Tickets for Sydney’s Year 12 formals fetched record prices this year, with many attendees opting to rent their dress to keep the cost of their New Year’s Eve party down.
Elliot Kleine, director of operations for the formal planning service Prom Night Events, said the average ticket at the high end of the market — about 10 percent of formals, usually those at private schools — was between $150 and $170.
“That depends on what it was like before COVID, and the venues are to blame there,” he said, adding that hotels that had lost money to the pandemic and were now dealing with packed midweek weddings and corporate parties. your prices.
At some private schools, tickets have surpassed the $200 mark. The Kambala Year 12 formal ball, held at Doltone House Hyde Park, cost $225 a head, and parents were offered a $45 ticket to attend a drinks event for the first hour.
The Kincoppal-Rose Bay Prom, held last Friday night at ICC Sydney, and the Cranbrook Formal Ball, at the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Point Piper, each had admission prices of more than $180.
Rising ticket costs, as well as sustainability concerns, are leading more students to rent their outfits for the night.
Brittany Wheeler, owner of Bondi’s One Wear Only Hire, said there was booming business in the formal school market, with young women conscious of their environmental footprint opting to hire Australian designers such as Aje, Bec & Bridge and Shona Joy for about $100, instead of spending $400 to buy a new one.
Cronulla High School student Jeorgie Brown attended her formal party in a rented Bec & Bridge dress at Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf earlier this month.
The 18-year-old, who is entering early to study a combined BA in creative arts and communications at the University of Wollongong next year, rented the dress for $100, while admission to the event cost $110. She also spent $150 on makeup and nails, and did her own hair.
“I chose to hire him because I was only going to use him once,” he said.
For 17-year-old Charlotte, whose last name has been withheld, the decision to rent her dresses was also based on keeping costs down: The Bellevue Hill school grad attended two formal private school classes in the eastern suburbs in Consecutive nights last week. .
“Getting a really nice dress for the Year 12 formal already costs hundreds of dollars, getting more than one would be crazy,” she said. She opted for a dress by Shona Joy and another by the luxury label Aya Muse, based in Los Angeles.
At St Clare’s Catholic High School in Hassall Grove, students opt for a mix of purchased and rented dress, while there is also a growing trend of students wearing cultural dress to reflect their family’s heritage.
Year 12 coordinator Anthony Pope said the ticket price for the school event, which was held at Curzon Hall in Marsfield, factored into school fees throughout the year, so families did not face a huge cost just before Christmas.
“In my years working with 12-year-olds, I think the formal went out of style and back in style,” Pope said.
“There was a period about 15 years ago when not all students were expected to want to come, maybe only 60 percent did, but now pretty much everyone does.”
Sal Navarra, CEO of Navarra Precincts, which operates Curzon Hall as well as other popular formal venues including Le Montage de Lilyfield, said it had kept the prices of its school and college balls the same in 2022 as they were in 2021 “from goodwill” despite rising costs. .
St Clare’s pupil Kazvaana Piho said she had been excited all year about the ceremony. She considered wearing a dress that reflected her Cook Islander heritage, but instead she spent around $200 on a contemporary dress online.
His mother and aunt did the aspiring actor’s hair, and he hired a make-up artist to come to his house ($125) before heading off with the rest of his cohort for photos at Doonside Nurragingy Nature Reserve.
“It’s like the access point for the schools in the area to take photos, that’s where we all go,” he said.
As for what’s on offer once students arrive for their formal festivities, Kleine said she’s increasingly being asked to book red-carpet-style 360-degree cameras, which film slow-motion video of attendees making out. sends directly to your phone for easy Instagram. go up. Neon or box signage and custom dessert bars are also all the rage.
But, after seeing how the upper grades’ end-of-year celebrations were disrupted by concerns about the pandemic, just being able to celebrate together seems to be enough for the class of 2022.
Brown said the fun class awards voted on by her peers were the highlight of her night. While Piho said it was simply a relief to come to the end of a much more normal year than she anticipated.
“I was in year 10 when COVID hit. And ever since then I’ve been wondering: will I be able to experience my senior year the way I envisioned it? It’s great that the answer is yes.”