With COVID dashing party plans again, some parents pay for private proms

Prom 2020 was awash.

But this year, some schools and parents have found a way to bring the high school tradition back.

Mia Andrews, 18, is about to graduate from Lincoln High School in San Jose.

Her mother, Kat, recently reached out to her daughter's school to ask about any prom plans.

 "They were, unfortunately, unable to hold prom this year because of COVID and all the restrictions, but that didn't start us from trying to do it," she said. 

 Now she and other parents are planning a parent-organized, private prom for Lincoln High's class of 2021.

 "A lot of us felt they should get one big milestone to make it feel like a normal senior experience," she said. 

 When Notre Dame High School in San Jose held its prom on May 15, students were not allowed to bring dates and had to wear masks.

But they still managed to dress up and dance outdoors at San Jose's History Park.

It's not normal, but just another example of how prom is returning.

 "We're saving proms!" exclaimed Christa Mekki, who works at Epic Venues, which overseas two event spaces in San Jose including the Corinthian Grand Ballroom downtown. "We are seeing a lot of inquiries for parents actually hosting proms this year, so the schools have given kind of a hands-off approach due to the COVID restrictions." 

 At Trudy's Brides in Campbell's Pruneyard Shopping Center, Didi Stout says prom dress shopping just started making a small resurgence last month when students from more rural areas such as Hollister and Salinas started coming in.

But she added they are nowhere near as busy as they usually are at prom season.

 "This is not even remotely as busy as we normally would be, but it's nice to see things kicking off again," said Stout.

 As for senior Mia Andrews, the length on her dark green prom dress is too long.

 She plans to have the dress hemmed and use the extra material to make a matching mask.

 "This prom means a lot because it's kind of like the one thing we're getting, at least towards the end. We didn't get homecoming, we didn't get football games, we didn't get any of the senior treats," said Mia Andrews.

 Thanks to her mom and other parents, she now has a treat to look forward to on June 3.

Parents had to hire security and secure liability insurance.

To attend the prom, students will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or that they are fully vaccinated.