Opinion: No need to spend a small fortune on your teenager’s school prom

No expense is spared these days when school leavers celebrate with a prom.

No expense is spared these days when school leavers celebrate with a prom. - Credit: Archant

When I left high school in 1990, we didn't have a prom, we had a riot.

That's if you believe the front-page headline on the Daily Telegraph of the following day, which read 'yobs in seafront riot' and fulminated above a similarly furious story describing how my year group ran amok on Cromer seafront.

Actually, we threw a few eggs, tossed about bags of flour, chucked water bombs and generally had a high old time. No one was hurt - except perhaps the beach inspector, whose pride was wounded by an egg to the head.

The equipment for our end of an era party was cheap, even if the laundry bills were not.

When the flour had settled on our seafront riot, myself and some good friends went out for an Indian meal.

We didn't have to wear a dinner jacket, and did not have to worry about finding a date - which, by the way, would have been the definition of hell for me, a painfully shy teen who could hardly talk to girls.

Now, though, demanding teens are pressuring their pushover parents into spending a small fortune for their school prom.

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The combined cost of a ticket, a suit or ball gown, shoes, a matching handbag and outlandish transport can reach four figures. After all, if you don't arrive in a jump-jet or a gold-embossed coach and four, you'll be shunned.

Personally, I'd advise school leavers to go for the Indian meal option, while ideally avoiding the riot. But if they insist on aping the Americans with a prom, it needn't cost a fortune.

Hire a village hall, bring a plate of sandwiches each, put all your favourite tunes on shuffle on a laptop, hire a suit or dress, arrive on a bicycle and save yourself some cash.

After all, money doesn't make memories – good company does.