everyone has determined their prom plan yet and may be upset by seeing what your teen is posting. And as we move towards the big night, that intensity will increase. Discuss how to post images, videos and comments while respecting privacy and feelings.

Marian Merritt is a mother of three (two teens and a tween) and works for security company Norton by Symantec. You can read her internet safety blog atwww.norton.com/askmarian. She serves on Family  Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board and has written the award-winning Norton Family Online Safety Guide, now in its third edition.

Shopping for a Prom Dress: The Odyssey Begins

Written on April 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm , by

Guest blogger Marian Merritt, member of Family Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board, on her “prom mom” experiences.

My nearly 18 year old daughter (I’ll call her “M”) is a high school senior and beginning to plan for the penultimate ritual of finishing high school: the prom. So apparently, that makes me a “prom mom”! And I’m feeling such a bittersweet rush of emotions about this. I suppose that’s normal. Unbidden, fog-laden memories of my own prom come whispering. The dress I selected, after hours spent in the over-lit dressing rooms of now-long-since-gone Los Angeles department stores like Robinson’s, Orbach’s and Bonwit-Teller. Scandia, the glamorous restaurant my prom party went to, is also no longer around.

You may be interested or even shocked to know that my daughter’s high school doesn’t actually allow or sanction the prom. My daughter’s school is a religious one and doesn’t approve of dances. As a result, this is the “MORP” (prom spelled backwards) and is put on by the students themselves, with parents as adult chaperones. The principal is fairly modern and hesitant to speak too harshly against the evening so he limits his concerns to the possibility of foolish and dangerous behavior like underage drinking and the unnecessary expenses for the families of his students. And the principal’s concerns are not unfounded; some of the parents I’ve spoken with are opposed to the prom because it can be so expensive. I’m much more sentimental and am looking forward to the affair even if we have to monitor the spending to not go overboard. I have every expectation that my daughter and her friends will simply have a good time in one last lovely party before they all scatter to colleges, gap year programs and other endeavors near and far.

My daughter’s class is very small and extremely close-knit and she has been dating a boy from another school for several months now. I’m happy for her that the prom will be a celebration of these long friendships and that she will get to go with someone she’s close to. The June event is still several months away but preparing for prom is a journey, a process, and there’s actually a lot to do to help her plan this wonderful evening.

So where are we in all this? M is still at square one, finding the perfect dress. Have you ever met a teen who said “yes” to the first prom dress they saw? If so, she’s not my daughter. So far, M’s been to malls near and far with her friends, looked online and in magazines, hoping to find that ideal combination of glamour and comfort in a dress that flatters her figure, hides her (perceived) flaws and comes in a price tag we can afford. She’s been emailing me links to websites, photos of her in store dressing rooms and showed me clippings of gowns. But so far, she hasn’t allowed me to go shopping with her. I know why. It’s because, as a busy working mom, I tend to make decisions quickly. I get impatient with shopping and after a few hours, my feet hurt. (Just reading that in print makes me feel old.)

Today, that changes. M has asked me to take a long lunch and go with her to a mall nearby for some dress shopping. And if that proves unfruitful, we have a trip back East in a week to look at some of her colleges. Maybe, during some of our downtime we can visit a few stores together. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to discover a little boutique in SoHo or a shop in Philadelphia with that unique, perfect, not-too-expensive dress? And to have that experience together? Not only because it will be such a pleasure to help her find this dream dress, but also because the chance to spend time with her is fleeting. She’s so busy, so consumed with decisions about college or perhaps a gap year program, with AP tests and softball practice, with community service hours and socializing, I’m grateful for our family dinners so at least we see her from time to time.

But if I let you in on a secret, the best part so far of being a prom mom is finding out that my big girl, my nearly-old-enough-to-vote daughter still wants my advice and maybe even my approval. M is concerned about spending too much on a dress she knows she’ll only wear once. She’s really so mature and so considerate, it’s one of those “you’re making me proud” moments that can sneak up on you.  And that make you feel like you’re doing something right after all.

Marian Merritt is a mother of three (two teens and a tween) and works for security company Norton by Symantec. You can read her internet safety blog at www.norton.com/askmarian. She serves on Family  Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board and has written the award-winning Norton Family Online Safety Guide, now in its third edition.

Prom on a Budget: 4 Money-Saving Ideas

Written on March 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm , by

Prom is a memorable night for high school upperclassmen, but the costs—dress, hair, makeup, shoes, and jewelry—can quickly add up. Whether your daughter is looking at the red carpet for inspiration, local boutiques, or wants to make a homemade-DIY gown, there are plenty of ways to skip the expensive dresses and still send her off to the big dance in style. Here are a few ways I’ve found stylish formalwear on a budget for prom and special occasions:

Organize a swap: By the time I was a high school senior, I had a half-closet full of once-worn dresses that I would’ve been happy to see re-worn. Encourage your daughter to organize a dress swap for her group of friends and have each girl bring someone from a different school. It’s a great way to expand their social circle, and the dress your daughter’s out-of-town friend wore to a Sweet Sixteen could easily be another girl’s prom pick.

Search outlet malls: I’m a big fan of shopping at outlet malls (Premium and Tanger) a few times a year for basic tees and off-season deals, but I never expected to find a prom dress there. I got mine on whim at Diane von Furstenberg, a high-end designer whose dresses I would have never thought of looking at in a department store for fear of sticker shock. The floor-length floral gown I found was $185, marked down from $625. This was this less than I originally budgeted for a dress, and since I didn’t buy it close to home, I was confident that no one else would have it.

Borrow a dress: It’s common for boys to rent tuxes for prom, so why are gown rentals not more popular for girls? My favorite site to borrow from is Rent the Runway, which offers designer dresses and accessories at up to 90% off retail prices.  It’s super easy: browse the site and pick the date you want the dress to arrive (you can reserve six months in advance). They even send you the dress in two sizes, so you don’t have to worry about it not fitting. Shipping and dry cleaning are included, so you can just drop the dress in the provided envelope to return after the dance is over.

Get Creative: I always enjoy seeing what creations are submitted to Duck Brand’s annual “Stuck at Prom” scholarship contest. Teens must enter as a couple wearing outfits made of duct tape, and the winning duo receives $5,000. Check out stuckatprom.com for inspiration or to learn how your teen can enter.

Check out our picks for prom dresses for every teen’s style—and budget—here.

How do you plan to handle the costs of prom season? Who will foot the bill: you or your teen, or do you plan to split expenses?

 

What are your money-saving tips for prom? Share with others below!

 

Cassie Kreitner is editorial assistant at Family Circle magazine.