Recently we celebrated Iris’ Christening and I just want to share it with all of you. This is something I had daydreamed of many times while I was pregnant because of a promise I made to God: to raise Iris as a loving and faithful child of Christ.
From the get-go, I knew I wanted a small and intimate event (small to me means less than 60 pax) which probably surprised a lot of people considering my background in Public Relations – I think people just naturally assumed I would want a big party. On the contrary however, I felt we would be able to give more meaning to the celebration by inviting only the closest members of our family and those we chose to have a special role in this very sacred and momentous milestone in our daughter’s life.
After weeks of preparation, I’m happy to report that it turned out even better than I expected, and I hope that through this post you’ll learn a few tips on how to add some special touches to your own events (big or small) to make it a wonderful experience for your guests, and one they’ll never forget.
CHOOSE A THEME THAT MEANS SOMETHING TO YOU
I wanted something timeless and effortlessly beautiful, so I went with a floral theme, inspired by her name. After this, choosing a venue was easy. In our case, Maria Luisa’s Garden Room at The Makati Garden Club was the obvious choice, and it proved to be the perfect setting: elegant, feminine, and cozy.
CREATE A PARTY INVITE (PAPERLESS OR PRINTED)
I’m a stickler for invitations as this truly sets the tone for your event. And maybe in the past I would’ve insisted on printed invitations, but I do acknowledge that times are different now and paperless invites are just as acceptable – depending on the size of your event – and perhaps even the more (environmentally) mindful choice.
BE PARTICULAR ABOUT LIGHTING, DECOR and MUSIC
Lighting, decor and music sets the mood of the party, so try not to take this for granted. One practical tip I have for those on a budget is to choose a venue that doesn’t need much styling, as event stylists usually charge a hefty price. I was lucky because The Makati Garden Club already had the perfect look for the party I had envisioned, and even provided the prettiest floral centerpieces hand-picked from their own garden, free of charge.
GET AN ‘EXPERT’ TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR MENU
Mind you, that ‘expert’ could even just be your friend. In this case, it was my husband, because he knows more about these things than I do, given that he studied in Les Roches in Switzerland and is also in the F&B business. A thoughtful touch would be to ask your guests beforehand if they have any dietary restrictions to make sure that there is something for everybody and nobody is at risk.
DON’T FORGET YOUR PARTY FAVORS
This is not always necessary, but it’s always appreciated. And it doesn’t have to be expensive either, so get creative!
HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER AND/OR A VIDEOGRAPHER
Because you won’t have time to do this yourself, and because you’ll want to have something to remember it by. If this is out of the budget, assign a member of your family or a friend who is handy with a camera. This could even be his/her gift instead of something store bought.
CHOOSE THE PERFECT PARTY DRESS
In this instance, my parameters were: 1.Something fit for a christening (womanly but not too sexy) 2.Something comfortable (not too short or too tight) as I knew I would be breastfeeding and carrying our baby for extended periods of time and 3. Something to flatter my current figure, because it’s only been 3 months and I haven’t yet lost all the weight I had gained during pregnancy (15 more pounds to go!). When you look good, you feel good – and you need that to be a good host.
SEND A REMINDER AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE
People are busy and sometimes they don’t remember to RSVP. Or sometimes they confirm, and then life happens, so they forget. Do yourself a favour and just call them one by one. It can be tiring but it will save you money to have a better idea of your final headcount. One pro-tip: Event Coordinators usually follow the 70/30 rule, meaning on average, 30% of your total confirmed attendees will not show up.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
You’ve probably been planning for weeks and it can get stressful, so make sure you squeeze in some me-time before the party. Also keep in mind that nothing is perfect, so learn to let go as more often than not, people won’t notice when something goes wrong anyway. So just relax, because people will feed off your energy, and if you’re a happy host, your party will turn out to be a success, no matter what.