And as usual that meant we only started planning in September.
The Chief by now pretty much knows that we never let on what we plan for the birthday parties, except for the dates (it takes a lot more coordination to pull off an actual surprise birthday party so we will keep that as a rare surprise if we can), and so the Chief also made sure to let us know which dates were no good.
This turned out to be almost every single weekend in September. The good news is now we do have a whole month to prepare (phew)!
So...venue, guests, food, cake, and activities.
We decided that this year we wanted to book an entire venue and have everyone attend in a single party. So we needed to get a venue that could fit...around 40 adult and some kids. Which also means we need somewhere kid-friendly. We started by asking the previous YKLS Cast Party organisers about costs and all so we had a rough budget to work on, and then it was time to start hunting.
First choice we found online was the Greyhouse Bangsar. The corner bungalow in Bangsar looked to be suitably located, big enough for our needs we could have food catered outside and the rooms inside to chill.
The problem was that we were told that it wasn't available as it was undergoing renovation. And there was that added factor that there wouldn't be sufficient parking space... So we opted to take a look at their other choices: the Canvas (a smaller space) and the Penthouse (a much larger space).
We were quite keen on the Penthouse after taking a view. Large space, wifi, sound system, a pool table, foosball table and even a ping pong table...we could have quite a party! Given the space of the Penthouse, we could invite more than just the usual birthday groups - we were already planning to extend the invitation to choir members who knew the Chief. Given how the Penthouse could accommodate a hundred people or so, we could even invite the recent choir members as our guests to the party!
However, someone did suggest Marmalade to us so we decided to take a look there as well and got them to give us a menu choice and quotation.
And in the end, we decided on Marmalade. We liked the fact that not only they gave us a choice of 4 menu selections, but we could pick and mix from the different menus as well. We guess we didn't want to spend too much time picking a caterer if we did go with the Penthouse. Also, Marmalade seemed large enough to fit the number of guests we were aiming for.
With the venue settled and the date confirmed, the last thing to do was to send out the invitations via email and create a Facebook event so we could keep tabs on the headcount of those attending.
Note to self: do not take for granted that sending an invitation via Facebook event would mean the invitee actually is aware of it. We had quite a number of people unaware of it until a few days before the party because we texted them to check. Must say we ourself were to blame for not checking sooner too.
We had MJ make cupcakes for the party, given his talented skills at making pretty confectionery.
Deciding that planning activities weren't necessary, we decided to provide wine instead after checking with Marmalade on corkage. Finally, more balloons (we just can't resist getting helium balloons).
Fast forward to the day itself, and the Chief's face upon realising we'd booked the entire restaurant for the night (and the implication of why the entire restaurant was booked), the initial stress the Chief had upon realising how many people would be coming, the extra stress and awkwardness when there were guests coming in that the Chief didn't know at all (our choir guests)...well, that made us feel that yeah, we could still surprise the Chief even after 7 years of celebrations. Of course, once most of the guests arrived and the Chief had eaten, stress gave way to entertaining friends at different tables and it was all good.
But we were pretty much happy that most could make it to celebrate the Chief's birthday (so much so that we couldn't get from one end of the restaurant to the other during the cake ceremony). We were too busy running around (because we were itchy enough to want to print photos for guests to sign) that we didn't have much of an appetite to eat (even though we were starving as we were driving to the venue!), and regretfully we didn't take as many photos with everyone as we would have liked to.
Playing host at the birthday party did remind us how our past Christmas parties went...and the Christmas party to come. Gosh.
Once more, a big thank you to all who came and made it the big happy party that it was. A big thank you for your thoughtful presents (even to those who don't know the Chief!). We're sorry we didn't get to spend more time catching up with everyone who came. We hope you had great fun and had good food!