Friday, March 10, 2017

An Under the Sea Mermaid Party (plus supplier ratings)

I have a love hate relationship with planning and throwing parties. I love the whole creative process of putting together a theme, searching online for pegs and inspiration, and doing DIY projects. But what I hate sometimes is looking for suppliers and trying to stay on budget, without sacrificing the look you envision. Plus, hoping those suppliers deliver without leaving you disappointed.

Anyway, my brother-in-law and his family visited the Philippines last year, and part of their trip was celebrating the 2nd birthday of their daughter here in Manila. It would be the first time most of the family would get to meet Avianna, so her mom wanted to throw a big party. Of course, since they were in the States, I was the one tasked to plan and organize everything here. I was actually excited to do it since it would be like throwing a party without having to pay for anything haha! Ganon pala ang feeling ng party planner? ;p But I still felt pressured because I hoped my sister-in-law would like the suppliers I chose and everything.

Her mom wanted an Under the Sea Mermaid theme and she sent me pegs of the look she wanted and also her budget which was about P100,000. In the end, everyone had a great time at the party and my sister-in-law was happy with how it turned out. I did have some issues with some suppliers though, so I'll just share the pros and cons of each below. Take note that this was last year though, so prices and packages may have increased or changed already as of this time.



Venue: BIG PLATE
Address: 74 Presidents Avenue cor. J. Elizalde St. BF Homes Paranaque City
Telefax No.: 659-1234 / 836-3832
E-mail: inquiries@bigplate.biz
Website: www.bigplate.biz/index.html

We stay in the south and most of the guests also, so we wanted to have the party somewhere in the area. My mother-in-law was the one who suggested Big Plate, which is a casual dining buffet restaurant offering Filipino cuisine. If you're from the BF Homes area, for sure you've seen this place which is located right beside Caltex along Presidents Ave. We actually pass by this place a lot, but I never knew it had a function room on the 2nd floor.


We ended up doing an ocular and the venue was just right for the amount of guests we had. And really, it was the location we were after.


We decided to have lunch there to taste the food and it was ok. Nothing special, but the food was tasty and there were a lot of choices for the price.


Here's their menu packages:
1. Eat All You Can Buffet / Drink All You Can (Standard - Complete) – P368/head
2. Eat All You Can Buffet / 1 glass drink – P 346/head
3. Eat All You Can Buffet / Drink All You Can (No Beef) – P 338/head
4. Eat All You Can Buffet / 1 glass drink (No Beef) – P 316/head
5. Eat All You Can Buffet / 1 glass drink (No Salad/No Beef/1 Appetizer/1 Pasta/1 Veggie) – P268/head


We ended up getting the P368/head package x 80 pax = P29,440 x 2% tax = P30,029. Not bad for the cost of food plus venue already. And there were a lot of food since it was the complete buffet. We had choice of 1 soup, 3 appetizers, salad, 1 pork, 1 beef, 1 chicken, 1 fish, 1 vegetable, 1 pasta, 2 rice, 1 dessert, plus drinks. Another friend actually booked her baby's baptism reception here as well after attending our party.



Styling & Food Carts: PARTY TIME PHILIPPINES
Website: www.partytimephilippines.com
Email: partytimephilippines@yahoo.com

I also used this supplier for my son's 1st birthday party and I was beyond impressed with how they styled and decorated my venue. That's why I didn't even think twice about getting them again. However, I had a few issues with them this time and I don't know if it's because I had gotten a much cheaper package compared to before. For my son's party, they were my caterer as well as my full stylist. This time, I just got their "STYRO SPECIAL PACKAGE" for P16,000 which consisted of the following:
- 50 balloon bubbles
- 10 table centerpiece with printed latex topper
- 2 pillars with 18inch mylar toppers
- Full styro backdrop rental with entrance styro

A few days before party, they email me photos of existing styro backdrops to choose from. I had actually sent images of backdrop ideas I liked months in advance, and they didn't say anything naman. May powerpoint file pa ako ng moodboard and everything. So I assumed they would make a backdrop based on the invite and pegs I sent since that's what they did with my son's party. Un pala, I could only choose from their old ones. I just wished they'd emailed me earlier since maybe we could have worked out a customized one na lang (since my sister-in-law had a specific color scheme and didn't mind paying extra). Like I indicated in the powerpoint file that colors should be light blues and greens. Pero the only backdrop they had was darker and may color red pa. Parang I felt useless lang un moodboard that I did since sana when I sent the pegs, they immediately said, sorry we only have these decors to choose from. I guess that's what you get for a budget package though.


Also, good thing I went to the venue earlier to drop off the cake, prizes, giveaways, and letter standees so I was able to check out the decors. This is what the initial stage area looked like:


I was a bit confused since they completely covered half of the backdrop. I know the space was limited, but it really looked bad with everything crammed in front. I had to ask them to rearrange everything by removing the cake table (we put the cake in the dessert buffet area instead), move the prizes to the side, and just move the giveaway table somewhere else. I also had to ask them to open the lights they brought for the stage. Here's how the revised stage area looked. Doesn't it look better and more open? Now you can see the mermaid and shells in the backdrop.


I was just a bit disappointed because I had such high expectations from them. Good thing I arrived early and was able to fix it pa. I don't know, but I feel like you should still get the same quality even if you get a lower cost package from any supplier.

Btw, I also got flavored fries and Magnolia ice cream (100 servings each) from them. No complaints here, we were even able to take home the ice cream that was left over.


Letter Standees: HANDICRAFTS ATBP.
Email: order@handicraftsatbp.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/handicrafts.atbp

I've ordered giveaways from them for my son's 1st birthday party before so I know they are very reliable. The letters I got were 3 feet tall in teal color at P550 per letter. They also charged a delivery fee of P450.



Host/Magician: CHAYNO
www.facebook.com/chayno.partyhostmagician

I would always see Chayno's name for party host recommendations. And since I haven't used him in any of my kids' parties before, I decided to book him this time.  All communication was done through Facebook and he came prepared and on time.

His Partyhost Magician Package cost P12,000 inclusive of the ff:
- 30 pcs balloontwisting
- kiddie magic show with live animal tricks like birds and rabbit
- with bubblemachine set-up and a party assistant

Sound system was c/o venue, but I think you have to pay extra if he will bring his own.

magic show

He was a fun and engaging host. The kids and adults had fun with his games and magic show.


This game with the dads was a big hit. They had to swing a ball which was tied to a string and catch it inside the mug. It was really a lot of fun and had everyone cheering and laughing!


His balloon swords and bubble machine were also a big hit with the kids.



Cake: CUPPYPUPPY
www.facebook.com/CuppyPuppybyJoannaRomero

I've been checking this supplier in Instagram for quite some time now, so I really wanted to see if her cakes looked and tasted as good as what others said.

We got the small 3-tier cake, 4",6",8" rounds x 4" high per tier, only bottom tier edible, with premium chocolate ganace filling and wrap. Cost was P8,000.

However, it said in their contract that delivery is quoted as an additional fee based on location and is only available for wedding cake orders and those requiring on site assembly. So we had to pick-up the cake at her house in Teoville East Village Paranaque (beside SM City BF). Buti na lang it was in Paranaque, because if it was in Makati or QC, I'll have to pass.

Anyway, I sent her pegs and moodboard months in advance when I booked her. But then the day before the party, she texts me at about 5pm regarding the design asking if I wanted to copy the peg I sent exactly. Well, I said not exactly the same, just similar, and maybe if they could add a mermaid tail somewhere. Anyway, here's the peg I sent on the left and here's the cake they did on the right.


Cake was very pretty and it actually tasted really good.


It is a bit pricey though, so if you're from the south and want a more affordable option (but still amazing quality) try Baked Twinkles. I just discovered her when I was planning my daughter's 7th birthday party and I super loved the cake she made for us.


Dessert Buffet: ANDAIN'S
www.facebook.com/andainscandybuffet

I found this supplier through Instagram and got their Jade Package for P9,500:
- Good for 60+
- 8 candy choices, 2 pastry choices

To be honest, their set up was very disappointing for me. I was honestly expecting a bit more based on their photos from Instagram. I mean I can do this set-up myself e!


Look naman at some of their past works on their page which made me decide to book them. Doesn't it look mas bongga? They used a lot of props and elements that I was expecting. But then, their set-up for my party was super plain.


There were under the sea elements (like the seashells and pearls) but it was very minimal. There was also no design on the skirt part of the table or the floor area. Without the signage (na may mermaid) and the cake, this dessert table is totally generic. Again, is it because I just got the lower cost package? To think 2nd to the cheapest na un P9,500 ha. Sana ako na lang gumawa if I knew it would look this way.


Another big issue for me was their male staff at the party was just wearing a sando and very underdressed! There was also a female assistant so I don't know if the guy was there as a driver or to help set up the buffet, but he was there inside the whole time of the party. And I think it really isn't professional to wear a sando to an event kahit outdoor venue pa ang party (unless beach siguro).


Bubble Show / Face Paint: GROOVE PAINT
www.facebook.com/groovepaintpartyneeds

I just found this supplier on Facebook since my sister-in-law said she really wanted a bubble show. I was surprised how affordable they were, plus their package even came with face painting!

AWESOME PACKAGE: P3,700
- Face Painting and Glitter Art
- With 2 Professional artists
- 3 Hours Unlimited
- With Rhinestones, Sequins, Body Gems, Body Glitter, Charms and Crystals accessories
- Professional Hypo Allergenic, Non Toxic, Easy To Remove Face and Body Paints
- Unlimited bubble show with tricks
- Choreographed and Giant Bubbles for Photos
- 30 pcs playable twisted balloons

Anyway, funny lang before they started the bubble show, the 2 guys started dancing, pero it seemed they didn't know the steps then hindi pa sila sabay! As in sana hindi na lang sila sumayaw lol! But other than that, the bubble show was a big hit with the kids, especially the part where you get to have your picture taken inside the bubble


The face painting was also ok, but I would have to say the one from my daughter's McDonald's party was so much better in terms of drawing. But these guys were super nice, they even accommodated my daughter when she said she wanted a butterfly painted on her face after the party ended na.



Photographer: SUGARPUFF PHOTOGRAPHY
www.facebook.com/sugarpuffphoto

I've used Sugarpuff before for a family shoot and also my son's cake smash and I'm definitely a satisfied client. All party photos in this post are from her.



Giveaways: BEACH BUCKETS

I wasn't able to go to Divisoria so I just bought beach buckets from the department store at around P150 - P200 each.


Then I just made thank you tags based on the invite.



Prizes:

Assorted items I bought on sale from toy stores and department stores.



Total cost for the party was a little over P100k, just within our budget. Ang mahal na talaga mag party today noh? I wonder how much those other parties cost with full styling in big venues with more than a hundred guests. Kaloka! Anyway, main learnings from this party are:
- even if you make moodboards and send pegs, you still have to be super specific with what you want. As in ask them to send photos in advance of what they are planning to do or samples of what they will use.
- for suppliers, I just hope they provide the same quality to their clients regardless of what package you get. Even if a client gets the cheapest package, sana the same detail and execution is given.

Anyway, I'm just happy everyone had a great time that day. The whole family had fun and you could tell even Avianna enjoyed her party. And that's the most important thing. :)

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