Planning a 21st for 60 pax under $500

This is a long long overdue post, it was supposed to be posted on May 26, 2017 but I’m not sure why it wasn’t posted. But here it is now.
This post was written because it is possible to host a 21st without breaking the bank. Some figures first: Number of people invited = 60 People who showed up = 56 Food + Cake + desserts = $490 Venue = $20 Decor (balloons, leaves, everything misc) = $40 TOTAL SPENT = $550 for 56 people.
The hardest part of running this 21st party was knowing that I was paying in full for it. It almost drove me crazy how to pull off a celebration on my own dead bank account. So starting the planning in January.

FOOOD!! There’s food which is pretty much the biggest headache. Usually caterers have a GST + delivery fee amounting to nearly $150, so I decided to go unconventional and not order from a caterer. Nowadays, Carousell can be used for everything, and being a very loyal user, I searched catering companies on that site. Of course there’s a risk right, how would you know if they’re legit? That’s what reviews are for. So I found this Malay lady named Bella with very decent reviews and even like screenshots/pictures of her cooking taken by customers, so I PMed her and dang, it’s really nice to order food this way. Why I really liked ordering from her was that I would order each dish separately. If you order from catering companies, you’d tell them the number of people coming and everything is standardised to be equal, so like there will be 40 eclairs, 40 shares of rice, noodles everything. This actually was something I didn’t want because I know that some food items would be more popular than others and so you’d wanna order more on that food item and less on some others. Bella charges BY DISH, so if you order a tray of rice, it’s charged differently from a pot of curry chicken/rendang, so each dish you can tell her how many pax it’s for. So I ordered more chicken, less beef, etc. This made life really easy for me. Her delivery charge is $25 and no GST. So LOOK HOW MUCH WAS SAVED YAY!! And cause I mistook the original number of people coming, I had to increase from 30 to 40 pax and she let me do it, THANK YOU BELLA, which really eased some of my pains.
Realising that I still didn’t have enough food, I decided to make sandwiches, tuna and egg mayo. Bread costs really little and it’s way more economic to make food than buy it. So we did it. Made tuna the night before, and boiled eggs the same morning and stuff, fed like 20 people/it was kinda like sides also.
Desserts – ordered cake from Batterlogy, I’m a super loyal fan to her macarons and desserts, please support her.
She delivered the cake to my party doorstep and it came in this amazingly gorgeous elegant box. Customer service and packaging 10/10. I didn’t take photo of the cake in the box, it was amazing. Check @batterlogy out on instagram!
For desserts check out @dilutedcoke on Instagram. She’s my friend’s cousin and once again, customer service 10/10 and dessert quality super nice, she even texted to apologize for burning/messing up some and compensated with 10 more macarons, I’m super grateful. I really regret not having pictures of the bakes. She gave me flower pots with miner scoops. That was the cutest thing ever, and I just asked her for flowerpot cupcakes I didn’t expect it to be so adorable. And it’s so reasonably priced and super nice, the mini cupcakes and small torched meringue little tarts.
DECOR 1. buy from daiso – I literally spent 10$ on leaves, so many leaves (mine was a garden party), and then brought small vases from my house with flower/some small blooms to decorate the place. 2. MistyDaydream – the one stop for all things party and decor.
Balloons are 2 bucks for a pack of 12, the huge helium foil balloons are really affordable also, table cloths are $3 for one. Bought bunting also and balloon pump + balloon glue –> all these can
be also recycled and kept for next time. 3. the top bunting on the photo backdrop was done by a friend, customized Bayern Munich themed :’). 4. I drew and created the standing frame on my table – I customize it btw, for 21sts/other parties/events, PM me for more information. here’s how everything looked. What’s not pictured is the side table with bunting and flower vase.
Venue: Book a friend’s condo function room, it’s not so far from everywhere like D’resort/Aloha Changi. (Sorry for those who like those places, no offence but I really don’t like how inaccessible it is). It’s also 0-30$ only. So yes. Save money on venues. Thank you Joel Wong for responding so readily and so so kindly to my SUPER last minute request. Without you the party would never have happened. 

FINALLY, This is a long overdue note of thanks.
  1. To the party planners and helpers. I would have never been able to pull this off without your help. To Rennes Lee for planning this with me from start to finish, from brainstorming ideas, convincing me that it was not about how fancy it was but about the friends (every time I forgot you reminded me), to helping me on the day to run everything. You literally showed up whenever you could and your presence whether on the phone or in person made everything better. To Jedidiah Huang I think you won MVP. You’re really amazing I can’t even say how much you did, like from the food/desserts to the day itself and more so, the thoughtfulness that went into everything. To Michelle Lim thank you for being so kind despite you had so much other things on your mind. Thank you for volunteering so willingly and for lending me your dog and for being there, I was so happy to see you, you have no idea. To Olivier Tan thank you for your quiet unassuming presence that helped to run everything, for responding to my SOS calls with composure and the other MVP is your mom please say many many thanks to her for me. To Mom and Kezia Yeoh thank you for helping me with the sandwiches, for showing up despite being busy, for sacrificing your time and money and energy. It means a lot to me.
  2. To Shao Kai Chng thank you for capturing the moments which allowed me to create a scrapbook of memories! Thank you for being so willing and doing it for so little, for being a friend in need.
  3. Thanks for the gifts and the words, friends, your presence, and warm smiles really warmed my heart. I actually cried when I realised the depth of thoughtfulness in some of the gifts. Like okay I provided the wishlist but there was so much love in that. Arggh I can’t. :’)

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