Monday, December 5, 2011

Dad's 70th Birthday Party

My Dad has his 70th birthday party over the weekend in Townsville. In Chinese cultures, the 70th is a big deal. Actually, the Chinese believe that when you are born, you are already 1 years old (I guess in the womb counts?). So the western 70th is actually the 71st and equivalent in status to the celebrations of the 21st.

Anyway, history aside, my golden rule as an event manager has always been NEVER to organise and event without seeing the venue. In my previous jobs I've even flown to Sydney or Melbourne for the day (a mean feat, given my aversion to flying) to check out a venue, even if it's just for a few clients.

Unfortunately, I've been so busy and Dad's party is in Townsville, I just didn't get time to check it out, so I had to rely on my darling Aunty to take photos from all angles and send them back to me.

Venue Before
Dad chose a Chinese restaurant owned by an old family friend because he could get sole use of the venue (80+ guests) and there was an all you can eat buffet. That part is all good, but the venue was an old Pizza Hut converted to Chinese restaurant. Yeah, you can't really pull that off without it looking like an old Pizza Hut converted to a Chinese restaurant. It had mint green chairs, curtains and tables and a couple of random red lanterns hanging from the ceiling (??).

That's OK. Graham and I have worked with a lot worse.  It's soooo handy having a partner who's a talented graphic designer.

So...here's what we did...and we did it on an awesome budget.

We were flying in on Friday night and the party was on Saturday night, so we had to get all our supplies in Brisbane and take them with us as there wouldn't be enough time on Saturday to gather supplies.


To dress up the tables we grabbed a few metres of Chinese jaquard fabric for $6.50/metre for table runners and plain gold satin for table cloths for $5/metre from Trads Liquidation at Cannon Hill. Graham designed some awesome table mats with a Snoopy theme (Dad like him) and a variety of photos from Dad's life.


For party favours, we bought 100 noodle boxes from Statpack in Rocklea for $20. This place is an absolute gem for packaging. They also had sushi boxes, cake boxes...everything packaging. The noodle boxes even in junk stores were about $1 each, so this was a bargain. We filled them with fortune cookies bought in bulk from Yuens Market Trading Co in Coopers Plains ($35 for 300 cookies instead of $4 for a box of 11 at the supermarket). The noodle boxes were wrapped up in ribbon from wholesale florist suppliers Swann Agencies ($4.95/50 metres)  and an "authentic, ancient" Chinese gold coin (30c each from the junk store).

Venue After
The we got a whole heap of Chinese paper lanterns for $1 Store for $1 each (funny that) also at Cannon Hill. We strung the lanterns across the ceiling and put glowsticks in them and also put them on the tables and tied helium balloons to them. We put cans of soft drink in them to stop them floating away and lit glow sticks in them to make them look like they were flickering.

Birthday Cake
Anyway, for a low budget decoration it looked pretty good. The cake was a delicious fruit cake, which Dad wanted, and the food was limited in vegetarian so I can't really comment on that.

But Dad was happy and that's all that matters. We won't make mention of his ONE HOUR SPEECH!

Happy 70th Dad!