The Ultimate Budget-Friendly Prom Guide: Top Tips to Looking and Feeling Your Best
POV: Your school prom is right around the corner, and you’re wondering how to look and feel your best while on a budget. Girl, we hear you.
Prom is a formal party to celebrate the end of secondary school or sixth form, and therefore it’s a huge deal. It’s a milestone event where you can socialise, have fun, and celebrate with your friends – and, in many cases, for the final time in that kind of environment.
So, it’s no surprise you’re probably feeling the pressure to feel as beautiful as possible on the big night. The only catch is… many students are, well, let’s face it: broke. But it is possible to still have a brilliant, glamorous prom night on a budget with careful planning and a dash of creativity.
Here are some of our top tips.
Set a Realistic Budget
First, you need to work out exactly how much money you can spend on your entire prom night. It might be that you have savings you can dip into for the big occasion, or maybe a trip to the bank of mum and dad might be in order?
Once you know how much budget you have to play with, make a list of all the things you deem essential for a 10/10 prom night. Your list will probably look a little like this:
- Dress and shoes
- Spray tan
- After party plans
From there, roughly estimate how much of your budget you can assign to each necessity. For example, your dress will naturally cost more than your spray tan, but you might be willing to spend more money on your travel arrangements than on your accessories.
Experiment with your figures, and remember that it’s okay to be flexible closer to the time if necessary, just don’t skip this step! Budgeting will help you control your spending, and this is an important skill to develop for adulthood.
The dress you wear is arguably the most important part of prom night. We said what we said. Finding the perfect one will probably take some time, so it’s encouraged you start shopping way in advance of the big night. Yes, it may cost a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Finding affordable party dresses in the UK can be straightforward if you know where to look. Try browsing the sale sections of your favourite brands, check out the local charity shops, or see if a family friend has anything in their closet to offer.
The price of your dress – or even where you get it from – has nothing to do with its style or how well you carry yourself in it. There are no set rules to feeling like a glam princess. If you feel fabulous in it, who cares where it’s from?
Hair and Makeup
A stunning dress needs the hair and makeup to match. Ultimately, the most cost-saving route would be to create both looks by yourself, but this can be a big ask if you’re not comfortable around a curling wand and eyeshadow palette.
TikTok has countless videos of prom makeup tutorials and prom hair tutorials, as does Youtube. Get cosy one evening and browse various looks until you find one that you love – which doesn’t require loads of skill and experience.
Leave yourself enough time before prom, and you can spend weeks practising your chosen style to ensure your techniques are on point. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was nailing the perfect winged eyeliner or draped blush!
If you decide that doing your own hair and makeup isn’t for you – or if you just want the full pampered princess experience – look around to find local MUAs and hair stylists that are professional yet inexpensive.
Chances are, they’ll have dedicated websites or Instagram pages where you can see their work and enquire about costs before finally making the best decision for you.
BONUS HACK: Many MUAs running makeup counters in stores and shopping centres will give you a stunning full-face makeover for a heavily reduced price – all you typically need to do is buy an item. A new lip gloss or setting spray in exchange for professional prom makeup? That sounds like a great deal to us.
The dress is dressing, and your hair and makeup are flawless, but how do you get to prom to show it all off? Your travel arrangements shouldn’t be left until the last minute.
Yes, you could ask your parents to give you a lift, or you could hop on public transportation, but where’s the fun in that? The journey to the venue can be just as significant as prom night itself.
Sure, those solutions are probably the cheapest, but you can still make luxurious travel arrangements without breaking the bank.
Getting in a limo or a party minibus are two very fun, flashy options. Plus, if you share the vehicle with friends and each splits the cost, it drives the price right down.
When you discuss costings with hire companies, don’t forget about the power of negotiation, too. Another important skill you can practice for prom and take into your adult years!
Prom Has No Set Price Tag
Follow the guidance we’ve provided and get yourself a glamorous prom night that doesn’t cost a beautifully tanned arm and leg.
Don’t feel awkward about your financial situation, either. You’re a student, and students aren’t necessarily supposed to have heaps of disposal cash they can drop on one single event.
The true essence of prom night is about enjoying yourself, creating memories, and celebrating with friends. We encourage you to look and feel your best, but only if that’s within the budget you set for yourself.
Chances are, when you look back on this night, you’re not going to remember the exact way your hair was pinned up or which colour of eyeshadow you wore. What you are going to remember, however, is marking this huge milestone in your life and how much fun you had doing it.
Best of luck, and congratulations!