I'm Destinee and this is where I share my life, my work, and my heart. As a multi-passionate creative, you'll find a little bit of everything I love here: my photography, my writing, and my advocacy for mental health and social justice. I may not be for everyone, but I hope that you'll feel welcomed, encouraged, and inspired from this online space. 


welcome to

the blog








May 14, 2020

How to Plan a DIY Prom

How to Plan a DIY Prom in the Midst of a Pandemic by Destinee Stark // Akron, Ohio Senior Portrait Photographer

How to Plan a DIY Prom in the midst of a Pandemic

At the end of 2019, everybody was hyped for 2020. It was the turn of a new decade, and it was supposed to be lit. Many of the major holidays fell on the weekends. We were all looking forward to spring and summer events within our community. And then coronavirus happened, and most of those events were cancelled for the rest of the year. While I am (of course) super bummed about that, my heart is really with the graduating high school seniors that won’t get to experience prom. I remember how big of a deal prom was, so I thought of some ideas how to plan your own DIY Prom at home. (Social distancing included)

Disclaimer: If you are a high school senior reading this, make sure to talk with your parents about this before making any plans. No one likes surprise guests, especially during a pandemic.

The first thing you’ll want to do is choose a date. Preferably choose a Friday or Saturday night. But, if you want to get hyped on a Tuesday – I won’t judge ya! Then you’ll want to reach out to 6-8 friends to have over on the date you chose. At the time of publishing this post, the social distancing recommendations are to limit gatherings to 10 people.

Not a Dress Rehearsal, it’s the Real thing.

If you’ve already purchased your prom dress, wear it. You may have dresses from previous formals, so wear that. If you can have a dress swap with friends, do that! The most fun thing about prom is getting all dressed up anyway! There are a ton of hair (here’s one for naturally curly hair) and makeup tutorials on Youtube as well, so have fun with it! Don’t neglect the nails either! If nail salons are still closed, try some press-on nails just for the evening. I’ve never personally used them, but have heard really good things about this brand.

Another thing that can make it feel more like a real prom, is to consider having a local florist create a corsage to match your dress or try making your own. Here’s another tutorial for one with an elastic wristband. It’s all in the details!

Make it Insta-worthy.

Plan to have your friends over about an hour before dinner to take photos together. Or have me come over to take some for you! We could even meet up at a nearby location if you’d prefer.

Another option would be to book a splurge-worthy photo booth. They even have ones that create really cool videos! That can get pricey quick though, so you could create your own using an iPhone, tripod, and the timer option. This works great for making boomerangs and TikToks, too! Here’s another backdrop tutorial. Don’t forget the props!

If there is food, they will come.

For a DIY prom, you can play this a couple of ways. If your parents are up to it, they could create their own special dishes. I recommend having some snacks or appetizers out to start, followed by a plated or buffet meal. If cooking isn’t their cup of tea, they could order takeout. If you’ve never had Chipotle catered, 10/10 recommend! There is nothing better than making your own Chipotle bowl with as many toppings as you want. Something fun you could plan for after-prom is hiring a food truck for a late night snack. Swensons, anyone?

It’s all in the Playlist.

Create or pick a dance party playlist on Amazon Music, Spotify, or Pandora. If you don’t subscribe to their premium services, consider doing that for just a month to avoid random commercials. Grab some sound-activated lighting for the basement, and dance the night away with your friends! The best part – no more waiting in line to request a song at the DJ booth.


Change into comfy clothes, gather around a bonfire, and make s’mores for the perfect ending to a fun night! Or gather around the kitchen table and play some games with friends. Some games I recommend are What Do You Meme? Family Edition and Heads Up! Whatever you do, cherish this time with your friends. This summer, you’ll all go your separate ways and will miss spending time with your closest friends.

Not the same, but it’s something.

I know a DIY prom won’t completely replace a traditional prom experience. Honestly, it may not come anywhere near a real prom, but it’s something you will remember forever. If you’re really feeling up to keeping your class together, consider hosting an adult prom at your 5 or 10 year high school reunion! How fun would that be?

Even if you aren’t up for hosting a DIY Prom at all, but still would love to have some photos taken in your dress, contact me. I would love the opportunity to work with you and create some memories of this crazy time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *