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How to survive prom-aggedon

If the GCSE prep doesn't shred your nerves, helping your teen plan prom will. Here's how to survive.

Are your kids in the final year of school? If their GCSE prep isn’t giving you sleepless nights, prom will.

There was a time when the end of school shindig was called a disco – a chance to rip off your uniform, wear an eye-wateringly short skirt and attempt to smuggle in some ambiguous alcohol lurking at the back of your mum’s drinks cabinet. What can I say, it was the 80s. It’s now called prom and it’s BIG! A whopping £100 million big.

Prom-mania has swept the nation – you can thank the Hollywood lustre of She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls – with more than 85% of schools embracing the teen tulle takeover. As a parent, you require extreme survival skills to get through the planning stages let alone the throng of stretch limos in the car park on the night.

silver, pink, gold helium balloons float to the ceiling

Plastic cups of fruit punch from wobbly trestle tables are not gonna cut it. Think ice-cream vans, photo booths and chocolate fountains in extravagant function rooms and 5-star hotels, complete with red carpet. And that’s before we get to the outfits that can cost £300+. Ker-ching! Ker-ching.

A study conducted by SimplyBe in 2016 found that the cost of proms had rocketed by 72% in just five years. Hair had become the biggest expense seeing the average spend go from £26.50 to £62. Most girls visit a salon, 62% had their nails done and 37% employed a make-artist to create a flawless Insta-worthy snap.

Models on catwalk

GET YOUR GLAM ON: Channel your inner Anna Wintor on the fashion FROW

To avoid a monumental teen meltdown, battle weary mums and dads need as much help as they can get – dress, accessories, hair and make up alone will see everyone’s stress levels rise to the red zone, let alone the venue, cars and all the extras. Shall we get this party started?

Camp Hopson in Newbury, in a association with Prom Day, is hosting a Teen Takeover event on Thursday 8 February. There will be mocktails, a DJ, Caravatti will be loading you up with ice cream and sweets (sugar high essential), plus hair, beauty and fashion advice to ensure the kids look and feel as hot as Gigi and Brooklyn on their big night. And I haven’t even mentioned the magician, photographer, photo booth and up to 20% off! (Grateful parents breathe a huge sigh of relief.)

Prom dress collage Mori Lee, Sarah Belle Swindon and Whistles 2018

DARE TO DIFFERENT: Racerback maroon gown by Sarah Belle Swindon; Blush pink tie back evening dress by Whistles; Black ad gold halter neck by Sarah Belle Swindon and pale blue jumpsuit by Mori Lee at Simply Elegant

Once past the velvet rope, you can disappear into a cloud of hairspray and get stuck in. A team of experts will be on hand to offer hair, make-up and accessories tips, tricks and pro hacks, including Muddy fave Julian’s Hair – workshops start at 6pm and 7pm. Join the FROW at 6.30pm for an bijou fashion showcase, with Red Carpet ready inspiration from Sarah Belle Swindon and Simply Elegant and then let the pros work their magic make-up brushes to give you a mini makeover. Basically, you’ll be treated like Beyoncé on Oscar night.

The key to prom perfection is to be yourself. The best version, obvs. But this is not a time to experiment. When hunting down the perfect frock, eveningwear can make a teen look like their playing dress up. It’s a tricky balance, but racerbacks and high halternecks can look cool. Margot Robbie’s Mui Mui blush pink SAG Awards dress was to die for.

I also Loved Millie Bobbie Brown’s short SAG dress worn with Converse – edgy, great for dancing and totally individual. But don’t rule out jumpsuits and trouser suits, they have trotted down all the red carpets this year. Boys can be experimental too with colour, mix and match jackets and trews.

Braided loose up do styled by Toni and guy

HEADS UP: Mastering the done but undone up do. Picture: Toni & Guy

Madeline Crisp, Beauty Editor at celebrity magazines Star and New! recommends keeping it simple for your big night: “However great Gigi and Kendall look on the catwalk, this is not the time to be copying daramtic catwalk looks. Visit a hairdresser who specialises in up dos for a practise run, and take loads of inspirational images.

“Often bridal and prom hair dos can look too formal and ‘done’ so make sure your stylist understands you want a young ‘undone’ style which is loose and modern. Accessories can make the simplest style look special and needn’t be expensive. There are some amazing designer lookalikes – diamanté stars and punky pins are the hottest at the moment. If you have fine hair or need extra length consider a hairpiece – there are some great ones available like Easilocks that can transform your look in an instant.”

Make-up can be tricky. Too little and you can lose the polished finish you’re after, too much and you’re at risk of looking like a clown.

Bobbi Brown glam party face with mascara, foundation, shimmer bummer and rude lipstick

FACE TIME: Glam doesn’t mean make up applied with a trowel. This Bobbi Brown look is prom perfect

“Prep is essential,” says Madeline. “Invest in a primer before applying foundation as this will give the base a professional look and ensure it stays as long as you do. Apply foundation with a brush or sponge for even coverage, and layering cream blush underneath powder blush gives a pretty glow with staying power.

“Try a liquid lipstick formula which will give a stain of colour and are less drying than some stick formulas. If you first line and fill the lips with a nude pencil the colour will go the distance. Finally finish your look with a setting spritz which will fight humidity and should ensure you look great all night long.”

Line up of retro VW Camper Vans from Kens Kampers

CARRY ON CAMPING: Ditch the stretch for a cool Kevs Kampers VW Camper Van

Obviously the hair, make-up and outfit are the priority, but there’s all the fun stuff to enjoy too. Ditch the traditional stretch and make a big entrance in a cool VW Camper Van (check out Kev’s Kampers) or pay homage to the American tulle fest and hire an old yellow school bus (First Group American Buses has a selection to hire). Throw in a retro ice cream stand and you’re good to go.

Basically it’s bit like organising a wedding that you don’t get to attend. Save your sanity, make prom planning easy by popping along to the Teen Takeover at Camp Hopson in Newbury. Book now – the first 200 get a free goody bag and you’ll be entered into a prize draw. Plus it’s a few nag-free hours with your grown up kids..

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