04/13/2012 01:53 pm ET Updated Jun 13, 2012

Prom Spending Tops $1,000

Prom is the new wedding, and spending on the springtime high school dance is climbing within reach of celebrations of holy matrimony.

Mary Stirsman says she couldn't imagine buying her 17-year-old daughter Madison the $500 dress she found at an Indianapolis boutique on one recent shopping trip, because Stirsman only spent $800 on her own wedding dress. But a higher price tag is the new norm for an increasingly lavish event for which teens and their families are dropping loads of cash on one-of-a-kind dresses and tuxes, limos or party buses, hair, makeup, jewelry, flowers, dinner and dance tickets.

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