Should Promposals Be Banned?

Jaren Llaneza, a junior at Franklin High School in Elk Grove, California, snapped this pic of his friend’s promposal last year. (Spoiler alert: She said yes!)

Jaren Llaneza

Some schools have outlawed the practice, deeming it disruptive. Have these extravagant invitations gone too far?

YES: Flashy promposals distract from the purpose of prom.  

Prom is supposed to be a fun, stress-free way to celebrate the end of the school year with friends. But promposal mania undermines this idea! These dramatic invitations disrupt the school day, add an extra prom expense, and put students under immense pressure to find a date. 

Imagine being single when every other Instagram post is a classmate showing off their promposal. It’s enough to make you wonder: If I want to ask someone, how can I top that? The burden extends to the askee too. Everyone knows someone who accepted an unwanted invite just to avoid humiliating the asker. It’s simply unfair. 

Instead of valuing grand gestures and getting caught up in a competition, we should value sincerity. If two people truly want to go to a dance together, they’ll have fun regardless of whether the ask included a school-wide flash mob.  

Likewise, if someone wants to say no, they should be able to do so respectfully— without an audience rooting against them.

—May Yang, a high school senior in New York 

No: Promposals are a fun way to bring students together. 

You go to high school only once, so I believe it’s worth the extra effort to make the special events memorable. Promposals are a fun way to showcase your creativity and personality while making someone you care about smile. What’s so bad about that?

I understand that many adults have concerns about the cost of elaborate or downright outrageous invitations, like those plastered on billboards. But in truth, those experiences aren’t the norm. While a promposal can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. One of the most memorable promposals at my school involved nothing more than a message written in snow.

Instead of banning the practice, administrators should make guidelines for when and where promposals can occur at school. That way, they can discourage classroom disturbances without stopping students from coming together (whether it’s in a hallway or on social media) to celebrate these heartfelt gestures.

—Ryan Kulp, a high school senior in Pennsylvania

3 Fast Facts

1. The first documented promposal was in 2001, when a high school senior in Texas asked his prospective date to the dance via grocery store loudspeaker.

2. Since then, students have taken the trend to the extreme, popping the question with help from celebrities and pro athletes, on arena Jumbotrons, and via airplane banners. One student even scored a date by staging a fake police chase!

3. The average promposal costs $324, just over one third of the average total amount ($919) teens spend on the event.

SOURCES: 1. Knight Ridder, 2001; 2. Boston Globe, 2014; 3. Visa Prom Spending Survey, 2015

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