LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The limos, big hair, ball gowns and boys in formal outfits of U.S.-style high school proms have now become a widespread rite of passage for British teens, according to a survey.
The prom is now deemed more significant for kids finishing school than other milestones such as exam results day.
The survey, for soft drinks maker Vimto, also showed that on average prom-goers spend over 450 pounds ($650) on the big occasion and plan months in advance.
The trend has become so entrenched in Britain that even the Style magazine of the Sunday Times newspaper has carried prom dress and accessory tips alongside those for social season musts like Wimbledon tennis and Ascot horse races.
Boys spend an average of 42 pounds on a corsage or bouquet for their date, according to Vimto. When asked about perfect prom dates, Twilight's Taylor Lautner topped the girls' charts with singer Cheryl Cole doing it for the boys.
Victoria Ward, one of Britain's leading commentators on high school proms and founder of www.promroyalty.com said the popularity of proms had soared over the last few years and that it was not hard to see why.
"Prom night gives prom-goers an opportunity to experience the celebrity life we all dream about -- fabulous clothes, professional hair and make-up and a red carpet entrance," she said in a statement.
Vimto has launched www.cherryprom.co.uk website with style tips, competitions, cocktails and more.
"When we commissioned the research, we knew proms were becoming a big deal for teenagers, but for them to be named the single most important event of the school year shows prom fever has well and truly arrived in the UK," Cherry Vimto brand manager Emma Hunt said in the statement.
The survey questioned over 500 students between 16 and 18.