Prom vs. Formal: What’s the Difference?

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Middle and high school are the prime years for dressy dances, outlandish invitations and questions about etiquette, fashion and about a million unwritten rules. To make everything more fun, there are different “levels” of events that require teens to find their way in an often confusing system. One of the most common questions parents (and many teens) ask is, “what is the difference between proms and formals?” The simplest answer is that proms are usually reserved for high school, many times just for juniors and seniors, while formal events can reach all the way down to the middle school level. A “formal” is usually associated with a season (Winter Formal, Spring Formal), an event (Homecoming) or an end of grade celebration (8th Grade Formal). There are, just to confuse the issue, semi-formal dances as well! Proms tend to be the fanciest, most official and yes – most expensive – of all of the dances. Prom dresses are suitable for the most official of evening gatherings and black tie (or, in the case of teen fashion today some variation on a theme) is usually expected. Court or No Court? The crowning of “royalty” at an event is mostly the discretion of […]