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A mom transformed a Philadelphia parking lot into Cinderella's castle, giving her daughter the most extravagant prom celebration of the year

Amanda Krause   

A mom transformed a Philadelphia parking lot into Cinderella's castle, giving her daughter the most extravagant prom celebration of the year
  • Treva Harris hosted a "Cinderella"-themed prom send-off party for her 17-year-old daughter Azar.
  • The extravagant event featured a reflective stage, 20-foot trees, and over 150 guests.

Azar Harris didn't just celebrate prom. She got the royal treatment.

The 17-year-old from Philadelphia kicked off her senior prom night with a send-off party fit for a princess.

Her closest friends and family — at least 150, to be exact — were invited to a parking lot on Lancaster Avenue that had been transformed into a royal hall on May 24.

Lush carpet covered the floor, 20-foot trees with blue leaves stood in corners, and a reflective stage led to a replica of Cinderella's castle, where Azar emerged in a golden ball gown.

But the event wasn't the work of a fairy godmother. It was Treva Harris, Azar's mother, who hosted the prom party of the year.

"I'm kind of in awe about how much attention this has gotten," Treva told Business Insider. "It was just a little idea of mine that turned into this beautiful event."

There's no party like a prom

Prom has long been a part of American culture. But Gen Z has placed a new level of importance on the tradition, and in some ways, reinvented it, as Teen Vogue reported.

Young people are now documenting their prom experiences online, showing themselves choosing their gowns, getting ready the day of, and revealing their outfits to their peers.

In Philadelphia specifically, as Treva noted to BI, prom send-offs — or parties hosted before the actual event for families and friends to celebrate with their teens — are extremely popular.

And the bigger, the better. It's not uncommon to see students posing next to jets, helicopters, and luxury cars before their proms, she said.

But Treva and Azar wanted to stand out.

"When I got married in 2011, I had a 'Cinderella'-themed wedding, and Azar was my fairy godmother," Treva said. "For whatever reason, that came to my mind, and I was like, 'You know what? We could make this special.' So, we took that idea and built a theme around it."

Treva began preparations in February and sent guests keepsake invitations made from crystal-like acrylic.

"In my mind, I didn't think it was going to end up being so extravagant," Treva said of her party. "So I really didn't start too early on."

She also hired a variety of vendors, including Khadidra Muhammad's Priceless Event Planning.

"I knew it was going to be good, but I didn't know it was going to be that good," Muhammad told BI about her team's work, which started with a simple sketch.

But the bulk of the work happened last minute. Treva told BI that she didn't sleep the night before her daughter's prom and was on-site to help Muhammad's team begin setting up at 5 a.m. on Friday.

And it wasn't all smooth sailing.

"I ordered carpet a month and a half before. I thought it was baby blue," Treva told BI. "But the day it got delivered, the day of the prom, it ended up being teal. I could have cried."

Luckily, Treva found a vendor who delivered a white carpet that matched the space just hours before the party began.

And just like magic, the event came together in stunning fashion.

While Azar knew some details of her prom send-off — like its "Cinderella" theme — she didn't fully know the lengths her mother had gone to.

"I was overjoyed. I was elated," Treva said of the final event. "And the best part is that Azar didn't know what she was walking out to. I didn't want her to be nervous or overwhelmed."

"She knew that we decorated. She knew that she was putting on her dress and people were coming to see, but she had no idea what the decor looked like. She had no idea of the flowers, the trees. She knew nothing," she added.

Treva declined to share the cost of Azar's pre-prom party but noted that it "definitely cost more than you would spend on an average prom."

Prom send-offs mean big business

Muhammad, who typically works with celebrities, athletes, and influencers for events, said she had never heard of prom send-offs until Treva reached out to her in 2023 to work on a similar event for her son.

But now, after videos of Azar's celebration went viral online, business is booming with national inquiries.

"We have requests for prom send-offs up to 2028, and I'm like, 'You guys don't even know what date the prom is yet!'" Muhammad told BI with a laugh. "I had to make a post saying that we're not accepting any send-off requests until January the year of the prom."

Even Treva has been approached by people who want help planning send-offs for their kids.

But her goal was never to enter the party-planning business. She simply wants to make her children happy.

"There's a lot of tragedy in the world today, so I just want to put extra smiles on faces, especially for my children," Treva said. "Once they grow up, I have no more control over their happiness. So while I have a little control right now, I just do the best that I can."