Events of the Week: Junior and Senior Proms (May 1994 and May 1995)
Why did I choose this event?
My original intent was for this article to drop last week before the anniversary of my junior prom in 1994.
Unfortunately, early Wednesday morning, we had a bad storm. Around two A.M., there was a roll of thunder and crack of lightning that knocked out our power for a few minutes but took out our landline and Wi-Fi until mid-Thursday morning.
From the time I started reading Teen Magazine, I was mentally designing my prom dress. That’s all I really wanted out of that night: the formal dress and to have fun with my friends.
I didn’t go to any of the homecoming dances. I did go to a few football games through the years, but that was mostly to listen to the marching band. I had a lot of friends (and later my brother) in the band.
So when it came to the prom, there were several key questions to answer:
1. What are you going to wear?
For the guys, this seemed easy enough. They would just rent a tuxedo and pick a bow tie and cummerbund that matched or coordinated with their date’s dress.
Girls had a lot more choices, but it could be a lot more complicated. Most girls went to the junior’s section at the local department store, tried some dresses on and picked the one that either fit the best or that they liked the most.
My mom took me to the department store too, but it was just to look at what was there and try things on to get an idea of how things fit. I wasn’t supposed to get attached to any of the dresses, but there was one at a store called Parisian that I really liked and it served as the inspiration for the dress my mother and I designed together.
Mostly, what I remember about the dress at Parisian was that it was emerald green. Jewel tones were big that year from what I remember. There was a chiffon overlay in the same shade of green on a shiny green satin material.
My other favorite feature of the dress was a pair of matching chiffon streamers. They started at each shoulder and flowed down my back. It looked like the kinds of dresses I used to put on my Barbie dolls or saw in the party scenes on my soaps, Days of our Lives and Another World.
There was one problem with the dress at the store: it didn’t have darts. For ladies over a C cup, darts are a good thing. Just trust me on that.
These days, I would be able to take a picture of the dress with my phone. Then we would have been able to take it to the fabric store and compare it to the dresses in the pattern books. Back then, all I had was my near-photographic memory.
We didn’t end up with an exact copy of the one at Parisian, but it was still a really pretty dress. I was also lucky enough to find heels that perfectly matched the dress fabric.
For senior year, we went a little easier. Drawing inspiration from the finale dress in Dirty Dancing, my mom made a dark teal iridescent sleeveless dress for me and I did get heels dyed to match the fabric. She also made drawstring purses to go with both years’ dresses.
2. Who are you going with?
For junior year, my options were pretty limited because most of my female friends from our school were already going with most of our mutual male friends from our school. I brought a friend from our church group, but he went to our arch-rival school and was in their marching band.
His school band had a clinic that day and they were out in the sun all day. Back then, you were lucky to get water and bathroom breaks let alone time to apply sunscreen. My date’s skin was as pink as a newborn baby’s! Slow dancing was going to be a challenge.
Senior year, I asked a guy in one of my classes. I was overjoyed when he said yes. Then the next day, he came back and cancelled because he said his girlfriend did not approve.
The only reason I asked him was that I thought I heard him telling one of our friends that he and his girlfriend had broken up.
I was hurt and confused, but my best friend invited me to come with her and some girls she sat with at lunch. One of the girls was in our class and the other girl was a junior. I didn’t know them very well, but I was with my best friend and it was good. My senior year was really my only high school year that I had a best friend.
Also, I did get to dance to a slow song with a guy that night. There was one “couple” in my class that just came as friends. The girl got to dance with guys who didn’t come with a date and so did the guy.
3. How will you get there?
Junior year, my date’s older sister drove us to dinner, the dance, and then back home at the end of the night.
Senior year, our hostess (the other senior) drove all of us to the dance, to dinner, and then we had a (girls only) slumber party back at her house. We had breakfast together and then our moms came and picked us up the next day.
4. Where are you going out to eat? Are you going out to eat before the dance, after the dance, or both?
A couple of the big places in my area when you wanted to go somewhere fancy, the place to go when you wanted to be seen, were Ray’s on the River and Dante’s Down the Hatch. I’ve heard Ray’s is very good and that Dante’s was good (it’s not wherever it was anymore) My parents went to Ray’s a few times, but I never have. Ray’s is still there though, so maybe some day.
So for my junior year dinner, we went to a local restaurant called Mick’s. Mick’s was very much a Ruby Tuesday’s/T.G.I. Friday’s/Applebee’s kind of place. I had a favorite meal there: grilled pork chops with grilled carrots and green beans. Green beans are my all time favorite vegetable and carrots are a pretty close second. Another awesome thing about Mick’s was that they served fountain Coca-Cola with actual cherry syrup in it.
I don’t remember what my date got. Maybe it was some kind of chicken dish, I don’t know. I just know that I had one of my favorite meals.
Sometimes people would leave the dance early and go out to eat afterwards. This is actually what happened on the prom night of my senior year.
We had to go back to our hostess’ house when one of the girls got something on her dress at the dance. While the hostess’ mother pre-treated the other girl’s dress, we got changed into our more comfortable casual clothes and went to Applebee’s to snack on some appetizers.
5. Where is the prom? What is the venue like?
In 1994, our prom was at our big new (at the time) science museum Fernbank. There were some exhibits we got to see like a room of geodes and a giant dinosaur skeleton in the middle of the dance floor. I remember there being some drama about some kids leaning on it or trying to tip it over or something.
In 1995, the prom and our senior luncheon were both at the Cobb Galleria across from Cumberland Mall and right around where the Cobb Energy Center, Truist Park, and The Battery are located now.
6. What were the big songs everybody wanted to dance to for each year?
1994- All-4-One “I Swear” This was THE slow song of the year along with “Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb. A lot of the songs from Reality Bites were hitting just in time for our prom.
Another popular slow song was “Beautiful in my Eyes” by Joshua Kadison.
Our actual prom theme in 1994 was “These Are The Days” by 10,000 Maniacs.
In 1995 for our senior year, the Friends theme, “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts was very popular. Another song I remember hearing often that year was “I Believe” by Blessid Union of Souls.
Even though I didn’t have the Hollywood fantasy experience, I did have a lot of fun both of the years I was eligible to attend.
Did you get to go to your prom? What was your experience like? I’d love to read about it in the comments!