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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?
Either way, you’re likely excited for the event and counting down the days until it’s finally here.

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

Celebrating School Spirit at Homecoming

Every high school has its own traditions, so homecoming can mean a lot of different things depending on your school and where you live. Typically, it 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. This gives them the opportunity to see old friends, teachers, and the underclassmen they left behind.
The week of the event involves a variety of activities and events, including a parade, pep rally, homecoming dance, and a big football game. Even if you’re not a football fan, it might be the only football game you’ll go to all year - so you better not miss it.
Whatever 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 festivities that take place outside the school.

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 big dance, a lot of people wonder how it’s different from prom. Well, homecoming is comparatively less formal than prom. Students dress up for it and get amped up about going, just like they do for prom.

In recent years, it 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 the dance, 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.

However, aside from these similarities, these events are different in many ways.

First things first, both these events occur 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 dances usually take place in the fall, in September or October.

Another difference between them is their attire. At homecoming, students typically get ready in more casual and semi-formal clothing, while prom is usually a lot more formal.
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 attire with a train. Boys might pop out with a tux or other type of suit.

Venue and Atmosphere
Plus, prom will usually take place in a venue other than your school gym, which sets the tone for a much more formal evening.

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 the event will depend on which festivities you want to participate in. For example, participating in an event could simply mean paying for the price of a ticket to attend a sports event.
But if you want to go to the dance, you can expect to spend a lot more money. You’d have to consider the cost of your outfit, 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 overview 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 have already paid an activity fee at the beginning of the school year, 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 ($50-$150+)
Homecoming may not be as big as prom, but it still calls for a stunning new dress. While you might already have the perfect ensemble tucked away in your closet, there's something special about splurging on a new semi-formal dress for the occasion.

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 make a cute design that matches your 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.

How to Shop for the Perfect Homecoming Dress

Being familiar with your school dress code can save you a headache in the future. If you choose an outfit that violates the 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 an attire that exposes your midriff.
Or maybe your school strictly forbids girls from wearing attires with a slit that exceeds mid-thigh. Whether your school’s dress code is really strict or a bit more lax, make sure you outfit accordingly.

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!

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, 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 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
  • High-slit attires
  • Mini dresses
  • Beaded dresses
  • Wrap dresses
  • A-line dresses
  • Mermaid silhouette
  • Open back designs

Dress details include:

  • Rhinestones
  • Embellishments
  • Sequins
  • Floral
  • Ruffles
  • Ruching
  • Lace

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 attire you’re looking for.

The dress's style, details, and cut 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. On the other hand, 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. Alternatively, if you want to cover your arms, then narrow down your search to long-sleeved homecoming dresses.

Decide on a Color Scheme

Whether you’re looking for emerald green, red, orange, pink, purple, 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 compliments gold, like purple, red, black and white, or even blue.
Don’t want to coordinate with your date? No problem! Because it isn’t as important as prom. Just go all decked up in your favorite color, and no one can stop you from being the belle of the ball.

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 outfit 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 outfit 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 outfit, 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.

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

Shop at 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. So, what are you waiting for? Find a store near you today!

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