From The Straits Times    |


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Organising a party involves all kinds of preparations – from curating the menu to deciding on the guest list to making sure all essentials are covered, and more. But a few simple touches can amp up a party more than you – or your guests – realise. Making the extra effort shows your sincerity in throwing an unforgettable party, and the good thing is: you don’t even have to spend a lot of extra time or effort. Try these easy tips shared by Charlene Liang, founder of bespoke florist FlourishbyCharlene.


1. Personalise your decor

Photo: Instagram/@flourishbycharlene

Offering a visual treat is an effective way of elevating your party and impressing your guests.

“Flowers are more than just statement pieces to be admired at events and occasions,” says Charlene. “I like to include unique and uncommon florals in carefully curated bespoke arrangements. They have been proven to be great at lightening up the mood, breaking the ice and creating conversation starters. A bit of nature in any environment is always welcomed!

“Colour combinations are known to evoke emotions in your guests. Classic whites add a level of sophistication while rainbow colours suggests a jolly good time. Choice of flowers also matter. Certain flowers hold cultural meanings – for instance, chrysanthemums are often used for prayers in the Asian context – so I advise cultural sensitivity. Every event is unique, so choose wisely.”

And just as colours and sounds can trigger emotional responses, smells can also affect our mood. Whether it’s an apple pie or baking in the oven or scented candles in the room, a lovely smell is one of the most noticeable things for a guest when they step into your home. You could also include a candle in the bathrooms – not just for a nice ambience, but also for a pleasant fragrance.


2. Spice up the menu

nonya kueh

Photo: Chilli Manis

Nothing brings people together like good food. Aside from taking food allergies and preferences of your guests into consideration, go a step further and offer quirky or exotic bites, or dishes with a taste of home. For instance, local caterer Chilli Manis delivers authentic Peranakan dishes that will satisfy local tastebuds and have your guests going for seconds. 

Your food could even play into the theme of your party. English tea-time? Offer Queen Victoria sponge cake or scones with whipped butter. Little Nonya theme? Peranakan food (try Chilli Manis’s signature Ayam Buah Keluak and bubur cha cha) will be right up your alley. 


3. Add a theme

party theme

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Another way to liven up a party is by adding a theme that would get people excited to attend, because they get to dress up differently than they normally would. 

“Be it recreating bygone era of the Roaring 20stea-time in an English garden or chinoiserie Shanghai Tang dreams, there are florals to fit the theme. Pre-emptive planning and effective coordination with your suppliers – be it florist or caterer – are vital to ensure the success of any event planned. By allocating ample time, most budgets can be kept to and expectations met.”


4. Hire a live band/musician

live band

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Jazz up your party with a live band that will establish the mood. If you want the guests on their feet and dancing, or if it’s a nice sit-down dinner party, arranging the right music can enhance the experience. Live music adds another level of intimacy as guests can request songs and interact with the band as well.


5. Prepare a take-home gift



A post shared by Flourish By Charlene (@flourishbycharlene) on

Photo: Instagram/@flourishbycharlene

Most people won’t say no to a door gift. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, as long as it’s practical and useful. You could even just give a packet of cookies each, if you’re organising on a smaller budget. Otherwise, a small bottle of wine works too. It’s the gesture that counts. 

“I’ve noticed that guests also appreciate a floral take-away gift. The commemorative token adds a sweet ending note to any great event. These florals can be part of an initial centrepiece divided up as table gifts, or from a decorative floral bar,” says Charlene.

This article was first published in December 2018