Interactive media: Pricey prom

Prom expenses can be very high for both the male and female.

Ben Prengler

Prom expenses can be very high for both the male and female.

Tory Heruska and Isabel Cardenas

With prom coming up on Saturday, May 3, The Red Ledger’s Tory Heruska reveals how much money the average couple spends on prom.

Money or memories?

By Isabel Cardenas

Every year, high school seniors from all over the country graduate in the joyous spring months. The happiness is damped however, when parents see students proudly bringing home their high school diploma forms, along with other order forms demanding money for graduation and other year end events.  Schools should make these events cheaper.

It often starts with the senior photo shoot. These can range from extremely basic photography to multi-hour sessions, complete with makeup artist and props. The cost of the shoot itself may be pale in comparison with the tab for the print order. In total, the photo and the prints can easily run well over $1,000.

Then there are yearbooks. Some schools produce a relatively small book with simple cover art that may include advertisements to help defray the costs. But others go for a larger format, with intricate artwork and sometimes, even custom inserts for students willing to pay extra.

Prom is another big outlay. Visa has tracked spending on the event for several years and found that sending a teen to the prom now costs an average of $1,200.

There’s also the cap and gown. Prices differ widely here too. Some schools cover these costs, at others; students must buy the outfit, as well as tassels and other accessories indicating their achievements or affiliations.

But there are ways to keep a lid on costs: Caps and gowns can be rented inexpensively at Jostens or Crowne Graduation Products. The photo shoot doesn’t have to be a big g deal. Buy a Nikon, this will be much cheaper than a professional photographer, and ask a parent to take the photos. Careful planning, like spacing out the events so you’re not spending more than half of your money in just two months,  and creativity can make a big difference.

All of these events are important in one’s high school career and while the cost of a memory is priceless, it shouldn’t cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to be a high school senior.