Teens (and their parents) spending hundreds on prom this year

On average, families expect to spend $1,139 on prom this year -- up roughly 40% from 2011's $807 average and a slight increase from last year, according to a Visa survey.

Families in the Northeast expect to pay the most, an average of $1,528, while Midwestern families were the most frugal, at an average of $722, according to the survey of more than 1,000 parents of prom-aged teens.

With traditions like debutante balls falling out of fashion and young people getting married later in life, prom has grown in importance and people are willing to spend more on the big night, said Kit Yarrow, a consumer research psychologist.

"Prom is the new wedding," Yarrow said. "I think