If there’s one thing LA knows how to do better than almost anybody, it’s throw a party. And these days, kids’ birthday fests are no exception. But spending endless hours filing through Pinterest and Instagram for A-List inspiration can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. That’s why we turned to event stylist extraordinaire and owner of Wild Child Party & Supply, Jolie Dionisio, for some easy tips and tricks that’ll take your kiddos’ next fete to a whole other level.

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Long Beach mama Jolie Dionisio dove into the event planning biz quite unexpectedly. Her own son and daughter have back-to-back birthdays, so she decided to throw them epic parties so each would feel like they had their own special celebration. Creating an Alice in Wonderland themed fest for one and a Mad Scientist party for the other, she got a response was like nothing she ever imagined. Word of her impressive party prowess quickly spread and parent after parent began enlisting her help with their own children’s birthdays.

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This eventually led to Dionisio opening her Long Beach storefront, Wild Child Party & Supply, a one-stop shop for all things party related. The business grew so quickly that they’ve just relocated to a bigger space with a full Balloon Bar and venue rental (see details on the new store below). From full-service event styling and their perfectly curated “Party in a Box” delivered straight to your doorstep to incredible balloon installations, Wild Child has quickly become the go-to party guru for celeb parents and kiddie hotspots like Au Fudge.

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So how can you throw your very own celeb-worthy kids’ soiree and save a few dolla dolla bills here and there? Dionisio gives us the inside scoop:

Pick an original theme: Gone are the days of cheesy characters staring up at party guests from underneath a soggy slice of pizza. Now, party planning is all about organic ideas and imagination! Think about what your child adores. Is it reptiles? Unicorns? The color purple? Picking a theme (or mix-and-melding their favorites) unique to your kiddos will set the tone for the rest of the event and make it feel totally one-of-a-kind.

Bring your theme to life across multiple touchpoints: Use tableware to enhance your vision—cool straws, plates and cups in different patterns and styles will make things feel cohesive. Set up an imagination station with interactive crafts that support your theme. Did you go with a unicorn party? Create a unicorn horn decorating station! And don’t forget about a photobooth. Incorporate your theme using a photo-friendly backdrop, add props and personalize a party hashtag. (And they have goodies to go home with, too!)

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Add balloons: Nowadays, balloons are bigger and better than ever. If you’re going to splurge, this is where to invest. Use a larger-than-life balloon installation as your focal point, or display a few big balloon bouquets throughout your space. They’ll really make the room pop! (See what we did there…)

Keep parents entertained: Most parents go to kids parties to socialize with friends and get to know other families better. Anything you can do to keep little ones occupied and looked after so parents can visit will be greatly appreciated. Bring in your favorite babysitter(s) or use older siblings to help with crafts and assist with overall party flow. Create a “parents zone“—a designated area with better refreshments and light cocktails, if appropriate, so moms and dads can relax and mingle (while keeping one eye on the tots). Add in a pampering service just for the moms: think on-site chair massages, mobile manis, or simple glam. They deserve it and you’ll no doubt get a very grateful hug.

Don’t stress about food: Rugrats will be so busying partying that food’s usually their last concern. Order sandwiches from your local deli and ask them to be individually wrapped. Add a piece of ribbon or twine around the sandwich and voila! It looks completely elevated for just a dollar or two more.

Donut Cakephoto: Top Pot Donuts

Save on dessert: Instead of a cake, opt for a donut version. There’s a donut shop on every corner and they’ll cost you a quarter of what cake normally runs. Stack them on a pretty plate with a filled donut on top to hold the candle.

People love a #selfie wall: Social media rules the party circuit and a selfie wall provides a fun and interactive opportunity for your guests to make silly faces against a unique backdrop that they can post to Instagram. Backdrops can be as simple as a pretty piece of fabric, layered garland on a blank wall or some yarn and trimmings styled to fit your party’s color theme. You also can print out paper props from Pinterest—affordable and chic!

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Dionisio also reveals what party trends will make the biggest impact in 2017. Think mermaids with splashes of ever-trending holographic foil touches, nature themes with woodland creatures and camping vibes, Coachella-inspired fiestas with a refined desert look and feel and bright pink flamingos will continue their reign of party popularity.

If you’re still stumped, Wild Child can craft and host your perfect party, or they are happy to give you loads of tips (and tools) in person!

Wild Child Party & Supply
327 Redondo Ave.
Long Beach
562-335-9564
Online: wildchildparty.com

What are your favorite party planning tips?  Share them in the comment section!

–Jennifer O’Brien

All photos courtesy of Wild Child Party & Supply.