How British Children have Embraced Proms
Prom dresses, prom gowns, prom suits and tuxedos, miles of ruffles and piles of taffeta, high-heel shoes and visions of full-stretch limos and corsages dancing in their heads, teenagers around the UK are gearing up for a big prom season. A trend that travelled across the ocean from the U.S. on a wave, started by American TV shows like “Hannah Montana,” British children are embracing proms and all the pageantry and tapestry that goes with the events.
The high-school prom has become a major event in the UK. Where once an end-of-year formal dance was held high-school students now pull out all the stops to make the big yearly dance a celebration to remember. As in the U.S., the prom trend in the UK gets younger every year, with even grade-school students celebrating the end of their primary years.
While the new trend is giving UK businesses a boost, for families hit hard by the world-wide recession the cost of the event isn’t very welcome. In 2013 Holiday Inn experienced a 50-fold increase in proms being booked at the company’s hotels, costing parents an average of £244 per child.
While proving to be a gold mine for UK businesses, buying or renting prom dresses, prom gowns, prom suits and tuxedos are a big expense for parents. Dave Shaw, marketing manager for Moss Brothers men’s wear, reports the prom business is phenomenal.
On a bright note, boys graduating high school will need a suit for going on interviews when job hunting, so the cost of a prom suit can be seen as an investment for parents. However, the parents of the girls aren’t so lucky, as they generally won’t get double duty out of prom dresses and prom gowns. In addition to a dress that will probably only be worn once, girls need to have jewellery and their hair, nails and makeup done.
Companies, like us at Proposals in Crawley, that were once only in the bridal business have embraced the new prom market as young girls have come to covet the same “special day” experience.
Sandra McKenzie, a hairdresser in the Midlands says she does a lot of hair extensions just before the proms and sales of tiaras have skyrocketed. McKenzie says the atmosphere is just like a wedding, but much more fun, with a lot of big hairdos and really big curls.
On the downside, the prom phenomenon has exploded so fast in the UK that the schools have not yet learned how to coordinate like those in the U.S. Most UK schools typically schedule their proms on the same day, so many of the businesses that provide services, such a limousine companies, are booked solid during the proms. Daniel Roberts, who runs Star Limousine Service in Brighton, London, says his company could rent out another 50 limos during the months of June and July.
Roberts says that as a result of the car shortage a lot of kids are being disappointed. He points out that the limo service is one business where it is tough to fill the void as it can be very difficult for new companies to get started. To avoid being disappointed, students should reserve their limousine at least six months in advance.