Having a little girl to throw a glittering, pink-popping, girly party for is an absolute dream come true for me. Parties and events are initially what drew me into the PR industry, and more and more I’ve come to realise it as my passion. I love seeing how my ideas come together and watching everyone enjoy themselves.
Whilst some might shudder at the thought of planning a party of such magnitude, there is nothing that excites me more. Conceptualising every detail has brought me such joy, cemented by the absolute awe in which I could see on Soph’s face when she arrived at her party on 21st April. Mermaids (like unicorns) are a huge trend on the party circuit this year, cropping up already last year when I started planning this party – I hope this party brings you some inspiration!
I love creating, and love doing as much of the party DIY as I can, this year, par for the coconut ice, I delegated all the baking, allowing myself more time to focus on the creative concept, even down to the invitation itself. There’s loads of mermaid inspiration out there, the best place is to always start with your theme, is the colour selection. I went with pink, turquoise, purple and gold.
Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be delving into each of the major suppliers highlighting the amazing companies I was privileged to work with but here’s a bit of a snapshot of the party for you!
Venue – Choosing the wrong venue is a deal breaker for me. Tembali Party Park was everything I wanted in a venue and more. Top of my priority list when it came to finding the right venue was a beautiful, sheltered area where the candy buffet and food could be, that also had to be in close proximity to the area where the children would be playing. I wanted a venue where the area I’d be using could compliment my theme. I searched high and low to find the right fit (there will be an entire post on party venues in Johannesburg coming from In these Stilettos and I), and after many referrals and a site visit, I finally decided on Tembali. The staff were incredible. Brenda, Jane and her team went above and beyond to ensure the day ran smoothly and assisted wherever I needed a hand. Refreshing fruit platters, topping up with cookies and cake pops, cleaning coffee mugs – nothing was too much. One of the fabulous things about the venue is that it is fully enclosed. There’s a ginormous play area with slides and tunnels, cricket nets, a shaded sandpit, bike track, zip-line and also a jumping castle or waterslide for hire.
Photography – What an absolute treat it was to have my favourite photographer, Corinna, from Corinna Tannian Photography there to capture every detail and all the happy moments that we’ll treasure forever. If you’re obsessed with detail, you’ve met your match in Corinna!
Cake – What’s a party without a cake, right? My jaw literally dropped when I saw Cara’s masterpiece when I arrived to set up at Tembali. I’d come across Aristocakes on Instagram as fate would have it, and I’m forever grateful for Cara’s love and enthusiasm that went into this beautiful creation. We discussed a few details I wanted included, but other than that, Cara was given the creative freedom over the end result. Three glorious tiers of delicious vanilla sponge sandwiched alternatively with a chocolate buttercream and strawberry filling, a true piece de resistance if ever there was one!
Cake pops – I met Jaysheela at a party workshop last year, a love for party planning drew us together and we stayed in touch. She’s one of those beautiful, gentle souls that you’re instantly drawn to, and boy can she bake! She made the most divine mouthful-sized coconut cream cake pops covered with turquoise and purple chocolate in keeping with the theme.
Sugar Cookies – How exquisite are these iced sugar cookies that Allyson from Sprinkles made for the party? The table looked amazing adorned with the delicate mermaid tails and star fish and were a huge hit with the kids, all vying for one of these iced delicacies.
Candy table – Wonderland Sweets, the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of sweet shops is by far my favourite in Johannesburg – where else would I have found ocean-themed jellies to hide in the ‘mermaid cove’ treasure hunt? The golden dipped almonds looked like real gold nuggets! I filled the various apothecary jars with strawberry mallows, purple cotton candy, purple rock candy to resemble coral, pink edible pearls and turquoise jellybeans, of which the last two came from Party Spot. Jellies – always the biggest hit at my kids’ parties – true to the theme, I made turquoise jelly cups topped with delicate edible pearls. Golden-iced doughnuts – courtesy of our local Pick ‘n Pay and purple, pink and turquoise layered coconut ice finished off the table.
Catering – Catering for a 10h00 party, when you need to start setting up at 08h00, was not something I was about to handle on my own, so instead I ordered a variety of delicious pastries and mini quiches from Fournos and balanced this out with a couple of delicious fresh fruit platters that we assembled with the help of trusty Woolworths.
Water bottles – Kidz Cardz – Have you ever seen a cuter customised water bottle? Kidz Cardz designed the beautiful water bottles for our thirsty mermaids and mermen, and they were so popular they went long before any of the juice did, happy parents!
Party packs – Tower Kids – I like to send the kids home with something they can generally have fun with – we have an entire cupboard at home stuffed with half-filled carboard boxes and those coloured buckets laden with junk, which my kids happen to love, but given the choice, I went with some amazing sea-themed art and craft kits from Tower Kids. I think the parents were equally as happy as the kids with this take-home gift in lieu of more sugar!
Mermaid crown – Lexi Loves Bows – My lovely friend Candice from Lexi Loves Bows custom-made Soph a mermaid crown out of felt, which was beautiful and light for her little head. Soph absolutely loved it.
Balloons – The Variety Shop – This party I decided to try my hand at a balloon garland – so much easier than you may think – and bought the beautiful balloons from one of my favourite party stockist stores, The Variety Shop. According to my three-year-old, you just have to have balloons at a party, and she was right, they helped set the scene beautifully, with some confetti filled balloons floating around like bubbles.
Décor – Always take into consideration the space where you’ll be needing to setup. The pink backdrop you see? It’s covering a wrought-iron pot plant shelf that happened to be bolted into the wall! So, Plan B had me visiting Builders Warehouse to cut a sheet of 4mm Pine, a fun afternoon painting, and enlisting the help of a wonderful friend and her husband to patiently bringing my ‘Let’s be mermaids’ dreams into fruition. Thank you, Annie. I like to have my children’s names on all their party tables – these wooden letters from Typo have been on three of Soph’s tables now, with the addition this year of the shells, pearls and sequins. Finishing off the table was the beautiful floor-grazing turquoise satin and sequined material I bought from Chamdor, on a 50%-off sale! Plastic sea creatures, white ceramic mermaids and seahorses all got a golden coating, while turquoise starfish and strands of pearls tied up the look. I knew the paper-lantern jellyfish would look amazing hanging from the roof trusses (another plus on Tembali in my books!) but I didn’t take into account how many burns I’d get in the process using a hot glue-gun! A couple fingers later, I decided to abandon the glue-gun in favour of normal contact glue – success! I bought all the various lace, velvet, sparkly and satin ribbon from Chamdor and glued the strands into the inside of the paper lanterns – the end result was extremely effective I think.
Activities – With the weather cooling down I decided to hire the jumping castle instead of the water slide, and also opted to hire a face painter too. Through a personal recommendation I came across Monique from Never Grow Up and she was absolutely phenomenal. She has the patience of a saint working with little kids and their requests and I’d definitely recommend her services. For a craft activity I bought little wooden treasure chests from Party Spot that the kids got to decorate themselves with crystal stickers and then fill with ‘treasure’ – including a candy bracelet – to take home. We did a treasure hunt in ‘Mermaid Cove’ where the kids could dig for the hidden treasures in the sandpit (think Ocean-themed jellies, crystal bracelets, bubbles and under the sea themed sticker packs). For the final fun activity, we also had a ‘Mermaid hair don’t care’ station where the kids could have their hair sprayed with a variety of jewel-coloured glitter hair sprays that I bought from my favourite hair salon – Shear Madness.
There are so many amazing people that I need to thank for helping me bring this party to life! My amazing husband for always going along with my hair-brained schemes and supporting my passion, always. Tembali – for going above and beyond on the day. Aristocakes – for your incredible, incredible cake. Corinna Tannian Photography – for being as much of a stickler for detail as me and for your love and time. Jaysheela Kanjee – for the divine cake pops. Wonderland Sweets – Bee, for your heavenly candy. Sprinkles – for your exquisite cookies. Kidz Cardz – for the one of a kind water bottles. Tower Kids – for supplementing the sugar-high with your beautiful art and craft kits.
Everyone has their one go to person – mine is Becki (you’ll know her from In these Stilettos) – my bestie from University days and we just so happen to share, amongst many things, a love for parties – thank heavens for her. To be able to bounce ideas off constantly and have her helping me with everything on the actual day.
We’ve always wanted to get into party planning together, and have finally decided that this is the year we take it seriously. The sheer scale of these types of parties would scare off most people, but that is something that we thrive on as it fuels our passion even more. Having creatively planned and executed a number of parties to date, Becki’s youngest, Yusuf, and Oli’s birthdays are coming up and the planning is already underway, we are more than happy to take the party stress off your hands.
List of suppliers/stockists:
Venue – Tembali Party Park, Chartwell
Cake – Aristocakes – Cara Brynard
Photography – Corinna Tannian Photography
Material and Ribbons – Chamdor Faktry Sales, Deco Park.
Balloons – The Variety Shop, Boskruin
Treasure chests – Party Spot
Sugar Cookies – Sprinkles
Cake pops – Jaysheela Kanjee (083 634 4404)
Party packs – Tower Kids
Water bottles – Kidz Cardz
Face painting – Never Give Up
Mermaid crown – Lexi Loves Bows
Glitter Hair Spray – Shear Madness Hair Design
Let me know if there’s something you see that I haven’t covered and I’ll happily share where I sourced it from!