The ‘Promposal’: A $300 Question

The act of asking a date to prom now accounts for more than one-third of prom expenses.

The ‘Promposal’: A $300 Question Photo (cc) by {Salt of the Earth}

The average American household with teenagers now spends $324 on promposals, according to Visa.

The credit card company’s “2015 Prom Spending Survey” released Tuesday found that the cost of simply asking a date to prom now accounts for more than one-third of total prom expenses.

Visa describes promposals only as “elaborate invitations to the high school prom that can mirror a marriage proposal,” but The Washington Post dug up several real-life examples last year.

The newspaper traced the promposal back to at least 2001, when the word was used in a Dallas Morning News article that cited students popping the prom question over loudspeakers and rewriting the song that actor Adam Sandler sang in the 1998 movie “The Wedding Singer.” (For example, “All I wanna do / is go to prom with you.”)

The concept appears to have taken off from there, the Post continued:

The next prom proposal [newspaper] story doesn’t show up until a full year later, in 2002, but there’s a torrent after that. Boys in Arizona leave trails of rose petals from their dates’ houses to the school. A young man in Idaho somehow sneaks an alarm clock into his girlfriend’s room, where it rings at 3 a.m. and displays a message “Hope its not too late — will you go with me to the prom?”

As for prom as a whole, Visa found that the average cost is now $919, a 6 percent decrease from $978 last year. In addition to the promposal, those figures include attire, limo rental, tickets, flowers, pictures, food, accommodations and after-parties.

Visa’s survey, based on 3,000 phone interviews nationwide, also found:

  • Dads plan to outspend moms by 63 percent: $1,160 compared to $710.
  • Households in the Northeast spend the most on average compared to households in other parts of the country: $1,169.
  • Households in the Midwest spend the least: $733.
  • Households who make the least (less than $25,000 per year) spend the most on average compared to households of other socioeconomic statuses: $1,393.
  • Households who make the most (more than $50,000) spend the least: $799.

Would you spend more than $300 to ask a date to prom? Would you let your children spend that much? Sound off in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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