PROUD parents are and forking out thousands to give their children a prom night to remember.
Despite the recession and rocketing costs, mums and dads are doing their best to meet teenagers’ extensive wish lists of outfits, beauty treatments and plush transport.
Sunderland mum Karen Grant spent about £800 making sure daughter Demi’s big night was special.
As well as customising her dress with 3,000 Swarovski crystals, the 16-year-old had diamond microdermabrasion skin smoothing, fake lashes, a spray tan and manicure and pedicure for her prom at the Stadium of Light.
The Thornhill Pupil, of Waterford Green, Pennywell, arrived in style with more than 30 classmates in a double-decker bus.
“There was nothing like this when I was at school,” said mum-of-two Karen, 35.
“It feels like she is getting married because of all the preparations. It’s a night they will all remember.
“They decided to get a bus because they all wanted to arrive together one last time.”
She added: “I’ve saved money because I have done some of Demi’s beauty treatments myself, but it’s still cost a fortune.
“There’s always something else to buy. It’s never ending.”
Proud mum Sharon Rathbone, from Shiney Row, spent £500 on a prom dress for her 16-year-old daughter Charlotte.
The St Robert of Newminster pupil had her big night at the Gateshead Hilton Hotel on Thursday night.
“She looked amazing and I was really proud to see her,” said Sharon.
“It’s very expensive for one night really. I don’t suppose she’ll ever wear the dress again.
“If the kids enjoy themselves it’s worth it. They all had a great time.”
Sharon, whose husband Neil works in IT, said proms were expensive – but they were the last chance for school friends to have one big night together.
A recent survey revealed that parents are spending £31million a year for their children’s big night out.
The average cost of a prom is now estimated at £244 per person, with one in 10 spending more than £500 and two per cent splashing out more than £1,500.
Most salons in the city offer prom packages, priced about £200 including hair styling and beauty treatments.
Neville Ramsay, from Ramsay & Johnson salon in Blandford Street, said: “It’s such a phenomenon now compared to 10 years ago.
“It’s got a very competitive edge with all the girls wanting to out do each other, from the hair and nails to the dress and transport.
“You’ve heard of bridezillas, but now you get promzillas. Some come in with mood boards, they know exactly what they want.
“One client had spent £2,000 on a dress and I know another who arrived at Ramside Hall in a helicopter.”
Neil Crampton, owner of Limotruck & Durham VIP executive car company, said: “You find that because the proms all happen over the same three or four nights there are not enough limos in the area to meet demand.
“Some of the schools say it causes that much stress they are thinking of cancelling proms for smaller parties.”
* Don’t miss the Sunderland Echo’s prom pull-out on July 23 for loads of fantastic photos