“The girl I asked to a school dance is expecting a fancy, expensive date. How do I change her expectations and still make a good impression?” New Era, Nov. 2014, 48
You’re right to want to change this expectation, since, as For the Strength of Youth says, you should “plan dating activities that are … inexpensive” (, 4). In addition, according to Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “As dates become … more elaborate, this seems to create an expectation that a date implies seriousness or continuing commitment” (“Dating versus Hanging Out,” Ensign, June 2006, 12–13). And as a teenager, a serious, committed relationship shouldn’t be what you’re looking for. It’s all about having fun and getting to know each other—simple goals that are not necessarily best served by an elaborate or expensive production.
So, how do you work against expectations but still make a good impression? (1) You could discuss your group’s general plans with your date and ask for her input. (2) As you talk about your plans, be enthusiastic about them, particularly about the time you’ll spend getting to know each other and having fun together in the group. (3) Show respect and courtesy to your date before and during the date (and afterward, too, of course) so that she knows how she’ll be treated when she’s with you and your group and will look forward to that feeling rather than just the dress, food, photos, flower, and whatever other outward trappings she might expect.
None of this is to say that you can’t make it a special and memorable experience, but keeping it simple is wiser, safer, and ultimately more fun. For some ideas for inexpensive dates, visit lds.org/go/datesNE11.