For many adults, the mere mention of prom brings back memories of sub-par dates, awkwardness and cheesy photos you happen upon years later, only to wonder what in the world you were thinking when you chose to wear that outfit.
But as always, the junior-senior high-school staple is huge for the attendees.
And evidenced by the trend of escalating creative and romantic invites, prom's build-up alone is an experience they're not likely to forget.
High school guys are taking everything into account, the mood, the setting, the surprise factor.
Mooresville resident Dorian Albritton, a Davidson Day basketball player, knew girlfriend Brianna Wills would be his date for the prom. Still, he wanted to make the occasion special for Brianna, who is a star forward on the school's soccer team.
"He asked if he could use the microphone during starting lineups a couple of weeks ago and said, 'Brianna, I would like to ask you to the prom. Would you accept?'" said school spokesman John Tobias.
Tobias said the crowd and Brianna's teammates started cheering for the couple, and Brianna said "Yes."
"To do that in front of a crowd that size, in front of both teams - that's something I haven't really seen before from a prom standpoint," said Tobias.
Katherine Kennedy, a junior at Hough High School in Cornelius, said she's known plenty of students at her school who asked their prom dates out in a special way.
One Hough student asked his date to Hough's April 30 prom by spelling, "Prom?" out with tennis balls in the student parking lot, Kennedy said.
Another Hough student asked his girlfriend to prom using a scavenger hunt.
This year's prom will likely be a special memory for Kennedy as well.
When school resource Officer Daniel Waltman told Kennedy to come to his office because of a reckless driving complaint, the last thing she expected was a prom invitation from her boyfriend, Jared Sobo, also a junior at Hough.
Waltman "was going to give me a ticket. Then on the report, Jared wrote, 'Will you go to prom with me?'" said Kennedy.
"It was funny, only I was almost in tears."
John Bureau, a Providence High School student, was hosting a charity concert in his backyard.
He had all the trappings - the stage, the large stereo system and local bands and artists playing for a crowd of nearly 300.
Nevertheless, Bureau was nervous. He'd painstakingly formed the letters to his question with dozens of white Christmas lights, strung along the backside of his house.
He'd covered the lights with four sheets, jimmy-rigged together up on the wall.
At the end of a song, John took a microphone. "I just want to make a shout-out to my girlfriend, Sydney Williams," he said.
Then he asked her to turn around and look at the back of his house, just as his friend pulled the sheets to the ground.
The glowing letters and question mark stared back at her.
Sydney walked on the stage and whispered in John's ear.
It got quiet, as the crowd waited in anticipation.
John yelled into the microphone: "She said 'Yes!'"
The crowd erupted in cheers and camera flashes started going off - each one capturing that four-letter word gleaming in the darkness: "PROM?"
Staff Writer Elisabeth Arriero contributed.