Thoughts of a weekend Princess

  • Outside the Box Party Ideas for Kids

    For those of you who have children that don't follow the conventional path of being in love with Princesses and Superheros, you might feel there are limited options for what you can do at a birthday party.  Here are some ideas for hosting a fun kids party for both girls and boys.

    Magic Potions Parties:  What child doesn't love the idea of magic, especially when they get to make their own.  Participants make 2 different magic potions including "Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble" and "Magic Slime" that each child can customize in color and magical properties.  All materials can be bought at your local grocery store, or better yet, hire a company like Parties Unique who will send a professional entertainer and bring all the supplies with them.  How fun would it be to have Maleficent Evil Queen or even an old potions master come and teach your children how to make a magic potion!

     

    Mini Scientist Parties:   In addition to the two science based activities mentioned in the Magic Potion party above you could also teach your kids how to extract DNA from a strawberry and keep it in a test tube to take home.  Again, all of the materials can be easily purchased from your local grocery store.  Invite a Cooky Scientist to conduct the experiements for you to ramp up the fun even further.

    Dance Parties: With music so engrained in our pop culture a dance party is always a hit.   There are several themes you can go with including Pop Star Diva, Disco Diva, Luau themed with some Hawaian dancing and even ballet.  Add to the dance them by having the kids dress up with beads, feather boas and play your favorite music games such as musical chairs and freeze dancing.  

     

    What was your most memorable party growing up?  Have you been to any fun an original parties recently? Have any suggestions for new party packages we can offer?  We'd love to hear from you!

    Send us a note at partiesunique@gmail.com or click on our fb button below.

  • How to Hire a Princess Performer for Your Party

    After performing at hundreds of princess parties over the years I have some insight as to what makes a memorable party for both kids and parents.  There are things that make a difference, and things that you don't need to worry about spending time on and I'm going to share with you my secrets.  

    1.)  Hire the Right Princess! With all of the princess companies around with varying levels of quality it might be scary to consider relying on someone else to provide entertainment but it is worth it as a good entertainer will keep the kids completely occupied during their visit allowing for parent to have time to relax and socialize.  Here are some tips when looking for a reputable company.  

    • Look for reviews on Yelp or other trusted websites.  Alternatively, you can get a referral from a friend or another parent at daycare.  
    • Review the performer bios on the company website.  It's important for the performers to not just look the part but to have experience working with kids.  You don't want just a pretty face showing up.  You want someone who can run the show.
    • Look for pictures of the costumes on the website to ensure that the princess will look authentic.  Ask whether the costumes pictured on the website are the ones that you can expect the performer to be wearing when she arrives.  Many new party companies will "borrow" photos from other sites and pass them off as their own.  
    • Keep in mind customer service when you are looking for a company to work with.  This may seem obvious but a company who can not get back to you timely or answer your questions curteously should not deserve your business.  This is your child's special day and you want to make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed with a smile.  

    2.)  Don't forget to Capture the Day!  Hiring a princes performer from a reputable company could be more magical than your daughter even meeting a princess at Disneyland as she will be getting quality time with the performer in a much more intimate setting.  

    • Make sure to appoint someone else to take pictures and/or video for you.  As a parent you will want to watch all of the special moments as they unfold and won't want to bother with taking pictures.  Having someone else in charge of photography will allow you to cherish every second. 
    • Many companies also offer a photographer as an addition when you book a princess.  The cost for this is usually cheaper than hiring your own professional photographer and the quality of pictures you can expect will be much nicer than a family friend.

    3.)  Choosing a Venue: Here is a list of the most popular venues for having a princess party and the pros and cons to each.

    At your Home: 

    • Pros: Your home will provide an intimate setting for your guests and the princess.  All of the focus will be on her and the entertainment she provides.  A truely special experience.  Many families choose to do their parties in their backyard which off the same intimate appeal.  Also, parking is usually easy to find.
    • Cons:  You have to clean your house before inviting guest over and again after they leave.

    At a Park:

    • Pros: If you can find a park with a gazebo or other picnic space there is much less set up required than at your home.  There are often playgrounds nearby or other activities to keep the kids engaged before and after the princesses arrive.   There is minimal clean up required after your guests leave.
    • Cons:  Weather can be unpredictable at times and may cause your guests discomfort if it is too warm or too cool.  It's also harder to control the group of kids in an organized fashion.  Additionally, if the park is crowded the princess may attract attention from other park goers who want to come listen or join in the activities.   Parking can also be more challenging depending on your venue.

    At a Secondary Venue:  Examples are Kids dance studios, Gymborees, Play Centers, Chuck-ee Cheese and other venues

    • Pros:  Typically the set up and clean up for the party is done for you.  The venue may also offer onsite food or other entertainment that the kids can partake in before or after the princess visit.  
    • Cons:  Some venues may not allow outside business to entertain at their facility or require insurance which not all party companies carry.  There is also an additional cost associated with booking this sort of venue.
  • Sacrifices We Make for Happy Customers

    Over the course of the last week I have learned of two other princess party companies along with myself who have bent over backward to ensure their customers are happy.  I will share the instances that I know of because they really do show how committed business owners can be to making sure they provide the best service possible.

    The situation I found myself in this past weekend was pretty much my worst nightmare...the possiblity that I would have to cancel the day of a party and that a poor little girl would not get to meet her favorite princess for her birthday as she had been dreaming of.  I had been doing landscaping work all morning long at my home with my fiance and we had come in to get lunch.  I checked my phone and saw that I had a text from one of my girls who was doing a party that day saying that her car had broken down and she didn't know if it would be fixed in time before her party that day at 2pm.  We immediately started a convesation to try an brainstorm what to do if her car wasn't going to done.  How about renting a car....nope, she wasn't 25 yet.  Taxi....nope, it would cost $183 one way!!!  Car service was also over $300.  Although the party was a 2hr long party we were only making $199 from it so neither of those options were very viable.  I didn't want her to have to pay out of pocket.  She started going to all of her neighbors and calling all of her friends to see if anyone would take her to the party or let her borrow their car.  Finally found a neighbor that we bribed to drive her for $100.  (The party was about 60 miles away).  Just when I thought we had everything figured out and I had called the mom to let her know that her princess was still coming but would be a few minutes late do I get another message saying that my girl has locked herself out of her apartment and can't get to the costume.....what to do!!!  I decided that I would just need to show up at the party as another character because now the princess would be more than a little late.   I immediately threw on some make up over my dirty sweaty face...I'm pretty sure I had dirt all over my arms and legs but luckily the costume covered them. I just hope I didn't smell.  Jumped in my car and drove to the party.  The original princess made it about 1 hr late but so I handed the kids off to her when I arrived.  The parents were so grateful for us figuring out a solution for them and I even handed out every single business card I had on me.  So what could have turned into one disappointed girl and upset parents turned into a wonderful experience for the family and will hopefully get the company more business but WHOA!  The stress of it all is enough to make you lose 5 lbs.  Luckily these sorts of things are few and far between.

    The second amazing effort for customer service was not by my company but by a friend who owns a company in Utah.  She messaged me late one night in desperate need of a costume for a party that was in 2 days because she had loaned hers out and it had come back damaged.  I offered to mail mine to her but to overnight it was going to cost close to $100 so she decided to drive 5 hrs to pick one up from another party company so that she wouldn't have to cancel the party.  Now that is dedication!!!  

    If our customers only knew the lengths and hurdles we go through to make the arrival of their princesses seem effortless, fun and joyful for all.  I'm reminded of the analogy of ducks swimming on the water....everything above water is peaceful and underneath those guys are kicking and paddling their hearts out to stay afloat.  

  • Princess Friends Far and Near

    Over the course of doing business you always like to key an eye on your competitors to see what they are doing, offering, and how they price themselves.  For me this has always been a covert act done in secrecy for fear of being found out, even thought I'm sure any other business would do the same to me.  I recently came across a group on facebook who's members are all party business owners from around the globe all coming together to SHARE!  I am amazed at the support that everyone gives eachother, even giving out the secrets of how they conduct business to people just starting out in the business.  Over the last several months I have learned a lot about the true "Princess" spirit from all of my new friends.  For the holidays we wanted to share our passion for our business by making short videos for eachother.  I thought I would share the one I made with all of you.  This is by no means professional as I shot it with my phone in the hall of my house.  Hope you enjoy!

  • The Perfect Party Game

    Over the course of the last 7 years doing parties for kids I am surprised to announce that the all time favorite game by kids ranging ages 3-10 years old is limbo!  Not sure if it's the challenge of making it under the rope, or the music or the fact that all of the kids get to play together yet be individuals but they could play it for an hour if I let them.  

    All you need to play a game of limbo is a jump rope.  I often ask for one of the kids to be my helper and hold the other end which they are always enthusiastic to do.  I let the kids continue playing even if they hit the rope and there really aren't any rules like there are in "grown up" limbo.  They just keep going under as the rope gets closer and closer to the ground.  Kids get very creative trying to get under it, some doing the crab walk, other the army crawl, but they never give up.  

    Next time you want to kill some time with a group of kids, break out the jump rope, turn on some tunes and let them have at it!

  • The Unforgettable Prom

    Last night, March 30th, myself and 5 of my fellow staff members were invited to help celebrate with the kids supported by the Friend's of Scott Foundation, at their "Unforgettable Prom."  When I was first asked by the volunteer coordinator if Partie's Unique would we willing to donate their time and costumes for this event, I was very interested in participating due to my family's personal history with cancer.  Three of my four grandparents have died from the disease and I just can't imagine what challenges a family faces when it's their child that is affected by the disease.  I was going to offer this organization whatever I could to help make the night magical fo the kids attending this event.  

    I was able to recruit 2 guys and 3 additional girls as well as myself to attend the prom dressed up as Princes and Princesses to greet the kids as they arrive and to take photos with during the dance.  The event was held at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park and when we arrived it was truely magical.  There was a red carpet out front with video cameras, photographers and celebrities to greet the kids as they arrived to the dance.  The inside of the museum was transformed into a fairytale theme complete with castle towers, carriage and wishing well for the kids to throw rocks into with their wishes.  In the center of the area was the dance floor and white tables with twinkle lights all over.  I know if this had been my prom I would have been thrilled to have such a memorable experience.  

    When the kids started to arrive we helped to greet them and welcome them to the dance.  They were interviewed on the red carpet and given corsages.  Once inside at the dance there was food, a DJ, photographers and everything you could think of to help them make the most of their prom.  It was such a neat experience to be able to help create the atmosphere of fantasy at this event with our characters.  The DJ lead the kids in several dance battles and I was completely floored when this petite asian girl got on stage to battle it out doing hip hop dancing.  She was in a light blue formal dress but when the music started she got completely serious and was full on crumping!  It was unreal!  

    My favorite part of the night was when they announced the prince and princesses, and the king and queen of the prom.  The one boy who was selected as prince rolled out in a wheelchair with the largest smile on his face.  All of the princesses were equally thrilled to be standing in front of the crowd while getting their sashes placed on them.  Then the king was announced and it was a young man in a pink vest who, although very slight in frame, walked with great pride and confidence.  Then the queen was announced and at first she didn't appear for a few seconds, but then she came from the back of the room, holding up her gown, barefooted after ditching her shoes to dance earlier in the night, with a smile ear to ear.   She had asked the DJ for special request earlier in the night and he granted it as she was crowned.  Then the Taylor Swift song Love Story started and this girl started singing with the DJ headset on.  The entire dance floor was cleared and she took the opporunity to take the stage and sing along to the song as well as dance about on the floor.  I imagine she must have done this at least dozen times in her room at home and it was so neat to see her get to do it in front of people.  To think that some of these kids may not get more opportunities in their life and they have to seize everyone they get, really makes you thankful to experience a night like this.  Then halfway through the song she grabbed the boy who was just crowned king and brought him in the middle of the dance floor with her.  It was hard to hold back my emotion seeing these two teenagers battling a life threatening disease singing and dancing in the middle of a room full of people.  What courage they have.  

    It was an amazing night, an amazing cause, and amazing kids!  So glad we were invited to be a part of it.

  • Families big and small

    One thing that I still can not predict after years of doing princess parties is what the family and crowd will be like when I arrive at a party.  You can some times guess based on their last name as to their ethnic heritage and this can be some what leading at times but many times it is a surprise

    This weekend was no exception.  

    First was what I would call, your typical party crowd.  Immediate family and close friends and the classmates and neighbors of the birthday girl in attendance.  You arrive and you are the center of attention, captivating the children from the time you arrive until you leave.  Their complete entertainment.  These parties are fun and usually not too challenging as the kids are well behaved in the presence of you, their celebrity guest.  The parents are always grateful and appreciative that they have an hour without responsibility while you entertain the kids and are often impressed with the multiple talents that us princesses must possess to keep the children engaged for this time.  You give the children a hug before you leave and all and all the party is enjoyed by both myself and my guests.

    Another type of party which I would call the "family party", often times occurs at large family gatherings of Philipino or Mexican homes.  These families are so happy to have you their to share in their celebration.  The whole family likes to be a part of the party, not just the kids.  Often times the cousins, aunts, uncles, grand parents and other members of the extended family want to get their faces painted take photos and play along.  The party is not just for the birthday girl, although she is usually the center of attention but for the whole family to get together, socialize and eat.  The best part about these parties is that I can't ever seem to get out the door without a giant plate of food to take home and eat after I change out of costume.  

    Once in a blue moon, you get the ridiculous, completely over the top parties.  These kids will be the future stars of "My Super Sweet Sixteen" I'm sure of it.  There was just a party last weekend where a 3 year old had pony rides, 2 princesses (provided by yours truely) a caterer and who knows what else for her special day.  These parties you do feel like hired help and just have to get through it knowing that you aren't anything special and unfortunately feel working class just there to entertain the rich kids who may or may not even realize you are there part of their extravagant day.  It is interesting to see how the 1% entertain their kids though. I do feel bad for these children however, as in many cases you don't see much of their parent throughout the party.  Make you wonder whether all of the expense is in place of genuine time with their child.  

    I prefer the more intimate crowd where the parents can see the true joy in their child's eyes when they get to meet their favorite character in person on their birthday.  These moments are truely special.

  • When is it time for a new dress?

    As a business owner for Parties Unique and part time princess I am often caught between wanting to have the very best, prettiest dresses and wigs I can find, and actually making money.  I waited an entire year to finally invest in a very expensive but oh so beautiful Rapunzel wig.  It was long over due as the number of Rapunzel parties the last few months did a number on the old wig and it was becoming quite the tangeled mess.  I believe it looks the way Rapunzel's hair would really look if it were as long as they show it in the movie.  Here is a photo of the new wig after I added some flowers to it.

    The wig designer did this in 3 days and of course when I went to pick it up it made me want to upgrade some of my other wigs too.  You see, not all wigs are created equal.  Some are more flattering to your face or skin color and of course you want to look your absolute best when portraying a princess.  Thus, my dilmema.  The same applies to the dresses.  

    I found a wonderful dressmaker on Etsy who has made my last 3 costumes for Rapunzel, Jasmine and Belle and they are so beautiful.  Her name is Julie and she runs Pixiedust Boutique. http://www.etsy.com/shop/pixiedustboutiquee?ref=seller_info Here is the Belle dress on Kathryn. So pretty!

    So now of course I want to get all new dresses....the next one I'm thinking will be Tinkerbell.