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The Art Of Children’s Entertaining

It’s all in the storytelling, says actress and founder of Bedazzled Juliet Oldfield

It’s hard not to question your productivity levels after meeting Juliet Oldfield. The ebullient founder and director of events company Bedazzled, not only organises hotly in-demand parties for little people, she’s also a successful actress and has starred in a number of productions, including Sky drama Critical, Borrowed Time with Phil Davis, a Radio 4 play alongside Maxine Peake, and Bronson, in which she played Tom Hardy’s girlfriend. Lucky sod. Oldfield laughs. “You’re not the first person to say that.” Oh, she writes about parenthood, too (Oldfield has a one-year-old daughter) in her blog, Bedazzled Baby.



Before I start self-flagellating for my lamentable lack of efficiency, Oldfield throws me a bone. “It was a lot of work in the beginning. I had just come out of drama school and needed to pay the bills, so I was doing everything myself, from stuffing party bags to entertaining the kids. Now, though, I have it down to a T, with a great team of entertainers, stylists and caterers, led by my right-hand woman, Mary. They look after things when I’m on an acting job.”

Oldfield set up Bedazzled in 2007, while still at university. Having grown up immersed in the events world – her father was a chef and entrepreneur – and as a trained storyteller, she felt the world of children’s entertainment was a natural progression.

“From a young age, I attended weddings with my dad, who trained me in silver service, so I’ve always been very comfortable in the industry. I knew acting wasn’t the easiest of careers, but I never wanted to do anything else. I needed to come up with something that supported this dream. Luckily, acting and creativity play a huge role in children’s parties.”

Juliet Oldfield Image Francesca Oldfield

The Bedazzled team offers a full service, from “Invites to thank-you notes and everything in between”, but for Oldfield, the entertainment she provides is what gives the company its leading edge. “All our entertainers are professional performers, who are used to working in lots of different environments and can adapt accordingly. Children don’t care whether they have a jam or a ham sandwich, but if the entertainer isn’t great, it can destroy the atmosphere. It’s also really important they please the adults as well as the kids.”

Bedazzled Arctic Party

Bedazzled Beach And Soft Play Parties

Oldfield is a traditionalist when it comes to party games. Fancy props and elaborate lighting are rejected in favour of good old-fashioned storytelling. “It’s all about being interactive. They children don’t just sit there and listen – they’re part of the story. They might climb up a big mountain, go over a wobbly bridge, fall into a pool and bounce on a toadstool. We always know we’ve done a good job when they kids are telling their parents about the big adventure they’ve been on as they walk to the car.”

Themes range from football parties to fashion and beauty shows and cookery classes. Star Wars and unicorns have been popular requests this year, while Frozen mania is still going strong – Oldfield worked on three events based on the hit Disney animation last weekend. That said, no two parties are ever the same, she says.

“We don’t do packages. We believe that every event has to be as personal as possible for the client. The week before a party, our entertainer will call the parent to run over the plan and give them the opportunity to discuss what their child is or isn’t into at that moment. (Kids change their minds a lot). They might be going through a dancing or a magic tricks phase, so we’ll incorporate this into the entertainment. We’re also great at being spontaneous on the day. You might walk into a room and be faced with a bunch of quiet children, who aren’t going to feel like jumping around and going crazy, so you change to another game. It can be a challenge, but we revel in it.”

Bedazzled NASA Party

Bedazzled Superhero Parties

Bedazzled Space Ship Party

Bedazzled Parties

A similarly bespoke approach is taken to the catering. The team can accommodate any request, from classic jelly and ice cream to mini burritos, smoked salmon and popcorn sandwiches. “Even if the food is really simple, we make it special. Our thing is, if we’re going to be responsible for your catering, it’s not going to be something you can do yourself. So the sandwiches, for example, will be shaped as mini cars, if that’s the theme of the party. And everything will have a label on it, right down to the straws. We always try to meet the parents’ expectations.”

Oldfield’s assiduousness is clearly paying off. Over the past few years, she’s been asked to organise weddings, birthday parties, and film and book launches by many a satisfied customer, and word is spreading fast – Bedazzled’s recent corporate clients include Net-A-Porter, Anthropologie and Fulham FC.  

“The quality has always been the same, whether we’re putting together a children’s party or a wedding, so we never saw it as a challenge to branch out.” Does she see a day when she’ll commit to acting or events full time? “The whole reason I set up Bedazzled was because the two worlds complement each other so well. I’m equally passionate about both, so couldn’t be happier where I am.”

Bedazzled Parties Garden Styling

Bedazzled Entertainers

Bedazzled Rainbow Party

Juliet’s Top Tips For Planning The Perfect Children’s Party

  • Entertaners Are Key - If you can afford it, splash out on a good entertainer. This is the most important element of any kids’ party. If your budget doesn’t allow for this, come up with a plan for the games and commit it to paper. Being organised is crucial.

  • Think Carefully About The Venue – where the children are going to go, where you’ll put the parents, the food, etc. You’ll need more space than you think.

  • Try to delegate. If you’re not having a photographer, get a friend to take pictures so you can relax and aren’t seeing the party through a lens.

Bedazzled Events and Parties, can help you plan and create the perfect party for all ages and occasions. You simply pick the theme and let their team bring it to life. For more information, or to book your next event, take a look at their profile on our Little Black Book

 

Posted in Spotlight

by Alix O'Neill
on on 06 January 2017

  children's party, kids party, party entertainment

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