Tips for Organising a Themed Birthday Party PART 1 - My Great Gatsby 21st

1. Get a theme. It can be any theme - from super heroes & villains, favourite cartoon characters, a specific movie, a popular book, just plainly it can anything in this world. Before you decide to go crazy researching for the resources to be used in the party, you need a theme to build around it. Or else you will realise that all your action plans get out of hand because the ideas that you're coming out with is too many and you can't filter them out! Be organised, take baby steps. That's why it is recommendable to plan the party a month or two before the actual day. So you can get everything ready and not rush to get them done and spoil all the fun. REMEMBER THAT it's a party, you have to enjoy everything about it.


2. Build your research of resources around the theme. So taking for example, my 21st birthday, it's themed around the Great Gatsby (because i mad love the movie, everything about it is so classy and fabulous) so i build all my research around this theme I chose. Internet is such a big thing, you can find almost everything, so make full use of it. And don't just view the website and judge everything by it's homepage! Call them up if possible, ask the pricings, enquire for quotations, email them or alternatively, you can just pop-by their shops or showrooms.



These are the areas I researched about:

a.  Venue - Does the venue provide food, if yes, what's the quotation for the packages? If not, do they allow outsourcing of food vendors. This is extremely important! No point booking a venue if they don't allow outsourcing of food vendors and their internal packages are over your budget and provides tasteless food! If you want something quick and convenient, and you have mid-high budget, go for hotels, they provide a very spacious function room, buffet packages, some decorations, AV equipments, almost everything you need for a classic party.



There are many information online to assist you in getting your party venues! I think the best website I used so far for the booking of my venue was http://www.wearespaces.com


Wearespaces.com is the secret “Little black book” for professional and occassional planners. It's so easy to use this website to find that one venue that is the right-fit for your party! Simply just search, compare and enquire & receive quotes from the venue owners! It's like a online matchmaker for venue owners and event planners.
And yes I did my research on the venues using this website and received countless of quotes before I settled on HotelRe! because of the package they can provide me with together with the ambience. Great Gatsby is a vintage theme so I require a retro venue. But I want the venue to look simple at the same time so I can incorporate in the decorations I want.

For HotelRe, my entire package includes buffet food of more than 15 different finger food, main courses and desserts, 2 different free flow soft drinks, staffs to serve your guests, some decorations such as my gold, black and white helium balloons, ivory sash ribbons tired to alternate black chairs and gold classic table cloths. And yes, it included the AV equipments, the projector is free to use, extendable plugs, tables for my reception area, birthday cake and champagne tower. It also included 2 one night stay business rooms for me and my family, which is really good because I do not want to drag myself home after a craycray night.
Basically, it included everything I needed to kick start a party. I felt that it's such a burden to incorporate everything one by one so I chose the most convenient and glamorous way( to suit the theme) but again like I said, this is only possible with enough budget. You are also not wrong to say that outsourcing every each and one of these points above may be more cost efficient, and you can find a cheaper source outside. Yes you can, but bear in mind the coordinating part is crazy. 



All these did not come easy, there were a lot of negotiations, discussion through emails, whatsapp, phone calls, face to face meet ups, venue viewing, layout plans and etc before we set the deposit for the venue. In addition for my package, we extended our venue timings - do note that the venue is not there for you 24/7 unless you book a chalet or hotel room all to yourself to hold a party. So extending the party timing was about $300++, a bit crazily-priced but it's the market rate out there.


Widespread Buffet Dinner for my guests on the party day


Table setup on the party day itself as according to my requirements, everything was so pretty and classy i love it!

Pretty Sash flower ribbons tied to the railings

Didn't have a photo of how the decorations look at the buffet hall so screenshot one from the hotel's website. Love love love the deco they did up at the railings! 


How the entire set up looked like taken by my friend when the party just started. And yes, the champagne tower is additional charge if you want it toasting to happen on your birthday. 


Some photos of the beautiful buffet table! Thank you HotelRe for setting it up according to my theme! It was so fabulous! The food was so good too! 


Some of my friends were saying "Machiam International Buffet", thumbs-up for the food HotelRe! I kinda underestimated your cooking skills. I was so addicted to the carbonara I had 2 plates. YUMZ YUMZ

b. Decorations. Next up, after you had settled on your venue, you will have to move on to the research for your decorations. So based on your theme, you list out the decos you want in your party - for example for mine: I researched for photographs of Great Gatsby parties to get inspirations. 

So based upon the images I found online I list out the important decorations for the birthday:
- Feathers : I got it at spotlight, DAISO (sells scattered white feathers!) wholesale shops, you can check out http://adamevestyle.com/balloons_wholesale
- Pearls: Spotlight
- Flowers & petals: Qoo10
- Colours : Black, gold, ivory & white decorations
- Pomz Pomz : Qoo10
- E-invitation to all guests : DIY
- Centrepieces for reception table, cocktail & dinner tables
- Banner materials 
- Giant 21 Helium Balloon with weights : Qoo10 "MarryMe" seller http://www.qoo10.sg/shop/marryme?jaehuid=2000160858
- Polaroid taking session at reception table 

Budget for Decorations : $350
Excluding Photo Booth props : Got it from Daiso, Qoo10 "MarryMe" seller & Spotlight


You will be surprised how much you can actually find on qoo10! And the price is soooo cheap and sent right to your doorstep. For the helium balloons you can self collect it on the party day if you've a car, or you can opt to be delivered at extra charges. Really convenient!


I DIY-ed most of my decorations and e-invitation because it's impossible for shops and wholesale centres to give me what I want. Like I said, I'm a perfectionist. I can be very picky with details. So based upon a lot of my research on the e-invite for a great gatsby party, I came out with my very own design using Adobe Illustrator.  


Flower petals from Qoo10! There are supposed to be white feathers to add in to the dreamy effect, but this photo was taken before the feathers were added


DIYed the centrepieces for the reception table on my own. Added in a polaroid session for my guests at the entrance. Bought 100 pcs of polaroid films from Qoo10!


Flowers, stickers, feathers, gold ribbons all from Qoo10


Gold Glitter Letter Alphabetic Stickers from Papermarket


 Vintage Wooden clips from DAISO (50 mini ones in a pack) Super worthed it!



I got the idea of using ferrero rocher chocolates as centrepieces from images in Pinterest. Looking for more DIY party ideas? You can check out Pinterest! They have many many ideas and most of which are really easy to set up! Super noobie efficient! HEHE. Okay again, there are supposed to be black feathers everywhere and in the chocolate vase but this is good enough!

Chocolate Vase : DAISO
Flower Petals from Qoo10


c. ENTERTAINMENT for guests is also one of the important things you need to prepare besides getting your decorations done. I was really bad at getting this part coordinated for that day actually. But I hope everyone enjoyed the food, Photo Booth, music, videos and my speech. Was really emotional that day so I cried a lot.

For my party, I did up a Photo Booth for my guests and they can get their instant prints as memories for the party day!


Photo Booth is DIY-ed with the help of my very good friend so I'm not leaking out any information for this. 

Decorations for Photo Booth & Camera Printer ink & paper : Qoo10
Budget amount estimated to be : $150 (depending on how boxes of many printer papers you purchase)




I was really lucky to have a party crew too! They brought over their #craycray DJ set to my birthday party venue and I was so impressed by it. Although there were a lot of corked ups along the way. But still, thank you so much!


The legendary DJ set! Have to thank the 3 handsome guys below who made this possible.



d. Other Miscellaneous such as CAKE & ALCOHOL


For cake, I got it from http://www.celebrationtreats.com at a budget of $300 so the entire cake & cupcake tower is built around the budget and the Great Gatsby theme. It was really beautiful in real life!!!!!!! I was very very very happy with the cake and the entire sale process with celebrationtreats. And yes, it's customised from the designs I chose online and she provided me with a lot of really feasible advises and proposals which made this beauty possible. I was really lucky to be able to be slotted into their schedules because they are so fully booked and packed. I was a lucky birthday girl! 


Look at my name and the roses! Really love the details! Thank you again celebration treats!


Do note that for the cupcake tower stand you will need to rent it from them at extra charge not included in the budget of your cake. This also applies to the delivery.


Totally Great Gatsby themed cake. Do remember to make a lot a lot of research before you decide on your cake! It will act as a photo prop and decoration for the party day itself!



3. Confirmation of the details

Once you think you've done enough research through many many many portals and have gotten many advices from people, it's time you list down everything and confirm the details. Work out a budgeting table - where you list out what you've confirmed upon, eg. cake - whichever whoever company, how much is it, are they available, if yes, when to set down the deposit and confirmation & etc.

It will not be easy to coordinate them on the party day itself, so make sure you have your day planned out a week before and get as many helpers as possible. 


Well, one good thing about the entire event planning is that you will find out who are the keepers and who are not? Yes, you will. :)

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