I’m writing this article for parents of girls that are currently in grade six or seven, so you’ll be prepared when your daughter gets to grade eight.
In case you haven’t heard, grade 8 graduation has become a pretty big deal. Correction: it’s become a VERY big deal.
Parents of boys graduating from grade 8 get off relatively easy. Aside from paying for the big grade 8 graduation trip (at least a few hundred dollars at most schools) and buying (or renting) a suit for the graduation ceremony, and maybe shelling out for some new shoes and a haircut, they don’t have it too bad. Unless of course, your son gets caught up in this whole “promposal” phenomenon – then that’s a whole other story!
SEE ALSO: Shopping for the OMG Grade 8 Grad Dress
But parents of tween daughters, consider yourself warned. You better start saving for grade 8 graduation expenses now. Seriously!
Aside for shelling out big bucks for that aforementioned grad trip and the spending money that of course they’ll need on that trip, the list of things that seems to be expected for girls to prepare for their grade 8 graduation ceremony is rather mind boggling. From finding the perfect grad dress and shoes, to finding accessories to match, to booking an appointment at the spa for hair, makeup, and a mani-pedi, I often wonder what expectations we’re setting for future events like graduation from high school or university or (gulp) their wedding day.
Having just gone through the experience of shopping for a grade 8 grad dress with my daughter, I thought I would share a few tips with you.
Grade 8 Grad Dress Shopping Tips:
- Start looking early. You might think that shopping in April or May for an event in June is lots of time. You would be wrong. At many of the stores we went to, they said their peak selection was available in February or March. Who knew?
- Look online before heading out to stores. I’d recommend getting your daughter to browse some dress websites to get an idea of what styles she likes, and then looking at them with her. This gives you the opportunity to set some guidelines about anything you think is not appropriate and gives you a better idea of what to look for while you’re out shopping, such as long vs. short, poufy vs. fitted, blingy vs. non-blingy (well you get the idea).
- Determine a realistic budget. I know moms who have bought grad dresses for their daughters for as little as $20 and as much as $300. Most people spend somewhere in between. Figure out what you’re willing to spend, and discuss it with your daughter before you head out shopping to avoid any possible disappointment.
- Keep an open mind. This advice is for both moms and tweens. Although your daughter may think she knows exactly what style or colour of dress she wants, when she tries it on it may not be a great look for her. Likewise, you may be surprised to find yourself liking something completely unexpected. Be open to trying on different colours and styles. Some of our biggest surprises were from dresses that we barely noticed on the hanger, and while I was initially against the idea of a strapless dress that’s what we ended up buying (and I love it!)
- Look in a variety of places. There are many great places to find a perfect grad dress. From bridal salons to stores in the mall, to online speciality shops to outlet stores, you never know what you’ll find where. Even in chain stores the selection can vary greatly from one location to another. You can even find some amazing deals on beautiful grad dresses that have only been worn once on local Facebook Buy & Sell groups – I saw some gorgeous like-new dresses that originally cost $200-$300+ being offered for $50-$100.
- Be prepared for alterations if you order online. There are a number of websites from which you can order grad dresses and this may be the easiest way to find a particular style or colour that your daughter wants. (Just do a google search for prom dresses or graduation dresses.) Several of my daughter’s friends bought their dresses online. Many of these dresses come from the US or overseas, and the website’s return policies may not be very accommodating. If you go this route, be sure to measure carefully and order early to give yourself time to get alterations done if necessary.
- Don’t panic. After getting a bit of a late start on our dress shopping, and finding a few dresses that my daughter loved, only to find out her size was sold out or would need to be ordered three months prior, she was starting to worry she would never find a dress she loved. And then all of a sudden, there it was – a dress that fit her well, was available and put a big smile on her face.
- When you find a dress that makes her twirl in the store, buy it. When your daughter finds the dress that is perfect for her, you will know it. As soon as I saw her face light up and watched her twirling in the dress, I knew it was the one. And seeing her so happy finally helped me understand – graduating from grade 8 is a pretty big deal!
I guess I better start saving for high school graduation now…
About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)