Long Island Prom on the Cheap

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Is the high cost of attending prom or helping to prepare you child attend prom causing you undue stress?

The national average that families spend on sending a high school senior to prom breaks the bank at $1,000. However, there is no reason for prom to cost quite that much-especially on Long Island where there are hundreds of alternative options for limousines and town cars, formal wear and accessories, after-prom events and inexpensive prom venues. Keep in mind, saving some money will likely require that you use a little elbow grease and creativity, but odds are your efforts will be rewarded and your completely unique look will stand out from the crowd!

Here are a few suggestions for having an awesome prom experience without also experiencing the death of your bank account.

Cheap Formal Wear
Most department stores carry a line of formal wear, especially in the spring as prom season is looming, but even these stores can charge upwards of one hundred to two hundred dollars. Instead, try checking out a thrift store or consignment shop on Long Island. If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can reshape your dress and add some extra pizzazz, guaranteeing your dress is truly unique.

Renting a tuxedo can also become a financial burden when added to the other costs of prom. Instead of getting a full three piece suit, combine a pair of formal pants (perhaps a pair you already own), and only invest in a new button down shirt and vest.  You will look amazing and formal, yet comfortable and casual without a tux jacket; by the time the party gets going, you'll be glad to have one less piece of clothing to worry about!

There is no reason to spend an extraordinary amount of money to complete your prom look with matching necklaces, earrings and other jewelry. Take a walk with your prom dress through the bead and jewelry sections of local arts and crafts stores; you will be amazed at how few supplies you need to create a completely unique, and perfectly matching set of jewelry for your prom ensemble.

If you're less inclined to DIY activities, check out a thrift store or consignment shop and find some classic vintage pieces. Thrift stores are also great places to find formal shoes, especially if you're not likely to wear them more than once. If you find a pair you love but are not quite the right color, pick up some shoe paint. Yes, it exists, and it works like a charm!

Hair & Makeup
The obvious alternative to breaking the bank to get your hair done is to do it yourself! Find a handful of hairstyles that you like on women with similar shaped faces and give yourself a few days to practice re-creating those styles on yourself. Keep in mind that if your prom is taking place indoors, once the party gets going the temperature is going to go up. If your hair is prone to becoming frizzy and unruly, consider an up-do.

There are a handful of makeup tutorials available for free online. Just as with your hair, give yourself plenty of time to practice applying your makeup so that on the day of prom you're look is completely natural and you're not stressed from a time crunch!

After-Prom Events
Some high schoolers on Long Island spend more on their after-prom excursion than on the event itsel, but Long Island is packed with exciting and entertaining late-night activities! Consider going to an arcade for a night of gaming and winning prizes. If you haven't had your fill of dancing, bring a group with you to a Long Island teen club where you can keep the party spirit alive all night long. Have all your friends chip in a few bucks for supplies and get permission from someone's parents to have a backyard party: set up some tiki torches and string lights, set a small fire in an enclosed ring, and take a dip in the pool. After a long night of dancing at prom, a smaller, demure backyard party will be a great way to wind down.

Find It - Cheap!
Corsages, photographers, limousines....these all pump up the price of attending prom. Instead of having professional photographs taken at prom, select a beautiful garden near your home for a natural backdrop, or hang an opaque sheet and set up a bright light in your own home to create your own photo studio. Doing this allows you to pick the backdrop color that best brings out the colors of your dress, and gives you the comfort of taking as many, or as few, photos as you need until you capture the one that is just right.

Instead of taking a limousine or party bus to prom, have a blast with your friends by decorating your car with temporary paint, streamers, stickers and anything else that might offer a dose of sentimentality to your prom night. A few bucks can get your enough supplies to decorate a fleet of cars, and its a great pre-prom activity that you and your friends will remember for the rest of your lives.  

As an alternative to corsages, snip one red rose, or any flower that you prefer, and tuck it into your prom dates tux or vest pocket. You can create a wrist corsage to match your prom dress by attaching flowers from your garden to an elastic hair tie with a few twist-ties or spare floral wire.

If you have any unique and creative tips for keeping prom simple and cheap, share it with us at our Long Island Lounge discussion forum!

Additional Resources for Long Island Prom Guide

  • Long Island Prom Guide - Get help planning for your junior or senior prom on Long Island.
  • Venues - Read reviews and ratings for prom venues on Long Island.
  • Accessories - Find out where to shop for prom accessories on Long Island.
  • Dresses & Tuxedos - Find out where to buy your prom dress or rent a tuxedo on Long Island.
  • Hair & Makeup - Look your best for your Long Island prom.
  • After-Prom Events - Make your after-prom plans at a location on Long Island.