Written by: Steve Yang
The traditions of prom are treasured across all of America’s history and geography as stepping stones of life, setting the stage for the proverbial caterpillar’s metamorphosis. An important component of the big night has always been unusually lavish spending: most couples will spend more than $500 together. There are many perfectly justifiable expenses, such as prom dresses or the rent-a-tux, but the one that is most unfair is arguably the most important: the prom ticket.
It is a breathtaking expense; $85 dollars for those with an ASB card, and $95 for those without, if they are purchased early. An easy way to think about it would be:” Nah, it’s not too expensive, it’s prom after all!” Actually, it’s crucial to think about what this money does buy, and this information can be found in the 2013 prom budget.
Primary costs for prom are standard and expected: about $13,000 for busses, which is a great deal considering how many people they will transport. Right after these costs come the other big investments: catering and venue costs of renting the Pavilion—and after catering and venue costs are factored in, Gunn will spend around $65,000 for them. Overall, these costs, mixed in with the smaller ones for caricature artists, photobooths and photographers, will add up to about $75,000 total for prom.
Many ignore the truth of spending for prom, which is swept under the rug as people tend to do with unpleasant facts. The truth is, the expectations of prom given the amount of money spent for the night are always going to be greater and better than the actual event. There is the misleading idea that the more you spend to do something, the more you’ll enjoy it, but the opposite is true more often than not.
Why? It’s because there is always a tendency to become too fixated on the price and getting one’s “money’s worth” for the night, which in the end detracts from the whole experience. Just like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet, if you stuff yourself trying to get as much perceived “value” as possible, you’ll feel awful and bloated at the end if money is a big factor in the equation (or as Mr. Karas would prefer, big variable). This is not to say that prom could be cheap enough to the point where people won’t be shelling out much more than they would for a normal dance, yet it’s important to consider how else money can be spent.
The price of prom is titillating when considering what a prom-table size group of couples could enjoy if they spent the money elsewhere.Ten people using their prom budget could buy a lot of other wonderful things with the money, which adds up to more than $2500 begging to be spent to the heart’s content. This could mean a ski cabin down in Tahoe for a night and ski tickets, or an awesome paintball party at a paintball arena of your choice for five tables’ worth of people. In all honesty, paintball is just a cheaper prom, except instead of boutonnieres and corsages, there’s none of that plain vanilla white-tie stuff and plenty more adrenaline, paint and bruises the next morning. (Either that, or I’m going to the wrong prom.)
Prom is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it should be exactly that; go once, and save yourself the money the next time and do something more awesome instead. Gunn is wonderful enough to offer you two proms throughout high school, and doesn’t differentiate between junior and senior prom, which means it’s perfectly okay to miss one. In summary, I believe my former English teacher Ms. Grall said it best: “Prom is like marriage: if you do right the first time, there need not be a second.”