Wow! That's is all I can say after we had our baby daughter's first birthday celebration. After months of research, planning, booking and finalizing, all the hard work had paid off :) I'm really thankful to God for giving me the strength and guidance. It was a truly fun-filled and memorable day apt for a very important occassion. Nakakaloka rin pala ang mag-organize ng party on your own. But I was happy to see that all our guests raved about the food and how their kids had fun. Admittedly, there were apprehensions the day before the party but I decided to let go and not obssess about it too much otherwise, I won't be enjoy the party myself.
And as usual, I'm giving here the review of the suppliers we have booked for our daughter's party; of course, with a few anecdotes on my experience as a stage mom (?!) / party planner ;-)
Venue: AVR, Colegio de Sta. Ana, Taguig
One of the challenging parts sa pagplan ng party ni Georgie was to find the venue. I have a Word document of our prospective venues (from north to south of manila) that I had compiled from my web searches. Budget, flexibility and proximity were the major points that we had to consider. As early as April, we were scouting na for venues and you know what, some of them are booked na! We considered getting a party package na all-in na kasama na ang venue but the major turn off was the ridiculous corkage fees sa mga extras that you want to bring in. We have visited some other party places that would fit our requirements but it didn't appeal much to hubby. (Sa totoo lang ha, mas maarte pa minsan tong asawa ko sakin.) The AVR in Taguig was actually our last resort because of its location. We felt na baka masyadong malayuan ang mga bisita sa venue and would not come at all. But hubby argued that guests (mostly friends and relatives) who really want to go would find ways to attend kesehodang sa Timbuktu pa yan. Plus, the director of the school is actually our ninong and Georgie's lolo/ninong meaning we could pretty much do anything with the place - walang corkage, walang makikialam, walang time limit. The room has a stage na, sound system and projector so we could easily play our AVP without having to rent out the equipments. The room was just enough to fit ten buffet tables, the food buffet, food carts - medyo snug but people could easily get around pa rin naman. Our ninong also had additional aircons put in para di mainitin ang guests. What more could we ask for? :)
Cake: Sheryberry Sweets
Cost: P4000 for 2 layer all edible Minnie Mouse cake, P500 for the 5" mini cakes (with acetate box, ribbon and tags), P500 delivery charge
Cost: P300 for adult buffet (Customized menu comprising of Java Rice, Baked Beef Lasagna, Boneless chicken teriyaki, Crusted fish fillet with spinach cream sauce, Buttered vegetables, Buco pandan and Molo soup) and P160 for kiddie buffet (Spaghetti, Chicken lollipop, Hotdog with mallows, Choco cupcake with sprinkles)
Why not 5/5 ang rating? Kasi naman, yung unang AE na naka-assign sa amin nagresign na pala and no one bothered to get in touch with us to let us know kung sino ang kokontakin. It was only after several texts/email to our AE and still no reply that I decided to call their office. Dun lang nila sinabi na wala na yung AE. Buti naman at yung nakausap ko e siya na naging AE namin. Ok naman siya kausap and mabilis umaksyon. We had a total change of the menu 2 days before the event. Initially, we had a merienda cena type ng menu but hubby argued that the guests would probably opt for a heavier meals given yung travel pa nila.
The AVR was also located at the 4th floor (without elevator ha) and lugging all the tables and chairs was challenging but we never heard any complains from the staff. They were smiling and greeting us pa whenever we pass them.
4.5 lang because the chairs came late. The staff were putting on the seatcovers pa when guests started arriving. And walang alternate ribbons which was supposedly included as per contract. Minute detail but still undelivered. Will we still get Verleo? Yes. :)
Food Cart: c/o Partyboosters (Sorbetero and Flavored Fries)
Cost: P4,200 (Sorbetero - 150 servings), P2,500 (Fries - 100 servings), P500 delivery charge
I wanted to have a candy buffet for Georgie's party but Myke wasn't into it at all. I even hoarded plastic cups as containers for the candies in anticipation (and still in the hopes that hubby would buy the candy buffet idea) but sadly, di natuloy. What he wanted talaga was dirty ice cream AND he wanted one that tasted like the ice cream sold at Tienesitas. Di naman demanding no? Anyway, I've read in N@W that Jacque recos her sorbetero so I booked that. I added the fries cos some of my friends usually want something salty when eating ice cream or anything sweet. The sorbetero was actually for 100 servings lang but we added 50 more servings so the guests, kids and adults alike could have second servings pa :)
I gave a 4.5 rating because the fries came late. The party wasn't in full swing pa naman so it wasn't a biggie. The staff manning the sorbetero were just kids. So when they came, di nila kaya iakyat yung cart sa 4th floor. So it was hubby and some of the grounds maintenance who had to carry the cart upstairs. Ito lang naman ang nireklamo ni hubby kasi pinagpawisan siya sa pagbuhat nung cart, hehehe.
Venue Decor: Partyboosters
Cost: P15,000 (Full styro backdrop, Party is Here entrance standee, 150 ceiling balloons, 10 centerpieces, entrance arch)
Jen.. ay Jacque pala! Hahaha! Jacque is really nice to transact with kahit na may mga last minute na changes and bookings, she was a big help :) I know there are cheaper alternatives out there but I fully trusted her (iba talaga ata pag N@Wie, hehehe) to deliver and she did :) The decor was really nice, the room came alive talaga. And yung quality of the balloons is good nga. The kids were playing with the balloons and di siya agad nagbuburst. Yung mga balloon centerpices namin nawala na after the party. Malamang kung meron malapit lang ang bahay e baka pati yung entrance arch e inuwi. Hehehe.
Her staff is super aga sa venue. When we got there ng mga 11am (party is at 3pm pa), the backdrop and styro standees were setup na. The staff was was working on the centerpieces na lang. The guys were also nice to offer help when we were setting up the prizes and the AVP.
Sana sa next big party namin, may discount na pag binook uli namin sila.
Cost: P9,000 (balloon twisting, hosting, magic, game facilitator)
Another important aspect for me was the host of the party. For me, the host could make or break the party. I was eyeing Wizzo at first pero I had to look for someone else to strech our budget. I read good feedbacks on Chayno but was not able to see any video of his performance pa. Good thing a friend of mine booked him also for her son's birthday which was before Georgie's party. I got to see him in action then. Admittedly, di masyadong na-"sold" si hubby sa kanya probably because may games na di masyado pumatok with the audience. So I let Jacque know about it, I asked her to tell Chayno na don't use the Name That Tune game cos the guests wasn't so enthused by it or he could just change the music line up na guests could relate more.
Come our party, Chayno was really good. Before the party started, I just introduced myself (we never communicated directly) and just let him take the reins on the program. The kids loved the games so much so that one of the kids wanted to replicate the games for her party, hehehe. The adults were having a good time. Di naging "sabog" yung party, if you know what I mean :) Whatever qualms we had before was forgotten. Two thumbs up!
Lechon: Details for follow (I misplaced the receipt)
Cost: Details for follow (I misplaced the receipt)
The lechon was another of the last minute additions. The week of Georgie's party, hubby wanted to have lechon for the party (o di ba? Di naman talaga masyadong pasaway ang asawa ko no?). We love Elar's lechon but they do not deliver (probably because of the venue location) and their largest sized piggy is not available. Good thing we were able to order from the suki of our ninong. Sorry, I misplaced the receipt but I will update the details once I find it. Anyway, we didn't get any discount from them but they did gave us a larger sized (gigantic lechon ata to, haha) roast pig.
It was yummy! And we have tons of left over pa! Very sulit.
This was one of the last minute bookings we have with Partyboosters. I didn't make any bookings for this during the early preps because I was conscious of our working budget. I had this as a "nice to have". But hubby was asking if we have some sort of activity for the guests while waiting for the party, I showed him the price list of Partyboosters. Our initial choice was booked already so we went with Jacque's reco.
Photographer / Videographer: Shuttercount
Cost: P10,500 (Emerald Package)
Rate: 5/5 for photo (Still waiting for video output - edited)
I've been reading good reviews about Shuttercount when I was researching on suppliers. I must admit though that they weren't the first I've contacted to ask for packages. When my first batch of prospective suppliers didn't pan out, I decided to give Shuttercount a try. They were offering a promo then so I took the opportunity to avail that for Georgie's smash the cake. I thought that through the photo session we would know if Georgie has any camera fright and we'd also get to see Shuttercount's work without shelling out too much dough in case we didn't like them. The cake smash session was great and the photos show that Georgie doesn't shy away from a camera pointing at her. Benj was polite and very easy to deal with.
It was a good thing the none has booked their video services yet on the week of Georgie's party. (Apparently, they only accept 1 videography gig per week.) I wanted only their photo package but decided later that we might as well have the party video'ed.
They got to the venue early and I basically just let them be. Bahala na sila to mingle and take shots of the whole party and I must say, they pretty much covered it all. From the details to the kids' expressions, we got it all on photo and the raw video. For now, I gave them a 5/5 rating based from the experience and the photo output. I'm waiting for the edited vid pa but I'd probably just make an addendum on this post :)
DIYs: Me! :)
(Save the Date email, Invitation, Name Tag, Map, TY stickers/cards, Envelopes, Loot Bag Tags, AVP)
Cost: approx less than P1K
Because budget conscious ako at may pagka-OC, I decided to tackle some of the smaller details - mostly the printed ones. I browsed the net for some ideas while the others, I decided to design on my own. Materials were mostly board, photo and sticker papers bought from National.
What was challenging was cutting all those round heads and circles! My friend, C, was kind enough to lend me her circular cutter but after hacking off most of the stickers and wasting some more papers, I gave up and went the manual route with good old plain scissors :P
Here is the AVP that I made for Georgie.
Prizes and loot Bag contents: Toy Kingdom, Quiapo and Divisoria
Cost: approx P15K
It was a good thing that the Toy Kingdom sale was two weeks before the party. Myke and I was happy to find some great Mickey and Minnie items there for the game prizes. For the best in costume, we got a pair of Mickey and Minnie dancing doll :) Other minor prizes we bought in Divisoria, we found these backpacks then just filled them with wallets, writing sets and towels. Then on one of my walking expeditions in Quiapo, I stumbled upon these Minnie head rings! I love them to bits! Very cute but classy, di masyadong childish. The color combination available was a bit limited so I added a few more that wasn't with the theme but still cute. Before the program ended, I spotted some were still left in the box but somehow, nag-disappearing act ang mga rings. Hehehe.
Party Clothes/Costume: Tutu skirt (Shane Marga), Top (Landmark), Sandals (Fisher Price)
Cost: Skirt (P450 inc of shipping fee), Top (less than P200), Sandals (P400)
I didn't want Georgie to be in a froufrou dress for her birthday nor did I want naman na too casual ang suot nya (oo na, maarte na akong nanay). Medyo nauso ang tutu dresses at the time pero ayaw ko rin naman na naka-tutu dress si Georgie so I opted to go for a tutu skirt na lang. I had it made in two tones (hot pink and black). The skirt came with a clip pero ayaw ni Georgie na ay nakalagay sa ulo nya so di namin nagamit. Shane was easy to deal with, I just sent her the peg of the skirt I wanted
The top, I got from Landmark's bazaar lang but I like the shoulder detail kasi. It was comfy for the baby since cotton shirt lang siya but the ruffles made it a bit dressy. The gladiator shoes was bought way before the party pa. Di siya planado cos the sandals were an impulse buy. Malaki pa for Georgie when I bought it but sakto na ang fit come her birthday :)
Tip who all moms who are planning their parties, do your research. There are a lot of party suppliers out there and reading reviews of their actual clients would really help you cut down your list of prospects. I know that sometimes, expensive doesn't equate quality service or cheaper alternatives mean sablay na. There are risks pa rin and kahit smooth sailing kayo prior the event, may mga unforeseen circumstances talagang di maiiwasan. Learn to accept that.
Also, compromise. Some of us have a shorter leash on the budget so we would have to let go on some details that we want. Haggle with the suppliers. If there are freebies, grab them. Kung may item na pwedeng di na kasama at pwedeng maibawas sa bill, go :)
Trust your suppliers and let go. This is what I did. First time ko to plan a party on my own, hubby entrusted me to be the one to source the suppliers. So siyempre, I was anxious of the outcome. But I asked myself, "Anong magagawa ko kung may sumablay? Di ko lang ma-e-enjoy ang party ng baby ko kung magpapa-apekto ako." As I've said, some matters are out of our hands na at kung di na mareremedyuhan, then tackle the supplier issues after the party. Ako kasi ayokong nakabusangot ako sa pictures e. Lol. I just thought that if I'm not satisfied with their service, then I could provide them feedback. And it will be their loss if they don't get recommendations from previous clients, di ba? That's just my POV :)
I have shared photos from the party on this public album for you to browse through.
Enjoy party planning! Let me know if you have questions and I'll try my best to help you any way I can.