Provo party planner organizes classy college events

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Attendees dance at an event hosted by Lilly Events Co. Event planner Lilly Moore organizes formal parties for her college-aged peers. (Photo courtesy of Lilly Moore)

A Harvest Moon Ball, hosted by an experience design management senior this Friday, promises a regency era experience.

Lilly Moore started Lilly Events Co. in 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The company focuses on classy college parties with past themes ranging from a Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball to a Gatsby gala. 

Moore is majoring in experience design management, which combines her love of psychology, design and business. 

Lilly Moore, a BYU senior, is the owner of Lilly Events Co. The company focuses on classy college parties with past themes ranging from a Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball to a Gatsby gala. (Photo courtesy of Lilly Moore)

“It combines everything that I love about gathering people together and making the human experience better,” Moore, a native of San Diego, California, said.

Moore was introduced to the idea of event planning on her mission at the Oakland Temple Visitors’ Center, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted several large events. 

Moore’s first event after she came home from her mission was a backyard prom where attendance was capped at 50 people.

“I felt like there was something so magical about bringing people together,” Moore said. “I wanted to do it again.”

Since then, Moore said on average 300 people attend her events, but her largest event had over 600 attendees. 

Moore’s first branded event under Lilly Events Co. was a Royal Ball held at Wadley Farms in a castle on the property. 

“I wanted to make everyday life more like a movie,” Moore said, who put her life savings into organizing the event to mimic the balls in Disney movies.

Moore compared being an event planner to being a director of a theatrical performance, who sees their show unfold in front of them. She said her favorite thing was seeing something that was just a dream in her mind come to life.

For the Yule Ball, inspired by the fourth Harry Potter book and film, Moore rented live snakes, live owls and a live magician. Her goal was to make the event as immersive as possible, she said.

Attendees at a Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball hold live snakes. Event planner Lilly Moore hosted a Harry Potter-themed dance to give her guests a wizard experience. (Photo courtesy of Lilly Moore)

Continuing to pursue immersive experiences, Moore organized for a string trio and dance instructors to accompany and teach regency era dances at the Harvest Moon Ball this Friday.

The regency era theme inspired Shelby Rohn, a 2022 BYU alumna, to make her outfit for this Friday’s event. Rohn has been sewing since she was eight years old, but only started making her own clothes in the past two years.

“Not everything I make is for everyday,” Rohn said.

Rohn said she is thrilled to have opportunities to pull her fancier dresses out.

Rohn said the dress took weeks of work, but was worth it because it fits her and the regency theme perfectly.

Moore works closely with Sarah Bettinger, a pre-business junior from Mountain View, California, to plan events.

Bettinger, a self-proclaimed “orchestra nerd” in high school said she is especially excited for the live string music at Friday’s event.

Models for Lilly Events Co show off regency-appropriate wear for the Harvest Moon Ball. Event planner Lilly Moore wants her guests to immerse fully in the experience of attending a regency dance. (Photo courtesy of Lilly Moore)

Bettinger followed Lilly Events Co. on Instagram after one of her friends went to an event. She messaged Moore and offered to help organize future parties. 

“I’ve always kind of just planned stuff,” Bettinger said. 

In elementary school Bettinger designed murder mystery parties for her siblings and last year, at BYU, she organized a Sharknado-themed movie night.

Like Moore, Bellinger said she wants her events to be immersive for guests.

“We’re on the same wavelength about what our vision is,” Bettinger said.

Bettinger explained that working with Moore is nice because since Moore runs her own company, the duo is free to pursue the events they want to host.

Both Bettinger and Moore said pricing and ticket sales were the most stressful part about planning events.

Moore explained their target demographic is college students who are a very price-sensitive demographic, so when they price tickets they try to make it accessible to their peers.

“I know other people share that love of dressing up and just having a magical experience,” Moore said, so she is bringing that closer to home for them.

Bettinger emphasized that guests are not just paying for a dance, but they are paying for a whole experience.

“I think people expect something cheap from a college student, and I try to provide something that’s rich,” Moore said.

The Harvest Moon Ball is Friday, Nov. 4, 8-11 p.m.

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