Prom Talk: Jenny from Madame Tussauds
What do you get when you mix interactive wax figures, a red carpet, and a gorgeous rooftop dining space? One dynamite prom venue! We had a chance to talk to Jenny Dempsey, Events Manager at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood, a wax figure attraction that frequently hosts proms. Jenny gave us the 411 on all things prom, from what to expect, what’s different, and what make proms a special event in their own right.
Tell me a little about your venue. What makes your venue unique and such a successful location for proms?
We are an interactive wax attraction. We also have a 6000 square foot rooftop space where the dancing and dinner is held. After dinner, the kids are allowed to go inside and see the attraction, see the wax figures. There’s no barriers, you can get right up close and personal.
What are the most common trends or themes you see in prom planning at your venue?
What I’ve noticed is that here at the attraction, the theme is often Hollywood or movie stars. They’ll think of their theme after they’ve chosen their venue. One time we had a theme of “Dancing with the Stars.” We put a red carpet downstairs in the front with a Madame Tussauds step and repeat, which is a backdrop for taking a photo, so when they’re walking they totally feel like they’re walking the red carpet. What’s cool is that they get the outside, California rooftop experience and then they go inside and get the celebrity experience.
What are some pieces of advice or insights you can share with other venues who may be hesitant to book proms at their venue?
I would say try to find an event company that specializes in proms or dances because they can basically be your middle man. They just focus on high schools, like for grad nights and proms. It’s consistent business, it’s a season. You’ll have April and May booked for Saturdays. And they usually book about two years in advance.
How many proms have you booked this year?
Seven this season.
What are some of the challenges you run into with prom events?
I think the challenge is that if you’re working with the schools, every school is a bit different with rules and regulations. Some schools will do Breathalyzer tests, some won’t, some are bussed in. It’s on lock down too, so we have all the fire escapes staffed. There’s definitely a lot more protection because you’re dealing with minors. You’re just more aware of making them safe, making sure everything around them is safe. There’s definitely a lot more responsibility in that sense.
What makes proms stand out from other events?
Everyone always remembers their prom, whether it’s good or bad. They always have photos, so I think what stands out for us as a venue is that we are apart of that memory for them.
What is the most memorable prom you’ve ever hosted?
A couple years ago we teamed with No Worries Now, a nonprofit organization that gives disadvantaged kids who are hospitalized a chance to go to prom. Different companies donate limos or dresses, or to do their hair. We donated the venue space. Just to see that, for a few hours a day, they could forget all their problems and have a good time, dancing and laughing. That was really special.
Thanks for your special insight into proms, Jenny! We hope other venues are encouraged to host proms at their event space in the future. Have you hosted a prom or have advice about hosting proms? Leave a comment below, or on Facebook or Twitter.