For most young students, their senior Prom is an occasion to celebrate.
It is supposed to be an evening they will remember for the rest of their lives, and for all the right reasons: friendship, looking back on 12 years of schooling, and looking ahead to the great adventures that await.
But, as parents and students who have been through it will tell you, doing the Prom right does not come cheap, particularly for young women.
Like planning a fancy wedding, planning the Prom of their dreams can soon become a complicated and expensive exercise. And as it does, the financial pressures of the event can turn what is supposed to be a celebration into something far more stressful.
Liberty High School seniors Alli McDonald and Kate Borgnes understand the pressures that young women are under when it comes to planning their perfect Prom.
Last year, as the economic recession began to hit home on the Eastside, McDonald and Borgnes decided there was something they could do to make sure that students from cash-strapped families did not have to give up on their dreams for the grand finale to their senior year.
With the help of their moms, McDonald and Borgnes launched “Prom Dreams… Pass It On,” an event that would provide affordable Prom dresses to help friends and classmates at all high schools in Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish areas.
In June of 2009 they put out the call, searching for gently-used formal dresses. They held a series of collection events, receiving donations from generous locals of good condition dresses and accessories. The Prom Dreams team even solicited sororities at the University of Washington for once-worn dresses.
The idea was to provide a wide selection of Prom dresses at affordable prices. And that is exactly what they will do when next week the doors of Stella Vintage Boutique on Front Street in Issaquah open for local high school students only.
Almost 100 dresses will be on sale for between $20 and $30, a great relief for young women often expecting to pay hundreds for the right dress for the big occasion. The organizers, of course, will not make a penny – the sale price will cover the cost of having the dress dry cleaned.
“It’s a tough time for so many people, they have to budget and scrimp, and we just want to make every girl feel lucky,” Karen Odegard, one of the mothers involved in Prom Dreams, told The Reporter as the group began its collection drive last year. “We want to make sure every young woman has the chance to feel special and wear a beautiful dress at her prom.”
Prom Dreams will host dress sale events between 5 and 9 p.m. on April 12, 15 and 19, at Stella, 195 Front Street N.
In addition to the great collection of dresses, there will also be a limited amount of shoes, accessories and wraps available. Prom Dreams have even organized for a fashion consultant to offer suggestions on hairstyles and makeup colors that will compliment each dress.
Students must present their ASB card.
For more information on Prom Dreams, contact Karen Odegard at email@example.com., Vanessa McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org., or Martha Flittie at Stella Vintage Boutique at 425-444-8857.