Papillons Entertainment: The Blog

Los Angeles princess characters for parties, plus event planning, event styling, magicians, musicians, puppet shows, balloon twisting, face-painting and more.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Photographer for Your Child’s Birthday Party

So, you’re planning your child’s next birthday party. Yay! Fun!

Maybe you’re planning to hire princess characters to entertain, you’ve ordered a custom cake to match the theme, and you’ve booked the best taco cart in town, plus you’re renting tents, tables and chairs… basically, you’ve got it all covered.

Or, do you? You’ve also got family coming in from out of town, the entire preschool class is invited, and to top it off, your kid only turns 5 once… but you haven’t thought about photos. Why not?

Maybe you suppose you/your spouse/your guests will snap pictures on their iPhones, but what happens when you/your spouse/your guests get too busy wrapped up in conversation (because those princesses are miracle workers who have given you all some much needed grown-up time) to take the photos you were hoping for?

Maybe you asked that one mom from the daycare who said she has a “good camera” to snap shots during the party, but then you get them back afterward, the shots are blown-out, too dark, blurry, or you only got 10 pictures from the whole 3 hour party, etc.

Pro tip: A “good camera” is only as good as the photographer taking pictures with it.

Look, your kid’s birthday party is going to be amazing, no matter what, but at the end of the day, the only thing you get to keep are the photos. This exact moment in your child’s life, this specific grouping of people, and the interactions that happen in the mix, will only happen once. So hire a photographer.

Still need more convincing?

Here are 5 reasons why you should hire a photographer for your child’s birthday party:

1. YOU SHOULD BE IN THE PICTURES

zoe 3rd birthday party (15 of 15).jpg

Photo by Jenna Bryson of Papillons Entertainment + Events.

How can you be in the photos when YOU are the one taking the photos? And if your spouse is holding the camera, then he/she isn’t in the photos. I promise you, your kid wants you in the photos, too. When your baby is all grown up, maybe with a family of her own, and one day she’s flipping back through pictures of her 5th birthday party, she will wish there were more pictures of folks. Plus, you will forever be trying to prove to her you were cool once. Show her. After all, parents are arguably the most important part of a child’s development, so get in front of that camera, mom & dad. It’s fun to be part of the fun.

2. YOU HAVE TOO MUCH GOING ON AS THE PARTY HOST

princess ariel pirate princess sofia characters sing happy birthday at birthday party in los angeles, california

Hanging the piñata, putting out more snacks, welcoming guests, shoving food in your face, answering calls from guests who forgot your address, helping the birthday girl with her 3rd wardrobe change in the last 30 minutes, shoving food in your child’s face, finding the dang matches… these are just a few things that will command your attention as the party host. If you make yourself responsible for taking photos, too, you will either miss moments or sacrifice your hosting duties. So relax, and don’t try to do it all. It’s a party!

3. YOU WANT FRAME-WORTHY MOMENTS

birthday girl meets princess sofia and pirate pacific palisades california

Photo by Jeff Drongowski.

Could your guests take pictures on their iPhones? Sure. Will they look good on Instagram? Probably. Will they have an eye for interesting, intimate moments with the expertise to deliver a photograph that screams “blow me up and hang me on the wall”? Doubtful. A professional photographer is going to have a style, an artist’s point-of-view that is unique to him or her, which is part of what you are investing in when you book a photographer. They are going see things that you and your guests won’t see, because they have been training their eye to look for those awesome, frame-worthy moments.

4. A PHOTOGRAPHER HAS AN EYE FOR DETAILS

Over the top Disney princess cake designed by Beverly Hills party planner, made by The French Confection Co. in Burbank, CA.

Photo by Jeff Drongowski.

Ask a guest to snap a photo with their phone of that $300 Frozen-themed cake you special ordered and I am willing to bet they stand about 4 feet in front of the cake table and take one basic straight on photo. Now ask a photographer to take a photo of that same cake and you not only get a wide shot of the entire dessert table, but also a close up of the fondant figurines on top, an epic shot of the enormity of the cake with balloons floating in the background, an adorable shot of the birthday girl straining to blow out the candles, and the aftermath of the cake once it’s been devoured. An event photographer leaves no detail undocumented.

5. EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY… EXCEPT THE PHOTOS

princess birthday party planner beverly hills

Photo by Jeff Drongowski.

You might recall a photographer or event planner mentioning this idea to you in regards to your wedding. But the same is true of your child’s birthday party (or any special occasion for that matter). When the last guest leaves, the party favors are gone, the flowers wilted, and the Disney princess tablecloths are trashed, all that’s left are the memories. But our memories won’t always be as good as they are now, that’s just part of being human. Photographs, however, are the memories we always get to keep.

So be present, live in the moment, be part of the memories… and hire a photographer.


If you’re looking to hire party characters, an event planner and/or event photographer, we can help. Fill out the form below to get in touch:


 

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My Top 11 Kids’ Parties Of 2013

Ah, the new  year… so fresh and clean, like a blank canvas upon which we can paint whatever we like… full of hope, and ripe for the fulfillment of our most daring dreams and desires.

As I think about 2014 and all of its endless possibilities, I can’t help but look back lovingly at 2013 and remember how wonderful it was.  I was fortunate enough to be part of so many memorable events from the past year, but I wanted to share some of my top moments. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a list of 11 of my favorite kids’ parties and special events from 2013.

Our "Little Mermaid" makes fishy faces with the birthday girl and her friends.

Our “Little Mermaid” makes fishy faces with the birthday girl and her friends.

1. Little Mermaid at Seascape in Anaheim Hills, CA: Over the summer, one of our regular clients invited the “Little Mermaid” to entertain at her daughter’s 3rd birthday party. I’m proud to say that we have a handful of performers in our cast who have played the character at the various theme parks and, luckily, it worked out that I could take photos and video of our cast member in-action during her performance at the party. The kids were so great and our “princess” did a mertastic job; I was so happy to have captured this footage (click the picture below to watch the video).

The "Little Mermaid" in action at a princess party in Orange County, CA.

The “Little Mermaid” in action at a princess party in Orange County, CA.

2. Toddler Guitar Sing-Along for Lisa Loeb: In addition to being a children’s entertainer, I’m also a songwriter; I’ve had my music featured in shows like “Hellcats” on the CW, various reality TV programs, a couple indie films, and lots of wedding videos. But as cool as it is to hear a song you wrote playing in a movie theater, I have to say, when one of your songwriting idols calls you up to ask if you can perform at her child’s birthday party, it’s a pretty surreal experience! If you want to see what my live music performance for toddler and preschoolers is like, click here. Lisa Loeb can be found on TwitterInstagram, and her official website.

What a cool day: I got to perform a toddler/preschool guitar sing-along for one of my songwriting idols, Lisa Loeb!

What a cool day: I got to perform a toddler/preschool guitar sing-along for one of my songwriting idols, Lisa Loeb!

3. Caroline’s 9th Birthday Party at Nine Zero One Salon, West Hollywood, CA: A lot of people wonder if we only do princess parties. While I would say that princess parties account for many of our performances, we have an incredibly versatile roster of talent at our fingertips and have provided everything from dessert catering to carnival rides. Personally, I thrive when I get to be creative and try new things, so when one of our regular clients whose daughter, having had plenty of princess parties from us in the past, was ready for a fancy “grown-up” soiree, I was excited to plan and execute her chic celebration. The party was complete with custom made “mock-tails” & drink menus which I designed, a bartender, a make-up artist, glitter tattoos, and a caricature artist all supplied by my company Papillons Entertainment. I’ll toast to that!

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes, these kid-friendly drinks were a huge hit at Caroline's 901 Salon party.

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes, these kid-friendly drinks were a huge hit at Caroline’s 9th birthday at Nine Zero One Salon.

4. The Sea Princess for Susan Egan at Olivia’s Dollhouse Tearoom: This performance was such a full-circle moment for me, I’m not sure the utter amazingness of it will translate in writing, but I’ll do my best. You see, when I was a girl, I became obsessed with the Broadway soundtrack of “Beauty and the Beast”. I would listen to it every night as I fell asleep, singing along, trying to match my voice to the young actress on the recording. I got so good at impersonating her sound, my friends at school would ask me to “sing like Belle!” and I would.

I performed as a princess for my Broadway idol, Susan Egan (a real Disney princess)!

I performed as a princess for my Broadway idol, Susan Egan (a real Disney princess)!

Flash forward to Burbank, California, a little karaoke bar called Sardo’s. It was 2006, I think, and I was sitting at the bar with my friends when I heard a familiar voice singing. I said to my friends, kind of half-heartedly, “Sounds like Susan Egan.” Just then, I turned to look at the karaoke stage, and there she was: Susan Egan! It was her! I completely freaked because I just couldn’t believe that the “Belle of Broadway”, the woman who I would often credit as having “taught me how to sing,” was there, at my little karaoke bar! I began crying, like a total fangirl. The bar’s owner came up to me and asked what was wrong. I told him as much as I could muster until he just stopped me and said, “C’mon, let’s go meet her”. Seriously?!

So, the owner fetched Susan and I met her, tears and all, and I told her how listening to her recordings taught me how to sing, and she said the funniest thing: “Well, I hope you didn’t learn all of my bad habits.” And as if that wasn’t enough, to meet and hug and hysterically cry in front of your musical idol, she asked if I’d like to sing a song with her. And I did. And it was “The Rainbow Connection” because that was my favorite song from childhood and it was one of the most special moments of my life so far. I’ll always remember it.

I was able to keep in touch with Susan, because that’s the kind of person she is, and years later she even left a review on my iTunes music page (open it in iTunes to see Susan’s review). I told her I played princesses for kids and that if she ever needed a princess for one of her darling daughter’s parties, she should hit me up. And she said she would. And one day, she did. And it was wonderful. And we all lived happily ever after.

P.S. Ms. Egan maintains a humorous blog called Glamour & Goop and can also be found on Twitter. You might also check out the music video for her song “Nina Doesn’t Care”, in which she sings, ironically, “As she puts me through the paces, I try not to yell, but it’s hard when she prefers the Mermaid over Belle“.

"The Sea Princess" with the birthday girl and her big sister.

The Sea Princess” with the birthday girl and her big sister.

"The Sea Princess" with the birthday queen and her royal court.

“The Sea Princess” with the birthday queen and her royal court at Olivia’s Dollhouse Tearoom.

5. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Sea Princess at Giggles n’ Hugs in Century City: One of the most fun things for us as children’s entertainers is when we get to work with each other. A new client contacted us in Autumn hoping to get three princesses together for her daughter’s dream 4th birthday party and happily we were able to make that wish come true. The party venue, Giggles n’ Hugs, was located at the Century City mall, and as we strolled through the shopping center, a friendly passerby snapped this sweet photo of us. Follow us on Instagram and search #papillonsentertainment for more fun pictures on the job.

A triple princess party with "Cinderella", "The Sea Princess", and "Sleeping Beauty".

A triple princess party with “Cinderella”, “The Sea Princess”, and “Sleeping Beauty”.

6. “Rapunzel” for Kelly Oxford: “Rapunzel” is one of my favorite characters to cosplay, especially when a client books my upgraded acoustic guitar and singing performance. To be honest, although I knew of Kelly Oxford from Twitter (with over 500K followers, Kelly is best known for her refreshingly funny and snarky look at life and motherhood; she is also a New York Times best selling author), when she called me looking to book my musical “Rapunzel” performance, I thought nothing of it. It was only when I arrived at the party and was met outside by Kelly herself that it dawned on me who I was working for. For those of you who follow Ms. Oxford on Twitter or Instagram, you might recognize little Bea (pictured with “Rapunzel” below) who is often the subject of her photo posts, and upon whom my friend “Rapunzel” painted one of her favorite flower princess face-paintings of the year.

"Rapunzel" and sweet Bea.

“Rapunzel” and sweet Bea.

Pumpkin painting, deluxe balloon twisting, and fancy face-painting at The Taste of Southlake in Pasadena.

Pumpkin painting, deluxe balloon twisting, and fancy face-painting at The Taste of Southlake.

7. The Taste of Southlake, Fall 2013, in Pasadena, CA: I love crafts, I love balloon sculptures, and I love when I get to create all different kinds of face-painting designs. Which is to say why the Kid Zone at this event, of which I was in charge of coordinating, prepping, and organizing, and during which we met at least one hundred kids throughout the three hours of entertainment, made my list of favorites for the year. Here are a couple more shots of our work from the event that I found on Flickr.

A rubber duckie balloon sculpted by our balloon twister.

A rubber duckie balloon sculpted by our balloon twister.

A little girl with a catterfly face-painting doing some painting of her own.

A little girl with a catterfly face-painting doing some painting of her own.

8. “Cinderella” at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, CA: This party was one of my favorites for a couple of reasons, the first being that I got to work with my amazing photographer/budding video-content-marketer partner, Jeff Drongowski of Drongo Photo. Another reason I loved this party has everything to do with the lovely Carolina Cavaliere, a reporter for TWC Deportes, and her husband, Andrea Cavaliere, the talented chef at Cecconi’s restaurant. Both the dining and decor at Cecconi’s is delightful; pay them a visit if you’re in the Los Angeles area.

A royal ball with "Cinderella" at Ciccone's in West Hollywood, CA. (photography by Drongo Photo)

A royal ball with “Cinderella” at Cicconi’s in West Hollywood, CA. (photography by Drongo Photo)

Carolina & Andrea Cavaliere and the birthday girl. (Photography by Drongo Photo)

Carolina & Andrea Cavaliere and the birthday girl. (Photography by Drongo Photo)

9. The Local 600 IATSE Holiday Open House at The Cinematographer’s Guild in Hollywood, CA: Seems like December hit us faster than a reindeer in flight. Good thing the folks at the International Cinematographer’s Guild booked with us very early, way back in August of 2013 for their December 7th event! I had a blast putting this event together: all in all, we provided three pro face-painters, four skilled caricature artists, and one of our classically trained actors to play the part of “Ebenezer Scrooge” (to keep the Santa line moving and all the folks waiting in high spirits). It was a great way to kick off the holidays.

Santa and Mrs Claus hanging out with Ebenezer Scrooge at the Local 600 IATSE holiday open house in Los Angeles.

Santa and Mrs Claus hanging out with Ebenezer Scrooge at the Local 600 IATSE holiday open house in Los Angeles.

Festive face-painting all around at the IATSE Local 600 Holiday Open House in Los Angeles.

Festive face-painting all around at the IATSE Local 600 Holiday Open House in Los Angeles.

10. Jolly Holiday “Mary Poppins” at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Brea, CA: I absolutely adore everything old timey, so when my client in Orange County told me that she had to change the location of her party from her home to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, I was giddy with excitement. Farrell’s has an authentic turn-of-the-century charm that recalls the days of barbershop quartets and the Model T, but there was one problem: what I had originally planned to do for the birthday girl and her friends was a pop star dance and glamour party. A “pop star” would stick out like a sore thumb in a place like Farrell’s, there wouldn’t be any room to lead any dancing with the girls, and we certainly couldn’t blast One Direction throughout the restaurant. The solution? Let’s have a “jolly holiday with Mary!” With all of its delicate details, this costume is one of my absolute favorites, and it’s not hard to see how perfectly the character fit with the theme at Farrell’s. “Poppins” turned out to be, not only a huge hit with the birthday party and our client (you can read her review here), but with the other restaurant guests and the Farrell’s employees, too!

"Poppins" pops in to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet celebration.

“Poppins” pops in to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet celebration.

11. Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA: The 2013 holiday season found my immediate family all the way on the other side of the country, back on the East Coast, so spending Christmas with them, unfortunately, wasn’t an option for me. While I do miss my family around special times like these, I feel very lucky to have been able to spend this Christmas Eve with two great families in Manhattan Beach: a regular client of mine (between their parties and their friend’s kids’ parties, I think they’ve seen me as almost every princess in the fairy-tale collection!) wanted help passing out gifts and dinner time entertainment for their group of ten kiddos, and coincidentally enough, their friends just a few blocks away wanted to make the evening extra enchanting for their two young daughters before bedtime. I had been working on a new Santa’s Helper/50’s style “Elf” costume, which I finished just in time to debut at their celebrations. With all the crafts, dancing, singing, face-painting, and storytelling I did at both parties, I’m not sure who had more fun that night, me or the kids. Although I’ve been working as a children’s entertainer for more than twelve years, I still get great joy from creating magical moments for kids and families, and this night was filled with them.

Santa's Helper Elf on Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Santa’s Helper Elf on Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA.

In fact, the entire year was filled with magic, and I have all of our wonderful, trusting, generous, awesomely amazing clients to thank.

Here’s to 2014: may it be just as enchanting, ever as exciting, and may all your dreams come true!

~ Jenna B.

(“queen butterfly” and lead expert performer at Papillons Entertainment)

If you’d like to get in touch with us about your upcoming party or special event, please fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to help!