Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I choose Happily Ever Parties & Entertainment?
Happily Ever is owned & managed by college-educated professionals with decades of related business experience. We have booked more than 2000 characters since January of 2013, while maintaining a 5-star average review rating across multiple platforms.
Our costumed character entertainers are carefully selected based on several criteria including professional acting or singing training & experience, talent, appearance, personality, & experience working with children.
We have numerous actors/actresses available throughout the area. Our costumed characters are well-paid & treated with respect as the adult professionals that they are.
Happily Ever conducts criminal background checks on our entertainers & carries business liability insurance. (Many "discount" companies do not).
Some character entertainment companies consist of only 1-2 people, often high-school-age students, and the same person does ALL of their characters, and also manages the business. So, their talent is one-size-fits-all (one person playing all roles), they can only book one party a week, & the business is run by amateur actors. Because the character is also the owner/operator, you cannot reach her when she is working at a party. They can usually only offer one character at a time and have very limited choices for characters and activities. You are required to purchase a pre-designed "package" of activities and are not allowed to pick and choose the activities that best suit your child and your event. If a schedule conflict arises, they will often cancel your event at the last minute, because they do not have any back-up performers.
Happily Ever Parties has many different people who play the same characters. If a scheduling conflict arises or an entertainer gets sick, we are often able to substitute another performer who can seamlessly fill the same role and do the same activities. Because we have multiple costumes, we are often able to replace someone on short notice. Happily Ever does not require you to purchase a "one-size-fits-all" package of activities (that you may or may not like), but, rather, allows you to customize your activities to suit your event.
Other large companies may offer lowball, economy pricing, but they may hire teenagers at minimum wage and use budget Halloween costumes purchased from discount party stores. They do not have the same standards for appearance, talent & experience. They may not run criminal background checks or pay their character actors a fair & competitive rate.
We use higher quality costumes, and most are custom made.
Happily Ever strives to offer attractive, fit & talented performers, at a competitive rate, while treating & paying their talent like the professionals they are.
2. How do I book and pay for the service?
If you need assistance, a quote, or have questions you wish to have answered, send an email with detailed information about your event including the date, time, location, and what character or characters you are looking for.
We will contact you with questions or a quote and, once all dates and details are decided and agreed upon, we will send you an email invoice for payment of the booking fees. You may pay by credit or Debit Card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover) via PayPal or Gig Salad.
You may either pre-pay in full or pay a down payment due to book the event, with the remainder to be paid in cash to the character on the date of the event. (Tips appreciated). (For corporate events, it is possible to pay the balance due with a company check made out to the name of the entertainer, with prior arrangement.)
PLEASE NOTE THAT RATES QUOTED ARE ONLY VALID FOR 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE QUOTE. IF PARTY IS NOT BOOKED WITHIN 30 DAYS FROM QUOTE, RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. THANK YOU.
3. How can I check for availability?
Send us an email and we will confirm when we quote you that the service you requested is available for the date, time, and location you requested.
4. Do you travel to my location?
We service the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and many nearby North Texas cities. Denton/McKinney, etc. are included in our territory. Send us an email with your address. In some cases, (if your event falls outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth area) we may have to charge extra for additional mileage and travel time. We will inform you in advance (prior to booking) if that is the case.
We also have a location with limited characters in Austin/San Antonio area and a location in the Houston area with limited characters. Please view these pages for more information. Additional mileage costs are added for travel in these areas.
5. What Characters do you have available?
Happily Ever Parties does not claim to offer any officially licensed or copyrighted characters. Characters available will be shown on our Photos page. Different characters are offered at different locations.
Send an email and ask about the character you had in mind and we will let you know if that is an in-stock costume at your location.
We have 100+ characters available in the Dallas area & less options in the Houston and Austin areas.
We are also willing to accommodate special requests, but those may require additional time (or, in some cases, additional cost), so those may need to be booked 60 or more days in advance.
It must also be financially feasible. It does not make sense for us to spend $500 or more to purchase a costume for your party if you are only paying $200 for the event. If your requested character is not popular or often requested, it doesn't make financial sense for us to buy the costume, just for you.
For many of our characters, we have multiple costumes available, so that we can book the same character(s) for more than one event on the same day.
We are also frequently adding new characters, so check with us if you have any questions.
6. What Services do you provide?
See the local page for your area for options and for prices. If you have a request that is not on our list, ask, and we will try to accommodate you, if our cost is reasonable. We are also happy to book more than one character, for a single event.
We do not currently offer decor, bounce houses, food, photographers, etc.
Please note, that we are unable to donate free or discounted services for charities, fund-raisers, or other causes. Thank you
7. How are Prices determined?
Our company overhead costs include administrative/managerial staff pay, office supplies, party supplies, shipping & transportation costs, web sites, advertising, insurance, printing & supplies, costumes, accessories, (plus cleaning, repairing and maintenance), face painting supplies, balloon twisting supplies, make up kit supplies, story books, CD players, CDs, training DVDs, recruiting, training, training supplies, background checks, supplies for games, temporary tattoos, party favors, time spent, etc.
Besides the cost of the materials, administrative/management invests a great deal of time and effort into promoting, quoting, communicating, booking, preparing, scheduling, invoicing, purchasing and organizing for each event. Some events may have required many hours of back-and-forth communication, prior to booking.
Entertainers also invest a great deal of their time, in addition to the time spent entertaining at parties. They must put in the time to pick up and return their costumes & supplies, get dressed up in the costume & accessories (and removal of costume after the event), commute to and from the event (including the cost of gas), prepare for each event (in some cases learning a song, researching a character, learning particular skills, etc.)
All of these considerations are taken into account, when we are pricing events. The majority of our cost has already been incurred by the time the entertainer arrives at the party. That is why our first hour is the most expensive, and longer events are a better value for the money.
We may charge extra fees for outdoor parties in the hottest and coldest months of the year. Outdoor parties tend to be more damaging to the costumes. In addition, they are a great deal more stressful for the entertainer. In the summertime, you may be wearing a tank top and shorts while they may be wearing a full body mascot costume or a ball gown with a wig and petticoat.
In the cold months of the year, you may be fine wearing a jacket and sweatpants, but the entertainer might be dressed as a mermaid or fairy and feel a great deal colder than you, as a result.
We may charge extra fees for last-minute bookings. While we try to accommodate you, if we can, a last-minute booking adds a lot of work for everyone involved as we have to rush to get costumes & supplies ready & distributed on short notice.
8. What are the qualifications for the Characters that you provide?
All of Happily Ever's characters are cleared through criminal background screening and are liability insured. We only hire personable, articulate, energetic, intelligent individuals with experience and/or training in professional acting, singing, dancing, music, entertainment, coaching, teaching, art, and/or early child-hood education or child care.
Many of our characters are also professional actors, models, voice over actors, singers, dancers, recording artists, make-up professionals and more. You may see or hear them (in real life) in movies, films, on TV shows or commercials, performing music at local venues, as a voice over character on a web site or commercial, modeling in a catalog, cheering or dancing on a college or professional squad/dance team, performing in a musical at a community theatre, singing and dancing in a local show choir, and more
9. How can I become a Happily Ever Costume Character?
Click on the "Jobs" page for more information on this topic.
10. What are your "Terms and Conditions" for booking a character?
The down payment is non-refundable.
Any amount paid to the costumed character on the date of the event (including any tip) is also non-refundable.
If a balance is still due at the event, it is the client's responsibility to know the correct amount that is due to the character and to pay that amount at the event, in cash, plus any tip. Any over-payment is considered a tip to the entertainer and is non-refundable.
If the event is canceled, we must be notified in writing. No refunds of the down payment will be given if the purchaser cancels the event.
There are no guarantees that we will be able to provide a character if the client decides to change the date, time, or location -due to weather, or for any other reason. We will make a reasonable attempt to do so, but if we do not have a character available for the changed date/time/location, then the event is considered canceled by the purchaser, and there will be no refund.
If the client reschedules the event, and we ARE able to provide a character for the new date/time/location, there will be a $25 reschedule fee (per entertainer), which you will need to pay prior to the event. (We reserve costumes, supplies & people, based on the reservation, and turn away others who wish to book for the same date. We will attempt to reschedule for up to 12 months from the originally scheduled date. If no reschedule is possible within that time frame, the event is considered canceled by the purchaser, and no refund is due.
Once entertainer(s) arrive(s) at the event, balance is due, regardless of weather, fire, or other occurrences that may arise to prevent character(s) from performing at the event. If you have scheduled an outside event, please have an alternate plan in the event of inclement weather.
If anything occurs to make the entertainer(s) reasonably believe he/she/they might be in physical danger, he/she/they may require immediate payment and leave the event early. In this situation, no refund will be due.
In the event any entertainers are being subjected to abuse by event guests, (including children), and host does not step in to resolve the issue and protect entertainers, the entertainers may require immediate payment and leave the event early. Abuse may consist of physical and/or verbal abuse and/or sexual harassment. In this event, no refund will be due.
If you wish to keep the entertainer(s) beyond the scheduled time booked, and they are available to stay longer, you will need to pay them an additional $50 per 30 minutes each. This applies if you wish to have the entertainer arrive more than 15 minutes before the time they are scheduled to entertain or to stay after the amount of time they were booked to be there. This must be scheduled in advance, as entertainers may have back-to-back bookings and cannot routinely promise to arrive early for events or stay after events, as they may have other bookings they need to attend.
Overtime pay starts at 20 total minutes more than the scheduled time booked. (Including if you ask them to come early and/or ask them to stay late) If you keep a person for 20 minutes total overtime, you are required to pay them for 30 minutes of overtime ($50 per character). 40- 60 minutes total of overtime will be $100 per character.
You are responsible for keeping track of the time, as the characters generally do not carry a cell phone or wear a watch, because it may not fit with the character, and they will not be familiar with where clocks might be located at the home or venue.
There are no refunds once the character arrives at the event or after the service has been performed.
Happily Ever Parties does not claim to offer any officially licensed or copyrighted characters.
Happily Ever Parties assumes no liability beyond the cash amount paid by the client to Happily Ever Parties for the specific event.
Payment of invoice constitutes acceptance of all terms and conditions.
The invoice is the contract.
Unless arrangements were agreed upon prior to booking, we assign our own staff to parties based on availability. You do not have the option to choose which performer is assigned to your event.
11. Why do you not provide quotes and bookings by phone?
a) When people ask for prices and booking information over the phone, there is no paper trail and there is no written agreement between the two parties that is documented. It can easily create misunderstandings and situations where what one person said is not what the other person "heard". If all discussions are documented in writing, there is less potential for misunderstanding.
b) If we were to take bookings over the phone, we would also be required to take credit card information over the phone. We prefer to use a secure server where the client inputs his/her own information on-line and we have no direct access to credit card numbers. There is less potential liability involved if we do not have to write down and then shred each person's credit card information.
c) We quote many parties a week, depending on the season. Due to time limitations it makes more sense to handle these requests by email. A person can answer 30 emails in the time it takes to answer 5 phone calls. When we keep all quotes and bookings through email, we can serve a great many more people, a great deal more efficiently, in a great deal faster time frame.
d) We have found that it is extremely important to keep the phone line open, especially on weekends, in case there is an emergency on an already-booked event. If we are tied up on the phone providing a quote, and a client or character is urgently trying to reach us due to an emergency situation that is happening right now, we need to be able to be there for them immediately. We prioritize events that have already been booked, and are happening right now, over those who are inquiring about a price for a hypothetical party that is still two months away. If you were the person with the urgent situation that needed assistance right now, we think you would appreciate being able to get the help you need immediately, instead of in several hours, when your event is over.
In most cases, getting a quote immediately (rather than in 24 hours) is a convenience, not a necessity. Getting needed help for a party that is happening TODAY is a necessity.
For these reasons, we offer a 25% discount for all quotes that book 100% online and through email. Our quotes assume that all bookings happen through email and online but those that do not will be assessed 25% higher rates.
Our Costumes are purchased directly from individuals who have designed, hand-crafted and created them. Happily Ever Parties is not responsible for any misconduct on the part of the costume designer or any potential resemblance to any other artist's work. We do not claim to represent any licensed or copyrighted characters.