All it takes is a glance around the average princess gown-laden neighborhood to realize that dreams of love, hope and riches are alive and well in the hearts of girls everywhere.
Our obsession with royalty is nothing new. In fact, it's a tale as old as time (that's a "Beauty and the Beast" reference, for you princess-challenged readers). Princess Diana's wedding was probably one of the most photographed and documented events in modern history, and her son's wedding to Kate Middleton is currently poised to have a similar impact on society, if media coverage is any indication. Animated fairy tales like "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Little Mermaid" have long fascinated girls of all ages. To sum it up, the princess trend doesn't seem to be losing steam anytime soon.
If you have a daughter, chances are you'll be planning a princess-themed birthday party sometime in the near future. Maybe your event won't be watched on a worldwide scale, but it can be special enough to please the only person who really matters: your little princess. Here are five ideas to make her birthday party a real royal event.
Parchment Paper Invitations
Sure, it's always nice to receive a mailed invitation, but the party throwers of yesteryear really knew how to make a guest feel wanted. They'd hand deliver formal invitations to each guest with an almost embarrassing amount of fanfare. We're talking horses, trumpets and a footman in formal garb.
Commit to your theme from the beginning with invitations printed on parchment paper, rolled into scrolls and tied with a jaunty pink grosgrain ribbon. Want to add the icing on the proverbial cake? Recruit your teenage son to dress up like a royal messenger and deliver them in character. It shouldn't take much to get him to do that. An extra half hour tacked onto his curfew should do the trick nicely.
Medieval Movie Time
There's no shortage of princess-themed flicks to show at a royal birthday fete. Older girls will enjoy a double feature of movies like "The Princess Bride" or "The Princess Diaries." Guest lists that lean more toward single-digit ages might find animated princess movies to be a better fit. Blockbusters like the "Shrek" movies, "Beauty and the Beast" or "Cinderella" are longtime favorites of princess enthusiasts.
Although a normal television is perfectly fine for a birthday screening, you might choose to give the party a more cinematic feel by using a projector to show the films on a large wall instead. Be sure to serve up appropriate snacks, since all that swooning over Prince Charming and singing along with woodland animals helps kids work up an appetite. Princesses love dainty sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and fizzy pink punch.
Forget pin the tail on the donkey -- let your imagination run wild when planning games and other activities for your child's princess party! Have children sift for plastic gems in a sandbox, or supply the necessary decorations for each child to design and create a tiara fit for an imaginary queen. If you can swing it financially, arrange for pony rides in your backyard (a white stallion might be a tad too ambitious).
Whatever you arrange for playtime, keep the games creative, fun and affordable. Children have impressively short attention spans and will lose interest if you plan too many organized activities.
Let Them Eat Cake
A cake fit for a princess doesn't have to break the bank. Even the most novice chef can easily whip up an appropriately themed cake at home with some baking tins, colored icing and decorative notions purchased online or at your local party goods store. For an even simpler option, choose colorful cupcake liners and bake up personal treats. We like strawberry cake for its pink hue.
You might choose to bake a cake in the image of your daughter's favorite princess, or you can erect an elaborate castle complete with towers, turrets and a drawbridge. Whatever you select, step-by-step directions are available online for virtually any confection you desire. Just be sure to bake it a day or two in advance in case it falls flat and you need to fall back on your local bakery's expertise.
In this case, a man's home is quite literally his castle. Enlist your husband's help with party décor for your princess. Fly a royal flag in front of your home, and line the sidewalk with red carpet to keep delicate princess shoes from scuffing as guests arrive for the festivities. Convert old cardboard boxes into a throne for the guest of honor, using glitter, paint or other basic decorations. Purchase several yards of tulle from a local craft store, and drape the fabric from the ceiling to create a beautiful canopy.
Exceptionally industrious hosts can even create a castle tower or turret out of cardboard or papier-mâché to place strategically outside the front door. All of these extras are guaranteed to set the stage for an unforgettable princess party, complete with excellent photo opportunities for your daughter's scrapbook.
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- "Browse Princess Cake Ideas from Wilton." Wilton. (Dec. 18, 2010).http://www.wilton.com/ideas/browse.cfm?thm=princess&cat=Cakes
- "Fairy Tale Party." Parents. (Dec. 18, 2010).http://www.parents.com/fun/birthdays/themes/fairy-tale-birthday-party/
- Tack, Karen. "Princess Birthday Cake Design." Parenting. (Dec. 18, 2010).http://www.parenting.com/recipes-article/Child/Recipes/How-to-make-a-princess-cake
- "The Princess Party." Birthday Party Ideas. (Dec. 18, 2010).http://www.birthdaypartyideas.com/html/the_princess_party.html