A Moms Prom Survival Guide: 11 Tips for the Perfect Dress
Back when I graduated, the whole process of graduation dress shopping seemed easier. Dress selection and budget were simple; maybe it was that we had less access to selection or that my mother had a secret Moms Prom Survival Guide I was unaware of but what I do remember is the special moments I shared with my mom in my final year of high school.
Today, the key to finding that perfect dress is to start early. A friend of mine whose daughter graduated last year mentioned during a conversation one day that I should get moving on finding a prom dress and look at budgeting for around $1000. I nearly choked.
Back in my day my dress was around $250 and I had no problems finding it, that was over 20 years ago. Cough. Naturally, prices have gone up. Fortunately, the girls have more options these days but that can also mean they may be waiting for up to 5 months for the dress to come in once it’s ordered. Start early and use this Moms Prom Survival Guide 11 Tips and your daughter will find her perfect dress.
A Moms Prom Survival Guide: 11 Tips to Find the Perfect Dress
- Start Early – I cannot say this enough because I was a bit behind and barely came in under the wire for my daughter’s prom dress to make it on time. Graduation day will determine how soon you should begin searching for THE dress. You can expect anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months unless you purchase off the rack so use this Moms Prom Survival Guide and start early. Make sure to allow enough time ahead of graduation day for this timeline. Off the rack is possible but it limits your options and may require higher costs for alterations.
- Set a Budget – Initially my budget was smaller for my daughter’s prom dress but with the suggested budget of closer to $1000, I was still hoping to keep it around $600-$700. Whatever dress your daughter chooses, be prepared to make a 50% deposit when ordering the dress.
- Consider Style and Colour – You daughter will have her own dream prom dress ideas in mind, as will you. Encourage your daughter to look online at current prom dress styles ahead of shopping. Guide her in style for what might suit her but remember this is her day.
- Be Openminded – My daughter had one style and colour in mind but she humoured me when we went into our first viewing by trying on other styles and colours. She was surprised at how she looked in styles and colours that she hadn’t considered previously. What she ended up with was a similar style to her original dream dress but a completely different colour. Encourage your daughter to consider other options and to try them on. What a dress looks like on will be much different than on the rack or in a picture.
- Trunk Shows – Had I had this Moms Prom Survival Guide we wouldn’t be too late for these. Usually, around November, prom dress boutiques will hold trunk shows of their designer’s new dresses for the season. At this first viewing, some boutiques will offer incentives for purchases at the trunk show. Don’t let this pass you byThe good thing about doing this is that most boutiques will not allow another girl to purchase the same dress, avoiding ending up at graduation with the same dress as another. My daughter loved knowing that she would be the only one in the dress she chose.
- Walk-ins – Some boutiques allow walk-ins for viewing dresses, time will be dependant on the day of the week you walk-in and staff available as dresses have to be adjusted as the girls try them on. We did a walk-in to a local shop as our first viewing; it was during a weekday and luckily the staff wasn’t busy so she had one-on-one help. If you are early in your prom dress shopping timeline, this could be an option.
- Book an Appointment – It’s highly recommended you book an appointment at your prom dress boutique of choice. This allows for one-on-one attention for the hour allotment where the staff assigned to your daughter can work with her on her likes, dislikes, and style to suit her best. The staff has a great eye for detail and a lot of experience of what would look best on each girl so listen to their suggestions and I know your daughter will find her dress. Ultimately, it’s your daughters choice; if she’s not loving the dress then she’s not going to be happy on prom day. There are a lot of options out there; keeping looking. Most often it’s one of the first dresses she tries on that she will keep going back to. My daughter had chosen her dress within the first 15 minutes of her hour-long appointment so she spent time in the dress, spinning in the mirror, taking pictures while I placed the order. Some places don’t allow pictures unless you have purchased the dress; be mindful.
- Order Early – For us, had the chosen dress been in stock at the warehouse, it would have arrived within 2 weeks of ordering however it was not so we expect up to 5 months before arrival.
- Don’t Hesitate – The longer you wait to order, chances are good the dress your daughter likes will be chosen by another girl and will no longer be available for purchase. As I mentioned above, usually the boutiques only allow one dress style per school; in our case, it was one dress style per city.
- Consider Accessories – Your daughter should consider shoes, jewelry, a clutch and shawl to go with the dress. If the dress is quite fancy, she may want to keep the rest simple. This doesn’t have to be done right away but the sooner you decide, the less will need to be done leading up to graduation day. Hair, makeup and photography appointments will need to be booked in advance as well.
- Make Time for Alterations – Budget for and leave enough time after the dress arrives to get the dress altered; this may not be needed but it’s best to be prepared.
High school graduation is a huge milestone where your daughter will move into adulthood and start the next chapter of her life. The prom dress is only a small sliver of that celebration in the big picture but when you see your daughters face light up, the sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face when she finds THE dress, you will have a glimpse of all the special moments and successes to come. Enjoy these last moments of high school with her, celebrate how far she has come and use this Moms Prom Survival Guide to celebrate her one last time before she graduates; she is amazing after all.