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Nails, gowns and limos: Meet the supporting cast putting the sparkle into school proms

Beauty therapists, prom dress specialists and chaffeurs help make the night special for those leaving primary and high school.

Star Bridal Boutique owner Jackie Effron with a red prom dress.
Finding THE prom dress at Star Bridal Boutique with Jackie Heffron. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Jackie Heffron knows the moment a girl has found her dream prom dress.

“We know by the reaction in their face it’s the one for them,” she said.

Girls come with their mums to her shop in Markinch, Fife, shy and quiet, trying on a few gowns until a smile spreads across their face as they look in the mirror.

It’s not always like that, though. Jackie said: “One girl was excited in every dress she tried on. We had no idea which one she would go for!”

Star Bridal Boutique is among a raft of businesses specialising in getting teenagers ready for school proms.

Jackie Heffron (left) and business partner Wendy Hutt specialise in helping girls find their prom dress from their large range. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson

The annual dances begin this week and allow leavers to celebrate the end of their school days before starting the next chapter of their lives.

But from as early as November Star Bridal Boutique has youngsters coming in looking for the perfect prom dress.

Finding the perfect prom dress

Jackie and co-owner Wendy Hutt give their young customers the same dedicated attention they do their brides, advising on what will suit their hair colour or skin tone, then altering the gown they choose so it fits to perfection.

Jackie and Wendy advise on the styles and colours which will suit their young customers. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

They even held a prom fair for the first time in January in a nearby hotel, with a catwalk to show off their collection, and it was a real success.

Jackie said: “We will do it again next year but we’ll get a bigger room next time!”

She loves helping girls find the dress of their dreams from their samples in store.

“It’s quite exciting, you get a wee buzz out of it,” she said.

Sarah Campbell said ‘yes’ to the prom dress at Star Bridal Boutique. Image: Star Bridal Boutique.

“We can’t wait to see them in their dress when it comes in. When they are trying it on the first time it might be two sizes too big and in the wrong colour.

“It’s even more exciting when the alterations are done and they come back in with their shoes to try it on for the final time.”

Each prom dress can be altered to the perfect fit. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Jackie worked in Star Bridal Boutique for three years before taking it over six years ago, and said school proms have long been a big deal.

But she said: “It is becoming more of a thing, the girls are tending to go more out.

“Down south they’ve been big on prom for quite a long time and here we’re maybe experiencing now what they have had.

Madison Hunter at her final prom dress fitting. Image: Star Bridal Boutique.

“It’s definitely more Americanised than it was before – but maybe not quite as far as that!”

Even though the 2023 season is not yet over for them, Jackie and Wendy are already planning for 2024, visiting their supplier Angel Forever, in London.

“We’re going down in July to choose our dresses for next year,” Jackie said. “We’re just getting prom out of the way and we’re already thinking about next year!”

Make-up artists finish the look

Ensuring girls look camera-ready in their carefully chosen prom dress are hair stylists and beauty therapists like Emma Whitton.

Emma working on a client in her Nu You salon. Image: Paul Reid.

Emma, owner of the Nu You salon in Arbroath, loves seeing girls made-up and ready for their big night.

Her services have become so popular among schoolgirls she offers prom packages including hair, make-up and nails.

Her young clients are usually S6 leavers but last year quite a few P7s went in for a touch of make-up or hair curls.

One of last year’s young clients, Millie Williams, ready for Hayshead Primary School prom disco. Image: Nu You, Arbroath.

Emma said: “It’s a great atmosphere when they come in.

“We have the music on and everyone here is friendly and good with the young ones.

“Some of them come in with their mums and some of them come with their friends. We’ve had groups of three.

“We make sure there’s no one in having a massage at the same time, as it can get quite noisy!”

Bella Robb had her make-up done for Arbroath High School 2022 leavers prom. Image: Nu You, Arbroath.

Seeing their delight with their finished look for their special night is rewarding for Emma and her staff.

She said: “It feels amazing for us. It’s probably the reason I started doing it [prom packages].

Emma loves seeing her young clients glammed up and ready for their big night. Image: Paul Reid.

“They feel a million dollars when they walk out the door and we always get messages from their mums after saying it made them feel really special.”

Limo hire makes a grand entrance

When you’ve made all this effort to get ready, arriving in style is just as important.

And Paul Gibb has just the ticket for a grand entrance – a Hummer limo.

Paul’s stretch Hummer provides a grand entrance. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

He has been running Gibbs Limo Hire and Wedding Cars, from Crossgates, Fife, for two years and is busy throughout June with prom bookings.

His service is particularly popular for P7 leavers, with parents booking months in advance to treat their children and their friends before they make the move to secondary school.

Paul Gibb ready to be prom chaffeur. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Kids love the American look when he pulls up in his black, shiny Hummer H3, says Paul. Then they step inside and are thrilled by its luxury fittings, including colour-changing lights and a bar.

Young passengers are treated to fizz – non-alcoholic, of course. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

“They are usually really excited,” Paul said. “We have the music on in the back and we give them some Shloer.”

Paul also has a party bus which is popular for proms and says sometimes up to eight limos from various companies will turn up with groups of kids for one event.

Party bus and two smaller pictures showing interior.
Paul’s party bus: Image: Gibbs Limo Hire & Wedding Cars.

“There are photographers there and the girls are in their big prom dresses.

“The parents are just as excited as the kids!”

Don’t miss our prom picture galleries throughout June, as our photographers join secondary school leaver balls across Courier Country.