I spent £2,000 on my 10-year-old’s prom
More money than sense? No, it was worth every penny! Joanne Whitehouse, 45, Dudley
We’d been preparing for this day since last Christmas
Waving her hand so her fresh set of diamante acrylic nails flickered in the light, my daughter Polly beamed.
‘They look amazing!’ she shrieked, wiggling each of her fingers.
Handing over a wad of cash to the beautician, I loved seeing my girl happy.
It was 17 July 2019, two days before the biggest event on Polly’s calendar.
Her school prom. ‘What shall I do with my hair?’ she pondered in the mirror.
You might think Polly was a teenager, about to finish secondary school.
But, in fact, she was just 10. And she’d been looking forward to her primaryschool prom for months. Years, even! Though it’s usually a secondary-school tradition, junior proms are popping up everywhere.
My eldest daughter Beth, 13, had hers a few years ago.
But this year’s seemed far more extravagant.
Mums at school had been talking about it for months.
Dresses, make-up, hair styles – prom chat was rife. And, not one to be beaten, I’d pulled out all the stops.
We’d been preparing for this day since last Christmas.
I owned a dress business called Kiss Me Kate, specialising in fancy frocks.
Polly had tried on 25 to 30 pretty gowns in my collection before picking her favourite. Well, five favourites! We had to wait until the day to find out which dress she’d choose…
‘It’s all starting to add up,’ my husband Richard, 44, sighed as he looked over our bank statement.
Her ride – a limo, £250
– had been pre-ordered.
The dresses, the nails, make-up – it was already costing a lot.
‘Polly’s worth it,’ I smiled. I owned my business, Richard’s a pet-food buyer – we’re not millionaires.
But Polly’s happiness was a good excuse to splash out.
She deserved every penny – I never spoilt her. Or Beth or their brother TJ, 18.
I wanted them to know the value of money.
But this was a special event.
Polly had always been a girly girl, adored trying on the dresses I designed.
She also modelled for me at shows, and did ballet dancing in competitions across the area.
We’d always been so proud of her.
She’d been top of her class at school, too. We knew she’d go far.
As the day of the prom neared, Polly couldn’t contain her excitement.
Bounding down the stairs at the crack of dawn on the morning of the big day, she threw herself into my arms.
‘Thanks, Mum,’ she said happily.
Her last-ever day at primary school got underway.
And when she arrived back through the door later, I had a hairdresser waiting.
‘Like Kate Middleton has hers,’ Polly requested.
Soon, her tresses fell in beautiful blonde curls.
Then it was time to choose the gown.
Running her hands along the sequins, tulle and lace of each dress, her eyes
were wide and sparkling.
‘This one,’ Polly grinned, looking up in awe at a stunning peach gown.
Flown in from America, it was so special, embellished in 10,000 hand-sewn beads and sequins.
A halterneck design with tulle layering. Beautiful ‘Expensive taste, you!’ I joked, slightly sweating at the £500 price tag.
But simply seeing Polly’s excitement was priceless.
She picked a pair of £50 sandals with a chunky heel. Nothing too grown-up. I loved that Polly’s dress would be one-of-a-kind.
Cheekily, she’d not let any of her friends choose a frock from my collection.
After Polly had climbed into her dress, I swept a little blusher across her cheeks.
Brushing a coat of mascara through her lashes, my eyes welled with tears.
‘You look beautiful,’ I told her.
As I slicked a layer of gloss along her lips, the doorbell rang.
Seven of Polly’s closest friends, all in sparkly outfits, strutted into the house.
We’d arranged a mocktail party, fit for a princess. Even had waiters handing out smoked-salmon canapes and strawberries.
The girls had fizzy pop in champagne flutes.
‘This is brilliant!’ Poppy’s friends shrieked.
Then, at 6pm, a stretch limo pulled up outside.
Buzzing, the girls clambered into the back. Us mums got a ride, too! Waving out the window, cackling with joy, Polly’s squad were exhilarated.
As they marched along a red carpet into the event’s centre, a cameraman snapped away.
They posed in front of a wall adorned with shiny golden tassels.
I’d never seen Polly looking so happy.
After lots of dancing and eating party food, the event came to a close.
But the night wasn’t over. Polly’s friends and their parents all came back to ours
to carry on the celebrations.
By 4am, the pyjama-clad girls were bundled up in a pile of sleeping bags. What a night!
As we looked through the pictures of the evening,
I was elated we’d given our girl such a special time. We’d spent around £2,000. But, in my opinion, it was worth every penny.
As coverage of the event went online, it was clear not
everyone agreed. Sounds like a spoilt brat to me, one person commented. More money than sense… another chimed in.
Teaching her daughter that appearance is everything… And so it went on.
The comments hurt. ‘They don’t know what they’re talking about,’
I told Richard.
We can spend our money as we please.
And we decided to treat our youngest daughter for working so hard in class.
After primary school, life gets complicated.
Secondary school, puberty, relationships, careers...
The prom marked the end of an era in Polly’s life.
So I don’t care what anyone says.
I gave my girl a night she will never forget.
And why shouldn’t I make her feel like a princess?
Salmon canapes and fizzy pop in their champagne flutes
…and now for that ‘Kate’ hairdo
Polly gets her nails done…
Having a ball: my delighted daughter
Me and my beautiful girls, Polly and Beth