Budget breakdown: Cost of prom vs. wedding

By Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent 

Illustration by Logan A. White / Times-News correspondent

Prom is one of the biggest events in a high schooler’s life — and one of the most expensive events, too.
Add up the cost of buying a new dress, getting your hair and nails done, and renting a limo, and it might sound like you’re preparing to get married. But are prom expenses really comparable to the similar aspects of a wedding? Here’s four cost-crunching categories that pit prom vs. weddings.
   Nailing it: Having a fresh, neat manicure and pedicure can make a look, whether it be your prom night or wedding day. Of course, the cost of getting a manicure is the same regardless of the event. The average manicure costs about $11, while the average pedicure costs $16. (varies by service, iSalon and Spa)
   Styling and profiling: Hairstyles literally top off your overall appearance, so it’s important to have a classy coiffure. The average wash and style costs about $31, but add-ons like haircuts, color, or highlights can increase the price. (varies by service, iSalon and Spa, Ulta Beauty)
   Cool cruisin’: Getting around on the big day has to be just as stylish and awesome as your outfit and activities. Renting a limousine is a common solution to obtaining top-notch transportation, but how much does it cost? Surprisingly, it would technically cost more to rent a limo for prom than it would for a wedding. Prom-goers typically need a ride for about 6 to 8 hours, which falls in the price range of about $725 to $816. But a newlywed couple only needs a limo for about three to five hours, which costs about $312 to $510. (8- and 10-person limo rates, A Formal Affair Limo Service, David Wescott GNC)
   Dressed to impress: The dress (or tux) is arguably the most crucial part of any prom or wedding. While the rental rate for a tuxedo or suit is mostly uniform, there’s a relatively big difference between the prices of prom and wedding dresses. The average prom dress ranges in price from about $97 to $154 (Sandy’s Consignment Boutique, Dillard’s), while the average wedding dress costs about $760 to $1,550 (Sandy’s Consignment Boutique, Carolina Bridal World).
This comparison only brushes the surface of what prom or wedding planning involves. Despite their differences, going to prom and getting married are similar in a lot of ways. Whether you’re preparing for a night with friends at prom or the happiest day of your romantic life, don’t let expenses cast a shadow over your big event — because ultimately, each moment is what you make of it.
   Source: All price averages were obtained from local businesses and the services they provide.

Logan A. White is a home-schooled high school junior and a Teens & 20s writer.

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