In planning for her prom, Massapequa High School senior Jessica Bennett envisioned wearing the dress of her fantasies.
“I was originally going to go to stores with only designer-brand dresses,” said Bennett, 18. But then economic reality set in, and Bennett purchased a lovely green gown for $130. “I went to Estelle’s (Dressy Dresses). They have reasonable prices.”
A friend of Bennett’s mother will style her hair in an updo for free. Bennett and her friends will camp in the Hamptons for $5 per person per night.
The Massapequa High School senior is not alone in trying to pinch prom pennies. Many teens across Long Island would never dream of skipping prom night, but in this tough economy, they have been looking for ways to cut corners as well. And that’s been painful for some prom-related businesses.
It’s a different time we’re living in this year,” says Ed Podlesny, owner of Serenity Limousine Service of Smithtown and Rocky Point. Promgoers are switching from renting for 8- to 10 hours to only dropping off and picking up. He says he’s seen a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in his prom business.
At a recent prom, he said he saw people being dropped off by their parents. In the past, “you wouldn’t be caught dead pulling up with Mommy and Daddy in the car,” he said.
At Estelle’s Dressy Dresses in Farmingdale, where thousands of prom dresses are sold each season, business was good this year, but girls were choosing items that were not as high-priced, said Yolanda Rosales, general merchandise manager.