Back in the days, all a mother had to do was to blow up a few balloons, whip together a couple of burgers and hotdogs, toss crisps, candy and biscuits onto a platter and provide chairs then a birthday party would be ready. However, these days, birthday parties for children have morphed into well planned, coordinated and themed occasions that carry the attendants through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world for the few hours when their backyard is transformed into whatever theme or animated character of their choice.
Arts and Culture caught up with entrepreneur Chandapiwa Majola of Happily Ever After Kids’ Parties to explain further the intricate details of planning a kiddie’s party.
For every cause to strive there has to be some kind of motivation and inspiration. According to Ms Majola, what motivated her was when she struggled to find a party planner when her daughter turned one. She says, “When my daughter turned one, I struggled to find a kids’ party planner and stylist who was offering stylish furniture options and bespoke, unique themes. At the time no one had kids Tiffany chairs or Wimbledon chairs, it was just plastic chairs.” So in a bid to right a few wrongs she picked up on in the industry, she then started her own thing through the Happily Ever After Kids Parties.
Chanda explained that she picked up an element of monotony from most of the party planners and they were all centered around Walt Disney characters made popular by television shows and fairytales. Chanda however, stated that it is important for parents to realise that a theme can be more than a cartoon character and can be anything the child wants or likes citing a favourite toy, sport, television show or game as just a few examples that can be chosen from as a theme.
In this industry the main obstacle remains the reluctance by parents to pay what is required by the planner to give their angels the party of their dreams. She stated that, “There are few people who are willing to pay P3,000 for d├®cor only for a kid’s party,” so she put emphasis on the need for anyone in that line of work to value diversity.
Chanda also says, “Another challenge is that we believe the market doesn’t understand the difference between an events planner and events stylists. We are an events planning and styling company, we can organise everything from the invitation cards to the thank you cards, if that’s what the client requires.”
“Parties define us in many ways, often creating a timeline of our lives and showing how we lived in different moments.” In her book, A Passion for Parties, Carolyn Roehm says it perfectly how parties illustrate personalities and lifestyles to friends and family. During parties the focal points are food, entertainment, ambiance and decorum, which call for professional party coordination and organisation. Clients of party planners want an occasion that attendees remember. Whether it is the food, guests or location, parties are planned to give a lasting impression and it is the party planners’ job to make that happen.
Party planning requires flair, flexibility, patience and the imagination of a two year old believing in both the tooth fairy and Santa Clause.