Earlier this year I volunteered on the auction committee for the University Hospital Foundation's Ebony & Ivory Gala (feel free to scroll down to the middle of this post to read more about that). One of the packages that I was able to put together was "The Perfect Princess Party" and it was auctioned off at the live auction. I volunteered at the Gala itself also, so it was a lot of fun to watch the package get into a bidding war at the auction! When putting the package together I thought it would a be nice touch for there to be a party coordinator included, and since I was already familiar with (and had all the contact information for) all of the vendors - I seemed like a logical choice. Besides - not only did I want to see this thing through (and make sure everything came together properly), but how fun for a mom of two boys to do a princess party like this! So, the princess party was finally held the first Saturday of November and I'm excited to share some pictures from the event not only because it's something I spent a lot of time on (and it was a fantastic event!)...but also because I really want to put a plug out there for the businesses that donated their services.
First of all, La Caille. They have been, in my experience, extremely generous in supporting charitable causes - and they were no exception in this case. In addition to other things that they donated to the auctions, La Caille completely donated the use of their facility and staff for this party (including food, dessert, etc. for the girls). For those of you that haven't been there - La Caille really is a beautiful place to have a princess party (any event really). The setting and grounds are particularly remarkable. It's a chateau style building set against a mountainous backdrop. It resides on a 22 acre estate with vineyards, cobblestone paths, and even peacocks, swans, and bunnies adorning the grounds. It is well kept and beautified all year round - stunning every season of the year. Anyway! I worked with one of La Caille's event coordinators (Kim) prior to the event and at the party itself. She was extremely helpful and accommodating. I have nothing but great things to say about La Caille, their staff, and their generous donation.
Moving on to another donor for the princess package - the cake! I had assumed that the person who bought this package would use it as a birthday party package (not that it had to be). So, naturally, soliciting a cake donation was a must. Luckily a beautiful cake is a great addition to any party, and this cake was no exception. Jen Vesper from Layers of Love provided this phenomenal pillow cake - don't you just love it?! Take a look through her blog sometime if you're looking for someone to do a cake for you, or just to browse her many fun creations!
Since I had built the theme of this particular princess party around Cinderella, I had my heart set on finding a Cinderella style carriage to complete the package - so I was thrilled when I finally found one locally! The company (Burch & Sons) wasn't in a position at the time to donate their services, but those on the auction committee agreed that it would be worth the investment for the Foundation to pay for that service (since everything else in the package was donated) to make the package more attractive. I'm so pleased that we were able to do that because I think that carriage really completed this package - it was beautiful!
Then there was Cinderella! Kendalyn from Princess Parties was so generous to donate an hour of time with Cinderella for the party. I can't even tell you how fantastic she was. While she does look beautiful in these pictures, they simply do her no justice. She is absolutely perfect in character, she had such a sweet calm presence about her (as Cinderella should!) and the girls were captivated by her. The girls and the moms at the party were all thoroughly thrilled with Cinderella. So, I have no reservations in recommending Princess Parties...if I ever get to plan another princess party again I will most definitely be giving Kendalyn a call for one of her princesses!
Now a huge plug for the photographer! Joanna Taylor Photography (who I've had the pleasure of using for photography myself on several occasions) donated a few different packages to the Hospital Foundation - including providing photography and editing for the entire Gala event itself! She also generously donated her time and talent (and several prints) to this princess party! Joanna is really great to work with. She is laid back, not overbearing at all, and has a great eye for what she does. I have recommended her to many of my friends and family members over the last couple of years (even bought a newborn sitting as baby gift for a friend), and everyone I know that's used her has been nothing but happy with her work. The hardest part of working with Joanna is just trying to pick which images to purchase! Take a peek at her blog and website and browse through her work...and she does offer various promotions and specials, so save her blog in your favorites to snag one of those when they come up (I always try to!)...and thanks for letting me use a bunch of your pictures from the event on this post, Joanna!!! *note to those of you reading this post - please remember that Joanna's work is under copyright protection (it's pretty obvious which pictures she took), so please don't copy any of these photos off my blog - thanks!*
I was excited that shortly after the Ebony & Ivory Gala - the gentleman who purchased this package called me to get the ball rolling on things. He expressed that he was interested in having the invitations (which were donated by Jenifer Johnson with Stampin' Up!) hand delivered on a pillow by a prince. Wow, right? So, I found out information about renting costumes from Hale Theatre and passed that onto him. His daughter arranged for a "slipper" in each girl's size to be delivered at that time, and there were tiara's that had come with the package that were delivered at that time too (so the girls could wear them to the party). I hear that the invitation/slipper/tiara delivery by the prince was a huge hit with the girls! The party hosts invited a couple of their granddaughters, a niece's daughter, some friends' daughters, and a couple of their clients' daughters. They were all lovely girls, and each looked so cute all fancied up in their tiaras and dresses.
In addition to the tiaras, the princess package included a couple of party favors: some really cute little "glass" slippers that I found online, and name frames that we placed at each girls seat (I loved those). I got some pretty, pearlized, textured paper at Paper Creations and printed each girl's full name to put in the frames and I think they looked really cute.
Now on to the actual event itself...the girls (along with several of their moms) each got to take a ride around part of the grounds of La Caille in the carriage, and they were also officially escorted to the party (the front door of La Caille) in the beautiful horse drawn carriage.
Once all of the girls had officially arrived, Cinderella made her grand entrance on the coach. I got such a kick out of some of the girls expressions as they watched her arrive. One of the younger girls boldly stepped forward all on her own and hugged Cinderella - it was so sweet. Once Cinderella had made her debut, and a couple of group pictures were taken we headed into the warmth of the building (we had beautiful weather for November, but it was still a bit chilly).
Once inside, Joanna snapped pictures of each girl with Cinderella and then they gathered together for a little story time. Cinderella kept the story interactive, asking the girls questions as the went - and the girls were anxious to participate and help answer Cinderella's questions. I heard one mom there say that she'd never seen her daughter sit so still before as when Cinderella was reading the girls a book and asking them questions.
After story time was done it was back to the party room (the Garden Room) where Cinderella managed to work in some topics for conversation that had been requested by the host. She did a great job of keeping things interesting and simple, but to still engage the significant range of the girls' ages that were present.
They discussed what the girl's interests were, what each girl was wearing - each girl took a twirl (as pictured below), and which traits are more important that being beautiful on the outside. One of the traits they talked about was being brave & one girl piped up that she didn't think that her parents were very brave (yeah - I have no idea why). All the adults snickered, but Cinderella didn't skip a beat in talking about how she could help them to be brave. It was pretty funny/cute, and don't know how Cinderella kept such a straight face!
Next the meals arrived. The girls each ate chicken tenders, french fries, fresh fruit...and drank pink lemonade of course. The hosts had extended the party invitation to the moms also, so the adults were seated at a separate table. Their meals weren't part of the package (the host picked up that tab), but we had a pre-arranged choice of two dishes for them. Cinderella discussed etiquette/manners with the girls as they began their meals and then she ended her time at the party by doing a little magic trick, and then making each girl a flower balloon.
While I walked the photographer & Cinderella out (their portion of the event was done), the host of the party had little books and bookmarks passed out to each of the girls. I missed out on hearing what was said when they were passed out, but each book was on an inspirational female figure (one that caught my eye that I remember was Ann Frank). I think that was such a neat touch to the event too.
And, lastly, it was time to wrap up the party with a serious sugar rush. In addition to the cake, the guests also enjoyed desserts provided by La Caille. The desserts that the girls got to decorate included strawberries and eclairs, to be topped with chocolate, sprinkles, etc. The adults were served Crepe Maison.
The table that the dessert bar was on was draped with flags of the host's family crest.
And before the cake was served we put a candle (more like a firework) in it just for fun!
The cake tiers were PINK (strawberry) and girlie-colored swirls, as chosen by the cake creator. It looked super cute.
I think that everything came together nicely with the party. It was great to be able to see things through from beginning to end, and see both the girls & the hosts so happy with things. I hope that you enjoyed browsing through these pictures (and if you actually read this whole post, then congratulations on that too)!