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

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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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10 Terrific Indoor Kid-Friendly Birthday Party Venues in Los Angeles

Choosing a party venue for your child’s birthday can be challenging at times, especially in the extremely hot summer months of July and August when temperatures can get up into the 100’s in the San Fernando Valley. And while rain is, sadly, not much of an issue in SoCal, it’s certainly a risk to plan for an outdoor party in the months of November through February.

Some moms and dads have no qualms about a house party, but for a lot of folks, holding a party in your own house is less than ideal. When you’re talking about inviting the entire preschool class of 25 rambunctious 5-year-olds, that could be a disaster waiting to happen (especially if you’d like your clean, white linen sofa to stay that way).

So what do you do if you’d prefer not to risk your grandmother’s antiques, but you also don’t want to subject your party princess and her royal guests to the blistering sun at your local park?

Chill-out, seekers of stress-free fun and air conditioning, because we’ve curated an unique list to help you with your summer (or winter) party planning. Read on for…

10 Terrific (Indoor) Kid-Friendly Birthday

Party Venues in (and around) Los Angeles:

1. Giggles n’ Hugs 

giggles n hugs indoor playground los angeles

Most parents in Los Angeles have heard of this popular family restaurant/indoor playground, and there’s a good chance you’ve probably been there with your own kid, but did you know that they have three locations? For the Westsiders, there’s the Century City Westfield mall, and Canoga Park for you West San Fernando Valley families, plus the Glendale Galleria location for those closer to East L.A.

giggles n hugs indoor playground los angeles

The Space: Each location is unique in appearance, but they’re all beautifully designed with “castle” towers, “rickety” bridges, climbing apparatuses, and slides galore! The Glendale location features a ball pit, too. The dining areas are separate, but completely visible from the play area, and vice versa. Plus, there’s a small stage for performances, and a DJ & activities leader for certain party packages.

Investment: Parties start at $350 for up to 15 guests ($23/person) with their “Count &Countess” option, which includes 3 jumbo pizzas, fountain drinks, paper goods and latex balloons, and go up to $25/person with their “King & Queen” package which includes a wide selection of deluxe entrees, sides, and a cupcake or ice cream dessert for each child.

Parking: Free at Canoga Park and Glendale locations; $1 for the first 3 hours at Century City.


2. The Coop

the coop indoor playground studio city

This “hot tot spot” along Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, as dubbed by US Weekly magazine for their notable celebrity clientele such as Modern Family’s Julie Bowen, is one of our personal favorites because it truly has something for everyone.

the coop indoor outdoor party venue los angeles

Should you get lucky with the weather, there’s an enchanting garden area with benches, tables, and a day bed! A perfect spot for grown-ups to enjoy a bit of conversation, a bite to eat, or a quick Instagram post (they have free wi-fi).

The Space: A light up dance floor, a climbing tunnel leading to a twisty slide that descends into a pit of bright yellow & orange balls, a cake/dessert room, and an outdoor patio for parents to relax on a lovely day, this venue is a delightful place to hold a birthday party in the SFV.

the coop indoor playground party venue los angeles

Investment: Party packages start at $595 for “The Coop Basic” which gets you 2 hours of completely private playtime for 15 kids and up to 35 adults, and a free “return pass” for your celebrant and his/her siblings. Want “The Whole Coop and Caboodle”? That’ll run you $2495, but you won’t have to lift a finger, and you’ll get everything you need for a deluxe kid party, including the 2 hours playtime, pizza, a taco cart, coffee, fresh fruit, cupcakes, balloons, paper goods, gift bags, fresh flowers, and more.

Parking: All of their party packages give you access to their large, free parking lot in the back of the building. Otherwise, remind guests that the meters lining Ventura Blvd. are their best bet (and free on Sundays).


3. The French Confection Co.

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If you’re looking for a lovely, quaint spot to throw a darling little fête, The French Confection Co. might be a good fit for you. This Burbank, CA patisserie is not a traditional party venue, but the vintage-inspired farm table and provincial blue & gold floral wall paper make this a divine space for a simple, yet adorable, princess tea party. They also happen to bake the most beautiful and flavorful custom birthday cakes.

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Papillons Entertainment’s Frozen-inspired Snow Queen and Princess hold court with tea party guests at The French Confection Co. in Burbank.

The Space: When you step inside the store front at 3118 W. Burbank Blvd., you’ll find a white farm table that seats 8 guests, a pastry counter, a table for desserts and delectables, plus a little room for a little dancing should the mood strike. It’s perfect for a small group of girls big or small who want to be treated like royalty for a day.

Investment: You’ll have to check in with shop owner Mallory for exact & up-to-date prices for private events, but last time our team threw a party at The French Confection Co., the deal was $25 per guest, for a 2 hour party on a Sunday, which included an assortment of their made-from-scratch mini cupcakes, cookies, scones, and more, plus tea and coffee for all.

queen elsa princess anna more magic tea party french confection co burbank (1 of 1)

Moms and daughters enjoying a private holiday tea party, produced by Papillons Events, and led by the Snow Queen & Princess, at The French Confection Co. in Burbank, CA.

Parking: Plenty of free parking along Burbank Blvd. right outside the shop as well as side streets (just make sure to read the street signage).


4. PLAY Los Angeles

play los angeles kids party venue

Kids paint jewelry boxes at a 4th birthday party at Play Los Angeles. Photo by Julie Pepin.

For arts & crafts loving kiddos, Play is an amazing spot for a party. Located on 3rd Street, just West of La Brea, there’s a variety of traditional toys for tots to play with, such as a musical instruments and matchbox cars, and three different rooms for your guests’ enjoyment.

music party for toddlers guitar sing along puppets los angeles

A princess-led “Jamtastic” guitar sing along begins at a birthday party at Play Los Angeles.

The Space: When you enter Play, you immediately enter their main playroom, which is filled with non-gender specific toys (gotta love that), musical instruments, ottomans for sitting, and a wee stage, perhaps for a guitar singalong (they also hold music classes during the week at Play). Towards the back and to the right, you’ll find a big art room, with a chalkboard wishing your child a ‘Happy Birthday’, an art teacher, and plenty of room for kids to paint. Choose the giant playhouse option, and your celebrant gets to take it home! Also in the back, you’ll find a large room with plenty of seating for lunch and cake.

Investment: Party packages at Play start at $575 for their “Messy Art Party”, recommended for ages 2-4 years. This selection provides you with a staff member to guide the 90 minutes of artistic fun, as well as smocks, paints, and brushes for all (plus that giant cardboard house for your birthday kid take home once it’s dried). Other packages are available, as well as add-ons like gift bags (starting around $8 each), and hosts are welcome to bring in their own food or catering.

Parking: The venue allows their host to park their car in the back of the building, but guests will have to fend for themselves at the meters on 3rd street (free on Sundays), and ltough-to-find side street (2-hours only) parking.


5. Au Fudge

au fudge marketplace los angeles family party venue

The hottest new family-friendly restaurant in L.A. (more specifically West Hollywood), is Au Fudge. But don’t mistake family-friendly for loud and brightly colored; stylistically and philosophically, it is the antithesis of Giggles n’ Hugs. An undeniably gorgeous venue, Au Fudge is partially owned by Jessica Biel, so it’s no surprise the place is like heaven to the interior-design aficionado. If you want to feel like you’ve been swept away to Europe, transported to a land where moms can dine on Cobb salads, cocktails, and gluten-free baked goods, while wee ones make art with an ‘Au Pair’ or jam to French music (yes, they have French music lessons for kids on their calendar), then this is the spot for you.

au fudge creative space los angeles party venue

The Space: Add one part French bistro, one part turn-of-the-century country mart, and one part ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’-esque secret playroom, and you get Au Fudge. There is an outdoor patio with umbrellas and chandeliers, a large, full bar, and of course the coveted play area (they call it the “Creative Space”) upstairs stocked with gender-neutral books, toys, and plenty of seating. Speaking of the play area, this is where you would hold your little tyke’s celebration. The bookshelf is magical (it lights up around the archways), and the minimalist decor is prime for those who just want a cute, but carefree spot in which to throw their tot’s birthday party.

au fudge creative space for kids parties los angeles

Investment: The Creative Space at Au Fudge is available for private events, however, no price range is listed on their official website. You will want to call the venue directly (424-204-9228) or email jamie@aufudge.com to inquire.

Parking: The reviews on Yelp make it clear that parking is definitely a challenge around Au Fudge, however, valet is available (although a bit pricey — $10).


6. Peekaboo Playland

peekaboo playland eagle rock kids party venue

Photo by Serena Grace.

This adorable indoor playground has not one, but two locations to serve Angelenos: one in Eagle Rock, and the other in Bel Air. Both locations have multiple day play pass options, and also included in admission is coffee for grown-ups and free wi-fi. Plus, they have a number of pre-packaged party theme options, such as ‘Very Fairy Picnic’, and ‘Frozen’ (of course), so that all you have to do is show-up and enjoy.

peekaboo playland indoor kids party venue eagle rock los angeles

The Space: Twisty slides, a jungle gym, and a quirky “treehouse” shaped like a goose, as well as plenty of push toys and table toys, and an inflatable bounce house, too. The party area provides tables and benches and there’s a cute little counter reminiscent of a lemonade stand which makes for the perfect beverage area. The Bel Air location has an outdoor patio you can enjoy if the weather is nice. As children’s entertainers, we have been invited to perform for several parties at Peekaboo Playland, but honestly, you don’t need outside entertainment here; if your kiddo must have a visit from her favorite character, we recommend booking a short n’ sweet appearance (no more than an hour), for mixing, mingling, playing together, and of course photos to commemorate the day.

peekaboo playland upstairs kids party indoor playground los angeles

Investment: Party packages start at $595 for their “Hootenanny” option at the Bel Air location  (or, $495 at the Eagle Rock location). At this level, you get the standard 2 hours of playtime for 15 kids and 35 adults, part coordinators, plus the return play pass for the birthday child. The “Ultimate Theme Party” is $995 at the Bel Air location ($795 at Eagle Rock) which is your one-stop-shop for everything you need: pizzas, helium balloons, themed paper goods & table decor, juice & coffee, gift bags and more.

Parking: Street parking only at the Eagle Rock location, which can sometimes be challenging (metered on the main drag, or free along residential side streets if you don’t mind a little walk). The Bel Air location, on the other hand, has a parking lot.


7. Lombardi House

Located in the heart of hollywood, close to Franklin Village and The Hollywood Studios, Lombardi House is a fully restored Victorian style home built originally in 1904. Because clients who rent the space can also stay in the house on an extended stay, it’s often booked for weddings, but don’t let that steer you away from considering it for your kiddo’s next party: it has the perfect mix of stylish indoor and outdoor space that is ripe for decorating.

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Exterior front and side yard at Lombardi House perfect for games and lunch al fresco.

The Space: The outdoor garden is perfect for styling your event exactly as you wish. It’s a posh-party lover’s dream, and excellent for large groups (suitable for up to 25o guests)! Maybe you’d like to plan a vintage carnival themed party and set-up game booths, old fashioned cotton candy, popcorn, and hotdog carts, and set-up a stage for good ol’ fashioned magic show. There’s also an indoor area: an original barn/stable which was refurbished with 35′ vaulted ceilings! You could create a craft area inside, maybe a dress-up “room” for a princess party, or simply make it a “big kids” retreat with comfy lounge areas. Because Lombardi House is essentially a blank space, this does mean you’ll need to rent all of your furnishing needs, such as tables, chairs, and umbrellas; should you decide to throw your party at Lombari, be sure to hire an event planner to help you with all of your rental & styling needs.

Popples Netflix Season 2 - Pop into Popplopolis

Barn space at Lombardi House as styled by the Popples Netflix Season 2 premiere party.

Investment: You’ll have to inquire directly with Lombardi House on the price to rent the space for your party, but rumor has it the investment will run you at least $10,000. And you will need insurance, yet another reason to utilize an event planner (but make sure they are insured). Catering isn’t included either and must be chosen from their list of pre-approved caterers (such as Wolfgang Puck and 24Carrots).

Parking: It’s Hollywood, of course, so valet is a must if you’d like to give your guests a hassle-free parking experience. Once again, a party planner is ideal; someone who knows the venue and will help you check off all of the necessary boxes for a successful event.


8. Duff’s Cakemix, West Hollywood

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With a party at Duff’s Cakemix, you don’t just eat the cake: you make it! Well, you decorate it. This bakery studio, located on the corner of Melrose & Sweetzer, gives your birthday kid and guests everything they need to decorate and take home their own batch of cupcakes or full sized cake.

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The Space: Colorful, yet industrial, there isn’t too much room to set-up your own decor here, but there are plenty of long tables and chairs perfect for lots of kids and lots of mess making (I mean, cake decorating). But for the mom or dad who just wants something easy and simple, this place takes the cake (pun obviously intended). You will have to bring in your own food if you’d like to feed your guests lunch (but outside cakes are not allowed).

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Investment: If affordability is key, choose the cupcakes “tier 1” package, which will allow you to invite up to 6 guests for just $385. There are many more packages (or “tiers” as they call them) at Duff’s Cakemix, all the way up to $2195 which will accommodate up to 30 guests, each with their own 6′ fondant cake to decorate and take home. Keep in mind, however, for kids 6 years & younger, they recommend cupcake parties, and 1 adult helping for every 3 kids is required so make sure you ask enough moms or dads to stay and assist.

Parking: There is limited parking in the back of the building, and otherwise metered street parking; be sure to encourage your guests to allow time for parking as your event is 2 hours total.


9. iPic Theaters

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There’s nothing that beats the heat of a Los Angeles summer like sitting in an air conditioned movie theater, and at the iPic Theater, you can chill-out in true comfort with cozy blankets, reclining chairs, and in-theater food and beverage service for your guests. Some iPic theaters, like the one in Westwood, are even hosting video game parties.

iPic theater westwood los angeles party venue

The Space: There are two Los Angeles area iPic theaters — one in Pasadena, and another in Westwood — and both feature in-theater full dining service. While the Westwood theaters offer only some fully reclining chairs, the Pasadena location is filled with ’em. And with one push of a button, your personal food + beverage server will appear. Dine on burgers, specialty beverages, snack on complimentary popcorn, desserts, and more, then get cozy for your feature presentation. Our team was fortunate enough to join in the festivities at an 11th birthday at the iPic in Pasadena, where we provided glitter tattoos and caricature art in the lobby area as guests arrived and mingled with appetizers before the film. It was the perfect fit for a posh, yet relaxed summer birthday party.

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The lobby area can be set-up for pre-movie activities, appetizers and drinks.

Investment: A single ticket at iPic Pasadena will cost you $24; for a group of 10 kids (including your birthday child), that’s less than $300. Popcorn is included with each ticket, but course, if you want to add lunch for each guest, menu items cost between $10-$20 each. The theater also has private event packages for more inclusive options; contact the theater directly for details.

Parking: The Pasadena location validates parking at the garage across the street for 3 hours. We hear parking at the Westwood location can be tricky, but they do offer valet and, supposedly if you’re an iPic member, you can get $3 self parking in the garage (of course, if you’re buying tickets for your guests, they may not quality for the discounted parking).


 10. High Tea Cottage

high tea cottage party venue los angeles

If a proper tea party is on your child’s wish-list for their next birthday party, check out High Tea Cottage in Woodland Hills. Guests will partake in fancy finger sandwiches, English scones, sweet morsels, and tea (of course).

high tea cottage party venue woodland hills los angeles

The Space: Be advised, this is a small restaurant and it is packed with tables, so there’s no room for romping about; children must be at least 4 years old to enjoy this formal sit-down tea service. The decor, however, is quaint, with tea cups and tea pots on display throughout.

high tea cottage los angeles party venue

Investment: Children’s tea parties at High Tea Cottage require reservation for at least 12 guests with a maximum of up to 24 children. The cottage does allow drop-offs, but you could also invite adults, too, for a festive mommy/daddy-and-me party experience. A ticket price of $35 per child will get you tea sandwiches, scones, fresh fruit, non-caffeinated tea, chocolate milk or lemonade and birthday cake. The party service runs 90 minutes, but you can have the space for up to 2 hours for hosting guests (and an extra half-hour at the beginning for guest-of-honor arrival/set-up).

Parking: Just street parking, and some residential street parking nearby, so you’ll want to let your guests know to give themselves a little extra time to find a spot for their “carriage”.


***BONUS PARTY VENUE IDEA***

Still haven’t found a venue that you love? Or a venue that’s available for your event date? Check out Peerspace.com, where you’ll find dozens of unique party-friendly locations, all of which you can reserve and rent at the click of a button.

creative learning center kids party venue hollywood los angeles

^ Here’s an actual space you can rent via Peerspace.com, located in the heart of Hollywood off Melrose Ave., and it’s just ripe for a colorful, super creative party. You could set-up craft stations galore, and maybe book a magician, puppet show, or even a superhero character experience to enhance the celebration.

If you would like any help planning your upcoming party, please complete the form below and we’ll be happy to send you more information about our live entertainment and event production capabilities.

 

Sofia the First party princess characters in Los Angeles


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Looking For Frozen Party Ideas? How About 10 Birthday Parties to Throw Instead of A(nother) Frozen Party

If the idea of being in the midst of yet another “Frozen”-themed birthday party has got you feeling cold-hearted, I don’t blame you. Although we at Papillons Entertainment still absolutely love belting out ‘Let it Go’ with a horde of chocolate-mouth-filled 5-year-olds (we performed at nearly 150 “Frozen” inspired parties in 2014, more than 60% of our business for the entire year!), so we certainly understand first-hand our clients’ desire to diversify their children’s’ party theme portfolio.

With that in mind, may I present to you…

 10 fantastique kid-friendly party themes other than “Frozen”!

  1. Wonderland

    The seminal work of Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland” is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect party themes for children. This was one of my favorite books as a child, and it’s not hard to difficult to realize why: full of whimsy, nonsense, and talking animals, this book is a child’s (literal) dream come true. There are so many wonderful (pun intended) things you can do within this theme, too: go mad with silly signage pointing this way and that way, play a game of flamingo croquet, and set-up an easy craft project of paper flower making (because, of course, you can learn a lot of things from the flowers). And then there’s ‘Alice’ and the ‘Mad Hatter’ who would make delightful guests and lead your young attendees in whimsical activities of their own, thereby fully bringing your theme to life (and leaving you time to yourself for a much needed adult conversation and a breath of fresh air, too). tea party mad hatter alice in wonderland characters los angeles

  2. Fairytale Princess 

    Okay, so I’m sure you’ve attended (and thrown) your share of princess parties, but hear me out: the great thing about this theme is that there are sooo many fairytale princesses to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, they often each come with their own sub-theme. For example, look at ‘The Little Mermaid’: this princess doubles as an ocean-themed party. And how about ‘Beauty and the Beast’? This timeless princess’ story works as a book-themed party or even as a French-themed party. Plus, you have so much freedom when it comes to decoration and activities, you can’t really go wrong. You could minimize your stress this year and just get a dozen or two pastel balloons from your local Party City to serve as decorations (they’re less than $1 each!), grab some cupcakes from the market, and then find a fabulous fairytale princess character performer to take on the duties of entertaining the children and voila! Or, go big if that’s your style, and hire an event stylist to create the fairytale land of your child’s dream (a’chem… or, just call us). Belle, Aurora the Sleeping Beauty_sea princess Ariel birthday party characters in Los Angeles

  3. Jolly Holiday Carnival 

    Maybe your kiddo isn’t into princesses so the whole fairytale thing isn’t for you. No worries! I can’t think of any other party theme as appropriate for kids of all ages than a carnival themed party. And there is so much you can do in the way of games and decor, you’ve really got your pick of ideas here. Perhaps you’d like to do a classic red/blue/yellow carnival, with tasty food carts (we recommend the folks at Let’s Have a Cart Party). Or, if you prefer a more feminine touch to your carnival, go with pastel colors like coral/violet/teal, string up some tissue pom-poms, and present a fantasy carousel cake. How delightful! Either way, if you’re looking for a character to fit this theme and entertain your young carnival-goers, consider the practically perfect Miss Poppins. She brings a spoonful of sugar (and then-some) to her party performances. Mary Poppins jolly holiday party character look and sound alike los angeles

  4. Escape to Fairyland 

    If it’s open-ended ideas you’re looking for, creating your own fairyland will give you so much freedom, it’s really incredible. You could set up a tent in the backyard and fill it with lots of fairy objects, enticing little ones to use their imagination and pretend they are living in their own wee pixie hollow… organize a fairy hunt and hide treasures all about for kids to find (and what a great way to give out the party favors at the same time)…  provide a fairy hair garland craft project… and of course set-up a fairy costuming area for children to become “real” fairies. Nothing brings this theme to life like a real, live fairy, of course. Make sure to hire a whimsical winged-character to enchant children with magic and more. And when you’re ready to send your thanks to guests for attending, check out these charming thank you notes from Red Cap Cards.fancy fairy party characters los angeles

  5. Pirates & Princesses 

    I know what you’re thinking… not more princesses! Yes, yes, but this is different. Really. Pirates and princesses have a long history of going well together. You could sort of say they’re like peanut butter & jelly, or if you’re not into food metaphors, then let’s say they’re like the Dread Pirate Roberts & Princess Buttercup (my favorite literary/on-screen duo. Speaking of which, you could definitely let The Princess Bride inspire your party decorations, and if you do, please please PLEASE send me an invite). Of course, your 5-year-old is more likely into Disney Jr. than movies by Rob Reiner, so how about combining a classic princess and pirate together? Or perhaps combine the themes of ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ and ‘Sofia the First’ together for a modern take on the princess/pirate duo? Just think of all your could do: royal jewels spilling out of wooden treasure chestspirate hats and princess tiara dress-up, and a DIY pirate ship sailing up to a DIY cardboard castle. You don’t have to do everything yourself, though, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to make it out of your party kingdom with your sanity in-tact. Ask us about our pirate and princess duos to take some of the stress out of entertaining your tiny swashbucklers and royal highnesses. pirate party pirate birthday character los angelesprincess sofia and neverland jake practice magic los angeles kids parties

  6. Celtic Adventure

    For magic and merriment galore, might I suggest a Celtic themed party? And no, you’re not limited to leprechauns and pots of gold here… the Celts have many-a-legend to pull from for this imaginative theme. From St. Patrick who supposedly drove all the snakes from Ireland, to the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland, you’ve got lots of myths you can incorporate into your Celtic-inspired party. You could make cookies shaped like Celtic knots, decorate with tartan style fabrics, play Highland themed games such as an archery challenge, foam sword mock battle, etc. Or, you could even invite our brave Scottish princess Merida to lead a variety of Celtic inspired group activities, including a wee archery lesson and a Highland style dance. Take a peek-a-boo at our Brave-themed Pinterest board for more inspiration. Scottish princess Merida character for Brave themed party in Los Angeles.

  7. All Tangled-Up

    Here’s a loose idea to play with: what about a hair themed party? Or, call it a salon party, whatever tickles your tresses! Have kids wear their hair in a crazy style, or hire a stylist to come and create personalized ‘dos for each girl. Or, if you have a bigger budget and don’t want to do this at home, just relax and book a small salon to help you pull off the theme. Our client invited us to her daughter’s birthday where girls would be having beautiful braids styled into their hair; she wanted to take the theme even further with make-overs and tween friendly mocktails. Check out our previous blog entry all about it for inspiration on throwing your own fabulous fête. Girls received beautifully braided hair dos at a tween birthday party at Nine Zero One salon in West Hollywood, CA.

  8. You Can’t Spell Party without Arty

    Why not just use colors as your child’s party theme? There is, literally, a rainbow of colors and ideas you can work with to make this party theme the brightest birthday bash you’ve thrown to date. This theme will allow you AND your little guests to get really creative. Invite kids to make a snack plate of foods the color of the rainbow (challenge them to pick something of each color for “extra points”), make inexpensive paint palate party favor bags, or have the kids paint their masterpiece right there at the party (pro tip: what a great way to keep them occupied, too). If you need even more help, you could have invite our team to lead your arts & crafts extravaganza, or book one of our expert face painters to create works-of-art on faces! Face painters for parties and events in Los Angeles

  9. Afternoon Tea 

    “Oh, Jeeves? We’ll be taking our tea & biscuits on the veranda this afternoon,” would be really fun to say, even if you don’t have a butler named Jeeves, or a butler at all, or even a veranda. So why not go for the tried-and-true, un-apologetically feminine English garden style tea party! It’s a lovely theme, of which you can go big (like this client of ours, who also booked two of our fairytale princess characters, in addition to catering, and more) or stay small, with a more intimate affair. Invite just a few children over and borrow tea cups from friends, or find shabby-chic styles to mix and match on eBay (pro tip: put an herbal tea bag, packaged in a little organza sack, into each cup and voila! you’ve got a classy, heirloom quality party favor). For extra points, make sugar cookies shaped like tea pots, and serve authentic tea-time finger sandwiches and tea cakes. Or, just hire us and you won’t have to lift a finger… except your pinky. Princess English garden tea party in Los Angeles

  10. Divas-In-Training

    And finally, if your little girl loves to dance and dress-up, there’s nothing wrong with throwing a pop-star type party. You can ask children to come over in costume, or collect pieces from your little ones costume collection and create a dress-up area for little guests to borrow from while they’re dancing the day away. Speaking of dancing, music will be super important to pull-off this theme. Make sure you have a playlist of kid-friendly pop music, or hire a DJ (or a KJ — karaoke jockey — if your daughter likes to sing, too) to keep the party poppin’. As far as the color scheme goes, bright, jewel colors will be your go-to here: just mix and match lemon yellow, orange, neon pink, magenta, lime green, etc. (go crazy!) for desert tables, decorations, plates, cups, and more. And don’t forget the disco lighting, especially if you’re going to have an indoor and/or evening event (check out this tutorial for DIY light-up balloons). Most importantly, there must be lots of dancing, but you’ve got a lot on your dessert plate already (and I know you’d like to actually finish your dessert without yet another interruption), so consider hiring a colorful Dance Motivator to keep kids movin’ and groovin’!

Rainbow glamor girl party character los angelesThere ya go! Ten birthday party themes you can use for your child’s next birthday party that ARE NOT about “Frozen”in any way, shape or form.

I hope this helped to inspire you and that the ideas are flowing for your kiddo’s next celebration. If you have questions about anything mentioned here, or if you’d like the team at Papillons Entertainment to take some of the weight off your shoulders and help you plan your next party, please leave a comment below, or for formal inquiries, email us at info@papillonsentertainment.com.

Cheers! And we hope your event is chic, unique, and fantastique!

~ Jenna (founder & lead performer Papillons Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA)


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How To Find The Perfect Party Princess

Let me show you how to find the perfect princess for your party in Los Angeles.

You have a problem: your little girl wants a princess to come to her birthday party, but you have no idea where to start. You live in Southern California, the greater Los Angeles area to be exact, and there are just too many princesses to choose from. Every entertainment company says they have “the best” princesses, but how do you which ones employ the true professionals? How can you tell which one will deliver on their promises? You want a princess with a top-notch look, but you also want her to be able to entertain your entire group of twenty rambunctious four-year-old girls (and boys, too)! How do you know who will give you the ultimate princess party experience?

It’s difficult, I know… wading through dozens of sites, videos, and pictures. It’s overwhelming, to say the least! But you’re not the type to settle for second-best; you want is the whole package. You want top-notch-service, a beautiful costume, a realistic, well-groomed wig, a princess who looks like the character has come-to-life, and not only that, you want a princess who can entertain your party guests from beginning to end, for one hour or longer. There are dozens of princess party companies in Los Angeles, it can be seemingly tricky to find the one that will deliver on everything you’re looking for. Fear not! I’m going to help you navigate the crowded waters of Los Angeles party princess entertainers and show you exactly how to find the perfect party princess.

First, let’s start with what we already know: you have excellent taste. You recognize high-quality when you see and hear it. Remember to trust that instinct and allow your preference for the finer things to guide you as you begin your search.

Secondly, now that we know you have great taste, guess what: so do your friends! One of the best places to start looking for a party princess is to ask your friends who they’ve booked for their kids’ parties. If you don’t have many friends with kids the same age as yours, then ask the moms and dads at the daycare — you’re probably inviting the pre-school children to the party anyway, so it’s a great way to find out what other parents have already done in the way of characters and themes.

Once you’ve gotten a few referrals from friends and fellow parents, check out the princess’ website, and other social media sites online. The website should look up-to-date, including the pictures — do the photos look current, or like they were taken in 1983? If a company’s pictures look old, how can you be sure of what you’re actually going to get from them? Be sure the costume you see is the exact costume your princess will wear. Plus, the princess company should be active on social media sites, engaging with relevant information, photos, and videos so that you can be certain of what you’re buying.

Next, read the reviews of the companies you are considering. Ask the company to point you to a place online where you can read their reviews if you are having trouble finding some, or if you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of the reviews you may have read. Hint: If you are looking on Yelp, check the filtered reviews, too. Yelp uses an algorithm that often hides reviews of first time users and users who aren’t very active on the site, and while you should usually take someone else’s opinion as simply that, an opinion, it’s good to get the general consensus of what people are saying about their experiences with the company. When you do read reviews online, look for a mix of people who were first-time customers and people who are repeat customers. This will show you consistency, in that the company is making a great impression; they are trustworthy, setting new customers at ease, and they are also bringing back customers time and again, party after party.

You’ve read the reviews, checked out the pictures, but also remember to look for videos. Promo videos are fine, but do they have videos of actual events, too? They should have both. A promo video features just the princess; this is good to look at so that you can see if the princess knows her character and you can listen to hear if she can sound similar to the character (that’s nearly as important as looking like the character). A video of the princess in action at one of their actual events will show you even more: are the kids engaging with the character, visually, audibly? What kind of activities is the princess leading? Is it a good variety activities? Paying attention to these cues will help you find, not only the best princess for your party, but also one who will give you the most bang for your buck.

As you’re watching princess performer videos, pay attention to how they move, listen to how they talk. For ultimate believability, your party princess should be a keen impersonator.

  • She should have her own realistic impression of the character’s voice and say things that the princess would probably say in real life (for example, maybe she refers to kids as “friends” or simply “children” rather than “you guys” — your princess is a royal, after all, and should speak accordingly).
  • If the character is supposed to have a foreign accent, she should be able to imitate that accent.
  • The princess should move like the character she is playing, too. For example, a “Brave” princess should have a free-spirited gait and maybe even slightly slouched posture, which works perfectly for the character‘s tom-boyish nature, while a “Rapunzel” princess should sit up straight, have a lot of energy and pure excitement in every move she makes, while maintaining gracefulness, too.
  • If the princess is to sing at your child’s party, remember not all singers are created equal. You want to make sure you’ve heard her singing samples, that you think she realistically sounds like the singing voice the children will expect to hear (some performers may be fine singers, but sound completely different than the original character), and most importantly, that the same princess you’ve heard sing will be the one performing at your party. Also, how is the singing incorporated? A singing performance that includes aspects of the story, perhaps even adding a live instrument to the mix, will make the princess’ singing an interactive, magical experience.

Now that you’ve done all the preliminary research, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty details. Remember, you’re looking for the perfect party princess, so there are a lot of things to consider:

  1. How long has the princess or company of princesses been performing?
  2. Were they trained by someone, an expert in the children’s entertainment field, or did they just decide to be a princess one day?
  3. What is their background in working with kids?

These are all important questions. You want your princess to be very experienced as an actor (look for classically trained, theme park performers, improv performers, comediennes, and film/TV actors), but you also want her to know what kids like to do at parties. You want your princess to be an expert on her character; she should know the fairy-tale backwards and forwards and all the little details in between (the kids do, so should your princess).

As far as time-spent-on-the job goes, you’re looking for one of two things:

  • An expert party princess, in which an expert is defined as someone who has logged at least 10,000 hours as a children’s entertainer (that’s a minimum of 1,000 parties performed!) or…
  • A princess who has been trained and is currently coached by an expert children‘s entertainer.

These are important distinctions to make as you are looking for a party princess. While it may seem simple and easy to throw on a costume and play a character, and that anyone can do it, it’s not. Do you want to keep your group of 20 kids engaged for a full hour or longer? Do you want the princess to sound like the character? Do you want her to move and behave like the character? Do you want your party princess to know how to handle disruptive children with grace? Do you want your princess to have charm, wits, and poise? Do you want her to know what activities will be inline with the age-group of the kids at the party as well as what activities will tie the party theme and performance together?

If your answer is yes, then you want either an expert princess or a princess trained by an expert. Certainly, anyone can grab a Halloween costume from eBay and come to your party, but if you want more than “good-enough”, and if you want to elevate your party theme and truly bring the fairy-tale to life, if you want to take your princess party from good to amazing, and if you want kids to actually be engaged from start to finish, then you want either an expert princess or a princess trained by an expert.

Take a close look at the costume. For a princess character, it’s important to make sure the costume is not a bag-o-costume, but a custom made, theatrical-grade garment. A costume made for stage or film is going to look incredible, of course, not only in person but in photos, too. But hand-made costumes are not all equal: be sure to look at the textures on the fabric, and the details. Does it look high-quality to you? If the costume is impressive looking in a photo, it’s sure to be even more divine in person, and of course you know it will look fabulous in all of your treasured princess birthday party pictures.

Let’s have a look next at the wig. Yes, a princess should wear a wig. A fantastic wig completes the larger-than-life look of the princess costume. Even if the princess has hair similar to the character, you simply cannot get an authentic, consistent look without one. Plus, you live in the Los Angeles area; your child and her guests are used to seeing characters at the theme parks, who all wear wigs, so it would look odd to kids otherwise. As for the quality of the wig, your princess should have a wig of the same heightened quality of the costume she wears.

Personally, my heart weeps when I see a beautiful princess in a gorgeous gown with a cheap wig. What good is spending hundreds of dollars on an incredible costume if the performer or company isn’t going to invest in the perfect wig to finish the look? As a customer, you want to observe how well the wig is made: does the wig have life to it? It should be professionally styled, with a theatrical look, like something from a Broadway show, while maintaining a sense of realism, but it should not look too cartoonish or over-the-top. Also look at the quality and fit: does it look like it’s been a long time since the princess has had the wig re-styled? If you’re not sure, ask to see a recent picture of the costume and wig, even just on the shelf or rack, to make sure it’s still well kept. Also look to see how the wig fits her head: if it comes down too far on the forehead, it’s going to be an obvious giveaway to your party guests that the hair is a wig. If it’s up too high on the forehead, you’re going to see the real hair underneath. The perfect wig will elevate the costume and add believability to the overall performance.

You’ll also want to take a close look at the princess performers in the pictures themselves. Do they actually look like the character you want? I think details are important: if the character is typically visualized with light eyes, then kids will probably notice if the princess shows up with brown eyes. It’s OK if the eye color, or shape of the nose, or cheek bones are somewhat different, but they should be close enough to suspend disbelief, making kids perceive that the princess has truly come to life at the party. The princess’ make-up should be heightened, too, as if she has just stepped-off stage. An impressive princess will have eyes that pop with properly fitted false lashes and gradient shadows, bright blush, matching lip color, and a powdered, finished look.

At this point, if you like what you’ve seen, you’re probably ready to talk to someone from the princess company. You want the office personnel to be friendly, of course, but they should be knowledgeable and explain in detail what the princess party experience will be like, too. You want the booking process to be easy, fair (remember to ask about retainer or deposit policies), professional (you should get a booking confirmation or contract outlining all of the terms you and the company have agreed to regarding the princess’ performance), and fun! After all, you’re planning your little princess’ special birthday party. The booking process should be one that puts you at ease, gets you excited for the big day, and gives you the confidence that you’ve chosen the best princess for your child’s party. You’re about to make your darling’s dream of meeting her favorite fairy-tale princess come true!

And finally, the activities your princess will lead are vital to the party experience. Activities should be easy for small children to understand, but not so simple that you could have done it yourself. For example, sure, kids like coloring, but you can easily put out your own coloring sheets & crayons on a table for the kids. If you’re hiring a princess to entertain the kids at your party, she should take over your party and wow your guests with a fully engaging experience, with everything from non-competitive games, comedy, mesmerizing magic spells, music, pretty face-painting and more, and all of it perfectly coordinated to the princess’ story and your party theme. Her equipment should also look like it belongs to her character. How does she present her things? Does she walk in carrying a bulky, black boom box? Is she rolling in with a suitcase? Your party princess should be a completely interactive one-woman-show for kids; props and equipment should add to the magical experience, not distract from it. Overall, your princess needs to be quite multi-talented; she should be part comedienne, part artist, and part enthusiastic pre-school teacher in order to combine the best elements to keep your whole group engaged and enjoying themselves.

Whew! I know that was a lot to digest, but if you’ve taken all of this information into consideration, and you’ve chosen your party princess wisely, you will hear squeals of joy, not only from your littlest guests, but from your grown-up guests, too. The other parents at the party will come up to you and tell you how fantastic the princess was, how impressed they were with her performance, and even better, will commend you on your fabulous taste, demanding to know where-in-the-world you found her. Pat yourself on the back, mom and dad; you’ve found the perfect party princess.

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“Queen Butterfly” & Lead Expert Performer//Papillons Entertainment

P.S. If you’d like to talk about booking a party princess for your up-coming Los Angeles area birthday celebration or special event, please get in touch! I’m here to help and would love to be of service.