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Homecoming Guide – Advice for All Things Homecoming Related

Homecoming Guide – Advice for All Things Homecoming Related

What do homecoming festivities look like at your school? Does your school host a parade? Pep rally? What about a homecoming dance?

In either case, you’re likely excited for the event and counting down the days until it’s finally here.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything homecoming-related, from budgeting for common homecoming expenses to finding the ideal homecoming dress for the big dance.

Celebrating School Spirit at Homecoming

Every high school has its own homecoming traditions, so homecoming can mean a lot of different things depending on your school and where you live. But typically, homecoming is a week-long celebration of school spirit for high school students. It’s a long-standing American tradition where high schools welcome alumni back to campus and the community.

The definition of homecoming, or hoco, is really all in the name. It quite literally means a coming home of sorts, allowing your school’s alumni to visit their old stomping grounds. This gives them the opportunity to see old friends, teachers, and the underclassmen they left behind.

Homecoming week involves a variety of activities and events, including a parade, pep rally, homecoming dance, or big football game. Even if you’re not a football fan, it might be the only football game you’ll go to all year. Homecoming is just that big.

No matter which event you participate in, you can celebrate your school’s spirit and represent your home team’s mascot. Whether your school mascot is a panther or jaguar, you can go out and show how proud you are to be a part of the experience and celebrate with your classmates.

Who Goes to Homecoming?

Homecoming is for everyone, even the underclassmen (depending on the school). Your friends, family, teachers, and other faculty can also attend hoco and have a great time. Even members of the community can go to the parade, pep rally, and other homecoming festivities that take place outside the school.

So, celebrate with everyone at the parade, cheer for your school’s football team in the bleachers, and have a great time with classmates in your beautiful party dress at the homecoming dance. Whatever you do, don’t miss out, because it’s an experience to remember.

Homecoming vs. Prom: What’s the Difference?

We all know the main event of homecoming is the dance. It’s what gets everyone excited. Students are constantly scrambling for what they’re going to wear, who they’re going with, and how they’re going to get there.

When it comes to the homecoming dance, a lot of people wonder how it’s different from prom. Homecoming is a relatively formal event. Students dress up for it, and they get amped up about going, just like they do for prom.

In recent years, homecoming has become more and more similar to prom. Guys have come up with plenty of elaborate ways to ask girls to go with them to homecoming, known as a homecoming proposal. This is similar to promposals that often come in the form of creative signs, cute treasure hunts, and yummy treats.

But aside from these similarities, prom and homecoming are different in many ways. For example, they both come at different times of the year.

Prom often marks the beginning of spring and takes place at the end of the school year. On the other hand, homecoming dance usually takes place in the fall, in September or October.

Another difference between homecoming dance and prom is the attire. At homecoming, students typically dress in more casual and semi-formal clothing, while prom is usually a lot more formal. At homecoming, girls might wear a simple party dress, while guys might wear nice pants and a collared shirt.

Prom dresses might come in the form of a ball gown or a long dress with a train. Boys might pop out with a tux or other type of suit. Plus, prom will usually take place in a venue other than your school gym, which sets the tone for a much more formal evening than homecoming.

Yet another difference between hoco and prom is who attends the event. Homecoming is open to all grades, including underclassmen, school alumni, and seniors. In contrast, prom is typically only open to seniors and juniors.

Budgeting for Homecoming

How much you spend on homecoming will depend on which festivities you want to participate in. For example, participating in homecoming could simply mean paying for the price of a ticket to attend a sports event.

But if you want to go to the homecoming dance, you can expect to spend a lot more money. You’d have to consider the cost of your dress, shoes, hairstyle, makeup, a fancy ride, professional pictures, and other expenses.

Beyond the ticket cost, it’s important to think about the things you’ll have to pay for if you plan to attend the homecoming dance. This involves creating a budget, which will give you a better idea of how much everything is going to cost and how much you’re willing to spend.

Below is an example of the typical expenses you may have to pay for your homecoming dance. Remember, these are just estimates, so make sure you find out the actual expense of these items so that you can properly budget for them.

Tickets: $15-$30. Unless you already paid an activity fee at the beginning of the school year, then you should consider the cost of tickets for homecoming. If your school offers a discount if you purchase tickets for a date or with friends, you might be able to save some money.

Dress: $0-$150+. You don’t necessarily have to purchase a brand new dress. Maybe you have the perfect ensemble in your closet that you’ve been saving just for homecoming. Or, if you don’t already have an outfit for the big event, you can splurge on a new semi-formal dress.

Shoes: $0-$80+. You can go for a pair of shoes you own, score a great deal on some inexpensive shoes, or grab some designer heels from one of your favorite brands.

Hair: $0-$100+. Whether you want to splurge on a chic hairstyle at the salon, or style your own hair, you have the luxury to choose how far you’re willing to go for the perfect hairdo.

Nails: $0-$30+. Maybe you want to polish your own nails, and you already have the perfect color. Or, you can have a professional do a cute design that matches your homecoming outfit.

Makeup: $25+. Looking to get a full face of makeup done? Prepare to spend about $25 and up for a makeup artist. Or, you can save some coins and do a simple makeup look at home.

Aside from these expenses, you may have to pay for additional things, depending on what you want on homecoming night.

For example, you might want professional pictures, flowers, dinner, or a fancy ride. For each of these additional expenses, the prices often vary depending on the option you choose.

Some hoco attendees like to keep things simple and focus on the experience, while others want all the festivities and features they can have on hoco night. So, how much you spend on homecoming depends on what you like and how far you’re willing to go to make your dance as special as possible.

How to Shop for the Perfect Homecoming Dress

Know Your School Rules

Being familiar with your school dress code can save you a headache in the future. If you choose a dress that violates the dress code, you might not be able to attend hoco at all. So, make sure you check with your school to get an idea of what’s allowed and what’s not allowed at the dance.

For example, your school might not allow you to wear dresses that are cut below the bust line. Or, you may not be able to wear a dress that exposes your midriff.

Or maybe your school strictly forbids girls from wearing dresses with a slit that exceeds mid-thigh. Whether your school’s dress code is really strict or a bit more lax, make sure you dress accordingly.

Keep Your Budget in Mind

Know how much you’re working with from the start. This will allow you to rule out any dresses that are outside of your price range.

Because there’s nothing worse than falling for a piece, but you can’t afford it. That could really put a damper on your homecoming experience before the night even gets here.

So, to come up with a budget, ask your parents how much they’re willing to contribute. Or if you get an allowance or have a job, add those numbers up to see what you’re working with.

Think about how much you’re comfortable spending, not just on the dress, but for the whole night. Finding an affordable, yet chic homecoming dress is totally possible. You just have to start looking!

Get Some Inspo

Before you start shopping for your hoco dress, get some inspiration from different sources. This will help you find out what’s trending and what looks good to you. To get started, create a collection on Instagram or set up a Pinterest board and fill it with your favorite images.

After gathering some inspo pics, look at them and see if you notice a consistent trend among the looks you saved. For example, there might be a certain color you’re drawn to. Or maybe you like a certain dress style.

Pick Your Style

Speaking of dress styles, there are so many to choose from, so it’s best to narrow your choices down before you begin your search for the perfect homecoming dress. Different party dress styles include:

Jersey dresses
Scoop neckline dresses
High-slit dresses
Mini dresses
Beaded dresses
Wrap dresses
A-line dresses
Mermaid dresses
Open back dresses

Dress details include:


When it comes to homecoming dresses, the possibilities are seemingly endless. So, it’s always a good idea to have a good idea of what type of dress you’re looking for. The style, details, and cut of the dress are all important and will play a huge part in your overall look for homecoming. So, choose wisely.

Find the Right Dress for Your Body Type

Another thing you want to consider is finding a dress that suits your body type. Some silhouettes may not flatter your body as well as you’d like, so keep that in mind when shopping for homecoming dresses.

For example, if you have an hourglass shape with a well-defined waistline and shoulders and hips that are equal in size, find a dress that accentuates your curves. Fitted dresses, wrap dresses, or belted waist dresses would be great for your figure. And v-necks, sweetheart necklines, and open necklines can help balance out the waist.

Also, think about how much skin you’re comfortable showing. For example, if you like to show off your shoulders, you might opt for a strapless dress. On the other hand, if you want to cover your arms, then narrow down your search to long sleeve homecoming dresses.

Decide on a Color Scheme

Whether you’re looking for emerald green dresses, red dresses, orange dresses, pink dresses, purple dresses, or light blue dresses, the color of your hoco dress is just as important as the style and fit. So, make sure the shade you choose is a good match for your hair and skin tone.

When choosing a color, you might also want to think about coordinating with your date. While you don’t have to wear the same exact color your date is wearing, both looks should complement each other.

For example, let’s say that your date is wearing a black tuxedo with gold accents. You can either go for a gold dress or a color that complements gold like purple, red, black and white, or even blue.

Coordinating with your homecoming date isn’t necessary and definitely isn’t as important as prom. However, it doesn’t hurt, and a little coordination looks great on pictures!

Think of the Future

So, you’ve found the perfect homecoming dress. But you spent much more than what you were expecting to spend.

Well, consider making it even more worth your while by purchasing a dress you can wear for multiple occasions. Because if you don’t have a bunch of money to spare, buying a dress you’ll only wear once can be a waste.

Pick Out Accessories

As you shop for your hoco dress, consider your accessories. It doesn’t really matter which one you pick out first, but just make sure you keep the other in mind as you shop.

For example, if you’re getting your dress first, choose accessories that complement the details and colors in your dress, and vice versa.

Here are some tips:

Complement your look with contrasting colors. There’s something about pairing contrasting colors together that makes an overall look pop. Going for accessory colors that contrast with the color of your dress can really make the dress stand out. For example, if you’re wearing a blue dress, pair it with a purse or necklace that has some orange-y, gold tones. Doing so can take your entire look to the next level.
Pay attention to the style of your dress. Make sure you choose accessories that don’t detract away from your dress and interfere with the look you’re trying to achieve. So, if you’re wearing a dress with a high neck, a long necklace doesn’t really make sense. Instead, go for a choker, or don’t wear a necklace at all. If you forego the necklace, you can transform your look with some statement earrings, while still letting the high neckline shine.
Go for neutral accessories for really detailed and colorful dresses. If you’re wearing a dress that has more than one color or really intricate details, you’ll want to balance the lookout with accessories that don’t have a ton of detail or bright colors.

Where to Buy Your Homecoming Dress

Now that you have a general idea of the style, fit, and detailing of your perfect hoco dress, it’s time for the most exciting part: shopping!

Whether you want to shop online or go in person to find your dress, you can find a cute dress that suits your tastes and preferences.

Shopping online? Because you’re getting your homecoming dress online and you won’t see it until you buy it, be very careful when you shop.

Homecoming Shopping Tips

Follow these tips to help prevent a total disaster:

Shop a few weeks in advance.
Research trustworthy retailers.
Read the return/exchange policy very closely.
Take your measurements.
Factor in your shoes.
Check the shipping policy.
Compare dresses and prices.
Allow time for minor adjustments.
Use secure payment options.

Shopping For Homecoming Dresses In-Store

If you’re going to shop in-store for your homecoming dress, there are a few things you should consider:

Pack the heels you’re wearing to the dance.
Pay attention to the neckline and how the dress fits.
Make sure the size is right.
Try on several different dress styles, and keep an open mind.
Feel the fabric and quality of the dress.
Wear an outfit you can easily change in and out of.
Put on a strapless bra under your outfit.
Wear comfortable shoes.

Shop Amarra

Looking for a trustworthy brand that makes high-quality homecoming dresses? Amarra has your back. We partner with top-dress stores around the world to provide the finest dresses to our valued customers. Find a store near you!

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