Prom is supposed to be a fun and exciting time for high school seniors, but it's also become incredibly expensive in recent years.

What used to be a simple event has turned into a lavish affair with designer dresses and tuxedos, limousine rentals, and pricey tickets.

One of the biggest contributors to the high cost of prom is the pressure to have the perfect outfit. Students feel like they need to wear a fancy dress or tuxedo that can cost a fortune, and that's not even including all the accessories that go with it. And let's not forget about transportation - many students now rent limos to make a grand entrance, which can add hundreds of dollars to the bill.

Other costs to consider include hair and makeup, which some students choose to get done professionally. And of course, there are the tickets themselves, which can range from reasonable to downright ridiculous.

Hosting a prom can be pretty expensive for schools too. Schools need to rent out a venue, arrange for music, decorations, food, and drinks, and hire staff to ensure that everything goes smoothly. All these costs can add up and put a strain on the school's budget.

A photo that was allegedly taken at Carencro prom has sparked reactions and subsequent debate on social media as some parents felt like the students deserved more than what looked like a "disappointing" event.

Shayla Gotch is a Carencro parent who felt like the students could have at least had chairs and tables rented for their 2023 Junior-Senior prom as kids were seen seated in gym bleachers wearing their formal attire.

I reached out to Carencro Principal Vanessa Knott to find out what expenses were associated with the prom—an event that has only seen costs skyrocket for hosts just as much if not more than they have for those attending.

Principal Knott responded and let me know about a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into planning the Carencro High School Junior-Senior Prom and was proud of the efforts that the student organizers put into the event to make it a "memorable occasion" for their fellow students. While Principal Knott was aware of some of the negative feedback from the viral photo, it was minimal compared to the overwhelming positive response that she received from students who had fun at the event and made memories that will last a lifetime.

She also revealed that this year's senior class opted to split their class budget into two events instead of just one.

Each senior class decides how they want to celebrate this occasion and selects the theme and decor. To commemorate the end of their high school journey, this year's senior class chose to use their class budget to have two end-of-the-year celebrations and chose to hold prom in the school's gymnasium so that they can also have an end-of-the-year senior fun day and we respected that decision.

Principal Knott's message lined up with other numerous sources who reached out to tell us that the prom was actually put on by students who made the final decisions on details related to the dance and how their budget would be spent. The viral photo that has been circulating is also said to be a moment when the King and Queen were being presented at the event.

Videos from Felecia Marie Norris on Facebook show the students dancing and having a good time during their prom night.

It's no secret that some schools do feel like they have to go above and beyond to provide an unforgettable prom experience for their students, and some of the amenities that are associated with that experience do come at a high cost.

This can mean renting out fancy venues, hiring well-known DJs or bands, and providing extravagant decorations that can get all add up expensive. Schools may also have to deal with issues related to alcohol (providing breathalyzers, etc.), which can be challenging and add to their workload and expenses from manpower to costs associated with equipment.

That being said, schools can still make prom an enjoyable experience for students without breaking the bank. By finding creative ways to save money and prioritizing student safety and enjoyment, schools can continue to host prom and keep it as a cherished tradition for their students.

Many of the parents who criticized the prom in Gotch's post also offered to volunteer and donate their time and services to make prom better for their kids.


It's important for schools and parents to work together to make prom more affordable. It's something that a lot of parents are already doing to cut costs.

Before the pandemic, The Hustle put out the following infographic that broke down the most common expenses when it came to students attending prom.

The Hustle
The Hustle

Anyone navigating a post-pandemic world knows that all of these goods and services have only gotten more expensive. Instead of buying new outfits, many students have been known to rent or borrow dresses and tuxedos. Schools have also been known to offer more affordable transportation options or even organize carpools. And perhaps most importantly, everyone can work together to find ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses.

For instance, Gotch told me that she managed to keep expenses as low as possible by having dinner at home, bypassing any vehicle rentals, and skipping a professional photo shoot. She also laughed when she mentioned that it was a lot less expensive to send her son to prom than it would be to send a girl, as she looked back on her high school prom.

I attended Carencro High. Our proms were hosted at the Cajundome Mardi Gras ballroom. It was beautiful and elegant.

Prom should be a fun and memorable event for everyone, regardless of their budget. By taking a more relaxed approach and focusing on what really matters - spending time with friends and celebrating the end of high school - we can make prom a special night without breaking the bank.

Let's hope that this moment leads to parents and schools continuing to work together to make that happen. And at the end of the day, let's not forget that the only people who need to be satisfied with prom are the students who attend.

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