The dress, shoes, makeup, hair, nails, fake tan, purse, accessories, ticket … for many young people the school ball is the event of the year.
But the expectations are high and the costs add up.
This is why Birthright Kāpiti's opshop has decided to use a special donation to help students make the event more affordable.
"We were given an amazing selection of dresses and shoes by one person, and they inspired us to start a collection," said Birthright Kāpiti manager Amanda Nevin.
"It was boxes and boxes of amazing, fabulous, dresses and shoes."
Louise Isaacs, who works at Birthright Kāpiti, said: "Normally we would price stuff and it would go straight into the shop but we kind of felt like we needed to make a bit more of this special donation.
"It needed to be used in a more respectful way. The kindness from that one person has sparked us to do this."
Amanda said: "It's grown from there and now we've got over 100 dresses, at least 60 pairs of shoes and are hoping more will come in before the event."
The event is a free ball dress hire evening for Paraparaumu College and Kāpiti College students on March 11 from 5-8pm.
Students can come to Birthright, try on dresses, shoes and accessories and hire them free of charge to use for their school ball.
"It takes time to get a dress and we know how expensive it is especially when you add on all the hair, nails, accessories and so on."
All the dresses are unique and there are a range of sizes.
Louise said: "We want people to come with their friends and have some fun coming to try them on, feel fab, and start feeling excited about the ball.
"Even though we're an opshop, a lot of girls shop here and we know there's such a wide selection of what people want to wear that we think there will be lots of dresses to choose from."
Eventually Birthright wants to hold the event each year with suits for the young men, but with this being the first year for the event, they are starting small.
All Year 12 and 13 students from Paraparaumu College and Kāpiti College are welcome on Thursday, March 4 from 5-8pm, 110 Rimu Rd, Paraparaumu. Nibbles will be provided.
Dress and shoes donations are welcomed.
For more information contact Amanda at email@example.com.