Thursday, July 19, 2012

How I organized my birthday party

I organized my own birthday party this year. It's been years since I had a birthday party.

I'll admit to having party anxiety. My key reason? Wondering whether it was such a good idea to spend way more money on food, compared to DIY-ing it (or more precisely, getting my mum and grandma to cook). My mum was pretty dubious about the whole affair, but I was determined to do it my way and went ahead anyway. 

As readers might know, my dad is undergoing chemo for cancer at the moment. With mortality staring us in the face, it gets a little more pressing to enjoy life right now. I really don't know if this will be the last birthday that my dad will be here, so I didn't want to have any regrets.

So I jotted 3 things down and kept going with the party even though I worried about it while making plans and confirming details. Namely:
Make it good.
Make memories.
Make it happen. 

Here's the lowdown on the details.

Venue: the Garden Slug, a laid-back little cafe in a sleepy neighborhood on the east coast.

  • Caesar Salad with Multigrain croutons, bacon bits and a touch of citrus zest
  • Platter of German Bratwurst & Herby Chicken Chipolata Sausages. Served with French wholegrain mustard
  • Signature Oven-baked Wasuga Chicken Wings. Served with home-made tomato relish 
  • Slow-Braised Red Wine Beef Stew with Chunky root vegetables
  • Grilled Dory Fish topped with Antipasto, drizzled with a lemon herb sauce
  • Signature Brownie Popsicles (yummy!)
  • Iced Lemon Tea

  • Flowers that I picked up from Cold Storage on the day of the party, and trimmed to size. And these were held by...
  • ...Quirky lab beakers that I discovered in our store-room during the Great Paint Job of 2011
  • Little butterflies made with Martha Stewart butterfly punch
  • A train of paper flags from paper I picked up on sale at Paper Market ($5. Score!)

Family (18 of us) and close friends, slightly over 35 in total. I was so pleased that my whole family in Singapore could make it.

Big surprise:
My cousins sang a song for me! With guitar accompaniment! So sweet.

Totally worthwhile extra:
In what was meant to be a surprise for my family, I hired a professional photographer to take photos of the event. Yong Sak was professional, pleasant and obliging. Usually I'm the one taking photos but having someone else capture the moments & details was great and freed me up to talk to people. Plus I realize I'm not that adventurous when it comes to posing for my own photos, so having someone suggest photo poses was new.

Party favors:
My aunt was so cute - she brought a basket of little sweets that were appreciated by the kids in particular. And my grandma made nonya kueh. Love her.

I enjoyed:
Having my family chip in to help with the set-up and packing-up. 

I realised:
It's important to make the effort to keep relationships going, especially old ones. They're like trees - more beautiful with age.

I am glad:
That my dad was well enough to enjoy himself.
That my guests mingled so nicely.
That it went smoothly.  

Mission accomplished. Thank you God!

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