Wilmot High School juniors Lauren Pryor and Emmett Matthews, shown here before homecoming, are on the school’s junior prom court (Submitted/The Report).

Businesses benefit as the cost of prom grows

By Jason Arndt

When it comes to planning for prom, area students have several options to consider before they head to the dance, where lasting memories are created as they spend time with their dates and mingle with classmates.

Among the options to consider is the cost of a dress, in addition to finer details of hairstyles, flowers and other accessories.

With several elements involved, students are left to explore businesses in multiple counties and states to find that perfect dress and tuxedo, prom goers at Wilmot Union and Westosha Central high schools report.

The dress, according to Westosha Central senior Colleen Nolan, carries the highest price tag among all items.

“In total I would say girls spend roughly $500 on average. Dresses, unless you get a great deal, take up most of that cost,” said Nolan, who paid for a $300 simple red dress from Peaches in Chicago, a decrease from the $700 she spent her junior year.

“In total I would say girls spend roughly $500 on average. Dresses, unless you get a great deal, take up most of that cost.”
– Colleen Nolan, Westosha Central High School student

“This year I wanted to keep my price much lower than last year, but I also wanted a dress that I could possibly reuse in the future,” added Nolan, who started to plan for a dress purchase in January.

Nolan and Wilmot Union junior Lauren Pryor each stated the highest price they saw exceeded $1,000, which exceeds their limits.

“The highest priced dress I saw, was a gold one, by Sherri Hill or Jovani for $1,000,” said Nolan, about her visit to Peaches in Chicago. “I mean I know when enough is enough, like the $1,000 dress.”

Meanwhile, Pryor, who is on the junior prom court with her date, Emmett Matthews, decided to go online to buy a dress after visiting a store at Gurnee Mills.

“I went through this bridal shop at the mall and they can get pretty high up, anywhere from $500 to a $1,000, but I definitely like to stay more toward the $100 range,” said Pryor.

When she visited promgirl.com, she found a dress near her price range and shoes to match.

Additionally, compared to retail outlets, online stores usually offer a wider range of styles.

“There are so many different options as far as marked down dresses, and sales and stuff that you can get, whereas in stores, they are usually new releases and everything is pretty pricey,” said Pryor.

Color coordination
Matthews, who rented a tuxedo from Burlington Menswear, said matching the color of his vest to Pryor’s dress was one of the challenges.

“The color coordination is most challenging, because you’ve got to find the right matches,” Matthews said. “We will be using gold and navy blue.”

Matthews chose Burlington Menswear citing price and a discount on a corsage at a neighboring business.

“They have a nice selection and they had the color that I wanted,” said Matthews, who rented a tux for about $150, compared to the $200 price tag some of his friends paid for their tuxedos.

“If you go to Menswear, you get five percent off on flowers,” said Matthews, referring to the Gia Bella flower shop next door.

While Matthews took a corsage discount into consideration, Nolan reports Westosha Central senior Tyler Huffhines, who plans to attend with her, took advantage of another discount.

“(Tyler) rented his tux from Men’s Warehouse in Racine,” Nolan said. “The staff is wonderful there and they run promos, allowing high school kids to be prom reps and give others $50 off while receiving money at their store.”

Like Matthews, Nolan reports color coordination led Huffhines to Mike Bjorn’s Fine Clothing in Kenosha, where he received a vest to match her dress.

Flowers an element
As Matthews looks to Gia Bella in Burlington, Huffhines plans to use a florist in Lake Geneva for a corsage, according to Nolan.

“His corsage for me will be from Lilypots in Lake Geneva,” she said. “They always do amazing pieces and have a creative mind.”

Pryor, meanwhile, plans to get a boutonnière at Richter’s Marketplace in Twin Lakes, where she bought one for Matthews at homecoming.

“It is right down the road from me and they get everything in efficiently and fast, and everything is gorgeous,” said Pryor.

Plan ahead for hair
Pryor and Nolan each agreed setting appointments well ahead of time for hair and makeup is crucial, noting businesses fill up months in advance.

“I am probably not going to go to a salon because everything books up really fast, so my mom (Jen) is probably going to help with that,” Pryor said.

Nolan plans to go with Clear Waters Salon and Day Spa in Lake Geneva, where she scheduled an appointment in February.

Nolan prefers one stylist, citing her ability to replicate hairstyles from magazines and another who does her makeup.

“I show her my dress in advance and she has a creative mind that allows her to know exactly what colors and techniques she wants to use when the day comes,” Nolan said.

For nails, Nolan usually goes to Landisa’s in Antioch.

Cost for Landisa’s services is about $28, Nolan reports.

“Both stores have friendly staff and reasonable prices for their services,” Nolan said.

Another element to consider is accessories, or assorted jewelry, which is in Pryor’s plans leading up to Wilmot prom.

“I am probably going to go out and get more accessories,” said Pryor. “Probably like Charming Charlie’s in Kenosha or some place in Lake Geneva.”

Wilmot Union and Westosha Central each have their prom April 29, with Wilmot students heading to Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva and the students of Westosha Central going to Parkway Chateau in Kenosha.

The cost of tickets for Westosha Central is $45, with a $5 discount if donating a food pantry item.

Wilmot students pay $50 for their tickets.

A meal is included into the price of tickets.

Pryor and Matthews, along with their peers, have a choice of a chicken or vegetarian entree.

At Westosha Central, students are offered a buffet, which includes lasagna, sandwiches, fresh fruit, bacon-wrapped chicken, a taco bar, among other items.


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