A parent's guide to matric ball planning
Giving your teen the night of their dreams doesn't have to make you hot under the collar. Here are some planning and budgeting tips for making it happen without breaking the bank.
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Apart from matric exams, and waiting for results and university acceptance letters; matric ball night is probably one of the most anticipated events in a teen's life – and may stir up some anxiety (of both the financial and emotional kind) for parents.

You might not have had the time to digest that they're all grown up now, let alone the kind of cash you might have to part with in order to make their ideas a reality. 

But regardless of financial constraints, every teen deserves to feel special on their big night. And there's no need to break the bank if you plan for expenses, make some smart buys and hustle a little. 

Here are some tips to help you give your teen a fun night they'll always remember. 

1. The budget 

Whether you started saving last year or today only, it's always a good idea to determine how much money you're able (and willing) to part with. 

Consider where you think it best to splurge (the perfect dress or suit that they could wear for future events), and where cheaper options would do fine (having make-up done professionally vs. asking a family member or friend who is especially good with make-up to help out). 

Here's a list of items to help you flesh out budget costs: 

General costs: 

  • Matric ball tickets 
  • Transport 
  • Photos 

Costs for girls: 

  • Dress
  • Shoes 
  • Hair, make-up and nails  
  • Jewellery, handbag and other accessories

Costs for boys: 

  • Suit/tuxedo
  • Shoes 
  • Haircut 
  • Accessories 

2. The outfit

Every teen deserves to feel like a prince or princess on the big night and a lot of that has to with the outfit. Scrolling through teen magazines would be a good place to start, and you'll find a plethora of cool ideas on Pinterest and Instagram. 

If you're seriously strapped for cash and can't really dish out on a dress or suit, think about hiring an outfit for the night. Bridal shops usually have awesome options at a fraction of the cost of making or buying an outfit. 

Some SA celebs even donate previously worn dresses to girls for their matric ball. So keep your eyes and ears peeled on social sites too. 

3. The look 

If your teen has his or her heart set on a certain hairstyle, visit a few professional hairstylists (with solid reputations) and settle on a price with one before the big day. 

Do the same with make-up and nails – if you're going with a professional, make a few calls to find the best price. Here you might want to do a trial run, get recommendations or view online ratings to be sure they'll be able to deliver a good service. 

Make sure to book both a month before the day. 

Getting a friend to come through could work fine if you know someone who is always on point themselves. 

4. The ride 

If your teen insists on hiring a fancy car or limousine for the evening, ask them to get a group of their friends together to share the cost. Alternatively, a friend or family member with a great car could be called in to drive the kids to the venue. 

5. The photos 

If there's anything worth splurging on, it's capturing memories. Hiring a photographer to take pictures of your teen with their partner is becoming the norm these days and considering that you won't need them for more than an hour or two, the cost might be less than you think. Make sure you book them in advance as well.  

6. The afterparty 

This might be less of a cost thing than a letting-go-of-my-baby thing. Afterparties are an inevitable part of the celebration and if allowing them to partake gives you the heebie-jeebies, consider a curfew and ground rules. They're becoming an adult no matter which way you look at it, so giving them the leg room to enjoy themselves is a big part of instilling a sense of trust in your relationship with them and in themselves. 

What are you most excited/nervous/sad about when you think of your teen going to their matric ball? Share your story by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. 

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