Grace Siv

5 Star your event.

The 5 Stars of Annual dinner

While speaking to a client sometime ago, he did make an interesting remark, he said “there will never be a perfect event, only memorable ones”. Now you perfectionists put down your pitchforks and hear me out first. Of course we desire to have everything to be at the best, who doesn’t?! We strive so hard, yet it is so hard to bench mark it. After giving much consideration, we did come up with some basic guiding principles to achieve just that, the perfect event or near perfect at least.

To simplify things, we will just call em, star ratings. Just like hotels and restaurants, if you have a pool, you get a star, if you have silverware for your restaurant, you get a star. So what are the stars for events? Well, there are many types of events to begin with, but we will discuss just for annual dinner types.

The first  Star-Venue.

Picking up a venue isn’t easy, there are so many things to consider. Parking space, seating capacity, available ambiance and picking a 5 star venue cannot guarantee that it will be the perfect location to hold your annual dinner, neither skimping for the cheapest will be best. Be practical; the venue needs to be logistically logic; it also must have supportive sales and banquet team. A pleasant ambiance can be a bonus, but go for a venue which is flexible for event set ups.

Food and Beverage

I tie this together with the venue because most venues do provide foods as part of their service. So far the best I’ve experienced was a custom make semi fine dining, a good fusion menu.  It was a good fusion recipe, custom made for the bridal couple. Venue’s that take the effort to niche down to your needs will definitely be a good choice venue.

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Sound and light, Star two

Recently I attended wedding of a friend, it was held in a typical Chinese restaurant. All was well until they had a special performance by some family members, then followed by the speech by the bride and groom, the only sound we could hear was the clink clanks of cutleries and drunken laughter from neighboring tables. Poorly sound equipping your event is fatal. The point of having an event is not only to enjoy the atmosphere, but also to get a message across, and if that doesn’t happen, the event is deemed meaningless.

House lights are fine, only if you don’t mind having the same lighting throughout your event. Ambiance lighting play a major role in setting the mood, imagine having warm yellow house lights for a deep blue sea theme. It just doesn’t work right?


Star 3, Décor

A masquerade theme will only be a masquerade theme when there are masks, draping, silverware props, and feathers. To truly say that an event is themed is totally reliant on how well your event is dressed up. Imagine going to a supposedly Oscar theme award night and the only thing that lead you to think of it as Oscar theme is the stage backdrop written “Oscar night 2015” in 2 inch styrofoam. It just doesn’t work that way.  The goal is to “transport” your guests to another world.  Some tips to help you figure out this part on a tight budget.

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Entertainment for the night must achieve the following, it must make your guests, laugh, cry (of happiness of course), wow and clap so hard you have to standby paramedics. Entertainment is considered the peak of emotion in events. Good entertainment should start from the Emcee, assuming this is a fun event, breaking the ice as everyone is feeling awkward in their costumes or unusual dress codes.

While in house entertainments are very much fun and it involves the crowd and allows staffs to show off their talents, don’t forget that they too are your guests for the night. Keep house entertainment to the minimum stress, we want them to enjoy the night as well, let them also be entertained by professionals.

The final Star

The most unnoticed element in events is the scent. Yes, the most subtle, yet so important factor overlooked by even the top agencies. Most 5 star renowned hotels will take care of unpleasant odors, but other venues don’t cover such service. Smell is important as it impacts into the sub conscious mind, a good example is, imagine traveling to the seaside, before your eyes are able to see the actual beach, you can already “smell” it, the sea breeze and your mind has already arrived before your body.

Lucky for us, there are many available room air fresheners that come in a good selection of aroma, ranging from jungle, mountain and even falling star (like seriously? Yes). Give a few presses on these aroma cans before event and let your guests’ noses do some exploring.


Achieving 5 stars for your event is no rocket science, if you noticed we have just properly dealt with the 5 senses of a person. Sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. Fulfill these basic elements and you will reach into the hearts of your guests


Gothic Glam Theme

It gets tougher especially when your client engages you for the 4th year consecutively to be their decorator. Simply because their expectation goes up, and they will want to see something new and fresh. We aren’t allowed to repeat the props either, unless we modify it so much that it is beyond recognition.  Challenging it maybe, but we find it rather exciting. It pushes us to the limits to think both inside and outside the box, and sometimes be the box.

So we were invited to their corporate office, had the usual greetings and small talks, then the briefing for the event. “Gothic Glam nite”. Yes that was the theme for this year’s annual dinner. Oh fantastic. Forcing a smile and my eyes went irregular sized, while my brains was rushing to find the nearest relavantest ( if that is an actual word) example I can give from the database in my head. What is Gothic glam?! How on earth did they even come up with such a theme?!

But they were very kind. Nice to work with kind of people, we brained stormed awhile, we had to get the mental image of Halloween and horror out of the way for the start. As for the conclusion, we streamlined it down to be a, well, luxury , glamorous vampiric theme? oh well. Basically, is like a horror movie but without the spookiness, replaced with glitters instead.

The dinner did came out interesting though! Check out some of these pics, not much here tough, the rest are here in the website. We worked closely with Universal Event production, which provided the sound and light support and overall management.

Click on any of the images to see all the photos in our Facebook page

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Masquerading your event

Masquerade Themed event

I guess the only way to fully experience the masquerade theme is to personally time travel back to the 15th century itself. So while my minion engineers are still working hard on the time machine, the only way I can help you full immerse into this experience is by ambiance décor.

So what are actually the elements to look for before reconstructing this theme? Of course masks and feathers are the most common not forgetting to mention men is skirts, but what else is there that we can do to transport your event guests back 500 years. Both literally and unrealistically.

Masks, masks and more masks.

Lets deal with the basics first, masks. So we do know masks which are the right ones to use? The Key is use the more glitter the better. Though this might not be historically correct, but it is the most logical one to use. These are some info you can read about. TYPE OF MASKS, Though some of these masks carry a defined meaning then, but they are purely for decorative purpose now.

Is bigger better? Yes and no. Depending on how serious the event is, or how serious your client is, I would keep the masquerade theme classy, while there are some who made it cartoonish. Bigger masks don’t mean fake, it means please watch out on the details on them. Printing on compress foam? Sure why not, just make sure you have the kind of beads or feathers to fit that sized mask.

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Can you imagine how many bald ostriches there will be? Now, there is a thin line before you end up looking alike to a mardi gras parade. Keep a close eye on the colors of the feathers. A simple 3 colors max should do the job. Anything more than that and you will look like an exotic parrot lost in the wrong part of the map looking for your pirate owner. Do you really need to put feather everywhere? Well, honestly unless you have the budget matching the lost treasures, then why not. Keep feathers intimately close to masks. Loose feathers standing alone will not produce much effect, other than the above spoken example.

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Adding a Star

Now to add another star to our event rating, do a simple google search on Masquerade décor, you will definitely see chandeliers. Subtle as they maybe, but they do carry the notion of the 1500s, as electricity isn’t available yet, they relied on candle holders for illumination. These are nice background props that enhance the ambiance, not only for the twinkle flame but also the chandelier itself.

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Shiny and Glitter.

Overall ambiance lighting should be set to about 40%, preferably colored lighting, not aggressive lightings which has huge beams, but ones that splash out. Subtle purple should be fine. Be reminded that masquerade theme is classy, glitter and reflective elements will be a fine tool to lead your guests to feel that way.


Why the mask?

Well, other than it creates a sense of mystic, it gives a sense of excitement from guessing who is behind the mask. Now we mustn’t forget that, that is the purpose of the mask, other than just being decorative. Try to incorporate this emotion into your décor. The feeling of suspicions can be introduced by semi concealing décor elements, such as chandeliers behind tassel curtains, or twigs behind organza.


Of course there are many more elements to this theme that we haven’t touch on yet, but these basic ideas should be able to help streamline your theme clearly.

5 ways to maximize your annual dinner budget

So, your’re gonna spend so much for your event, why not make the best from it?

On average, clients spend between RM10k to RM100k (luxury) on event decorations. With the GST kicking in ( not to mention below the belt), everyone is looking for avenues to slash on costing or pushing the burden around. Oh well, It’s a normal practice after all.

So, let’s talk a little on how to make the most out of our event. Here are some steps we can use, thrifty yet effective.

1. Use one WOW factor in your event. Only one. Yes one.

Let’s face it, nobody is going to remember everything from your event, let alone after they had a little too much to drink. You really don’t need to have to make every turn a surprise, even though it will be great if you can. If you are on a really tight budget, i would strongly recommend you to have one, really eye catching, photo worthy decor element featured in your event. Let that be the focal point of your event. It can either be the stage backdrop, ceiling decor, or photo op wall.


For example, If you only have that much to spend, go for an extravagant ceiling decor, maybe skip the basic draping such as spider design, go for something worth dropping the jaw for. It’s a little costlier, but hey, it does the work and it does it well. So don’t worry too much now if the rest of your event is boring, people will definitely remember that special ceiling effect and it will be the talk of the month.

2. Harmonize your color mode.

I’ll let you in to a secret, one of a key to a successful event ambiance is the blend of colors. Always settle down to 3 colors maximum, They may contradict, or contrast depending on how skillful your decorator maybe, but always stay within 3. Well unless your theme is out-rightly called colorful theme or some rainbow theme.

I personally always follow a strict ratio of 60% dominant color 20% contradiction 20% accompany.  Example,


Black is the simplest and the most formal to work with. it will be great to flush out the mix colors of ballrooms, ( if you have the budget) if not, dimming down the lights will be your last resort.

Black and white, the safest combination of colors, then touches of any colors to stand out. Here I used light green orchids. It may seem simple enough, but it does take awhile to really get into it,

Even the simplest decor will look elegant because of the way you organized your colors.

3. Double up!

Yeap, doubling up is the way to go. You need an entrance decor and you also need a photo background, so why not combine it both together? A great way to managing cost is to kill two birds with a stone. Another suggestion I frequently share with my wedding clients is to use twig trees as entrance decor, which works well as a wishing tree and also a great photo background!


4. D.I.Y of course

Call it personalizing, Nothing brings out an intimate message better than a D.I.Y decor. There are hundreds of videos and websites which provides step by step tutorial to making hand crafts and arts. Using these as photo areas or table center pieces will definitely help save on costing.


Just for references This video provides basic tutorial on table center pieces, don’t worry about the props or glasses used in the video, these items can be rented at a fragment cost. Simple yet beautiful.

5. Use template designs from Decorators.

Advice for clients who are throwing an annual dinner for the first time, custom make items will always cost more. They will be unique no doubt, but sometimes they can cost you a kidney. Decorators often have a warehouse (sometimes more) load of props. Take sometime to work closely with your decorator and see what can they provide, using existing items will save you a bunch of money.

Most decorators will have existing props for themes such as, Masquerade night, Glitter theme, Oscar night, and Arabian theme as these are the most common theme used.