Average prom cost boogies down to $978, first dip since 2010

Publish date:

The prom bubble may have burst, with the average cost of the big dance dipping for the first time since 2010 – to $978, an annual survey says.

That's a 14 percent drop from last year, according to data from research by VISA and GfK Roper OmniTel.

"I think people are realizing that prom is a dance, and you don't have to spend like a celebrity to have a great time," Nat Sillin Visa's head of U.S. Financial Education said in a press release.

The average prom cost (items including attire, limousine rental, tickets and dinner) in the U.S. for the last few years:

2011 – $807
2012 – $1,079
2013 – $1,139
2014 – $978

Among the survey's findings:

– Left to oversee the shopping, dads will spend considerably more ($1,357) than moms ($673).

– Younger parents (under 40) will spend more ($1,047) than those over 40 ($842).

– Midwest prom shoppers spend less ($835) than families in other U.S. regions: Northeast ($1,104), South ($926), West Coast ($1,125).

– Canadian households will spend about 25 percent less than U.S. households, $723 U.S. dollars.

In Minnesota, several programs have launched to help teens looking for that perfect dress.

Minneapolis fashion designer Emma Berg has committed to devoting her spring and summer collections to a group of high school students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, the Star Tribune reports. She's assembling the custom-made gowns, which were inspired by the girls, who will show the frocks off at a fashion show next week in Minneapolis, the newspaper reports.

In St. Paul, a nonprofit has helped make it possible for 250 girls to attend prom this year. In recent years, College Possible has also helped more than 1,600 low-income students navigate the college landscape and earn a college degree, FOX 9 reported.

This year, the girls who signed up for the event got to pick out a dress, shoes and accessories, WCCO says.

And in March, Operation Glass Slipper held a dress pick-up event to help low-income girls get their dream dress for prom. As part of its "Elevent Who Care" segment, KARE 11 profiled Pam Phillip, co-founder of the group.

Next Up