Party coming up, and you're not sure whether you can commit to a Do-it-yourself project or if you'd rather leave it to the pros? We asked real moms about the pros and cons of each. Read and learn!
WHY GO DIY? When a theme strikes Ava Ramirez, she doesn’t hold back. For one Halloween, she decided her house was going to look like Hogwarts. So she printed out photos of the Harry Potter characters, designed frames around them, and stuck them on a wall. Next, she used toilet paper rolls and nylon string to make floating candles for that eerie yet magical effect. She threw in her lola’s baul, and of course dressed up her boys—as Harry and Dobby.
For her son’s Star Wars-themed party, she put up black cartolinas on her wall and decorated it with stars cut out from sticker paper. She made tie fighters out of foil and old Christmas balls, and her son painted the Death Star, which she made out of styropor.
For Ava, DIY isn’t just about making things with her hands. “I love DIY-ing because I realized it’s a good way for me to practice recycling and making party decorations reusable for me and my guests,” Ava shares. “Also, I love the thought of my party stuff not being thrown away after the party because it takes time and effort to plan."
"For example, for my second son’s denim birthday party, I bought old jeans from an ukay ukay store worth 10 pesos each. I had those jeans sewn into table runners and round table accents, which cost me around P30-50 each. After the party, my guests were able to bring home the denim table accessories for use in their homes, as well as the various cacti plants I used for accents.”
Anette Obaña also shares the same sentiment. “It's so satisfying to see your finished work and it feels even better knowing you were able to save money and the planet through upcycling. I'm a rabid upcycler. I try to upcycle everything.”
For her son’s Cars-themed party, Anette made personalized food containers by printing out Lightning McQueen images and pasting them on containers from her husband’s food stall. She also used scratch paper, old cartolina, and used ribbons to make the buntings and other decorations for her son’s birthday party.
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Ideas everywhere! Both moms say the Internet, especially Pinterest, is a treasure trove of ideas. But Ava also gets her ideas elsewhere. “Sometimes from shopping around in Divisoria to see what is available,” she says. However, both moms say their ideas are always inspired by what their kids are into at the moment.
Anette threw her son a reading party one year. “Eli had just learned how to read, and he was obsessed with reading,” she says. “So my 'reading club' theme was actually to get people to give him books. At the small party, there were books around and the adults would take turns reading to him.” Try it too! Ava says it’s really fun to DIY because your kids are going to outgrow kiddie parties soon enough, so now is the time to unleash your crafty self. But don’t be too ambitious. “Go as basic as you can and don’t believe everything you see on the Internet,” says Ava.
Ava’s tips: 1. Use materials that are readily available where you live. 2. If you are not good with a needle, use a glue gun! 3. Check out Divisoria along Tabora Street 4. Do everything in advance. Make sure all the details are done a week before the party, so you have nothing to worry about during the party and you can enjoy.
WHY HIRE A PARTY PLANNER? Mandy’s only wish, ever since she was three years old, was to feel like a princess for a day. So when she was about to turn seven, Beng de la Paz decided it was time to make her daughter’s dream come true. Beng was lucky that her husband’s officemates were party planners called Partyrific, and from the get go, they were very easy to work with. From there, Beng was able to grant Mandy’s dearest wish with a few surprises thrown into the mix.
Leng Go also envisioned a huge party for her daughter. She started saving up for the party when she was eight months pregnant. “I envisioned it as a family reunion and gratitude to friends who have been supportive during our tough times when were starting our own family. It was more on celebrating the growth and milestones of our family with friends. Big crowd, but it was worth it.”
Finding a planner When Leng started shopping for planners, she knew what she was looking for. First, she asked close friends for recommendations, then she met with the potential planners. “I spoke to them personally as well and profiled them. I evaluated if they were flexible and easy to get along with, and I made sure that it’s not just a vendor relationship but a partnership. I considered them to be a trusted advisor.” Working with a planner “We asked our party organizer that the balloons and colors of the tables should be the Disney princess colors, and that the centerpiece for the tables should be the photos of the 12 princesses,” says Beng. “Almost everything inside should have a touch of Disney princess especially the loot bags. For entertainment, we asked Mandy to showcase her talent in dancing and a little of singing. With the help of her friends she was able to deliver with joy.”
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Leng knew from the start that she needed a planner to pull off what she wanted because she worked full-time. “I gave them my preference in terms of how the show would flow, the look, the feel of guests, the motif, participation of guests,” she shares. “Once they conceptualized some stuff, they presented to me to approve or tweak a bit then we finalized and put it in a checklist as agreed. If I were to organize, plan, buy all the stuff, conceptualize or DIY stuff, I might save money, but time is my biggest challenge. I wanted the planners to share with me their expertise based on their experience and pool of resources to save time and effort. But if I had the luxury of time, I would choose to do it myself.”
Your own touch What brought Beng to tears were the surprises she and her friends and family members were able to pull off for her little princess.
“First, [there was] the AVP that was prepared by my friend, which showed Mandy’s photos from birth to present age. Included in the AVP were Disney princesses greeting her a happy birthday with a bonus greeting from Marco of Art Attack which is one of her favorite shows, too. We were able to do those things with the help of her titas who went to Disneyland and lined up for those princesses to get a video greeting for Mandy's birthday. We were able to get Marco because he's a cousin of my friend. Lastly, I asked our party organizer to find performers dressed up like princesses to sing Mandy's favorite Disney songs. We thank God the party went well, and we were all happy. But Mandy was the happiest girl that day.”
Try it, too! If you too dream of throwing a huge party for your child, Leng suggests, “The key is just plan ahead of time whether you hire services or do it yourself, if you really want a big party for your kids. Get estimates of resources that are needed and then set a goal budget for the event. If an event is well planned, your party will be less stressful and financially worth your money. Just make sure you don’t forget the essence of the party, be thankful for God's gift from up above—the new member of the family, your baby.”
Beng says locking in the venue is a crucial first step. “In our experience, the venue played an important role in making the party beautiful and making our guests feel that they’re special too. You have to consider the location, the space of the venue, and the parking slots for your guests. Lastly, parents should be hands on with everything that will take place in the party. Don't just let your organizers do everything for you to make it special. And make sure it's a party to be remembered and treasured by your child and guests.”
Ines Bautista-Yao is a wife and mom to Addie, 7, and Tammy, 2. She used to dream of being a party planner but now that she has to plan parties for her kids, she’d rather write about them. But Ava promises to help her do a DIY party for Addie’s next birthday, much to Ines’s self-doubt and fear. Ines blogs about motherhood (and will most likely blog about her future DIY party) at www.theeverydayprojectblog.com