April 18, 2018
In Philly, prom send-offs are a whole thing. Don’t believe me? Google “Dubai in North Philly“. For my senior prom, my guidance counselor purchased my dress and my dad got some guy with a Lincoln Town Car to drive me to the Marriott where we were supposed to have the night of our dreams. I’m pretty simple and I could have gone without the experience. But for some reason, we’re taught to fantasize about and anticipate prom as the best night of our adolescent lives…all of high school culminating in 4 hours of awkwardly dancing with dates in really expensive dresses that we’ll never wear again.
So fast forward like 10 years later and I taught high school seniors. And I discovered prom is a WHOLE THING. At the same time, I started photographing weddings and I realized…proms and weddings are pretty much the same thing lol.
- The Dress: Some ladies go the traditional route and find something in the stores. Feeling adventurous, order online. However, if you want to #oookillem…you get your dress custom made. End of story. Boom.
- Beauty: You’ve got to secure THE best makeup artists and hair. Definitely got to get your hair done. You research your look *think secret Pinterest page you only share with your closest girls*. I’ve even heard of girls doing trial makeup runs. For prom!
- Luxury Cars: Because of course, the Lincoln Town Car is wack. Now, a Lexus or Benz is the achievement floor (even though that’s the come up for me…mmmkay). Think Rolls Royce, Bugati, Aston Martin…you get the picture.
- You invite your entire family to witness an event that’s really like 30 minutes long: Where is the lie?
- Theme Songs: At a wedding, it may be John Legend’s “So High” or “Let’s Get Married” by Jagged Edge (the remix only #kthanksbye). At prom, a young lady may walk down to Beyonce or Bodak Yellow (cuz Cardi B). For the Ladies: If the wedding is all about the bride, then prom is really about the girl. Even though, there are some gentlemen currently urning tradition on its head. Again, #DubaiNorthPhilly dude had like three outfits and three dates, a Q’aran cake, and sand shipped to the hood. And a camel. We cannot forget the camel. Guys are stepping their game up and giving prom a huge go these days….so don’t count them out.
- Celebrity For a Day: You’re dressed up, made up (and probably at your optimal weight)…you probably won’t look like this for a VERY LONG TIME (or ever). Everyone will want your picture and you oblige them because, why not?
Anyhow, I won’t lie: I enjoy documenting both weddings and proms. Perhaps it’s the adrenaline rush from all of the anticipation and making sure I capture all of the in between moments. When it’s all said and done, I get it. Prom (next to high school graduation) is the symbolic culmination of 13 years of school. It’s also a rite of passage for most high schoolers and parents have a right to celebrate their children how they see fit. All I’m saying is that after the money’s spent, the Bugati’s driven away, the music is turned off, and the family’s gone home, make sure you’ve got some AMAZING images that help you remember those moments. They go by so quickly.
P.S. Below is Nechelle’s senior prom. She’s super smart, a talented dancer, and looked GORGEOUS in her roaring 20’s inspired dress. Enjoy!