Thursday, February 28, 2013

Exciting Things!!! News! Giveaways! FAQ's!

Hello Pretties!

So many exciting things have been going on in the Pretty Little Parties world the last couple of weeks!! We try to share the news as it comes up, but some of it is internal so you never get to see what is going on.

First... OUR WEBSITE IS UP!! We've (ok Erin mostly) been working day & night to get the details of the website going and functional. And finally that labor of love was ready to launch! You can now visit us at 24/7! Check back often! We will add more pictures and themes over time. You never know where you will find inspiration for your next party!

Second... We've been asked a ton of questions lately so we thought maybe we should get the Frequently Asked Questions taken care of before we go too much further! If there is anything else you think we should answer, just let us know! We want to make sure everyone knows how easy we can make things for you!

So let's get this party started!

"What kind of services and products does Pretty Little Parties offer?"
We are glad you asked! We have created several different "party pack" structures to help maximize your budgets and to fit your needs. Premiere Little Parties is the division of services where we do it all! We can design a custom pack, do the set-up and break down and dot the i's and cross the t's. This is a service we offer locally (Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada area). Contact us for details.

"What is a theme?"
The type of party you want! Party themes can be determined by the location of the party (ice skating, picnic in the park, dance studio), by the colors you pick to decorate with (pink/green, purple polka dots, black & white stripes) or by your kids favorite things (Sesame Street, Barbie, horses, butterflies)! The possibilities are endless!!

"What themes do you offer?"
ANYTHING & EVERYTHING!! Each child is unique! So our mission is to make a each child feel special for their big day! So we can do anything for anyone! However, we will always have out previous themes available for anyone who wants it to book! We recently have featured the following themes:
-Secret Agent Super Spy
-Beautiful Butterfly Garden
-Glam Rock Star
-Pinball Wizard
-The Hunger Games
-Hogwarts Houses Harry Potter
-Massive Monster Trucks
-Victorian Tea Party
-Alice in Pretty Little Wonderland
-Raindrops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens
-Night Owls Sleepover
-Cityscape Super Heroes
-Vintage Baby Lamb
-Cutest Little Cupcake in Town
-Black & Hot Pink Hello Kitty

"Do I have to pick from the themes you have pictured/listed"
NO!!!!! Our favorite saying is "if you can dream it, we can do it". What is a mom to do when their little darling NEEDS a rainbow-transformer train birthday party??? It definitely can't be found in one of those big party supply stores or websites. That's where we come in!!! The more unique the better in our book. ​

"How much does it cost?"
Pretty Little Parties strives to provide quality products at affordable prices. Party packs start at $65. Our Essentials pack includes a banner, invitations, welcome door sign & cupcake toppers which is just enough to get you started. The Embellishments pack adds just a touch more, but the EPIC PACK well that has EVERYTHING!!

"I like 3/4 of what is included in one of the packs, but there are also a few things I would like to add." ​
No problem-o. We have a list of a la carte items to help you create a unique experience for your unique kiddo. We can create a custom pack just for you or you can order the one item you were looking for.

"I think I saw something similar on Etsy/Ebay/Pinterest, but it had to be downloaded/printed/cut/glued and put together. Is that what you are selling?"
​NO NO NO! You pick it, we do it. We design, create and put it all together before shipping. All that is left is set-up and enjoyment.

"Where can I buy one of your Party Packs"​ ​
Normally we have several listings on Etsy at all times for made-to-order packages. We can also make custom packs, just give us a call or email to get the ball rolling. ​

"How do I place an order?" ​You can visit our Etsy store PrettyLilPartiesLV or contact us directly through email or phone (or even text if you are so inclined).

​"This is all cute and nice, but I'm a coupon kind of mom. Can you help a sister out?" ​Yup yup! We are too! Check with our blog, Twitter and Facebook page frequently (links above) for contests, giveaways, coupons and specials. In fact through 3/17/13 we are offering Free Shipping on orders placed through Facebook!

"How did you two become so totally awesome?" ​It's been rumored that we were born with glue guns in our hands... Others whisper that Martha Stewart is our fairy godmother... The truth is we were born this way, but only God and our mother's know for sure if it wasn't actually a result of alien abduction.

And finally... GIVEAWAYS!!

Who doesn't love a good giveaway? We know we sure do! Currently we are helping LillyBelle's Closet celebrate her 2000+ fans on Facebook. She is hosting a multivendor giveaway with 6 GIANT prize packs! So there will be 6 winners who win several different items. There are some amazing vendors! Pretty Little Parties has offered an Essentials pack to one lucky winner. Go & enter today!

In celebration of launching our website, we will be having a Grand Opening Celebration of our own in a couple weeks, so keep an eye out! Be sure to share our page with your friends & family too! The more fans we have, the bigger the giveaway will be!!

Now that you've been handed a ton of information, let your brain cells relax and share the love that is Pretty Little Parties!

Ali ;-p

PS- Wreck It Ralph is out on video (yes I'm that old)! If you haven't seen it yet, I HIGHLY recommend it! And I would LOVE to do a party based on this movie! If you're interested just let me know!

PPS- Check out the sneak peek at Lily's 1st Beatles Birthday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why doesn't anyone RSVP!?!?!?!?!?!

Why hasn’t anyone RSVP’d to my party?   A common question in the event planning world, but also on the minds of any mom trying to put together a party. 
What is wrong with people?  Haven’t they ever tried to put a party together before?  Do I order enough food for everyone invited and hope it doesn’t go to waste?  How many treat bags do I need? 
All valid questions and not always easy ones to answer and moms can be left frustrated and worried about not being prepared to accommodate everyone who shows up or wasting a lot of time and money if a lot of guests don’t show up.  Making what should be a fun and exciting event, stressful and full of anxiety
For example, my son’s birthday fall just before the holidays and I’ve learned through trial and error that if we invite 30, maybe 8 will show up and of those only 4 will RSVP more than 24 hours in advance.  Making planning extremely difficult, especially for an obsessive planner like me. 
It’s no different in the wedding world.  If you go to any chat board like the Knot or Weddingbee, you will see almost non-stop posts from frustrated brides who are at their deadline for head counts for their venues and still have no idea how many people will be coming. 
Of course the easiest way to avoid party stress is to hire someone to put everything together for you, but when that's not an option, please learn from my experience (and mistakes).  Here are some handy-dandy tips for increasing your chances of getting RSVPs and reducing stress….
1.)     If requesting RSVP’s by phone, put the name of the person that the phone number belongs to on the invitation.  Especially with parties for school aged kids, parents might be hesitant to call a number and not know who to ask for.  "Hi, this is Billy's mom... is.. um.. Bobby's mom there..uh...?"
2.)    Consider giving multiple options for RSVP.  Put an email address or even online (facebook or e-invite) along with a phone number and/or number to text to.  Like it or not, we live in a digital age and some people just aren’t phone talkers, so give them as many options to respond as possible.
3.)    Put an RSVP deadline date, a few days before you actually need to know.  With some party venues, you will need to know a solid number a few days to a week before the event.  (However, I always count on at least a few trickling in at the last minute).
4.)    Just call.  If you really need to know exactly how many people will be attending, try to have a list of phone numbers of those you are inviting just in case you have to break down and call to pin down a guest count. 
No matter what the final number I always count on a few extras, for those last minute calls or just in case a younger sibling is tagging along. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giving Birth to a New Baby

For months you sit there and think to yourself "what on earth have I gotten myself into?" When the time finally comes for you to take action and bring this new life into the world you begin to panic. But then you remember to breath. Four counts in, four counts out. LET'S DO THIS THING!! And there she is all shiny and new and beautiful. That's how it feels launching Pretty Little Parties. I know it's not the most original analogy but hey I'm a mom. This is what I know!

So let's take a few steps back. After sitting down to Skype with Marie Ramos of Lipstic Logic (thanks again for everything!), Erin & I did some strategizing and planning. First things first, branding ourselves. Who are we and want face to we want to present to the world? Well from the last post I think you may have a good idea about all that. But how to show that to people who don't yet know us through our products and our online presence? Great photos and a killer website and a unique logo! Now we are working on the logo, developing the website and today we had a session with Lauren of LaLa Photography to take great shots of the sneak peeks you've been seeing on Facebook.

Let's call this "The Anatomy of a Photo Shoot". You pick a location, hire a photographer, set it up and shoot, right? Well fortunately due to my years in the wedding industry I do know it isn't quite that simple. Thank goodness for that! Not that it kept me from having complete anxiety about the whole thing. If we get this wrong we have totally messed up our launch!! What if we get there and we are told we can't shoot? Why did we decide on an outdoor location again? Do I have enough to shoot? (And my all time biggest worry...) are the products we are offering good enough?

*sigh* a big long deep *sigh*

Well they don't call it a "Leap of Faith" for nothing! So I took a deep breath and said to myself (and probably Erin too) "LETS DO THIS THING!"

Themes were planned. We decided on Superhero Cityscape, Vintage Lamb Baptism, Glam Rock Guitar Girl, Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens, Alice in Pretty Little Wonderland, Night Owl Sleepover, Butterfly Garden & Secret Agent Spy plus a couple others that got tabled for now. (We can do this again, right?)

Products were developed. This is the part I LOVE!! I love deciding on the colors, developing the graphics & picking fonts and finding the inspiration!! This is the part I feel that sets Pretty Little Parties apart from other party planning services. We personalize it. We want to birthday kid to feel special and unique, so everything is created to be one of a kind. Although we do plan on having the "standards" that we sell on Etsy and have in stock for last minute parents. And this is where the lifetime of being crafty comes into play! Not to mention being able to use our handy dandy brand new Cricut machine!

THIS is where the anxiety really set in! Did we rush the design process? Are we actually ready to take this step? Lots of restless nights in my house. All kinds of heartburn. Mini panic attacks that the husband & daughter just didn't quite understand although they desperately tried. (Breathe)

So to help resolve the anxiety, lists are prepared, trips to the supply store are made and everything is triple checked.

The day of the photo shoot, I wake up extra early after not being able to fall asleep the night before. The cars are packed full of set-up supplies and off to meet Lauren I go! We arrive and unpack. First thing we discover is that we forgot the main table so we are limited with where we can set up at. In the end we got it all worked out and I am actually quite happy with the final location.

Set up, photograph, tear down, & repeat 8 times. Yep we managed to do all that in the wind (we had to postpone the banners this time because Mother Nature still hates me from my Eiffel Tower days... Don't ask!) with shifting sunlight but everyone was a trooper. Including my extremely bored 4 year old. Lauren was able to get some great shots of the set-ups. (She also sang with my daughter to help keep the geese away from the cupcakes LOL). I simply cannot wait to get them posted and launch the website so that you guys can share in my excitement too!

Pretty Little Parties is definitely a labor of love. I want to take special care of her and see how she grows up in the crazy world!

I'm sorry there aren't any new pictures this time for you, but next week we should have some great shots for you!

Hugs and much love!

PS - Next week Erin will dive into the world of party etiquette!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


"But that's going a little too far, don't you think?" - Mary Poppins

The point being... "What is Pretty Little Parties?" Well the answer isn't that simple.

  We've all seen these AMAZING projects on Pintrest and think "I can do that!". 
So you hit up the dollar store where the blogger claims that you can get everything you need for the project. LIES! ALL LIES! They may have one thing you actually need, but none of the main items you are looking for. So you begrudgingly head on over to your favorite craft store and pay full price for the rest because you didn't bring your coupons and you are 100% determined to pull this thing off! So instead of $5 later, it's $50 later and you get home. 
You get everything laid out and ready to go, pull open your pin and begin. MORE LIES! Whoever typed this up MUST do this for a living! It's not that simple! Aren't there any "tips & tricks" in this thing? This is so not worth the stress! Then when you are finally done your "masterpiece" looks like something your pre-schooler made! Your project belongs on a Pintrest Fail Blog. (And then you grab a glass of wine.)

So here comes the tricky part. Your adorable little daughter comes to you with stars in her eyes asking for an Alice in Wonderland birthday party. So your first instinct is to hit the web for ideas. Pintrest is the obvious starting point. Flashbacks of your failed project come to mind and you panic! (reaching for the bottle of wine) You can't do these things? These are professionals that cost thousands of dollars! Your daughter is going to be so disappointed. Your friends and family and all the other parents will talk for years about your failed attempt at creating Wonderland. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

OK, that's where we step in! What we are is YOU! We are moms who want to make our little ones happy! We are women who want to impress everyone with the "Party of the Year"! We are filled will lots of great ideas...but we are the Professional Party Planners who can execute the perfect party for you without spending thousands of dollars!!!

Now take a breath (or another sip of wine) and give us a call or send us an e-mail! We will take your daughter's dream for an Alice in Wonderland birthday party and make it a reality. As moms we know what you are going through! We are here to help without breaking the bank!

Since this is a "get to know us" post, let us tell you a little bit about who we are as moms and what our experience is!

I am Ali: a mother of one very precocious almost 5 going on 15 year old daughter and a wife of 10+ years. As a wedding planner for over a decade, I have put together thousands of weddings. Weddings are the coming out parties of your 20's & 30's. After my daughter was born, I took my love of wedding planning and focused it on her birthday parties. (But I still do weddings!) Unfortunately once a year just doesn't cut it for me! I have a million and one ideas, but only one child to bestow my genius on! So I started helping friends with their ideas and now I want to help everyone else too! Erin is my "other half" and I cannot imagine doing this without her!

I am Erin: mom to two kids, a cat and a dog and happy wife to my awesome husband for the last (well, I'm not going to tell you because then it will be harder to lie about my age).  Years of different customer service positions and owning my own custom children's clothing business somehow prepared me to plan weddings.  And that is what I've been doing for the past 7 years.  While weddings are my passion (obsession), planning birthday parties and showers has become my new love and creative outlet.  I'm fully convinced that  "professional crafter" has always been my calling.  One that I share with Ali (along with the other half of my brain)

Pretty Little Parties was Co-Founded by Ali Hamper and Erin Gilday as a solution to cookie cutter birthday parties. There is nothing wrong with a cookie cutter party! There is nothing wrong with going to the store and picking out the pre-made pack of invitations and decorations. There is nothing wrong with a store bought cake! However, for just a smidge more you can have something unique and personal! THAT is what Pretty Little Parties is all about!

"What kind of services and products does Pretty Little Parties offer?" Well I am glad you asked! We have created two different "party pack" structures to help maximize your budgets and to fit your needs. The Perfect Pack and The Perfect Mini Pack allows us to create the invitations and decor for you leaving you with the set-up and execution. Premiere Little Parties is the division of services where we do it all! We can do as little as you need us to or you can have us dot the i's and cross the t's. After an initial consultation we would be able to provide you with a quote of services.

"Why do a blog?" We feel this is the best way for our fans to get to know us and our company. We will be taking a journey with our new baby, so much like parenthood we want to document it all! Good, bad or just meh we shall share it all! Along side our journey we will also be discussing party etiquette, tips & tricks and inspirations for what we do.

We plan to publish weekly (or more often if something exciting happens)! We invite you to join us on this journey, provide us some input or suggestions. We only ask that you be gentle with us. Pretty Little Parties is our baby and we love her! But more importantly, we love you!

HUGS & LOVE!!!!!
Ali & Erin

PS- Don't forget!!!!  The best way to support our economy is frequenting local and small businesses.  (hint hint).