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Gianna’s Traveling Circus – Michelle Lao

Gianna’s Traveling Circus



With the proliferation of styled birthday parties in the past 2-3 years, Party Magic has literally done hundreds of birthday parties. One question I get asked a lot is: given the many years that we’ve been doing this, do we often repeat the themes that we do for our events?

Well, the answer will surprise you: no.

More often than not, we either do a totally new theme, or a new aspect or twist to an old theme, or a mash-up of two or more themes. Here’s one thing I have to say about this: never underestimate the imagination of a mother!

For example, in the past year, Party Magic did the following parties:

  1. Pokemon
  2. Little Red Riding Hood
  3. Mickey-Pirate
  4. Little Lulu
  5. Rio Carnival
  6. Kung Fu Panda
  7. Minnie Boutique
  8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  9. NBA

So yes, more often than not, we do totally new things, all for the sake of realizing the vision of our clients.

Now Gianna’s party falls into the 2nd category: introducing a new twist to a classic theme. The theme is circus, but my client, mommy Monique, wanted to throw her party at her house, on her lawn. It was to be a mid-afternoon going-into-night party.

I thought: what would fit a circus theme, done on grassy outdoors? Why, a Traveling Circus of course!

And wait til you see how it turned out. Because it’s a circus party unlike any other I’ve done before:


Despite the obvious downside of running the risk of bad weather, outdoor parties have an amazing perk: an abundant amount of natural sunlight. This makes for a gloriously bright photos, like the one above.


More often than not, clients approach Party Magic with standard theme ideas (nautical, princess, circus, etc), that eventually, after some discussion during the client meeting, graduate to a more nuanced and multi-dimensional theme.

A very easy way to make your own event unique is by adding a new “dimension” to your original idea. For example, another very nice twist to the Circus theme is the “Quirky Circus” idea, which I also conceptualized for another client.

A “longer” shot of the first picture above is seen below:


And that’s just the photo-op section! This was set up right outside the front door of the house, underneath some roofing.

Beside the photo-op, we placed lighted letter blocks of Gianna’s name:


Here’s how the outdoor scene on the lawn proper looked:


Picnic benches are a great way to transform your event. Imagine if this party was filled with the standard circular tables covered in linen. The place would look entirely different!

Another different viewpoint is the time of day. Since the party was in mid-afternoon, the latter part of the event went well into night time. Let’s take a look at those same elements, the letter blocks and the picnic benches, but this time at night:



The mood and scene TOTALLY changes! It becomes something more warm and intimate, perfect for an event with close friends and family.

Not to mention, the transformation that happened at the photo-op scene:



Gianna’s stage setup was an eclectic mix of vintage, animal, and barn-like elements. Overall, it was what a circus should be: a total riot!



The venue was littered with collaterals and print material such as these:



These graphics were inspired from my research on classic circuses, such as the famous Barnum and Bailey of the 19th century:



It’s a nostalgic twist to the circus theme, and I love how it turned out!

For entertainment, Monique brought in some stilt walkers to add some mystique to the party:



As with any party, the details are the most important. For Gianna’s Circus, I thought it would be fun to put a sort of “shoot the duck” type of display:


Ceiling works were an eclectic mix of string lights, bunting flags, lace umbrellas (to add a feminine touch), and some oriental lanterns:



Our centerpieces were seals juggling balls on their noses:


The seals were accompanied with vases wrapped in circus tickets and various colored accordion fans:


I made sure to litter various areas of the party with some vintage markers, like this red tray of Coke bottles on top of a vintage storage chest:


The cake was a sight to behold! Just the perfect representation of circus and whimsy:


A most wonderful birthday to you, sweet Gianna!




About the author

Michelle Lao

1 comment

  • Hi Michelle,

    I want to have the same concept for my twins 1st bday… Like a backyard themed party… The problem is, i still don’t have a venue… Can you suggest a venue in South Area, probably, Cavite, Paranaque or somewhere in between Manila and Cavite. Of course, if it’s very affordable, it will be of great help (if there’s any 10k below venue)…

    Hope to hear from you ssssooooooonnnnn….

    Thank you so much,

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