PARENTAL GUIDANCE: VOICES OF EXPERIENCE
It's worth a single mother's time to drop by a formalwear shop the week before prom for a quick lesson on how to put in shirt studs and tie a bow tie for her son's tux on prom night. This advice and the following tips are lessons learned through experience by parents who weathered prom nights -- and have the photos to prove it.
— Susan Pierce
"Prom is a big deal for the kids. They talk about it for months in advance. Choosing a dress is the biggest issue for girls, so take the time to go shopping with her. Make hair appointments at least a month in advance, preferably two months before. You can get makeup done at a cosmetics counter, but you have to buy a certain amount of product.
"Take lots of pictures and savor the moment because the prom years go by fast."
— Lisa Blake,
Grace Academy parent
"Make sure you know where they're going after the prom, and check with the parents to make sure they are there. You never can check too much."
-- Rick Eberle,
Notre Dame parent
"View the prom not as 'just a dance'; it's an event. It's going to cost more than you think because it involves a dress or tux, dinner, getting your hair and nails done, tickets and pictures. For your child, the journey of getting ready is part of the fun of this event. You'll spend more money than you would normally because it's a once-in-a lifetime event."
— Suzanne Rushworth,
Red Bank High School parent
"This is my fifth year to have a child go to prom. I would advise not planning anything else to do on prom day. It's an all-day affair because girls want to do their hair and nails, then they go to his house and her house for parents to take photos starting as early as 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Then they meet their friends at a scenic spot like Coolidge Park for more photos before dinner."
— Desiree Daniels Disterdick,
Soddy-Daisy High School parent
"You have to have good communication with your kids about what it is they want to do with their dates before and after prom. Sometimes kids make all these plans and leave their parents out of it and then, at the last minute, they come up to you needing help with expenses. If they are going somewhere after prom, you need to know where it is, who they'll be with and, in my opinion, if there will be male supervision. In this day and time, parents need to make sure there is a form of communication during those evening hours. They need a mutual understanding with their kids that 'If I do call your number, I expect you to answer.' "
-- Stan Robbs,
Ooltewah High School parent
LIMO TIP: SHARE THE RIDE
To ride in style to the prom, couples who want alone-time will shell out big bucks. Couples who want the luxury without the big price tag will share the ride. Stretch Lincoln Town Cars run from $75 per hour (six-hour minimum) to $850 for eight hours. Bell Limousine offers a stretch Ford Excursion for $1,500 for eight hours. Mountain Oaks Premier Limousine offers a 32-foot Town Car that seats eight, White Dove Limousine Service has a 33.33-foot Lincoln and First Class Limo has "the longest in Chattanooga," for 12 to 14 passengers. Deborah Arnold of White Dove Limousine said promgoers are expected to act appropriately and that parents must sign a contract indicating they are responsible for damage caused by teenagers. Claudia Dunn of Mountain Oaks Premier Limousine said her company's drivers are told to call parents if any problems arise, while Paul David of First Class Limo said his drivers only go where the parents instruct them to go. Mr. Grimes, owner of Bell Limousine, said his drivers make sure their passengers are safe and back home when they're supposed to be.
— Clint Cooper
PERFECT PICS: COOLIDGE PARK THE PERFECT BACKDROP
Prom means pictures, and if you're taking them before the big dance in Chattanooga, there's a good chance you're taking them in Coolidge Park or on the Walnut Street Bridge. Even partygoers from North Georgia schools will stop by, confirmed Ringgold High School junior Kaitlyn Whiteside. She and 30 of her friends are dining in downtown Chattanooga, but first they will be at Coolidge.
"Our group is taking pictures in Coolidge Park because it's an easy meeting point for everyone who will be eating downtown," she said. "The carousel and river view are gorgeous backgrounds for photos."
She will be one week ahead of Red Bank junior Talley Wood, who will take pictures in the park as well.
"It's pretty. It's one of the only outdoor places without huge buildings as the scenery. It's somewhat different, somewhere green," she said.
Both Ringgold and Red Bank high schools are picking up a popular theme. "Casino Royale" hit theaters last year, but 2007 is the year of Bond, as in prom and yearbook themes based on 007. Other area schools are taking a cue from Bond producers. Sale Creek High School and Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences have Hollywood-based themes.
-- M. Trevor Higgins
FLOWER POWER: FLORAL ADORNMENTS CAN BE COOL
A corsage or boutonniere is the final touch for prom, but perfect flowers can mean a hefty price tag. Local floral designer Jeff Dendy said corsages average $28.50 to $45, and boutonnieres are $9.50 to $14.50, depending on the type of flowers used. Orchids are the most expensive, he said. A wrist corsage is the favorite style for girls, Mr. Dendy said. "And it's as much about bling as it is the flowers," he said, explaining that the most popular style is a band around the arm, called a 'wristlet,' made of rhinestones or sequins with the flowers on one side. "We're doing cool things for the guys by using different kinds of greenery and making forms like triangles and circles. It's a more masculine look," he said. The Society of American Florists suggests ordering the flowers two weeks in advance since prom season is also peak wedding season, according to www.aboutflowers.com. "Popular flowers are in high demand."
— Karen Nazor Hill