Before all is said and done, Moffat County High School junior Brandon Vigil likely will shell out nearly $400 for an evening he calls "no big deal."
Between the tuxedo he'll rent, the tickets he's bought, the limousine that he will ride in and the dinner he'll eat, prom will make itself a big deal whether Vigil wants it to be.
"It's a bigger deal than any other dance, but ..." he said. "I guess it's gonna be worth it, especially when you get there and let loose and have fun."
Preparing for the big night -- for a boy --means more in terms of money than it does time.
Vigil says getting ready will consist of taking a shower and putting on a tux.
"All the guys will probably get together to get dressed because it's pretty hard to put on a tux by yourself," he said.
Girls on the other hand, have a lot more to consider, if less to pay for.
Traditionally, Thea Sharpe said, the girl has one expense, and one concern -- the dress.
"Usually the girl buys her dress, but if she's got a good date, he pays for everything else," she said.
Beyond the dress, girls have to consider shoes, accessories, their hair, their makeup, their nails (fingers and toes) and their skin.
Junior Christalin Thompson started tanning last week and will continue until the April 30 event. She likely will get a pedicure and a manicure before the prom, but she's not entrusting her hairstyle to anyone else.
"I'm kind of picky about it," she said.
Michelle Hardin has a dress. What she doesn't have is a date.
That's cool, though. Hardin plans to go to the prom with a group of friends.
"We're just going to go hang out and have fun," she said.
What students go through to get to the prom is nothing compared to what they go through just to ensure there will be one. A group that ranges from 10 to 20 participants has been meeting regularly to plan the big event.
"I thought it was going to be easy, but it's not," Paige Terry said. "There are a lot of little details you have to pay attention to."
Planners have been meeting since January. Their first step was to chose a theme from hundreds of options. The committee narrowed their choices to three then surveyed the junior class to determine the favorite.
"So all the kids had the final say in what our theme was, which I thought was pretty neat," junior class dean Kip Hafey said.
The junior class traditionally organizes and pays for the prom, and this year's junior class is better able to do that than those past.
Working concession stands and hosting other fund-raisers has put the class into a position where it's able to spend nearly $5,000 on the dance, but students don't want to spend it all on prom.
"They wanted a nice prom, and they've worked real hard their freshman and sophomore years for it," Hafey said. "They've done an outstanding job."
This is the first year that students attending the prom will have to buy tickets, and the decision hasn't been popular.
"There have been a lot of complaints," said Christalin Thompson, a committee member. "But, if we blow all our money on prom, then we won't have money for other things like the senior present. They'll get used to it."
Committee members polled other high schools and found Moffat County was one of the few not selling tickets to prom.
Hafey said students pay to attend other dances that don't provide nearly the level of amenities.
For example, the first 200 students to arrive will get a special keepsake gift.
"(The committee has) made it pretty special for students," Hafey said.
The real crunch comes next week when decorating begins.
"It'll be a crazy week, of building, but we'll get it done," Hafey said.
Thompson said that many teachers will be helping to decorate and she's been asking service clubs if they'll help too.
Hafey expects more students to help with the decorating than have in the past.
Although there's a lot of work surrounding the big event, there is an incentive to get students to do it. The prom king and queen and their royal court are selected from among the students who helped put the dance together. Committee members and decorators will be considered to become royalty, with the teachers who are also junior class sponsors voting for the winners.
"The selection is based on those who went above and beyond to make prom happen," Hafey said. "We didn't want this to be a popularity contest."
Parents won't be able to see the crowning of the king and queen, but they are invited to see students during the Grand March.
Parents are asked to enter the school at the West door just before 10 p.m. They'll be led to the south bleachers. Students will parade before them beginning at 10 p.m., stopping briefly in front of a prop for pictures. After the Grand March, parents will be led out of they gym.
"We're asking all parents to leave, not storm the floor," Hafey said.
Thompson knows just how much work is ahead to prepare for the big day, but she's still excited.
"I'd like to be able to enjoy what I've done," she said. "Everyone always says prom is overrated, but everyone gets into it."
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.