Is Prom as Important as your Wedding Day?

Ava Burrows

Captivating floor-length dresses, tuxedos, and limos have all come to be staples of prom. The ‘50’s was the start of the extravagant looks we see now today on our Instagrams. Prom has been an established event for high schools and colleges since the early 1930’s. Naturally, the style has developed and progressed between then and now. 


In recent years, the trendy styles have become very recognizable. Sparkly, poofy, shimmery, you name it. When you think of prom, you know exactly what style is being referenced. There are even designers who specialize in prom dresses alone: Sherri Hill, Jovani, the list goes on. People around the country enter a craze when prom season comes around every school year. There’s been a widespread shift from the over the top, sparkly, traditional prom dress look to a more simple, mature style, similar to wedding guest attire. Is this change for the best? Is it time to leave the traditional prom trends in the past? Or should we stick to tradition, since you only get one opportunity to dress in prom attire? Despite this universal switch, there are many differences you can find based on geographical location. 


Let’s talk about attendance. A recent survey by College Confidential says about 75% of juniors go to junior prom and about 99.9% of seniors go to senior prom. It is known that southern high schools tend to have a larger amount of students in attendance at prom. Although high schools in the south typically have larger class sizes in general, The College Confidential survey says around 76% of their class usually attends prom, 70% of the midwest, and 65% of the north. Even though this percentage does not reflect the amount of people that attend the proms at Waterford, it is the average of all the northern schools. 


There’s various similarities between the Northern and Southern proms. This is mainly caused by social media, mostly Tik Tok. Thousands of people post transition videos into their prom looks on Tik Tok, and there are often over 600K likes. Anyone on Tik Tok is able to see these on their “For You” page, which creates trends. Trends tend to spread quicker and reach more people because of social media. You now can see the previous southern prom style making its mark on the northern style. Specifically, big earrings and no necklace were mostly popular in the south, and now you can see many northerners following it. “You can also see the bigger hairstyles being represented up here,” says Lea Polcaro. 


As for decoration, you traditionally see a prom in the north being planned by students. Student at Pine View High School in Florida, Stryker Sullivan says, “yeah our teachers fully plan our prom.” Sullivan finds it interesting that students would even be able to see what any decorations would look like before prom. “It’s all completely a surprise when we get there, we don’t even know what the location looks like.” It is apparent that this isn’t the case for Waterford High School or any surrounding schools. If you’re a member of class council, you are fully aware of what the prom decor will look like and normally you’re a part of setting it up. 

The most blatant difference is the level of excitement. The students from Florida have expressed that they believe prom is almost the same level of excitement they would feel on their wedding day. Rylee Sullivan says, “I feel like I get a glimpse of what my wedding day will be like.” WHS students have spoken up and seem to be convinced that prom is not as important as a wedding, in fact it is almost at the same level as homecoming. Sophomore, Lexie Hullivan said: “I don’t think anyone I know from here would even think to make that comparison.”