How Much Do Teens Plan to Spend on Promposals? $324, On Average

nicole prom

Me at my junior prom.

I got asked to prom in a manner suitably befitting band dorks: I arrived at school early, to hang out outside of the band room, when a friend of a senior boy (also in band, everyone involved in this story is in band) came up to me and asked me if I would go to prom with him.

That is to say, she asked me to prom on this boy’s behalf.

I said yes—but I would have to ask my mom.

The next day, the boy asked me to prom himself. As I recorded in my diary:


[Redacted] asked me himself to go to Prom with him today. But I can’t tell any of my friends until both sets of parents say yes & stuff.

[Redacted] is really the sweetest guy. What does he see in me?

I have to get a dress now. [Redacted] told me that he was just wearing black & white, so I could wear whatever I wanted. 

I can still hardly believe it.

The important thing here is that both of these promposals (the friend’s one and the one the boy delivered himself) cost nothing. That was in 1997.

Today, the average promposal costs $324, according to a new Visa survey.* In fact, Visa has an app called Plan’It Prom which features a cartoon image of a boy in a tuxedo, down on one knee, with a necklace in one hand and a sign that reads “Prom?” in the other while a girl stands with her hand over her mouth as if in mid-gasp.

(It should be noted that this cartoon features an interracial prom couple—assuming the girl says yes, of course. I mean, the boy bought her a necklace, so now there’s this sense of reciprocity about it which is kind of icky, what if that necklace cost $324 and the girl says no, and I’m not meaning to imply that girls don’t have the right to say no to promposals regardless of the cost spent, because they do, and while we’re at it girls should be able to ask boys to prom too, and girls should also be able to ask girls, and—sorry, where was I? Interracial cartoon couple. Good on you, Visa.)

I took a look at the Plan’It Prom app, and it is pretty straightforward: you enter your prom budget (Visa’s example prom budget is $1,000 for one person, which—wow, things have changed since 1997) and then you break it up into categories like “dress” and “hair” and then you track your actual spending against your budget.

But back to the idea of the promposal. What could possibly be costing $324 on average? I’ve heard about cute promposals, like the kid who gets up early to stomp the word “Prom?” into the snow so the date will see it upon waking up, or the kid who spells out “Prom?” in rose petals—a lot of these seem to involve writing the word “prom” in an unexpected place—but nothing that seems particularly expensive. Writing “Prom?” on a cupcake? Costs $5, tops.

Who is bringing up the average here? Is somebody spelling out “Prom?” with gold bricks? Mashable featured a promposal where a boy wrote “Prom?” with LEGO bricks, which seems more appropriate.

Seriously, I want to know. Show me the $324 promposal.

And while we’re at it, why not share your stories of how you asked your date—or how you got asked—to prom?

*Visa technically reports that the average American household plans to spend $324 on promposals in 2015. This could mean that some households with more than one high school student are footing multiple promposals simultaneously. It also means that the average household might not actually spend $324. Regardless of these minor details, it appears that American households think $324 is a reasonable amount to spend on promposals.



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