March 22, 2016
self-aware perfectionist or not, planning for a party somehow puts people in precarious situations: they start frantically pinning stuff on mood boards, virtual or otherwise, worrying whether choosing turquoise over aquamarine will throw up their colour scheme, or fussing over the exact art of folding a napkin. before things spiral out of control, you really should breathe a little. and look at what we have here: a lowdown on where you can find the most tasteful dessert tables, flowers, stationery and decorative supplies. hit these up so you can rest easy, yet plan that perfect pinterest party anyway. By Amelia Tan
PARTY DECOR & SUPPLIES
The first thing you should get out there, right after your theme: your colour scheme. You don’t need to get it right down to the exact Pantone shade, but matching your shades, and putting them side by side, helps for a big-picture perspective. Pick your key colour, go for those in the same colour family, slot in a few neutral shades, then consider your contrasting shades or textures as accents. After that, go right out and get the supplies you need. Having the perfect set of matching cutlery, even if it is disposable, does wonders for the overall tone of your party.
1. Dreams and Confetti
WHO: If you like things whimsical and fancy, this is a treasure trove that holds so many pretty finds, you’ll want to keep it a secret. It’s also where your unrealised dreams of being the “hostest with the mostest” can come true. You’ll find a heavenly selection of designer plates, trays and cake stands from the UK and the US, and get this: they actually have a Confetti Bar for the perfectionists who just need everything to go with the colour scheme.
PARTY-APPROVED: Why place a cake on a humble cardboard box when it can sit, elevated, on a gorgeous Rosanna cake stand? After all, these stands are worthy enough for the Buckingham Palace as well. We’ll have you know that this exclusive brand, carried by the store, has seasonal collections too – the plates, trays and coasters of Patio Party (from $35.90) make for a breezy tropical flatlay, while the Let’s Party set (from $24.90) has versatile hexagonal trays or scalloped bowls dipped in gold.
Another worthy mention is Sugarfina, a gourmet candy brand with gummies, chocolates and caramels that come in neat boxes. The Cocktail Hour Bento Box ($99.90), sounds like a steep price to pay until you know its contents: champagne gummy bears, peach bellini gummies and maple bourbon caramels. Yummy, soiree-worthy and very, very hard to resist.
Dreams and Confetti, at Great World City, #02-20C/D. dreamsandconfetti.com
WHO: Walking into one of their stores is like stumbling into a flea market – you never know what you’ll be able to find. Other than quirky stationery, random knick-knacks, or old-school vintage tins, they also boast a selection of home items that you’d want at your next stylish birthday bash, including Kate Spade New York and Ginger Ray. Other than that, you can also pick up not-so-generic essentials like reed-thin candles, striped paper straws, jewellery tattoos and over-the-top party hats.
PARTY-APPROVED: Kate Spade never disappoints, even when it comes to their collection of stationery and homeware – here, we can find glossy serving bowls and plates (from $29.90) in their classic patterns, stripes or dots. Stack a few of them together, in contrasting patterns, to lend some nice textures to your dinner table. As for Ginger Ray, they’re the ultimate party brand, specialising in decorative items that add a fancy touch to any display you’ve got. Monoyono carries mainly their wedding collection – great for a bachelorette or engagement party too – but even if that’s not what you have in mind, gold lettering can still work for a chic brunch affair.
Monoyono, at Plaza Singapura, #B1-06, VivoCity, #01-92 and Raffles City, #B1-24. monoyono.com
WHO: You probably already know them, but it’s still worth a mention as this one-stop shop caters to every type of planner, on any type of budget. Sure, they do have certain run-of-the-mill supplies like paper pirate hats and princess-themed signs, but Spotlight’s strength lies in their massive collection – a choice of over 160 candle designs, 18 types of crepe streamers and up to 100 confetti options. The only catch is that it requires some expert digging – set an end time before you enter the store so you won’t get distracted by every damn thing.
PARTY-APPROVED: D-I-Y aficionados will love the wide selection of streamers, paper lanterns, bunting and cake toppers, and even if you’re planning a simple affair, you’ll be surprised at what colour-coordinated disposable cups, plates and napkins can do to create an illusion of perfect planning. We especially like the fabric section where you can get a convenient metre or two of cloth, which you can then use as a picnic mat for a picnic, or to tie the look of your table setting together.
Spotlight, at Plaza Singapura, L5. spotlight.com.sg
WHO: Perhaps an unlikely choice as they cater to those who want to spruce up their homes, but we think the Swedish furniture company touts affordable partyware just as well as their affordable bookshelves and tables – if you know where to look. Try the Market Hall section for serving trays, cute cups and paper napkins that look so well-designed, your guests will never guess that they only cost less than $2.
PARTY-APPROVED: One glimpse at IKEA’s summer catalogue, and you’ll wanna head down to the store immediately. The collection (from $1.50) is all about dressing up outdoor spaces with benches, pillows and rugs, making it great for an al fresco patio party or fancy picnic. There are also tie-dye pendant lamps, cooler bags, place mats and disposable cups that make fun accent pieces while showing off your abundant food spread.
IKEA, at IKEA Tampines, 60 Tampines North Drive 2, or IKEA Alexandra, 317 Alexandra Road. ikea.com.sg
Feeling a little more fancy? Fresh blooms can make or break a table setting, and by that, we mean they always, always make parties look better. Florists will ask you about your colour scheme, so have that at the ready, as well as a few reference pictures of the arrangements you like. Now, we won’t claim to be the experts here, so we’ll leave all the talk on flower selection and arrangement to these experts, a bunch of indie florists who offer exotic blooms and interesting arrangements. You don’t have to know what eustomas, rananculus, and peonies are, or how a David Austin rose is prized above the rest, just head to their store and chat them up.
1. Floral Magic
WHO: It’s a family business, and is one fronted by daughters – be it a grandma, mom, aunt, wife or sis. Floral designer Lucy Siah is certainly an expert, having been officially inducted as a member of the American Institute of Floral Design in 2009. Together with three other girls under her guidance, Joanne, Josephine and Linnette, they’ve gained a wide following online for their organic bouquets made up of unique, imported flowers that include everything from David Austin roses and hydrangeas to dahlias and phalaenopsis.
PARTY-APPROVED: You’ll want to lounge at their airy boutique, where they occasionally string up an entire archway of flowers. And that’s just an introduction to the sheer creativity these girls have – it feels like you’ve got a personal fairy godmother/genie, your wish is their command and all that, including, yes, creating said archway of flowers or a hippie coronet. Other than rare flower species, we like that their arrangements are styled in a flowing, free-form manner (versus tight, circle formations), hints of greenery come in different textures, including faded or succulent varieties, while they can also include dried flowers, wheat or even lego pieces in your table pieces.
Floral Magic, from $100 for a regular bouquet, at 334 King George’s Avenue. floralmagic.com.sg
2. The Floral Atelier
WHO: We got a more luxurious vibe when we went down to The Floral Atelier’s store, newly opened last July, and also the feeling that we’ll be in the safe hands of one of the owners, Lelian Chew, when she was patiently explaining how to put together an arrangement of lilies. They consider themselves artisans of flowers, and ensure that every bloom is handpicked and put together by highly-skilled florists so each piece ends up far from simplistic, but also timeless, romantic and elegant.
PARTY-APPROVED: They’re used to event and wedding planning, but no harm in hiring them for a smaller-scale party as well. Or, head to the store and assemble your own bouquets – the florists will be on hand to guide you since they all have a good eye for not just which colours go well together, but also the form, balance and structure of an arrangement. If you’re in a rush, you can also pick up or have a New York-style flower box delivered to you – the Optimist Bloom Box ($195) makes for a lovely and outstanding centrepiece.
The Floral Atelier, from $85 for a simple bouquet, at 40 Eng Hoon Street. thefloralatelier.co
3. Heaven in a Wild Flower
WHO: We first met these florists at a Cartier event, where they had crates and crates of flowers for us to assemble our own take-home bouquets, and since then, we’re always very glad to come across one of their designs. The team started out with bakery Carpenter and Cook (more on that later), then thought about creating a standalone styling brand instead. Inspired by a William Blake poem, Heaven in a Wild Flower goes for a more rustic and vintage aesthetic, just as well since they also sell and rent out vintage items for special occasions.
PARTY-APPROVED: With a philosophy of beauty in the pure and simple, it’s no surprise that they take styling seriously. Not everyone can wield the word “bespoke” and pull it off well, but these guys do. Chat them up, tell them your preference for a colour palette or your favourite flowers, and they’ll create a customised, and heavenly, bouquet that you’d wanna keep for eternity.
Heaven in a Wild Flower, from $200 for a bespoke bouquet. heavenwildfleur.com
4. The Green Room
WHO: These florists have know what they’re talking about — especially with a well-organised website that feels like everything we’d ever want, including floral boxes, fresh bouquets and dried flowers, or, you can opt for a bouquet that includes favourites like tulips, roses, lilies, sunflowers and even orchids. Some of the blooms can be paired with other gifts as well, like a sweet-smelling candle or balloons. The power’s in their versatility, and any kind of dream occasion, whether it’s a rustic or elegant affair, can come true.
PARTY-APPROVED: It’s really easy to go online and pick a bouquet or two if you’re just having a house party, and you can order a customised velvet box ($120), with the flowers ready and assembled upon arrival. And since we do love their options, we must mention that they also sell terrariums, the in-thing of indoor mini gardens housed in glass houses. These green plants and succulents can serve as alternatives to flowers for more unique table decor.
The Green Room, from $95 for a flower box, at Coronation Shopping Plaza, #02-43. thegreenroom.com.sg
Who really wants to pay so much for, you know, paper, but hey, we’ll admit that a little goes a long way. Plus, it’s time to bring back some old-school snail mail and handwritten cards. It’s the best way to proclaim a theme too. Throwing a beach party? How about summery invites and placards. Or, an extravagant but whimsical tea party? Send out your invites on note paper and envelopes with your own monogrammed initials. Fancy. These two brands will help you get started.
1. The Paper Bunny
WHO: The fact that co-founder, Jaime Lee, is so skilled at flatlays (seriously, check out @jaim on Instagram) says a lot about her aesthetic eye: it’s brilliant. After graduating and being in a law firm for a few years, she had her first brush with graphic design via a wedding invite for a friend, and well, we’ve since then seen stationery and lifestyle items that feature her clean designs and hand-drawn illustrations, and even a leather-bound planner, that feel both professionally-done as well as homely and personal.
PARTY-APPROVED: We’d say that one of Jaime’s strong suits is her lovely handwriting, usually eye-catching as she comes up with quotes and presents them in the form of cute calligraphy postcards ($8 for 4 designs) that you can use for invites – these include quirky, sometimes pun-worthy quotes, in a myriad of designs. And whether you like swans or flowers, there’s a notecard set ($24.90 for a set of 8) that has those designs on paper and matching linen-textured envelopes, which shows that you truly care for every guest at your event. By the way, you can customise your own designs too.
The Paper Bunny, online at thepaperbunny.com.
WHO: Admit it, you have probably took a walk about the store and wished that you owned everything – that’s how covetable every single item at the kikki.K store is, and it’s not a big space, but we can spend a mighty long time in their usually crowded aisles. While known for frequent collections that put together desk accessories including pens, planners and notebooks, we’d still hit the store time to time when we’re in need of whimsical party stationery, or, just casual inspiration.
PARTY-APPROVED: You can get a pack of handy party invites ($19.90), together with matching envelopes, and rest assured that these are cute, quality prints, while a cloth bag ($5.90) is ideal for storing party favours. But party stationery extends to the things you need even before the big event – a pretty to-do list (from $12.90) gives you motivation and helps keep you organised since you will have every detail jotted down, ready for action.
kikki.K, at ION Orchard, #B2-53. kikki-k.com
Here, we give you the perishables that you’d enjoy the most; everything else gets thrown away or withers at the end of the event, but food, or the memory of good food, lasts way longer. What’s more, these aren’t regular cupcakes and chocolates. We’ve pooled together the best bakeries that give equal thought to how good their desserts taste, and how well they look on a plate (arranged with leaves and flowers and cloth so you don’t have to). Now, get that Instagram-worthy dessert table.
1. Bloomsbury Bakers
WHO: The bakery was founded by two friends who met at a French culinary school in Bloomsbury Square, London, hence the apt name. Both are classically trained in French Patisserie, so we get classics like cream cakes and tarts (try the tart lemon meringue ones), but we especially love those with a local twist, including the Orh Nee cake, Pulut Hitam tart and Chendol Cheesecake.
PARTY-APPROVED: The Orh Nee cake ($55 for 1kg), well, takes the cake for incorporating such a rich flavour in an easy, fluffy and lightweight recipe, such that you only get pleasing notes of yam and yam bits, while the Chendol Cheesecake ($60 for 1kg) is an unusual combination that works due to their creamy textures. Then again, why settle for one thing when you can have a whole array of them – they also offer dessert tables with mini tarts, mini cakes and brownie squares, for instance, with packages that include simple floral arrangements.
Bloomsbury Bakers, from $650 for a 30-pax dessert table package, at 30 Bendemeer Road, #01-889. bloomsburybakers.com
2. Sarah’s Loft
WHO: While more of an indie baker, Sarah is still highly-skilled and qualified, having gone to Japan to further her interest and work under the wings of a pastry chef. And it shows. Her cakes, usually made from layers of light sponge are fluffy and moist at the same time, while what further impresses us is how lovely they look – Sarah often styles them with dried flowers and frosting so that they all have a distinct rustic feel, though we’ve never seen two of them looking the same.
PARTY-APPROVED: There are a bunch of standard cakes to choose from, but we feel the flavour combinations aren’t standard at all – I mean, gula melaka cake with kaya cream cheese (from $35 for 6”), or a coconut cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting and passionfruit curd? You can also opt for a custom combination, where she has a list of frostings and cakes, including lavender, rum vanilla and salted caramel for the former, and earl grey lemon, rose and Guinness chocolate for the later. With that much creativity in her repetoire, we’re not surprised that she also has a knack for styling dessert tables.
Sarah’s Loft, order individually from $1.50 a tartlet for a dessert table (min. 30 pieces), and add $150 for basic styling. sarahsloft.net
3. Creme Maison Bakery
WHO: We first noticed their extravagant floral cupcakes, that came bite-sized and too-pretty-to-eat. Seriously, just look at that elaborate frosting and imagine ruining it by taking a bite. Oh, but you’ll want to anyway. They may look sweet and intense, but are really lighter than you think. If you can’t afford fresh flowers, a good option would be these daffodils, roses and hydrangeas that are guaranteed to freshen up a display.
PARTY-APPROVED: As mentioned, the Flora Cupcakes (from $5.80) are delicious, while whole cakes like a Peanut Butter Jelly ($68) and Salted Caramel ($68) with a decadent frosting design work too. Write in to them for customised cakes, knowing that their frosting job will surely be on point – they offer ombre designs made up of delicate swirled roses that’s great for a girly get-together.
Creme Maison Bakery, from $650 for an Antoinette dessert table package, at 50A Prinsep Street, #02-01. crememaison.com
4. Carpenter and Cook
WHO: Even though the bakery’s tucked away at some remote part of Bukit Timah, we made the trek down just to try their pastries, and weren’t disappointed at all. Served in vintage plates that won’t look out of place at an Alice in Wonderland tea party, we can’t get enough of their passionfruit meringue tart, fresh and just the right hit of tart, and the chocolate sea salt caramel tart, a perfectly balanced masterpiece that oozes out sweet and sticky caramel from its soft centre. Strictly no sharing. At all.
PARTY-APPROVED: Those tarts go at $6.50 a pop, and are just one of the items you can order for a dessert table of impeccable standards. Their “Eat Me” Loaf Cakes ($5) sell well too, with flavours like pear almond and apple cobbler, though any dessert they have like cupcakes, maracons and tarts look even better assembled together on a fine display that you should really be at the front and centre of your party.
Carpenter and Cook, from $1,200 for a 50-pax dessert table, at 19 Lorong Kilat, #01-06. carpenterandcook.com
5. Janice Wong
WHO: Oh, just about the most well-known pastry chef in Singapore. Janice Wong creates art, and we mean edible art that looks like painting which you can proceed to peel off and eat, and having that bit of imaginative flair at one your functions is as easy as a box of chocolates. She plays with chocolate bonbons that sometimes come with sweeping strokes of “paint”, or as round or square or hexagonal as you like.
PARTY-APPROVED: More than artsy packaging, we love her flavour profiles too. A Singapore Signature series features five local-sounding chocolate flavours: chilli padi, gula melaka pandan, kaffir lime caramel, laksa leaf and bak kwa praline rocks (from $2.50). Now, these may sound strange, but since we’ve been to her restaurant, 2am:Dessert Bar and tried some of the spectacular desserts, we can vouch for how good these taste. Naturally, you can customise your own magical box too, and that means tapping into Janice’s brilliant mind. Sounds like a plan.
Janice Wong, at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #B2-K6, or the National Gallery. janicewong.com.sg