Avoiding dress shopping next time is preferred.

Another Crookston prom has come and gone, my 10th as the unofficial designated Times reporter covering this event. Certain annual events have become each of us two roving newsroom reporters' forte, and one can assume this duty fell on me because prom is one of those the most girly things we cover. I've also been more than happy to do it, as it gives me a chance to see all the gorgeous dresses, classy tuxes and who the couples are (not that this means anything – most are just friends).

    This also marked my third prom with a highly personal connection, a daughter attending, which also meant serving as a chaperone for the prom itself. Although my daughters have protested this rather loudly, I let them know it was either prom or the Blast to Bede after party. Both preferred prom.

    I can only speak from the perspective of a parent of a female prom-goer, but those with sons attending must go through similar emotions, seeing their nearly grown-up child looking so snazzy with a gorgeous girl (who may or may not be his girlfriend) on his arm. Watching the little girl I had always deemed so cute now cascading down the aisle, barely recognizable resembling a grown-up princess is difficult to do without shedding a tear or two, especially at her junior prom. With my first, it got a little better the next year because I knew what to expect, but a few tears still managed to get me, as I'm sure they will next time around with this one.

    Perhaps there is another factor in all this emotional turmoil, at least with my current prom girl: the planning over the last few months that culminated in Saturday's big day. Contrary to her older sister, who gets things done very close to the last minute (chip off the old lady's block), Cyrina likes to gets things organized and in place way, way ahead of time. So she – which quickly turned into "we" because she had to point out every frock she had a remote interest in or that was so hideous it begged the question why would anyone even consider wearing that thing – began looking at dresses shortly after the New Year.

    And look we did, and looked, and looked... Since her activities severely limited our store shopping possibilities for a dress, most of it was done online. My gosh, there are so many websites that sell prom dresses. It didn't take long to figure out which ones were out of our (translation: her father's and my) price range and eliminate them from consideration. That still left a few with beautiful gowns at somewhat reasonable prices.

    This girl is as picky about fashion as she is about food! A self-proclaimed turophobic (fear of cheese), she managed to find some little thing on pretty much every dress, and especially the less expensive ones, that just wasn't agreeable to her. It was either too over-the-top or too simple, didn't have enough sparkles or had far too many, the neckline was too high, the skirt didn't look as though it would flow very nicely, it's way too revealing ... the list went on and on. And I thought I was indecisive...

    All along, she did have her mind set on a sleek, pageant-style dress as opposed to a poufy ball gown, although she mentally took note of her favorite mermaid and cupcake styles for next year. And she was adamant that the dress not have a slit, for fear of exposing too much leg. That is, until she actually tried a on gown with a slit. Aryanna and I both agreed that the slit looked great, better than the dresses without one that she tried on. Cyrina was pleasantly surprised, too, that the slit was far from too revealing.

    While that particular gown was a bit out of our price range and had some features she just didn't care for, she decided to change her focus a bit to dresses with slits. She said it was because both her sister and I said she looked good in it, but I suspect that if were me alone opining, her thought process would not have gone that way.

    After another week or so of perusing the online shops, she just happened across a site out of Chicago that does business through both physical shops and the Internet. And there it was, screaming  "buy me" at her, the gown that she'd been looking for, and for a really good price. Having tried on a very similar style, we knew this one would look great on her. Of course, I knew anything would look great on this pretty little thing.

    Of course, my daughter's measurements could not possibly exactly equal one of the size offerings, so we had to decide whether to go one higher or lower than the largest measurement. To be on the safe side, we went higher. As it turned out, we could have easily gone a size lower and still have some alterations to do. Thank goodness the seamstress did an excellent job fitting the gown. I figured it still came out cheaper than at most shops and could be more unique this way.

    Amazingly, there were no two dresses alike at prom this year.

    Please Lord, don't make me go through prom dress shopping again. Next time we'll just hand over the funds and let her go wild on her own.