3 Quick Ways To Reduce Your Birthday Party Costs By 70% (or more)

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There are basically 3 main factors that comprise 70-80% of your total budget for planning a party. If you are a mommy on a budget and you are finding it such a hard time to reduce costs, zeroing in on these 3 things will help you reduce your expenses drastically!

1. PARTY VENUE. This is probably the 1st thing you need to finalize when you are planning. Depending on your choice of venue, rental rates can range from P10,000 all the way up to P80,000!

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Scarlett Kramer’s Barbie Princess Party at Active Fun BGC. Styled by Party Magic!

Below are a few venues I can think of that offer very reasonable rates (meaning, below P10,000 to P20,000 range):

Greenhills West Clubhouse

Corinthian Gardens Clubhouse

Northeast Greenhills Clubhouse

St. Francis Shangri-La Place Function Hall

Most of the Valle Verde Clubhouses

Active Fun (BGC)

Fun Ranch

Prestige Tower Roof Deck (Ortigas Center)

Acropolis Clubhouse

Arcadia Clubhouse

If you notice, these venues fall mainly in the San Juan / Pasig / Ortigas area. This is mostly because this is the area of expertise of my event styling company, Party Magic. Do you know of any other budget venues? Drop me an email here.

Tip: Choose venues that offer ZERO rental fees, but require you to avail of their catering service or package. In this way you get venue as a BONUS to availing of their catering service! Be careful though, as some venues will charge you higher per pax rates for their catering service in order to make up for the lost revenues in venue rental.

Related Post: Top 10 Kiddie Party Venues in Metro Manila

2. CATERING SERVICE. The main service that you are basically offering to your guests in a birthday party is not the entertainment, but the FOOD. Because of this, food costs comprise a large part of every mommy’s budget. In general, with today’s (year 2015) food costs, below is a basic idea of the levels of food pricing:

below P300 / pax – Dirt cheap. If you manage to find this, either you are getting a great deal, or your guests might be in for some serious diarrhea problems!

P300-500 / pax – Very affordable. Congratulate yourself for getting a reasonable menu at a reasonable price. Be prepared to augment the food offering with a few food carts too, though.

P500-700 / pax – Considered the benchmark average for catering service prices. Not too cheap, not too expensive either. Usually has higher cost menu items such as seafood as part of the menu.

P700-1,000 / pax – You should be in for a higher level of food. Guests will feel special, and you will, too, at least until you see the food bill at the end of the party!

P1,000 / pax upwards – Stratospheric-level of food offering. You should be expecting great service, great menu, and an overall wedding-like experience.

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Albergus Catering Buffet Table, at Caden and Ethan’s Robot Party

Tip: Go for Verleo Catering. They offer good, decent meals at very reasonable prices (P400-500 / pax). Check out the Verleo Catering Buffet Menu for a better idea.

Related Post: The Best Catering Services in Manila

3. PARTY BALLOON DECORATOR / STYLIST. If you are planning to have your venue decorated by balloons, then congratulations. You have already done half of the work in reducing your costing, simply because on the average, balloon decoration is cheaper than styling.

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Miko’s Balloon-Decorated Sesame Street Party. Styled by Party Magic!

For example, Shakey’s offers balloon “enhancement” services for as low as P4,000 per party! I know of another balloon decorator that charges in the range of P8,000-12,000 per party (final amount depends on your requirements).

However, if you definitely insist on having a styled party, then be prepared to dish out as much as P50,000 (or even more).

Tip: Another option would be to fully DIY your party. This takes a lot of time, effort, and labor, but if you’re a crafty person and you have a lot of time on your hands, go for it! Once you see the final result, you will feel that all your efforts were worth it.

Lost in terms of where to start in DIY-ing your party? Let me know how I can help. Send me an email at: michelle@michellelao.com

‘Til the next party,

Michelle

 

 

Top 10 Kiddie Party Venues in Metro Manila

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Whenever we have a meeting with our clients at Party Magic, the very first question we ask is: where is your venue or events place?

This is the first question because of practical reasons: the venue or events place for your upcoming kiddie party will have an effect on such matters as the theme, the logistics, the suppliers (some venues only allow a certain set of suppliers), the caterer, and ultimately, the costing or fee for styling the event.

Make no mistake: if you are a mommy on the first stages of planning for your child’s upcoming party, venue is and should always be the first thing on your checklist. If you are planning to have the party in Metro Manila, here are the best venues you can choose from:

(as a side note: I did not include clubhouses and hotel function rooms, as I consider these venues under a separate category)

1. The Blue Leaf (Mckinley Hill)

The classic events place. This is probably the most popular venue choice for most celebrants who are looking to create a strong impact to their guests.

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What I like: The Blue Leaf interiors are well polished, modern, and versatile. Landscaping and grassy areas on the outside for great photo-ops and a more relaxed, natural feel even though you are at the heart of the metro. Quality of service (of maintenance crew, valet service, security guards) is excellent and almost unmatched with any other venues (except for the hotels of course). Rental rates may seem high, but once you’ve gone around the metro and done a survey of other competing venues, The Blue Leaf’s rate when considering its list of offerings becomes a value deal.

What I don’t like: A little known fact is that The Blue Leaf, because its ceiling is quite high, charges anywhere between P10,000-P20,000 additional for ceiling draping service. If you are planning a kiddie party, this does not include any additional decor that you might want to hang (i.e., lanterns, pompoms, etc.). If you opt for your stylist to do the ceiling decor for you, also expect the stylist to charge extra for this service.

Address: Mckinley Hill, Taguig

Capacity: 200-300 pax

Rates: P65,000 upwards

Website: http://mckinley.theblueleaf.com.ph/

Related post: Check out Party Magic’s styling of Laz’s It’s A Small World Party at the Blue Leaf

2. The Blue Leaf Filipinas (Aseana City)

Version 2.0 to the classic venue. Same superb management, same quality of design and interior, albeit this time leaning a bit more on the native side.

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What I like: Same as the Blue Leaf Mckinley Hill, interiors are sleek, modern, and well maintained. The outdoor area has a very nice waterfall display that can be fully appreciated at night because of its lighting. Great service.

What I don’t like: Same as the Blue Leaf Mckinley Hill above.

Address: Aseana City (beside City of Dreams)

Capacity: 200-400 pax

Rates: P65,000 upwards

Website: http://filipinas.theblueleaf.com.ph/

3. 55 Events Place

This is a lesser known venue, but a gem nonetheless, which is why it deserves to be in this blog post. Venue interior is zen and minimalist, with high ceiling. A clear favorite for brand launches and corporates, but nonetheless quite apt for children’s parties as well.

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photo credit: Hizon’s Catering

What I like: The location is convenient (in the Tomas Morato area), valet service is offered, and the venue offers good packages. Venue size is just right (around 200 pax), and the high ceiling allows you to use inflatables.

What I don’t like: Parking may be a challenge, but this is mitigated with the events place already commissioning an unused lot across the street.

Address: Scout Rallos St., Quezon City

Capacity: 200-250 pax

Rates: P45,000 upwards

Website: http://www.55eventsplace.com/

4. Oasis Manila

Probably the closest in resemblance to The Blue Leaf, Oasis Manila offers a very impressive complex made up of 3 separate function rooms. If you are looking for a place that is classy and can house a considerable number of guests, The Oasis should be in your top considerations.

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photo credit: partydollmanila.com

What I like: The venue is near the San Juan and Quezon City area, which is perfect if your guests are mostly coming from these cities. The Oasis designed its function rooms to be very clean, with minimal interior styling except for some wooden accent features. This allows the stylist to play up and transform the venue any which way she likes. The function rooms are also designed to allow in a lot of natural sunlight, which is absolutely perfect for capturing nice photos.

What I don’t like: Although the management has provided for 2 floors of parking space, parking might still be a big issue especially for parties with a large number of guests. Furthermore, the Oasis also does not offer valet services, so be sure to bring your driver along with you.

Address: Aurora Boulevard, San Juan City

Capacity: 200-300 pax

Rates: P65,000 upwards

Website: http://www.oasismanila.com/

5. White Space Manila

A favorite for corporate events, weddings, and kiddie parties, White Space Manila is always on the shortlist for every celebrant.

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What I like: White Space Manila is just what the name says: a blank, white space that you are free to dress up under any theme you want. This is the perfect blank canvas for any stylist to paint her own vision for a party. More than this, though, because of its windows and the reflective nature of its white walls, the White Space is the photographer’s dream of a venue because of its strong natural lighting for lunch time events.

What I don’t like: Again, the size of the venue and its ceiling height will mean a lot more props required to fill up the ceiling, which might mean a higher cost when it comes to the decor / styling fee.

Address: Chino Roces Ave, Makati City

Capacity: 150-450 pax

Rates: P55,000 upwards

Website: http://whitespacemanila.com/

Related post: Check out Party Magic’s styling of Dara’s Lemonade and Sunshine Party 

6. Decagon at Silver City

Just beside Tiendesitas, Decagon is a large venue that is commonly considered by those celebrants looking to treat 300 or more guests.

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What I like: The Decagon offers a very impressive, circular, high ceiling space that sufficiently puts guests in awe, especially when the stylist decorates its ceiling beautifully. The venue can house about 300 guests (and more), has extra VIP rooms for the celebrating family, and an extra area near the entrance that can serve as the reception or buffet table area. Because the venue is part of a larger commercial building, guests can also park in the parking space adjacent to the building.

What I don’t like: Half of the venue is covered by a glass wall with curtains attached. If the curtains are closed during the event, lighting provisions are not sufficient to illuminate the whole venue. So don’t forget to keep the curtains open during your party!

Address: Frontera Verde Drive cor Julia Vargas Ave, Pasig City (near Tiendesitas)

Capacity: 300-400 pax

Rates: P50,000 upwards

Website: https://www.facebook.com/DecagonSilverCity

Related Post: Check out Party Magic’s styling of Chelsea’s Candyland Party

7. Elements at Centris

A clean-looking, upper scale tent nestled conveniently near EDSA at Eton Centris, the Elements at Centris is another great option for those with a large number of guests and looking for a classy, high-end venue.

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What I like: Elements can provide a very clean-looking, minimal space for  party which you can dress up for your special event. The venue also offers you the option of availing their clear acrylic stage (at additional cost, of course). Parking is no problem as there is a huge outdoor parking area just outside the venue.

What I don’t like: Air-conditioning may become insufficient, especially if your party is hosting a lot of guests, or if the party is held at noon time, during summer season.

Address: Eton Centris, Quezon City (along EDSA)

Capacity: 300-400 pax

Rates: P60,000 upwards

Website: http://www.etoncentris.com/centris-elements

Related post: Check out Party Magic’s styling of Naima’s Elegant Princess Party

8. Dancevision Arena

Located along N. Domingo St., conveniently near the San Juan / Quezon City area, Dancevision Arena offers an affordable, value-packed offer with its very spacious function hall.

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What I like: Rates are very reasonable, with no corkage, no list of caterers that you are required to choose from. Air-conditioning is highly sufficient. Ceiling is very high, offering a more grand feel to the place. A second benefit to have a high ceiling is the fact that you can put inflatables (for example, a bouncy castle) inside the venue!

What I don’t like: Parking may be an issue, so make sure that you ask the venue to secure the empty lot adjacent to the venue for additional parking space. Moreover, because the space is mostly indoors with little windows, natural lighting becomes scarce which will greatly challenge the event photographer’s skills. If you are renting this venue, be sure to hire a lights supplier as well.

Address: N. Domingo St., San Juan City

Capacity: 300-500 pax

Rates: P45,000 upwards

Website: https://www.facebook.com/dancevisionarena01

Related post: Check out Party Magic’s styling of Mishka’s Mermaid vs. Pirates Party

9. One Rockwell

One Rockwell is the perfect venue for those celebrants with a small to medium sized guest list (100-150 guests), and those who are looking for a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

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What I like:  One Rockwell has a great ambiance, given its cozy interiors and cove lighting. A big factor is the fact that the venue is nestled in the heart of Rockwell Center, where your guests can amble on to Power Plant Mall afterward.

What I don’t like: Put particular care in estimating your guest list. Because the size of the function hall is not that large, a simple underestimation in the number of attending guests can lead to a fully packed venue, which is not that fun (nor cozy) for your guests!

Address: One Rockwell, Rockwell Center, Makati City

Capacity: 100 pax

Rates: (please contact venue)

Website: n/a

Related post: Check out Party Magic’s styling of Keith Henry’s Little Prince Party

10. St. Francis Shangri-La Place

St. Francis’ function room, much like One Rockwell, is a great place to hold a party if you are looking for a more relaxed vibe. Check out how we styled Eloise’s slumber party below!

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What I like: The function room has a soft, comfortable feel to it that encourages guests to sit down, loiter, and chat. Perfect for hosts that are looking to bond with family and friends on a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

What I don’t like: The function room is a bit awkwardly designed, being “L” shaped, with the butt of the “L” shape being a naturally isolated area. Fortunately, this is where we usually just place the buffet area so that every space is maximized.

Address: St. Francis Shangri-La Place, Mandaluyong City (beside Shangri-La Mall)

Capacity: 100 pax

Rates: (please contact venue)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/TheStFrancis

Related post: Check out Party Magic’s styling of Eloise’s Slumber Party

‘Til the next party,

Michelle

Elle’s Happiest Place on Earth

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When my client walked into the store for the first time, I knew that this party was going to be special.

The client was none other than Robina Ko, the owner and marketing extraordinaire of the famed Status Hair Salon. Now at 6 branches, the salon is fronted by the luscious goddess Karylle Tatlonghair-Yuzon (and the business is open for franchising as well!).

Now you might be wondering at the title of this blog post: why the “happiest place on Earth?” What place could that be? Here’s a word:

DISNEY

The name itself is literally PACKED with imagery and emotion. When I hear that word, I am suddenly transported back to the time when I first watched The Lion King. It was a premiere night (back when movie premieres were still the in thing), and it was a full house. Suddenly, the scene lights up in the form of a rising sun in the African desert, and you hear the loud blaring of the opening chant to The Circle of Life. It was majestic, uplifting, and most of all, magical.

And here’s the thing, too. I was secretly envious of Robina, because I was also planning a Disney-themed birthday party for my daughter Coco. She beat me right to it!

Here’s how everything turned out:

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We placed a signage at the front door, with 2 columns of posts and an arch in the middle saying “Disneyland, The Happiest Place On Earth”. The Party Magic team and I wanted to create a strong first impression to all the guests.

When you enter, you’ll be greeted with a festive ceiling treatment composed of pastel-colored tassels, pompoms, lanterns, and crystals.

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Up close, the ceiling treatment looks like this:

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We opted for the lighter tassels instead of swags because the party was starting at night, and the venue, Forbes Pavilion, has notoriously weak lighting. If we were to cover the ceiling with swags, the whole venue would have been extremely dark!

The stage is a scene all unto itself:

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Minnie was there, in between her Disney castle (which was custom-built specifically for this party), and the Ferris wheel!

The centerpiece was a prancing horse set atop an arrangement of flowers:

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During discussions with Robina, the idea of having helium filled Mylar balloons came up, just like in Disney HK!

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Robina definitely pulled out all the stops for this party. Now take a look at the Royal Family!

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And of course, any Princess/Castle/Disney theme would be totally incomplete without a Golden Carriage!

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Another scene stealer in the party was the gigantic dessert spread, which was around 16 feet wide! Take a look at it below:

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Here’s a unique twist that I loved about Robina’s party: instead of having the birthday song and candle blowing on the stage, they did it at the dessert table:

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This approach allowed everyone to be more intimately gathered, and the cake can be beautifully arranged alongside all the other pastries for a nice photo-op.

For the entertainment, the hosts all came in Princess attire. I love it!

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Over and above all of the details, the decor, the food and the entertainment, however, what I loved THE MOST about this party is its guests. They were all so game about the theme that they came in full medieval attire:

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And the kids were absolutely no exception! Can you guess the most popular choice of costume for the girls?

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Yes you guessed it. Princess Elsa!

This is what I’ve always believed and told my clients: you can have the best venue, the best photographer, the best caterer and even the best stylist (yes, I’ll have to admit), but ultimately, it’s the PEOPLE that makes the best party.

And what a guest list it was! The Royal Family was in good company:

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That’s the celebrity stylist Sidney Yap, famed fashion designer and musician Kate Torralba, international fashion photographer Lon Liwen, and of course, the absolutely sultry Karylle Tatlonghari.

What a sweet girl Elle is! She’s probably the cutest girl I’ve ever seen (correction: second to both of my daughters, of course!). The happiest of birthdays to you!

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‘Til the next party,

Michelle

The 7 Best New Birthday Party Themes for 2015

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Time flies very fast. While this is true for most people, I find that this is all the more true for the event styling industry. Consider this: in less than 2 years since my company, Party Magic, started styling birthday parties, we have done in excess of a hundred parties.

Incredible, isn’t it?

Whenever I realize this, I feel a sense of surrealism. How is it possible that I’ve done more than a hundred parties? People say that time flies by quickly for those who are busy, but I believe in something that is even more powerful: time flies by quickly for people who are having fun. Here’s another thing I discovered which is equally important and powerful: You can make money out of your passion. Once you’ve digested these two nuggets of gold, it becomes very easy: because you do what you love, you earn money. And the more you earn, the more you love what you do. The cycle is virtuous and you can repeat these two steps as many times as you like.

Now I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the birth of an industry (event styling), and it’s ongoing maturity. One way I’ve seen it mature is through the themes that our customers gravitate towards to. What I’ve realized is that event styling is a very dynamic industry; people’s tastes evolve. So a person choosing a theme for a party in 2014 may not necessarily choose that same theme in 2015.

And so if, for example, you were to hire me as your stylist this year, I would suggest you consider the following themes. These are not entirely new themes, but more of a new twist to an existing conceptA sort of upgraded version!

7 NEW BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS FOR 2015

1. Rock / Pop Star

This theme can be a perfect match for your older child’s birthday party (such as a 7th birthday party), and can be a totally great way to capture your guests’ attention! Take a look at what we created recently under this theme, for Cadence’s 7th birthday:

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What’s exciting about this theme

Create scenes from a rock concert, complete with instruments and microphones. Ask your guests to come in their best rock / pop star attire. Best in costume wins a prize. Hand out autographed posters of your child to your guests as part of the giveaway. If he / she is up for it, have your son or daughter perform a song number on stage!

For more pictures, check out my blog post on Cadence’s Rockin’ Concert.

2. Luau Party / Surfing / Beach

This theme draws its roots from the nautical theme, which practically EXPLODED and was very very famous last 2014. I think that people became so enamored with the nautical concept that now in 2015 they are looking for something new. The Surfing / Luau / Beach concept is the perfect theme to express that natural, breezy feel but still remain fresh to the eyes. Check out the recent Luau party we did:

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What’s exciting about this theme

The nautical concentrates on punches of reds and navy blues. The Surfing / Luau / Beach concept emits a more relaxed vibe by using lighter colors such as aqua blue, natural wood, off white, light pink.

For more pictures, check out Baby and Breakfast’s featured post on Kaila’s Luau Party.

3. Pirates

This is a great theme for a boy, and something that I wonder why I never see more of. Aesthetically, you can ask your stylist to create a pirate ship, complete with sails and a ship wheel. Wait a minute, we’ve done that already with this really cool pirate party for Liam!

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What’s exciting about this theme

Have gold coins spread on the guest tables. Create mini-treasure chests as giveaways. Have a TREASURE HUNT as part of the program! Have everyone wear eye patches and shout, “Ahoy, matey!” Almost everything is exciting about this theme! Besides, pirates are cool. (Jack Sparrow, anyone?)

I’m currently writing a full blog feature on Liam’s Pirate Party, so stay tuned!

4. Butterfly

The perfect dainty theme for your special baby girl. This theme is still fresh to everyone’s eyes, and if done correctly, can create strong visual imagery that creates a lasting impression to your guests. Take a look at our butterfly party for Morgan:

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What’s exciting about this theme

Butterflies are romantic, gentle, and ephemeral, the perfect foundation to create a dreamy setting. Create wonderful imagery by blending craftwork with jeweled adornments and hangings. Mix these elements with fresh florals and you’ll have the perfect dreamland for your daughter.

For more pictures, check out Morgan’s Butterfly Paradise.

5. Native American / Pow Wow

This is probably THE most unique theme for 2015. And rightly so; could you imagine anyone doing a theme like this? But our Party Magic team did it, and we were all so proud of the outcome. Take a look yourself:

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What’s exciting about this theme

There are so many materials you can play around with. Think feathers, wood, paper, trees, leaves, fire, leather! Not to mention, dream catchers! 

For more pictures, check out Phoenix’s Native American Party.

6. Sunshine and Lemonade

The theme says it all: sunshine and lemonade! The mood that is being achieved while executing this theme though, is overwhelming happiness. Take a look at the photos of Dara’s party below and smile! 

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What’s exciting about this theme

Serve lemonade for drinks. Create a picnic setting as a photo-op, complete with picnic mat, basket, and a picnic table filled with pastries and goodies. Have your stylist put a lemon tree as a prop.

For more pictures, check out Dara: It’s All About Sunshine and Lemonade! 

7. Parisian Market Square

Tired of the usual cliche Parisian theme? Why not level it up a notch further, and do a Parisian Market Square? The party we did for Cesca was just that. In addition to the stage setup, we created FIVE separate booths where people can linger and order various types of food and items: a coffee shop, a patisserie, a souvenir shop, a candy store, and a flower market! Not to mention a cashier where people can check out their goods. More on this exciting new concept of party in a separate post.

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What’s exciting about this theme

Treat the whole party as an experience. Once you’re in that mindset, everything can be tweaked to create that perfect experience for your guests. Prepare a budget. Hand out fake bills to children. Have a checkout counter for them to purchase all the goods. The whole experience teaches kids basic budgeting, prioritization, and just plain old fun!

 

OTHER BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS

If the above 7 party themes are not enough, here’s some more ideas for you to explore:

Royal Family

Lego

Camping

Winter

Minecraft

British London

UP (the movie)

Teddy Bear

Coney Island

Fiesta

Vintage Market

Robot

Treasure Island

Hawaii

Robin Hood

Little Prince

Harry Potter

Starry Starry Night

Enchanted Forest

Cinderella

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BIRTHDAY PARTY THEME RESOURCES

For more ideas, be sure to check out the following blogs. They are the top 2 kiddie party blogs in the country and regularly posts the latest and best parties being thrown:

Baby and Breakfast

Party Doll Manila

 

‘Til the next party,

Michelle

 

Morgan’s Butterfly Paradise

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In my handful of years in the event styling industry, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with a wide range of individuals. This is another fascinating aspect of the business that I enjoy, which I think of as kind of a “bonus gift”. I love getting to know all different kinds of people.

My husband loves to joke that meeting clients in event styling is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get. Well, in the case of Morgan’s Butterfly-themed Party, I was treated to chocolate truffles, in the person of my client, Liza!

This is her, and her princess, Morgan:

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The butterfly theme is not her choice. In fact, she repeatedly told me that if she were given a choice, she would have went for Hello Kitty. Butterflies are not the favorite of Morgan, either. Rather, the theme was chosen by Liza for the benefit of a very special person in her life: her mom, the grandmother of Morgan, who absolutely adores butterflies.

And so I happily went along with her theme, as I secretly knew that butterflies in her party, despite it being held in Summer Palace Restaurant in EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, would make for a very special event.

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The main challenge with styling a formal place such as the Summer Palace is that the restaurant by itself is already a heavily adorned venue, albeit in an oriental fashion. Moreover, with open space available, there would not be room at all for the kind of fixtures the Party Magic team and I were used to installing, such as a stage, a photo-op, an entrance, ceiling treatments, and the like.

However, there was a unique opportunity to capitalize on the existing architecture of Summer Palace. The plan was to transform the main highlight of the restaurant, a kind of enclosed circular dining area in the middle.

Here it was before we came in:

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And now after our styling:

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The styling may have been concentrated into just this circular area, but all the elements were so in tune and densely packed that it felt as if you were literally transported to a magical land once you stepped into this butterfly paradise!

I must say, Little People Photography did an amazing job capturing all these amazing elements in the event. Most especially, capturing the joyful moments of the celebrating family and their guests! Thank you for sharing. The photo below is one great example:

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The creation of this effect was not an easy one. It involved the Party Magic team painstakingly cutting thousands upon thousands of small paper butterflies, and dropping curtains of them all spread out in the area.

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The resulting effect allowed for limitless options in photography, where you can use the curtains as a sort “framing”, blurring them while focusing on your object:

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Another photo I absolutely love is this one. First, it showcases the amazing handicraft of Tazzy Cakes. Secondly, In this instance the butterfly curtain falls in just the right way as to capture the light and glow:

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The main concept of the circular area is to isolate and create a sort of butterfly “paradise” or haven, where one can enjoy and breathe in all the wistful beauty of another world.

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The cake here deserves a second mention. I just love how Tazzy Cakes crafted this one. It is so detailed and fit right in to the theme!

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The outer boundaries of the circular area were attached with butterflies too, this time larger ones!

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Here are some close-ups of the details we put into the area:

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For the centerpieces, we created a floral arrangement that sort of wraps around a bird cage, with its own butterfly!

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Coordinating with Liza was a great pleasure, simply because she had the one thing that makes planning parties a smooth and successful activity:

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From the onset, Liza had complete confidence in Party Magic. And as what my husband loves to say, styling is 1% design and 99% execution. You can only put so much into paper when designing. What really matters is what you’ll do when you’re on the ground, setting things up. Similarly, a stylist may present you with a nice drawing / perspective, but may ultimately underwhelm when the actual day arrives. In the end, it all boils down to how much you trust your stylist.

In the end, the Party Magic team and I were rewarded with the ultimate gift of all – appreciation!

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The sweetest of all birthdays to dear Morgan! I hope you had as much fun celebrating your birthday as I did in styling your party!

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‘Til the next party,

Michelle

Cadence’s Rockin’ Concert!

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I know it’s been a while since my last post (see Jaykob’s Native American Party). Things have been quite a whirlwind in the past few weeks, when the pre-school of my daughter, ICBB, asked for some help in styling their Moving Up Day (their version of graduation day). While it was a bit last-minute and entailed loads of details (not to mention last minute preparations!), the Party Magic team pulled out all the stops and made things happen. Great job as always! I will be posting some very cute photos soon!

I just got off from a party set-up and feeling very inspired to post some photos! I’m talking about Cadence’s Rock Star Party, and it is the most awesome party we’ve made yet. It was held at the Greenhills West Clubhouse, which I think is one of the nicest venues to style.

Take a look at the overall aesthetic to see what I mean:

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I think what gave this party the extra special touch is the inclusion of the color silver in the color motif. The silver gives the whole event a “harder” overall look which blends in well with the Rock theme as well as the fact that Cadence is celebrating her 7th birthday! Perfect combination of dainty and edgy.

Again, great job by Party Magic on the ceiling treatment. The stars in the center are breathtaking. The perfect allusion to being a “rock star”, too!

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I also absolutely love how the stage setup turned out:

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The design was inspired by a sort of mixture between rock and disco elements all under a fuchsia and purple color theme, with just a small amount of black coloring dashed in. The setup shows a kind of concert stage where a rock band would play, complete with drums, keyboards, guitar, and microphone!

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Interestingly, “Cadence” is a musical concept which ties perfectly into the Rock Star theme. Did anybody else get the connection? I just love how everything is tied in to the theme in this party!

The central graphic (that printed graphic in the center of the background, in the signage area) was inspired by my adolescent years wasted on games such as Dance Dance Revolution and later on its iOS counterpart, Tap Tap Revenge (those were the days!). This is bordered by the silhouette of a female vocalist belting out the songs of perhaps Janis Joplin or for the kids out there, Lady Gaga!

Here are some more close-ups:

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Speaking of Lady Gaga, the sounds supplier did an amazing job with song choice. Imagine yourself walking into this scene with Lady Gaga’s The Edge of Glory blasting out of the speakers:

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I was trying very hard not to do some head banging myself.

I think that the central signage here plays a major role in creating the proper visual impression to the guests. This is the signage that is typically shown outside auditoriums or concert halls.

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Okay, speaking of rocking it on to the tune of Lady Gaga, Chef Nikki of Simply Paris got into the mood and did some head banging herself! The decor and mood was simply contagious!

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By the way, that’s the photo-op set-up there at her back. Here are some for photos of the photo-op, this time without Chef Nikki:

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This set-up reminded me and my husband of The Voice. When you’re standing there on the platform, you can’t help but feel your auditioning and praying for those chairs to turn!

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The dessert table was equally lovely. It is consistent and ties in all the major concepts of the theme. The huge star is also present!

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Sweet setup there by Chef Nikki! If you any pastries done for an event, drop her a message in here Facebook page.

The happiest of birthdays to the awesome Cadence. Rock on!

IMG_4680 copy‘Til the next party,

Michelle

Jaykob Phoenix: A Native American Pow-Wow!

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One of my more recent parties involves a theme that is more rarely used, but nonetheless, if executed well, brings about a very strong impact to all guests. I’m talking about the theme: Native American Pow-Wow!

Jersh, our client, approached us with this novel idea for her son Jaykob Phoenix’s birthday celebration. This quickly became one of my most memorable parties to date, simply because the theme is so unique, and it was one of the hardest parties I’ve ever done!

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The difficulty in creating a theme like this lies in the fact that you would have to handcraft and manually create a number of elements by yourself. I figured that if we were going to make an impact for this party, it might as well be on the ceiling treatment:

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The ceiling is composed of off-white swags, dark brown and off-white fabric tassels, dark orange lanterns at the far end of the swags, and dreamcatchers in the center.

The tricky element here is the dreamcatcher. Not only are dreamcatchers quite expensive to purchase outright, I couldn’t find one that is sized large enough to make an impact on the ceiling! So, the Party Magic team and I resorted to good, old-fashioned handcrafting. Needless to say, creating these dreamcatchers took some time (and a lot of manpower!). These are all labors of love!

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The feathers of each dreamcatcher were dipped in gold dust, to provide a more “modern” feel to the design!

The photo-op is a verdant area, filled with lots of detail! In fact, let’s a look at the celebrating family right now:

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Aren’t they a beautiful family? Credit goes to Luxe Photography for this amazing shot, as well as all the other photos used in this post!

In fact, I find Luxe Photography’s package quite a great deal; where else can you find a photographer that has a great eye for detail and can take very nice portrait shots? Here are some examples:

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Phoenix is so cute, isn’t he!

Here are some more shots on the photo-op:

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More details: check out these super cute feather headdresses, crafted by yours truly! Aren’t they adorable! Just another one of those small things that make a party memorable.

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Speaking of handcrafting, other details that we created from scratch are these adorable deer taxidermy paper crafts and miniature paper teepee tents for the centerpiece!

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That beautiful graphic on the table was based on the invitation designed by the amazing Sygryd Fuentes! I like it so much because it veers away from the typical Pow Wow color scheme and ventures into a refreshing color palette, which uses teal and orange as its main theme. My philosophy on styling kiddie parties has always remained the same: do a sophisticated aesthetic, but never be too serious. It’s great that Sygryd gets this!

Check out Sygryd’s design company, The Playground, and be blown away. I highly recommend her work because her service is prompt, professional, and reasonably priced.

Now let’s move on to the focal point: the stage!

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The basic concept was to recreate a scene from a Pow-Wow, thus the boy with his fox and the teepee tent, under the shade of a tree. This tree is like no other though, for it stores arrows, weapons of destruction!

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Of course, these are not real arrows, but really just painted sticks with feathers attached to their ends. Real arrow or not, though, it was a big hit with the kids! I know because almost none were left after the party!

 The party was held at Greenmeadows Clubhouse. Because of the client’s large number of guests, however, she availed of the main area plus the low-ceiling function rooms at the back, where the buffet table was set.

Because of the low ceiling and small space, the Party Magic team and I decided to dress up the area with 1,000 pieces of paper feather garlands, cut and sewn together with lots of  sweat (and love!).

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The happiest of birthdays to the man of hour, Jaykob Phoenix! Hope you and your family enjoyed the party as much as I did.

Jaykob Phoenix09Til the next party,

Michelle

Dara: It’s All About Sunshine and Lemonade!

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My client, Dessa (who also happened to be a good friend of my husband’s sister!), was telling me all about how she was at wit’s end with her 3 boys. As any parent of a boy can attest to, boys can be quite a handful, not to mention having 3 of them under 1 roof!

And so imagine Dessa’s pure bliss when her 4th child turned out to be Dara, her one and only daughter! This was how she described it to me, and so the theme: Sunshine and Lemonade! What better way to convey the happiness that Dara brought into her life?

The whole point of the party was all about happiness, sunshine, rainbows, and lemonade. And so we settled on the colors of: pink and yellow. A great way to introduce you to the party would be through the ceiling treatment and the table set-up:

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I think The Plaza Catering did an amazing job dressing up the tables and chairs; they fit right into the theme and venue! We had bronze Tiffany chairs, cheery yellow table covers topped with light pink runners, pink and yellow polka-dot helium balloons, and of course, light pink swags alternated with yellow polka-dot lanterns! The helium balloons are an important touch to the decor: it serves as a sort of “in-between” or connector for the on-the-ground decor (tables, swags, centerpiece), and the ceiling decor (swags, lanterns).

Because the client had a LOT of guests, we decided to do a mixture of round and rectangular tables, in alternating rows!

The entrance set-up is both a photo-op and a gallery of family pictures centering on Dara:

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And here is the birthday celebrant herself, with the doting mom!

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One of my favorite graphic pieces in the photo-op set is this wonderful quote:

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When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

I truly believe, with all my heart, how true this saying is. One can never really predict what Life throws at you, but whatever it is, we have to make the best of it. If there is one thing I learned recently, it’s that people can find value in the most unexpected of places. If you’d told me back in college that I would be an event stylist of children’s parties, I would have laughed my ass off. But a series of events and circumstances have led me here, so here I am, making lemonade 24/7, and loving every minute of it.

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The stage set-up was sweet and simple, and fell perfectly in line with all the rest of the party. We even had our own lemon tree placed to the right! (the kids went nuts trying snatch the fake lemons off the leaves!)

Special credit should be made to Happy Folks Studio for all these wonderful photos! These guys are the best! Check out their website here.

Here’s my 2nd favorite quote:

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You know the song? I love singing this to my children, simply because it is so true.

The party also had an extensive and different kind of dessert area set-up. Instead of the usual area for dessert, we devised THREE different tables that contained various kinds of food items: cakes, lemonade, and candies!

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Aren’t they all so cute?

My favorite pastry of all, however, was Dara’s own cake:

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So simple but so daintily done!

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We used a centerpiece that is a customized watering can, with Dara Rose labeled on it and filled with lemons and a pinwheel. Dessa brought with her bags upon bags of chocolate treats, so the Party Magic team and I helped her scatter the chocolates all over the tables!

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The giveaways were absolutely adorable. Yes, you guessed it. Lemons in a jar!

In addition, the party involved crafts and activity booths, such as painting pots, and decorating your own slippers!

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Here’s a look at the pots again, this time already painted by the kids!

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Kudos to Gladys and her team at Crafts & Party Bucket for a wonderfully set-up booth and well thought-out activities!

Great job to Mommy Dessa for a well organized party! A truly happy celebration for Dara’s 1st!

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‘Til the next party,

Michelle

Joaquin’s Little Rascal Riot!

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When Jemelle, the client, uttered the words, “Little Rascals”, I was instantly thrilled. I mean, who could ever forget that famous letter of Alfalfa, written to Darla?

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I wasn’t even 10 years old when Little Rascals went onscreen, so imagine the impression this scene left on me regarding boys! Needless to say, styling this party was a fun ride, and I hope Jemelle and her family enjoyed the experience!

But before we head on to all that talk about styling and decor, let me show you my own version of the “Darla Letter”:

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Isn’t that adorable! Now, on to my favorite scene:

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Joaquin is riding our own version of “The Blur”, and from the look on his face, he is loving it! Can I say that our party was a smashing success? The main celebrant’s stamp of approval is, after all, the most important!

Little J Photography did an awesome job capturing this special moment, and deserves credit for all these amazing photos. Kudos!

Now, let’s move on to the mood setter:

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Lately, I’ve been on addicted to tassels. I feel that they are a great way to dress ceilings: tassels are light, creates long lines of color, and the possible combinations of cloth, pattern, and color are almost infinite! In the case of this party, the Party Magic team and I opted for cream, red, and red checkered tassels!

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The stage is equally delightful: on the left side, we have the woman-haters club cabin; on the right, we have a fruit stand accompanied by a lemon tree!

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The photo-op area is one of the most famous during the event, simply because of “The Blur”! What can I say, all boys love cars, especially red race cars!

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The centerpiece design was focused on one of the most iconic elements of American childhood: the treehouse!

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The dessert area remains consistent with our opted for rustic, wood-filled scene:

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Popcorn cupcakes? Who can ever think of that, except Simply Paris!

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A most happy celebration to Joaquin and her loving parents, Gian and Jemelle!

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‘Til the next party,

Michelle

The Best Catering Services in Manila

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It has been quite a while since my last post regarding the Top 5 Catering Services in Manila, so I think it’s best to brush up this year 2015 and provide you with a longer list of the best catering services in the city, a kind of “directory”, if you will.

Here’s a BONUS: I’ve already done the research for you and will be including downloadable menus and packages for EACH caterer, to save you time! You can find the download links at the bottom of each caterer.

Just a caveat: this list is by no means meant to be comprehensive or definitive. It just, in my opinion, contains a list of the most popular catering services in Metro Manila.

Let’s dive right in!

 

bizulogoBIZU

A: First Midland Building, 109 Gamboa Street, Legaspi Village, 1223 Makati City, Metropolitan Manila

T: +(632) 845-0590 / 845-0591 / 845-05-92 / 845-02-93

E: catering-concierge@bizugroupe.com

DOWNLOAD:

Bizu Buffet Package

Bizu Children’s Package

 

 logo_mainTIJIOE THE CATERER

A: 4303 J. Abad Santos Bayview Village Tambo Parañaque City

T: +(632) 851-0226

E: tjioethecaterer@yahoo.com

DOWNLOAD:

Tijioe Menu 1

Tijioe Menu 2

Tijioe Menu 3

Tijioe Kiddie Menu

Tijioe Desserts Menu

Tijioe Amenities List

 

 passion - adjPASSION COOKS CATERING

A: 18 V. Fernandez St, VOB Village, Parañaque

T: +(632) 519-5619 /  +(63917) 302-2937

E: passioncooks@yahoo.com

DOWNLOAD:

Passion Cooks Lunch and Dinner Menu

Passion Cooks Kids Sit Down Menu

Passion Cooks Mix and Match Menus

Passion Cooks Snacks or Cocktails Buffet Menu

 

hizons-logoHIZON’S CATERING

A:  22 Renowned Lane, Sanville, Quezon City

T: +(632) 928-3672 / +(632) 925-0107

E:  info@hizonscatering.com

DOWNLOAD:

Hizon’s Buffet Menu for Lunch and Dinner

Hizon’s Children’s Menu

 

golden cape logoGOLDEN CAPE CATERING

A: 304 D. Tuazon, Quezon City, Philippines

T: +(632) 365-7150 / +(632) 416-5856

E: inquiry@goldencapecatering.com

DOWNLOAD:

Golden Cape Menu 1

Golden Cape Menu 2

 

verleo logoVERLEO CATERING

A: #277 P. Guevarra St., San Juan City, Philippines

T: +(632) 506-3118 / +(632) 404-7858

E: verleocatering@gmail.com

DOWNLOAD:

Verleo Catering Buffet Menu

 

k by cunanan - adjK BY CUNANAN

T: +(632) 710-6445

E: emailus@kbycunanancatering.com

DOWNLOAD:

K by Cunanan Menu

 

creamery - adjTHE CREAMERY CATERING

T: +(632) 687-3436

E: creamery.cater@gmail.com

DOWNLOAD:

The Creamery Menus

 

hearty - adj 2HEARTY ONION CATERING

A: Quezon City, Philippines

T: +(63917) 828-7988

E: inquiries@theheartyonion.com

DOWNLOAD:

Hearty Onion Sample Menu 1

Hearty Onion Sample Menu 2

Hearty Onion Snacks Menu

Heart Onion Packed Meals Menu

 

logoNE CATERING

A: 40 Aurora Blvd., corner H. Lozada St. San Juan, Metro Manila

T: +(632) 726-9384 / +(632) 298-6151 

E: necatering@gmail.com

DOWNLOAD:

NE Catering Kiddie Menu

 

cvj logoCVJ FOOD CATERING

A: 2nd Floor CVJ Clubhouse #50 Eagle Street, New Marikina Subdivision, Marikina City

T: +(632) 646-8415 / +(63917) 880-5321

E: cvjfoodcorp@yahoo.com

DOWNLOAD:

CVJ Promo Party Packages

CVJ Kiddie Menu

CVJ Kiddie Party Entertainment and Amenities

 

‘Til the next party!

Michelle

Balloon Decoration: Is This For You?

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(Or, The Difference Between Styling and Balloon Decoration)

In just the space of just 2 years, event styling has quickly grown from a small trend into a full blown revolution. I am sure that by now, you know somebody who has thrown a birthday party decorated by an event stylist. And what a party it was! All the amazing handmade crafts, the elaborate stage set-up, the furniture, and all those lanterns and pompoms!

But what, exactly, does styling mean? How is it different from the typical balloon decoration? Is it really for you? And most importantly, how much will it set you back?

In this article, I will my best and answer all of these questions. But before diving into the meat of things, I think it would be very helpful if we have a little history lesson and find out how the whole styling movement began.

HOW EVENT STYLING CAME ABOUT

My company, Party Magic, has been in the party decor and supplies industry for the past 4 years. In the space of this time period, I was lucky enough to witness how styling came about. There are, basically, 2 types of clients who approached us with the burning desire to have a styled party:

1. The Veteran Kiddie Party Throwers

These are parents who are celebrating the 1st birthday of their 3rd, or 4th child, and are just plain sick and tired of the usual balloon decor. Think about it. If you assume that these parents are well-connected, established professionals with a considerably wide social circle, then it is easy to assume that they’ve attended the kiddie parties of the children of their friends, their families, and even the parties thrown by the classmates of their own children. They must have seen more kiddie parties than I have! And so when they stumbled upon the early trend of styling, it must have felt like such a breath of fresh air. Suddenly, parties became fun to attend to again!

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This is my niece, Morgan. Her mom, my sister-in-law, is THE veteran kiddie party thrower!

2. The Early Mom and Dad in the Batch

The early mom and dad are parents who, compared to their peers in their social circle (such as friends, family, and schoolmates), married early and had a child early. The main consequence of this is the fact that by the time they would be celebrating their child’s first birthday, their child guest list is almost zero. Faced with this prospect, and being young and hip, they often opt to go for the styled party trend.

Styled parties have the interesting characteristic of being appealing not only to children, but to adults as well, because of applied concepts such as coordinated design, typography, and color palette. Styled parties are also more suited for a cool, relaxed vibe, perfect for small chat and catching up between friends. Both of these qualities are very appealing for the early mom and dad.

WHAT IS EVENT STYLING, EXACTLY?

Nowadays, it is very easy to declare oneself a “event stylist”, and any unsuspecting potential client would be none the wiser. But what is event styling, exactly? What can you expect from a styled party?

If I were to describe event styling in one sentence, it would be this: If Martha Stewart had a 1-year old, the party that she would throw would be a styled party.

However, instead of trying to tell you, I think it’s best to just show you a styled party:

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Andie’s Mermaid Themed Party, by Party Magic

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Ross’s Monopoly Party, by Party Magic

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Sam’s Barnyard Bash, by Party Magic

Balloon decoration, on the other hand, looks like this:

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Miko’s Sesame Street Balloon Party, by Party Magic

Perhaps a better way of presenting the difference between styled and balloon decorated party is by presenting the table below:

  STYLING BALLOON DECOR
Theme Non-character-based (such as Garden, Tea Party, Monsters, Transportation) Character-based (such as Mickey Mouse, Cars)
Materials Paper crafts, furniture, wooden painted props, lights, floral arrangements, lanterns, pompoms, swags. Rubber balloons, styrofoam backdrops, swags.
Overall Look and Aesthetic Coordinated color scheme, subdued, visually balanced (not minimalist, but not overblown either). A blast of colors; a look that says, “every nook and cranny needs to be covered in balloons”.

HOW MUCH DOES A TYPICAL STYLED PARTY COST?

If I were to answer this question in a nutshell, I would say that a styled party will cost you about P60,000 and upwards, with the P60,000 being the most basic, base price of a stylist’s package. How high the price will go upwards for your specific party actually depends on 3 major factors – your requirements, your venue and guest list, and the stylist that you will hire.

It is important to realize that not all stylists are created equal – each stylist that their own taste, signature design, and their own interpretation of the theme. It is very important that at the onset you and your stylist will establish a strong rapport in terms of the execution of your ideas and concepts.

Hope all of this helps you in your search for that perfect birthday celebration for your little one!

‘Til the next party!

Michelle

Morgan: A Baking Banquet!

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In line with my New Year’s resolution to post more photos of our parties, here’s another one that I’m sure you’ll like: our Baking Party, version 2.0!

At Party Magic, we always try to push ourselves to new heights. Just because we’ve already done a theme before doesn’t mean that we can just reuse the concept all over again. What other element can we introduce to make the party extra special? What is the “kaboom” factor?

Of course, it also helps to have added incentive: it just so happened that the 7th birthday celebrant, Morgan, is my niece!

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We decided to veer away from the typical ceiling treatment, and do a more unique twist: baking cup garlands, and lots of it!

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If you take a close look at the photo above, you’ll notice something: each baking cup is lighted! You can’t see it here, but the lights are programmed to blink on and off in a set pattern as well. This was an afternoon party, so by the time the sun set and the venue grew a little bit dark, the lights totally did their magic!

Let’s take another look at the stage setup, this time with the birthday celebrant herself!

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Now, let’s zoom in on the details!

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For those who are wondering, yes, that’s a real KitchenAid!

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There are so many details, we haven’t even tackled the entrance, dessert table, and centerpiece yet!

Another special element to the baking theme is the ability to infuse actual pastries and cakes into the stage concept. For Morgan, Simply Paris created a whole set of cakes for her!

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If that’s not enough, here’s some more cakes!

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Before we leave the stage, here’s a candid photo of the great host, Jen Belen herself, in her element!

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Let’s move on to the entrance set-up shall we?

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Isn’t the family just adorable!

Below is another shot, this time with Morgan and her sweet sister, Summer!

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The concept was a mini bakeshop, filled will all these goodies!

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Are these delectable pastries real? Or fake? (Hint: answer is at the bottom of this post!)

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In this blog, I’ve been talking about cohesiveness and sticking to your theme, and this is one way to achieve this: having crafts and activity booths patterned after your theme!

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The activities and crafts were made and organized by none other than the great Gladys of Crafts & Party Bucket! Kudos to her for styling such as wonderful crafts booth, as usual!

Mommy Cheryl, my sister-in-law, availed of the following activities:

Apron Decoration

Cooking Decoration

Fishbowl Decoration (okay, this is not really “in line” with the baking theme, but it’s so cool!)

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The centerpieces were not to be left behind! Each table were decorated with it’s own baking set, complete with Morgan’s invitation logo printed on a wooden block!

The baking banquet continues at the little corner at the end of the buffet table, where we see the dessert table set up! Check out the mini-kitchen set and the pastry cabinet!

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Take a look at how beautiful Simply Paris packaged its sweets: custom cupcake boxes and mini glass jars!

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And of course, look at these wonderful Simply Paris creations!

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Congratulations for a job well done, Mommy Cheryl! A joyful 7th birthday to our sweet Morgan!

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Oh, as for the answer to my trick question above, the pastries are fake!

‘Til the next party,

Michelle