Prom vs. Graduation: Your Ultimate Guide to Dressing for the Big Events

Prom vs. Graduation: Your Ultimate Guide to Dressing for the Big Events

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June and July are just around the corner. For UK students, this means two things: prom and graduation. Are they the same? What's the difference? Which comes first, prom or graduation? What is the difference between prom dresses and graduation gowns?····This article will answer all your questions and help you find the right outfits for these most important school events.

In this article:

  • Is the Prom Same as Graduation?

Is the Prom Same as Graduation?

No, prom and graduation are distinct events with their own traditions and dress codes.

What is Prom?

The prom, short for "promenade," is a formal dance or party usually held towards the end of the final year of secondary school (high school). It's a celebratory event that marks the end of secondary education for students, typically around the age of 16-18. The prom is a tradition that has been adopted from the United States, and it's a popular social occasion where students dress up in formal attire and enjoy a night of dancing, dining, and celebration with their classmates and friends.


What is Graduation?

Graduation, on the other hand, is a formal ceremony that marks the completion of a course of study or level of education. In the UK, graduations are typically associated with higher education, such as universities or colleges.

graduation ceremony

Differences Between Prom and Graduation

Aspects Prom Graduation
 Purpose social event, make memories with peers academic ceremony, marks the completion of a level of education
Timing takes place towards the end of the final year of secondary school (high school) at the end of the academic year
Venue hotels, banquet halls, or other event spaces the university or college campus,a dedicated auditorium or hall
Attire more formal, glamorous, and varied more conservative and follows a specific dress code, cap and gown regalia
Attendees high school juniors and seniors, along with their dates or friends. graduating students, along with their families, friends, and academic staff
Atmosphere festive and social, with music, dancing, and photography formal and ceremonial

What Comes First, Prom or Graduation?

Here's the typical order of these events:

1. Secondary School Prom: This event usually takes place towards the end of the final year of secondary school, before the final exams.

2. Secondary School Exams: After the prom, students take their final exams, such as GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) or A-Levels (Advanced Level General Certificate of Education), depending on the educational path they have chosen.

3. University/College Graduation: After completing their undergraduate or postgraduate studies at a university or college, students attend a graduation ceremony where they receive their degree or diploma. This event typically occurs after the completion of the final year of study.

ball dance

Main Differences Between Prom Dresses and Graduation Dresses

Main differences between prom dresses and grad dresses are:

 Aspects Prom Dresses Grad Dresses
Formality Highly formal and extravagant, Floor-length gowns More subdued and conservative, Midi/Knee-length dresses
Designs Elaborate, glamorous, attention-grabbing Understated, modest designs, clean cuts
Popular Styles Ball Gowns, Mermaid/A-Line Dresses Shift/Wrap/ Midi Dresses
Popular Colours Bold colours, like red, black, navy, & pastels and metallics White, black, blue, purple
Fabric Luxurious, vibrant fabrics, sequins, beading Softer, breathable materials
Accessories Statement jewelry, shoes, and a clutch Minimal and elegant accessories
Occasion-Specific Considerations Reflects party atmosphere, fun Comfortable for long ceremonies, wear under the gown

You may be interested in: The Best Colours for Graduation Dresses in 2024

Trends in Prom and Grad Dresses 2024

As with any fashion season, trends in prom and grad dresses evolve. For 2024, some key trends to watch out for include:

Prom Dresses:

- Vibrant, jewel-toned colours like emerald green, sapphire blue, and ruby red
- Feather and fringe embellishments for a touch of glamour
- Cutout designs and asymmetrical hemlines for a modern twist

Graduation Dresses:

- Minimalist, slip-dress silhouettes in luxe fabrics like silk or satin
- Subtle floral prints and patterns for a touch of femininity
- Elevated fabrics like lace or organza for a touch of elegance

Shopping Tips for prom and graudation dresses

Best Places to Shop for Prom Dresses UK

  • ASOS: ASOS offers 800+ prom styles, including their own affordable designs as well as designer collaborations(priced from £15 to £325).
  • Debenhams: Debenhams is a well-known department store that offers 100+ prom dresses from various brands(priced from £10 to £200).
  • ClubLLondon: This online retailer is known for its beautifully crafted prom dresses, featuring intricate embellishments and unique designs(most priced from £75 to £100).

Best Places to Shop for Graduation Outfits UK

  • ASOS: ASOS also offers a diverse selection of graduation outfits, including dresses, suits, and separates from their own line as well as other popular brands(priced from £15 to £325).
  • Ohpolly: Ohpolly is an online retailer that offers bodycon graduation outfits(most priced around $60).
  • PrettyLittleThing: Great for finding trendy and budget-friendly choices(most priced under £60).

Although we at Ever-Pretty UK are a specialist retailer of bridesmaid dresses and wedding related dresses, we also offer prom dresses and graduation dresses in a variety of different designs and sizes, most of which are priced at around £50, and there are also size-customized models available, so if you're interested, shop now!

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