Know It All: Fun facts about prom night
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Have a Ball1 of 13
Between dresses, dates and—of course—drama, high school prom is one of the most anticipated events in a teen's life. While today's glamorous parties feature designer dresses, stretch limousines and insanely high expectations, prom was once a modest event to mark commencement. How did a meal with classmates turn into an iconic last hoorah? Read on to find out!
Teens on Parade2 of 13
The term "prom" comes from the word "promenade," the introductory parading of guests that was popular at upper-class galas and debutante balls during the Victorian era. The first proms, held at northeastern colleges in the late 1800s, were modeled after these aristocratic gatherings. High schools didn't adopt the tradition until some time in the early 1900s.
Stepping It Up3 of 13
Initially simple affairs where graduating seniors dined together in their Sunday best, proms didn't become extravagant events until after World War II. American prosperity in the 1950s moved proms from high school gyms to hotels and country clubs. With the change of setting came an all-around upgrade: Teens bought fancy clothing for the occasion, and prom committees planned themed decor.
Rabble-Rousers4 of 13
Though the event was the be all, end all of the 1950s teen, prom attendance dwindled in the 1960s and '70s when students were more interested in antiwar rallies, civil rights causes and rebelling against their parents' generation. As Vietnam ended and consumerism rose, prom picked back up and was in full force—neon puffy dresses and all—come the 1980s.
Presidential Suite5 of 13
In 1975, President Gerald Ford's daughter, Susan, hosted her high school's senior prom at the rather regal address of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. After dinner in the State Dining Room, two bands rocked the night away in the East Room of the White House. Given that the event was chaperoned by Secret Servicemen and White House Aides, we doubt anyone tried to spike the punch.
Once Worn6 of 13
According to a recent survey by Visa, the average family spent a whopping $807 on each child who attended prom in 2011. Between tickets, attire, accessories, flowers, transportation, photographers and afterparties, many parents struggle to send their kids to the dance. To relieve some of the strain, nonprofits offering free, donated dresses have sprung up across the country.
Prom Screen7 of 13
Films like Pretty in Pink, American Pie and She's All That, along with television episodes on 90210, Dawson's Creek and Glee, have influenced prom trends both in the U.S. and beyond. Hollywood hits have spread American-style, over-the-top proms to the U.K., where hotels have recently seen a 500 percent increase in bookings during prom season.
Flower Power8 of 13
"Corsage" originally referred to the bodice of a dress. Since women often wore a small floral bouquet around their corsage, the bouquet came to be known by its current name. While flowers have been worn for special occasions since ancient times—often to ward off evil spirits—corsages worn on the wrist or shoulder became popular in the 20th century, first at weddings and later at dances. In the 1950s, girls would give corsages made from candy to friends on their birthday.
Most Likely To Be...9 of 13
Some celebrities say they were nobodies in high school, but Halle Berry and Rosie O'Donnell can't make the claim: Both were voted prom queen. Though he plays a dorky teacher on Glee, Matthew Morrison was a jock and prom king back in the day. Cindy Crawford was both queen and valedictorian, proving that some people really do have it all (and making us jealous!).
Open Call10 of 13
While the quarterback and head cheerleader were once shoo-ins for prom king and queen, students have recently been challenging the status quo. An openly gay male was psyched to win prom queen at an L.A. high school in 2009, and at a San Diego homecoming, a lesbian couple wore the crowns in 2011.
Happily Ever After11 of 13
While Reese Witherspoon and Tina Fey didn't even like their high school prom dates—Reese's date stood her up, and Tina's was a little too touchy—Bono and Jon Bon Jovi were so in love with their dates that they tied the knot with them. Both rockers are still happily married to their high school sweethearts today.
Social Network12 of 13
After about 600 tweets, a Minnesota teen landed a porn star prom date, but the school caught wind and put the kibosh on that plan. An 18-year-old Kevin McGuire was more successful with his arrangements: He secured a date with Taylor Swift via Facebook. While Swift couldn't attend his prom, she invited him to be her date at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Band Aids13 of 13
Students at an Indiana high school badly damaged by a March tornado will get a special treat when country sensation Lady Antebellum plays at their private prom party in May. The Grammy-winning musical trio will also be hosting a public concert in the town to raise money for the community.
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