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 This Los Angeles Princess Party Is A No-Brainer

When you think kids birthday party you probably think “princess party”, but it can be especially tricky for busy L.A. moms and dads to find the best princess character entertainment solution to make their child’s wish come true.

With more than 20 companies around Southern California promising “amazing” and “dazzling” princess parties, how do you know which one will truly deliver? And do you even have the time to scour through every single website to feel confident in your decision?

If you’re like most Angelenos, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You just want to simply and quickly plan your kiddo’s party and move on with your day.

Enter The Pop-Up Princess Parlor: the brand-new, turn-key solution for princess dress-up party awesomeness in Los Angeles.

princess dress up party los angeles (16 of 19)

Here are 5 ways The Pop-Up Princess Parlor can help:

1. Just add cake and guests and voila! You’ve got a party!

The Pop-Up Princess Parlor is so easy to book, all you have to do is choose from 3 different “sizes”, the Petite, Grande or Plus Grande (to find the right “fit” for your party).

The package options include EVERYTHING you’ll need to create an enchanting entertainment experience, complete with princess characters of your child’s choice. All you’ll need to do is invite friends and cut the cake!

princess dress up party los angeles

2. You won’t lift a finger (except to sip your chardonnay, if that’s your thing).

There’s a sweet fairytale “Lady in Waiting” who hosts the dress-up activity within the Pop-Up Princess Parlor itself, assisting children in finding the perfect princess costumes (which are adorable AND comfortable AND plentiful — they bring more than 20 dresses and costumes, plus some accessories for kids to play with).

And the princesses lead rehearsed, character-themed repertoires of group activities designed for kids ages 3-7 years on-average. So go ahead and have a glass of wine and enjoy a much needed adult conversation.

Princess dress up party Los Angeles.

3. All deliveries, pick-up, set-up and strike are included.

The Pop-Up Princess Parlor team will coordinate with you prior to the party to schedule the princess arrival, the tent delivery and pick-up. The team will then set-up and strike the whole shebang the day of the event. All you’ll need to do is point!

Princess dress up party Los Angeles

4. Princess character performers are plucked straight from famous theme parks!

The cast members who work with the Pop-Up Princess Parlor boast impressive resumes, having performed as princess characters in famous theme parks all around the world, and international Broadway style shows. You won’t be embarrassed to show-off these princesses, who wear costumes and wigs authentically created and styled with integrity.

Princess Sofia the First Elena of Avalor party characters in Santa Monica

5. It’s unique, stylish, and encourages imagination play.

If you book the Pop-Up Princess Parlor, you are very likely to hear your guests say, “This is so beautiful,” and “I’ve never seen anything like this at a party,” and “It’s like the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique popped-up in your backyard!”

This princess dress-up party also breaks kids away from the iPad and gets them outside! You might see your kiddos running around pretending they are knights riding a horse, or donning a yellow gown and twirling like Princess Belle at the ball.

Princess dress up party Santa Monica

So you can quit searching and just book the Pop-Up Princess Parlor.

We know you have better things to do, like go tell that little darling of yours that she (or he!) is about to have the princess party of their dreams!

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Use the contact form below to book the Pop-Up Princess Parlor now:


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Princess Belle Visits New French-Inspired Bakery in Burbank, CA. Chic Party Cakes, Desserts & High Tea

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Princess Belle character reads a fairytale to a little girl at The French Confection Co. in Burbank, CA. Photo by Candace Boysen.

Rejoice, o’ residents of the San Fernando Valley: there’s a new French-inspired pastry shop in town and it’s fantastique!

Live like a Parisian, if only for part of an afternoon, with a coffee, colorful macarons, and a maple cupcake to-go (trust me on this one: I’ve self-proclaimed these sweet treats “Pancake Cupcakes” which should tell you everything you need to know, as in, they are amazing) from this adorable Burbank bakery.

tiger face painting french confection co burbank

A little girl with tiger face painting in Burbank, CA takes in the eclairs and creme puffs at The French Confection Co. Photo by Candace Boysen.

Both the exterior and interior of the shop are decorated authentically in provincial blue with touches of metallic gold. And the rustic white farmhouse table surrounded by elegant arm chairs make this a sweet spot pour un café avec les amis.

Our team at Papillons Entertainment was thrilled to be part of their grand opening celebration, providing festive party face painting by expert face painter (and company owner, Jenna) dressed in a beautiful French fairytale style ballgown, and princess character entertainment by an authentic French speaking ‘Belle’ from the tale of Beauty and the Beast.

Princess face painter Los Angeles Southern California

Jenna Bryson, expert face painter and small business owner of children’s event planning company Papillons Entertainment, sets up shop at The French Confection Co. in Burbank. Photo by Candace Boysen.

A little girl receives a tiara face painting by Papillons Entertainment's princess face painter during the grand opening at The French Confection Co. in Burbank, CA.

A little girl receives a tiara face painting by Papillons Entertainment’s princess face painter during the grand opening at The French Confection Co. Photo by Candace Boysen.

The patisserie’s owner, Mallory Rajan, tells us that making chic, trendy cakes for birthday parties and special events is how The French Confection Co. got it’s start. After building up quite the loyal customer base, she opened the storefront to spread cheer to even more people through her rich, made-from-scratch European style sweets.

And if you’re looking for an adorable venue for a small party, Mallory says that she is looking forward to making the shop available on Sundays once or twice a month for high tea and other special events; it could be the perfect spot for an intimate bridal or baby shower.

Perhaps we’ll see you there? Send us a note via our royal messenger and let us know if Papillons can help you plan & execute the perfect French-themed party with a princess character experience, sweets & treats from TFCC, and more.

The French Confection Co. is located at 3118 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505. Contact the shop directly for cake and other chic dessert orders.

Photos courtesy of Candace Boysen of Silence of the Lens and used with permission.

 

 

Fairytale English Garden Tea Party


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A Dream-Come-True Fairytale Princess Tea Party

Princess tea party set-up beneath a whimsically decorated tent.

We had the best time envisioning this pretty n’ proper princess tea party for 5-year-old Ella’s birthday party last October, and now you can see lots of photos and read all about it over on Catch My PartyElla’s Fairytale Princess Tea Party

Tea party Rapunzel Cinderella princess characters Los Angeles

The birthday girl, delighted to meet her princesses.

And there’s more: To experience the enchantment of this darling celebration, watch the video below.

Want us to help you plan and throw a tea party (or other celebration) like this one? Get in touch! And if you like this style, but your event is for grown-ups, no worries: this theme is great for baby and bridal showers, too.

 


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A Perfect Little Princess Party With Cinderella

‘Cinderella’ is just the perfect princess. She can do no wrong, can she? The poor thing literally had to sweep the cinders from the fireplace, hence the nickname bestowed upon her by those not-so-nice step sisters. And after being treated like a servant by her own family for most of her young life, how could you not love her? And how could you not admire her for the poise and grace she maintains no matter what sadness comes her way?

Cinderella princess party character los angeles.

For these reasons, and many others (lest we forget that beautiful ball gown, and those shoes!), it’s no surprise that little children are drawn like mice to cheese to the lovely princess ‘Cinderella’.

This character makes the perfect addition to a party for your 3 to 5 year old girl. In my experience, when you’re dealing with preschoolers, a smaller group is best with a classic princess party like this. Try to keep your group to no more than 12 children for the most comfortable, immersive experience with the princess.

Cinderella princess 4th birthday party at Roxbury Park, Beverly Hills.

Our performances are unique experiences, truly. In fact, at the party pictured here, one of the mother’s came up to the photographer and told her “I’ve never seen anything like this”. One of the many things that set our performances apart is that they are like pint-sized, interactive, theatrical shows that happen in your backyard… or even at your local park, like this one in Beverly Hills’ Roxbury Park.

We’ve been in the children’s entertainment industry as a company for over 8 years (and our founder has been a children’s entertainer herself for over 13 years), which means we can help you with any questions you might have about your princess party, even when it comes to the logistics of your party. For example, what’s the best time of day to have a party for pre-schoolers? We find that the morning is best for this age group, especially in the summer before the sun gets too high in the sky and the temperature soars.

Cinderella princess party character Los Angeles

 

If you can’t have your party in the morning, the next best time is late afternoon (as late as possible in the hot July, August and September months in Los Angeles). Make it a dinner time party and invite guests to come at about 4:00 or 5:00pm, and then have your entertainment arrive about 30 minutes after the official start of your party. With pre-schoolers, it’s a good idea not to wait too long after the official start time of your party for the princess to begin her performance, unless you know that you typically have significantly late guest arrivals.

One of the great things about our performances which works well with classic princess parties for little girls like this, is that no formal eating time is required. Children can simply munch on pizza or sandwiches picnic-style with our princess during her circle time activities, which is ideal with preschoolers who have little patience as it is for a sit-down meal.

Princess Cinderella party character dances with 4 year old girls in Los Angeles at Roxbury Park, Beverly Hills.

We include a great variety of engaging activities in every performance, which is just right for preschool princess parties. We know that small children often have a short attention spans, so we keep our performances flowing from one activity to the next and have a few other tricks up our sleeve to pique their interests.

Cinderella princess party in Los Angeles activities include a wide variety of engaging fun.

If you have any questions about your upcoming celebration, please feel free to get in touch! And if you’re wanting to throw a classic fairytale party for your child’s 3rd, 4th, or 5th birthday, do consider the divine miss ‘Cinderella’: the perfect princess for your little princess.

Little 4 year old girl is in love with her princess Cinderella at her birthday party in Beverly Hills, CA.


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Have a Royal Ball Inspired By Princess Sofia the First!

Ready for some royal fun? Our ‘Princess Sofia’ character is ready to celebrate with you and your little ones. Invite her to your party and she will enchant guests with songs, silliness, and a few surprises, too!

This sweet, special princess is sure to delight at your little darling's party.

This sweet, special princess is sure to delight at your little darling’s party.

Of course, as we do with all of our costumed performances, character integrity is of the utmost importance, which means any young lady in our cast who we’ve approved to play the character of ‘Sofia’ will truly look like the character. After all, ‘Sofia’ is meant to be a girl of about 7-10 years old!

Learn more about what sets us apart from the rest: How to Find the Perfect Party Princess

'Sofia' loves to teach your little ones what she's learned about becoming royalty and the true meaning of being a princess.

‘Sofia’ loves to teach your little ones what she’s learned about becoming royalty and the true meaning of being a princess.

 

At this time, we have just 3 cast members who share the role (always in the same costume, guaranteed), and each one of our ladies has played the very young storybook characters at the famous theme parks, such as ‘Wendy’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Tinker Bell’, and ‘Merida’ at Disney and ‘Cindy Lou Who’ at Universal. When we say authenticity is our specialty, you can trust it.

Only our youngest looking performers share the role of 'Sofia', the child princess.

Only our youngest looking performers share the role of ‘Sofia’, the child princess. This photo was only edited for lighting and color; no photoshopping has been done to alter the appearance of the actress pictured.

And certainly, the costume is a one-of-a-kind, custom made just for us by our favorite seamstress/designer. If you look closely at ‘Sofia’s ball gown, you will see that every little bead was hand sewn! And the purple fabric has this magical, iridescent shine when lit by the sun. We’re just in awe of the beauty of this costume and we know you will be, too.

Perhaps the most important questions is: What will ‘Sofia’ do at the party? We have some wonderful options for your ‘Sofia the First’ themed party, perfect for ages 3-5 years old, and would love to tell you more about them. Just give the castle (office) a call or send us a message by pigeon (email), and it will be our pleasure to discuss the details with you.

Thanks for reading, and have an enchanting day!

 


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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!


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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.