Once Upon a Time
Invite Princesses to Your Party
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Over a decade ago, Chelsea Couture was vacationing in Mexico with her mom (Crystal) and sister (Claire) when inspiration struck.
“We saw people making crazy balloon hats and we thought it would be fun to start a family balloon art business together,” Chelsea says, noting that all three of them nurture a creative spirit.
They came home and learned the tricks of the trade, then formed Balloongenuity in 2009. Though it was a successful business endeavor, they often fielded questions from revelers who were in search of, say, a magician or a clown. Then they began to notice a trend as more and more people were interested in inviting a real-live princess to their party or event.
“A woman called and said she’d like to have Rapunzel at her daughter’s party—not just to sit and look pretty but to sing, draw, and interact with the kids,” Chelsea says. “She wanted a fairytale come to life.”
“If we were going to do this, we wanted to do it right,” Chelsea says, who launched Happily Ever After Productions in 2012, starting with just four princesses.
“Children were in absolute awe to get to meet their favorite princesses,” Chelsea says.
There’s the classic princesses such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and Alice in Wonderland. But the Little Mermaid, the Frog Princess Tiana, and the Snow Princesses (Anna and Elsa) are also very popular. Soon after launching, parents began asking Chelsea, “What do you offer for boys?” So, they invited select superheroes to join in the fun, and now Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America (among others) visit parties.
The craze has definitely exploded.
“Initially, we thought the princesses would be a side thing to our balloon artistry and really it’s the other way around,” Chelsea says.
The highly popular Princess Package is a 1.5-hour party that includes entertainment by one character, who is accompanied by the client’s choice of balloon artist, face painter or glitter tattoo artist. The princess presents the birthday girl with a tiara and then provides a musical storytelling show, participates in the cake cutting ceremony, and delivers a special song. If parents also want to incorporate a pinata or something else into the party, they are more than welcome to do so. But for the most part, the princesses are the entertainment.
Unlike at a Disney theme park where kids’ time with characters is limited to a stand-in-line chance to snap a photo and grab an autograph, at these parties, the guests have a chance to chat at length with princesses.
“Kids want to know every backstory so they’ll ask about the princess’ parents and their pets, how they got here, everything!” Chelsea says.
Happily Ever After will accommodate parties and events within a one-hour driving radius of the Geist area. Though they have traveled as far away as Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chicago, they stay plenty busy just in the Indy area. For instance, in May Aladdin and Jasmine attended Chick-fil-A night. And earlier this spring Moana, Snow White and friends went to an Indianapolis Indians game where they mingled with fans of all ages. Each year the princesses also go to the Whitestown Parks & Rec’s Christmas Ball in Whitestown where princesses engage in a meet-n-greet with attendees.
“We see a bump in business in the spring and fall with seasonal festivals and another bump at the Fourth of July and Christmas, but overall we remain steady year-round,” Chelsea says.
Several of their princesses have moved on to engage in other communities, booking jobs on cruise ships and even living in the promised land—Disney World. It’s not surprising given that these princesses and superheroes love what they do.
“They all really do enjoy interacting with the children,” Chelsea says, noting that they have a really loyal fan base.
“Some families will book four or five years in a row, choosing a different princess each time,” Chelsea says. “We feel blessed to be able to do this full-time. We have the best jobs ever!”
For more information, call 317-498-3473, email email@example.com or visit happilyeverafterproductions.com.