A shark birthday

Last week I planned and hosted a massive birthday party after a gap of like five years. Like every non creative person -  I turned to Google for inspiration ( which means help).

You can get lots of help from just checking out Pinterest, and some super mommy blogs. Just like all other mommy blogs, I am obliged to list down the places where I got what I got with pics:

Theme:

I thought this will be easy. Until  my friend suggested I discuss this with my son. After rejecting a few themes, he came up with Underwater theme, Shark cake. What I then did was focused on the shark - and it evolved to Shark themed  - all blue event. So everywhere you see -  you'd be seeing sharks and people in blue. Its easy to find colored theme party stuffs, but not shark themed in Singapore.

Guest List:
Like all other events, you have to sit with your child and partner to list out the guests you would like to attend.

In my case - this is the first party in more than five years I think -  so we decided to call my close friends and networks with kids. But RA made a point later on in the process - saying that it was his party and he should invite his school friend as well. Valid point. So we decided to include the kids from school and his student care.

To monitor the people I intend to invite, -  I used an app called Party Planner in my mobile. This was free, downloaded from Apple App Store.

All I had to do was indicate the event name, details and then start listing the guests. As and when the guests confirm, you can just indicate it on the app -  and you have a count of the guests confirmed, the number of children and so on. There are reminders and budgets all within the app. But I didn't use all those functions. I just liked the count down function.

There are other apps called Evite - which is really good -  but it does not work for Non US users.

Invites:
Invitation Blue print
The trend nowadays is to send e-invites over the WhatsApp. Just send in the poster of the invitation and just like that -  an invitation has been sent.

To do even that -  I needed help. ( Not creative, remember?) I went through some blogs, read some details and thought of creating my very own poster. So I downloaded Adobe Spark, played around it for 2 days and finally figured out how to create a poster. Spent another day or so trying to fit it all in one page and decided that I would use the final image as the main invite.

Thank you Card
Once the blueprint for the invite was settled -  I thought of coming up with a Thank you Card. So again -  I went about creating another poster. Here my BIL was a bit of help. He went around searching for images and gave me another image of shark -  which I went to create my Thank you Card. Now this took a day to create.

Creating the blueprint: Free.

Being a very old fashioned rectitude person  - I went on about creating physical invites as well. When you do something - might as well do that thing well. So I sent my designs to Vistaprint -  edited,checked and then submitted it for printing. I created about 100 invites and about 50 thank you cards.
I designed the thank you card in a 2 fold design. Idea was to have the thank you card as a picture placeholder for the party.

The invites came within a week. The paper quality was good. I admit some of the cards, were not cut properly, but overall it turned out well.

I posted the cards out to all the invited guests  and RA distributed them to his classmates and student care mates.

Say what you may -  but getting a physical invitation card  - the feeling is different.

Many of the guests later messaged me to tell me that they received the card and were delighted just to have it.

Note: The image used for the Thank you card was also printed behind the Invitation card - where I added more details of the party, eg "wear blue and be one of us".

That same image was also printed on A4 paper and put on a frame on the main table for aesthetic purpose.

Cost: S100

RSVP

Now I can send the invites over and wait for people to message or call and tell me whether they are coming to the party or they can't. And with the work I am doing -  I just don't think I can keep track of the RSVPs coming through. So I found a website, where I can keep track of the RSVPs. Its easy actually. This was the most fun thing in the entire party planning.

RSVP open
If you have less than 100 guests, you can use the app for free. You create an account, add an event, customize it and you will get your own url related to the event. Then all you have to do is copy paste the event URL along with the e-invite via Whatsapp or SMS.  You just have to tell the guests to indicate if they are coming or not via the link. If they are coming, they would need to indicate the names of the guests coming along. Once they have submitted that - the system will send me  and the guests a confirmation email. On my side -  the system will add in the guest into the database. And I can download the lists at the end of it.
RSVP closed

You can choose to close the RSVP date and the website will include message that the submission is closed and have to contact the host.

Towards the end of the party -  I exported the guests lists into excel, printed it out  and used that to create my goodies bags and arrange food and decided my venue.

As you can see - the same image used in the invite has been used here as well,

I had a total of 102 guest confirming RSVP! And they did come!

Goodie Bags (Party)

I admit I was a little stressed over this. This and the deco. I did not want to send guests off with just junk snacks. This is a 10 years old kid's party. Kids his age will be a majority here. Their parents wouldn't want me to send them off with junk snacks! And the kids wouldn't want to be going off with kiddy stuffs like whistles and clappers no more! That ended like a year ago ( I think).

I had a lot of grand ideas -  and they were extremely expensive and complicated ( shipping, etc). I sourced out goodies for the kids in three different websites. In the end this is what I got them.


Pencil case (D)
Mechanical Pencil (D)
Personalized Key chain (BIB)
Shark Tatoo (AMZ)
Shark Stickers (AMZ)
Shark Stamper(AMZ)
Shark bubble (AMZ)
Shark Squeezie (AMZ)
Underwater theme bookmark (AMZ)
Glow in the dark bangles (MTR)
Kraft Bags (MTR)

The goodies were places inside a small zip lock bag(D). I then put a personalized goodies bag label over each zip lock bag. I think it looks nice.
The zip lock bag was then put inside colored Kraft paper bags.( Theres a long story behind the Kraft bag -  will get to that bit later)

I also then stapled each kid's name on the bag. I had to do this because I was thinking there was a mismatch between the number of kids and the number of bags I bought. And also -  since I had pink bags as well-  I was able to separate the girls from the boy's loots.

And another thing to note -  there was still ample space to add in candies and pop corn.






Places I sourced for the goodies: 

Daiso (D)
Oriental Trading (OTC)
Birthday in a Box (BIB)
Amazon Prime (AMZ)
Mtrade Pte Ltd (MTR)

Labels :
The labels that I printed off from my  home printer -  were actually not my design. The designs were created by this artistic and creative person from Chickabug. She has a shop in Etsy. All I had to do was select the template ( shark and blue themed)I wanted and gave her the names I wanted to be on. Make the payment and she will send in the pdf the next day. I ordered chocolate wrapper and food labels as well. I had no time to wrap chocs - hence that project was abandoned -  but the food labels as well as the goodies label -  I printed. ( If you were expecting me to tell you how I was super smart- got that design by not paying a single sum of money -  then you are at the wrong page. I am not that smart.)


Goodies Bags( School, student care)

It is customary for us to send goodies or favor bags to RA's class. Been doing that ever since he was in Playgroup. So this year -  since we are having a big blast -  the same thought went in for their gifts. I did not plan the same items for party for them.

What they have in their bag:
Pencil case -  plastic ziplock type - not a box (OTR)
Matching Pencils (2 in each bag) - OTR
Matching Erasers (OTR)
Matching Notepads (OTR)
Shark Gummy candies-halal (Redmart)
Bag - Tote bags in different colors (OTR)


Venue:

Initially we thought out house was big enough to host about 40 people, but later on as the invites were given to RA's school mates and friends, the number of guests who RSVPd swelled. So off I went looking out for venues.

Since RA's birthday comes just after the CNY weekend, it was tough to get the place we wanted. I looked at cafes, chalets, party places, and empty spaces  - but either I didn't get the date, the place, I was not a member, no one I knew was, or it was too expensive. So I settled for the void deck. Should have gone for the Multi Purpose Hall -  but I settled for the void deck.

Thankfully -  the weather was good and extremely windy...the kids ran all the way to the badminton court behind the void deck.

Cost: $42.50 ( incl electricity and water)

Seatings:

The initial idea -  was just to  have some chairs. People can eat off their plates without tables. Then it evolved into having round chairs with matching skirting and overlays. Then it completed with having additional lights, couple of round tables, square tables and rectangle tables with center piece in each table. This actually ate into my budget -  and something that I was reluctant to have. I got my friends to check out  - and managed to find someone within 2 days. Found him through carousell. He was very fast in responding and was very patient in explaining to us the details and costs. Hence he was selected.

The 6 round tables I took was actually not enough for the guests. Some were sitting at the spaces near the column, some went off to the court and watched kids play and some walked around. But no one was stuck in one place. The kids were free to run and be happy.

Nurellyra Wedding -  Event Specialist
Cost: $$$

Deco:

As with goodies bag -  I put a lot of thought ( plus lots of browsing) for the deco. I initially bought all the deco from Party Stuff since the first plan was to have the party at home.  Its really big and had lots of color themed party items. I bought over $270 worth of party deco plus matching plates and cups. At that time - it was within my budget. But when we moved the venue to the void deck -  I got worried.

The deco was not enough. It will not look grand enough. So off I went browsing again and after endless pages and sites, I found Party Whole Sale Centre website. They had this DIY balloon package that included two balloon columns, balloon garland, number balloon, streamers and etc. It was only $47.90. I consulted with my friend Akki who was helping me with the deco and she told me to grab it. So along with it -  I also bought a balloon pump ( I am asthmatic - and my boys are lazy -  so will blow the balloon?) and rented an electronic pump ( to complete it faster), and a helium tank. They come with refundable deposit. All in all another $126.40  and I had to self collect.

Though I had ample deco -  I lacked the time to deck up the place. My friends Akki did me a favour to help me with the deco - but she came in quite late after helping me out so late the previous night and it was pretty windy -  so no matter how hard the girls tried to make the place up, the balloons were all flying away.

I planned a photo booth wall -  but -  I had no dedicated photographer and so I left it to the guests to take pics against the wall themselves.






Food:

I had the party arranged at tea time - from 3pm to 6pm. So I assumed at first -  I could have it easy - like just deep fry some stuffs and have some sandwiches and stuffs like that. But then again as the guest list swelled -  we worked on having the food catered. I turned to my aunts for help. She helped me check out with the people she knew -  but they charged a bit on the higher end for a pax of 60 people. So I looked around and checked out this website called caterspot sg. But by the time I could decide on the food -  the caterers I wanted were not available for my event ( and this is like 2 weeks before the event). And also -  since it was CNY time -  some of them offered only CNY food.

So managed to find one through Foodline SG.
Once the food selected and order went through, the follow up from them was fantastic. They sent messages to confirm and then followed up within minutes with a call to confirm the list and order. The day before the event, they sent in email to remind about the event and also asked to send in pics of their food so that they can use in their website.

Since there were many kids -  the chicken nuggets and fishballs ran out fast. So have plenty of them there and keep the noodles to a little.

.







Total: $450

Deserts

This was pretty easy and was one of the things I ordered early on. My aunt is a fantastic baker, So I ordered 5 desert items from her. Mum made her infamous agar agar and custards. I also included lots of fruits such as watermelons, grapes, strawberries and bananas and junk food like marshmallows for chocolate fondue. The chocolate fondue did not happen due to the weather.But the marshmallows and fruits ran out.

I also ordered 50 boxes of popcorn and candy floss each from Candy house  -  which was intended to be given as door gifts to the adults. Also -  another point to note -  I have a couple of teenagers coming along. The goodies I have packed -  is definitely not to their taste. So as not to leave them out -  all guests left with a Kraft bag of pop corn and candy floss each.



Themed agar agar - home made

Red velvet cake,blue jelly, cheese tart


The cake:

The cake is always the highlight of a birthday party and mine came in early. It came in three boxes, top two layers a different flavor(vanilla) and the base a different flavor (chocolate hazelnut)-  and custom made. I gave Flair Cakes an image I selected from Google and after checking it out, they gave me the quotation and I booked it. The makers ( Flair Cakes) followed up via WhatsApp very fast and helped me with deciding on what I wanted with the cake. 

When the cakes came -  I got them to arrange the cakes and all in an Air Conditioned room back at home - so that the cake doesn't go all swishy during cake cutting time at the void deck. So when hubby and I brought the cake down -  all I had to do was place the shark topping and the sea creatures all around the cake.

The kids were amazed and said they had never seen a three tiered cake before!
When the party was over -  there was only one quarter of cake base left. I only managed to try the cake on the 3rd day since I stored it in the fridge. The cake was moist and nice and I liked it.

Cost: $$$


What I didn't get to do though planned:

  • Specialized photo booth
  • Chocolate fondue
  • Nutella shark fin bread
  • Popcorn and candy floss making

I was pretty disappointed. But it seems we managed without it. I bought down the helium tank to blow up balloons for the kids and that sent the kids into a frenzy!  My uncle promptly took over and started helping out. The kids all thoroughly enjoyed.

Summary:
I would suggest if you intend to have a grand party -  ala carte - ensure you have the resource to make your plan work. In my case -  I had no proper resource. So I had to run around a lot. And I planned like more than a month in advance!

Get a birthday planner -  they charge less than $1000 for a full theme birthday event for 20 kids. That makes your life easier I tell you.

Or invite only kids. Relatives can be done with later.

I did have fun planning -  and the results were well worth it. And you know what made me the most happiest? That everyone wore blue to the party AND they all sang the loudest during cake cutting. It was the most heart touching thing for me. Will do this all over again....few years later.



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