Prom prices reach new high

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Families are spending more than ever on prom. By Jennifer Thomas Families are spending more than ever on prom. By Jennifer Thomas

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- When you're in high school, prom is the night to stand out and this year teens will spend more than ever to be special.

For Andrea Carrillo and her mom, shopping for the senior prom is bittersweet this year.

"It's the last thing you do before you graduate," Andrea said. "That's like your big night just to kind of end everything."

"You know how it is with moms, if you find the perfect dress, then you end up budgeting, making the budget a little bit bigger," said Andrea's mom, Mavy.

That is what many families are doing this year.

According to a recent survey compiled of 700 readers from Seventeen Prom and TeenPROM magazines last year, the average price of prom is now $1,000. That's up from $800 last year.

Tonia Tinker owns Uptown Bridal and Boutique in Chandler. She said when you consider everything, the $1,000 price tag isn't shocking.

"By the time you get jewelry, accessories, hair, makeup, nails, anything else that goes along with the dress, it does get expensive," Tinker said.

Personal fashion stylist Fawn Cheng points out, "It feels like a lot of money, but it's an experience that's going to last forever."

"Everybody wants to look unique, you want to look your best, you just want to look good so you're going to spend as much as you can," Andrea said.

Kaitlyn Coronado doesn't plan to spend $1,000 but admits she would if she could.

"If the dress is worth it then, yeah, probably," she said. "You just want to feel beautiful and that you spent a lot of money and you look good."

When Sarah Noe went to prom she did it on a budget, but she admits there's a certain amount of pressure to look your best.

"Everyone takes pictures before and you've got to look as good as your friends," she said.

But when it comes to spending big bucks, Sarah said, "It's not worth it to spend a thousand dollars on prom when I could spend a thousand dollars on books. That's student loans I'm not going to have to take out later, you know."

The Visa survey also found those who do spend the most are in the lowest income brackets. Those making between $20,000 and $30,000 will spend an average of $2,600 on prom whereas more affulent families spend between $700 and $1,000.

No matter what your budget, teens agree on one thing, as Andrea explains, "You want to look pretty, you want to feel like you're walking the red carpet, like this is your red carpet moment."

For more details about the survey, visit

Uptown Bridal and Boutique is located at 11 Boston St., Suite #3, in Chandler, 480-242-9408.

To contact Feng Cheng, visit or or call 480-766-1924.