ONCE upon a time the end of school at 16 meant a disco, new jeans and hair gel.
But since the arrival of the American-style school-leavers’ prom, it now means cocktail dresses, tuxedos, limousines, fake tan and the kind of glitz and glamour you might see at The Oscars.
And this time of year is precisely when outgoing students – who all want to be the belle of the ball – start planning the big event.
With Prom shows taking place across the Fylde coast at the moment, those who want to make their prom a real night to remember, can get everything they need under one roof.
On Thursday, The Gazette Prom show comes to the Hilton Hotel, at 6pm, with a wide array of local businesses on hand to help school leavers plan their night.
There will be a fashion show at 7pm, show-casing the latest designs in prom dresses.
There will also be displays of jewellery, accessories, photography, car hire, beauty and spray tans, as well as much more.
Julie Wright, from Prom Parties of Poulton, says the school leaving do is now one of the biggest events in a young woman’s life.
She said: “It’s probably the second biggest day for many young women, after their wedding day.
“They want to make it a real event to remember, it’s a once in a lifetime event.
“It’s a rare opportunity to get dressed up, to look their best, to have a night to look back at and remember their school years by.
“Everybody of course wants to be the belle of the ball and dreams of becoming Prom Queen.
“This time of year does get very busy with all the girls getting so excited as they come into the shop and look at the dresses and shoes. It’s a bit of a case of first come, first dressed. Those who get in early, get the pick of the dresses.
“We have some beautiful dresses on offer. This year, vibrant colours in dresses are in.
“Purples, lime greens, hot pinks and yellows. It’s about big, beautiful colours.
“There are quite a variety of styles out there, so something to suit everyone. There are slinky, silky numbers, backless dresses and also the Princess gowns, which are big with the mesh.
“Some girls prefer to go for a shorter dress, while others like the full-length gowns.
“Everybody is different, but all the girls are looking for that wow factor.”
Prom Parties, based in Dress to Impress, in Poulton, has matching accessories – including jewellery and shoes and offers people the chance to have prom parties in their own home when they can get together with friends and choose their outfits.
n For more information about The Gazette Prom Show, call the promotions team on 01772 838 081/ 838 180. Or visit www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk