“A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip.”
I turned 21 last month! I hope I’m wiser but I certainly don’t feel that way. Yet.
I held a party to celebrate it with my family and closest friends. It was a small cozy party and I was really happy with the way it turned out! I’m usually no good under pressure but ironically I quite enjoy being stressed out over party planning and obsessing over the details. This time I didn’t really have time to properly go about the planning due to my studies so on the day itself I almost had a nervous breakdown because I was running late. Thankfully I had the help of my family and the nerd so everything turned out fine!
For you guys overseas, turning 21 is the deal in Singapore because not only are you legally an adult – at 16 you have your GCE O Levels, at 18 your A Levels, and then nobody will turn up because everyone would be stuck in the depths of their mugging cave. At 21 there is no major YOU NEED TO ACE THIS OR YOU WILL DIE exam, we Singaporeans are a little more free to celebrate. (;
Thank you papa and mommy for being the best parents in the world! ❤
I didn’t go all out to book a super fancy venue or opt for an expensive caterer or anything like that. Like many, the bulk of my money was actually spent on the venue and catering, but I tried to save as much costs as I could while still making sure my party looked good not only to me, but hopefully everyone else! I’m gonna share about the venue/caterer/decorations/cake I had for my party and give you some recommendations and advice for planning a semi-fancy 21st that wouldn’t burn too much of a hole in your pocket!
An evite is an easy way to mass invite your friends over whatsapp to inform them of the party before asking them to RSVP on Facebook. It’s also a good way to convey the party theme and any other essential details. If you’re no good at photoshop, either ask a friend or use Powerpoint as it doesn’t have to be super good quality (pixels and size wise)! As you can see I went with a floral theme and used my blog background for the evite and daisies because I felt that it is just so me!
Honestly, for me, gift-giving is a headache because it’s so hard to buy a gift your friend or family will actually use! And sometimes you’d receive really horrible presents that you’d never use ever, and then it kind of wastes your friends’ efforts! So an easy way out is to create a wishlist so your friends know what to get you and you can receive something you’d actually use! I don’t believe in buying super expensive present just cause someone’s 21, so I stuck to more affordable and mid range items, mostly makeup! If you have a blog, you can create a post or page so your friends can have a pictorial reference. TIP: GET a wishlist manager to avoid people double buying the same item!
BOOK EARLY. It goes without saying if you want to secure your ideal venue, especially if it’s a hot spot. I initially wanted to book a hotel but as my birthday was around the F1 season, even hotels in Sentosa were double the price, so my dad suggested NSRCC. NSRCC is a popular party and gathering option – I booked it a month away and all the Friday-Saturday slots were taken so I had to book Sunday and Monday. As Monday is an off peak period, I only got charged for one peak day and one non peak day so I managed to accidentally save some cost LOL. For NSRCC I feel that it’s good because it’s very quiet and the place is pretty clean compared to other chalets I stayed at before. Only issue is the ten million zillion planes flying past at night so it’s a tad difficult to fall asleep. And the fact that they closed most of their facilities for maintenance and didn’t tell us -__-
Honestly I would advice you to order enough for exactly the number of people you invited, or even up to 5 people less than the number of invited guests as people are ALWAYS going to cancel on you last minute. Also order less if your guests mostly consist of girls. If you have a smaller number of people, opt for higher price pax as they have a smaller quota. I had about 40 people so I opted for a more pocket friendly pax! For my party, I hired Kuisine Catering and I was SUPER HAPPY with their service! They let me choose the table skirting, I didn’t manage to take a photo of the table setting but it was quite pretty with a vase of fake sunflowers to boot. My correspondent Aminah was very helpful and polite as well. They are also halal certified and to be honest I was quite amazed that for the price I paid, the food was so nice!
I ordered their light buffet menu which was $8.50 pax that consisted of 1 poultry, 1 fish, 1 vegetable, 2 deep fried, 1 rice/noodle and a beverage. However this is a minimum 40 pax order, so I’d recommend this particular set only if you have at least 40 people!
Yang Zhou Fried Rice
I felt that their rice was a little too bland alone, but a good complement to their more flavourful and heavier main dishes. Their rice isn’t overly wet or mushy at all, it was appropriately moist.
Xiao Bai Cai with Braised Mushrooms
Vegetables are usually nothing to rave about, but I love that they had this dish! I usually eat those broccoli-cauliflower-carrot-mushroom at parties and frankly it kind of sucks as it’s usually very bland and overcooked. This dish definitely has more flavour and crunchiness! I’m a veggie lover so I’m quite particular about veggie dishes.
Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet
I quite like this dish. I don’t know how they did it but the fish was not bland at all or overly sweet. Usually the fish I have at caterers are super bland. It may seem subtle, but liked the fact that they opted to chop the cucumbers this way because it makes it more crunchy!
Breeze Sweet Chicken
This is my favourite dish out of all the dishes! It’s REALLY good! My friend also commented it was nice and we both went for multiple servings.
The only thing I felt they could improve a little better was the dessert. I didn’t get to try it before the collection time, but I heard it was too bland. Perhaps there was too much ice and by the time it was consumed it became a little too diluted. Perhaps select the other dessert options.
However, overall I would still recommend Kuisine as I think it’s really the best if you’re looking for value for money!
5. Dessert table
This is my dessert table! I got the cupcake stand, the plates and the napkins from Taobao for about $20 in total! I got the matching plate set from Daiso and the frame from Daiso and the paper flower too! If you have friends who are good at baking, BEG AND PLEAD for their help because I heard that dessert tables from outside are crazy priced. If you are ordering desserts though, opt for super bite-sized desserts and really, save on the portions. Cupcakes aren’t usually a big hit as they are larger in comparison to other desserts. I would suggest going for mini-sized desserts like mini macarons or mini brownies. There’s no need to go overboard beause you’ll probably end up with a lot of desserts and do you really want to be eating desserts for the few days following just to clear them out? (ok if you’re a wasteful kid then you’ll probably throw them away but YOU PAID GOOD MONEY FOR IT!)
My strawberry cupcakes with ombre rosette frosting were baked by my foodie friend Tiara. She blogs at herpenandfork and gives awesome reviews so be sure to check her out!
I baked macarons and brownies with my friend Reaiah at her house, she makes awesome macarons! You can check out her YouTube tutorial here! I requested for mini macarons and we made about 40 nutella and peanut butter flavoured ones! They were delicious and snapped up within minutes! Thank you for helping me, super love you all! ❤
I would honestly recommend going to Daiso and using a little DIY/imagination to make your decorations because it would be SO MUCH cheaper. My friend bought her decorations from Taobao, but I suck at navigating Taobao as it’s so not user-friendly. I did pick up a few things such as the table cloths and some cute plates and napkins but had such a headache using the site. It’s always easier if you have a strong theme and colour scheme in mind before you purchase decorations!
I made a lollipop backdrop for this corner of the chalet buy using some old origami papers and Daiso paper flowers!
I went to print out photos of all my friends and pinned them up all over the chalet! If you notice I actually used floral wooden pegs I bought from Daiso, they’re super pretty! The string and the paper flowers are also from Daiso as well!
More photos hanging around!
My guestbook area!
I LOVE THESE FLORAL PAPERS FROM DAISO!! For my guest book, I opted for individual papers which I’d then paste on my own scrap book for keepsakes. Made use of glitter pen and cute stickers. Also brought out my Polaroid camera so I can take pictures with every one of my friend! Didn’t go for a photobooth as I felt it would cost way too much. If you have a photographer friend or someone with a DSLR, ask them instead LOL.
My awesome pink and sparkly 21 balloons and my pink heart shaped balloons were bought from partywholesale on the day of the party. I had to wait 30 minutes before collection because they were rushing pre-orders and also because they mixed up my balloon orders due to communication error with their counter staff. However, I’d suggest going to them because their balloons are super cheap! The big ones are $16 each and the heart shaped ones come in 10 a bunch and cost $6! They do delivery as well but as I was in a rush and it was super last minute I decided to collect them myself!
My backdrop was just cut-outs from foam paper from Popular and lined with sequins from Daiso. Btw, my cake is from awfully chocolate and surprisingly it was snapped up real quick by all my guests. I only had a tiny square left over! I didn’t like the custom fondant cakes I tried at many of my friends’ 21st as fondant isn’t really that tasty so I opted for a cake that I personally will love! If you notice like half of my cupcakes were swiped by the time the cake cutting began! They were really yummy!
I hope you will find the above tips helpful! If you’re wondering about the dress I wore, read my previous post here!