How to host a party like a Crazy Rich Asian

Why party like a rock star when you can party like a Crazy Rich Asian? We’re talking a destination event with an international guest list, champagne showers, gourmet everything, every detail personalised, acrobats, performers, and, of course, the obligatory drunken in-pool escapades.

So, just how do you plan and host an event for the ages? For answers, we turned to Bali-based event planner extraordinaire Jessica Lee of Q Events. Here, we find out everything you need to keep in mind for planning an event, what not to do, and how to get that WOW factor!

What are some of the most important things to keep in mind during the planning process?

General logistics, such as where you suggest your guests stay and all guest transportation. This will make it as easy and seamless for people to get to and from the event.

Read also: Ask an expert: Jess Lee of Q Events on how to plan a destination wedding in Bali

Anything that should definitely be avoided?

Anything is achievable; however, giving your event planner at least six months to properly plan and execute your vision is ideal. This timing ensures we have a good time frame to work with. However, in saying that, we managed to put together a pretty epic army themed birthday party just this week with ten days notice!

Where should the “Wow” factor be coming from?

Budget permitting – it should start before the guests arrive!

Think the invitation (which we can help with) to set the tone and theme of the party. Then you can get more WOW through having things like a police escort or a convoy of VW cars for your guests to arrive in style.

Once at the party, I believe there are a few elements that can make any party a memorable one. If you think back to any wedding or party you have been to, the ones that still stand out in your mind had the following:

  • A great venue
  • Good music and entertainment
  • Great food and incredible drink offering/service

What features are you looking for in a venue?

You need a location with a curfew that allows the party to end at midnight at the very earliest. Most parties don’t start until at least 5 pm with drinks before sunset. If the noise curfew for a venue is 10 pm or earlier that is less than ideal.

You also need a good amount of bathrooms pending the number of guests. This is something that can be overlooked, however, is so important on the night!

Space! There needs to be enough space to work with. When we have plenty of room to play with, we can create something special.

Read also: Villa of the Week: Pantai Lima Estate

Why host a party like this at a villa?

The biggest advantage of hosting a party at a villa is you have a blank canvas essentially.
Meaning, we can bring in EVERYTHING tailored to what exactly you want from the catering and staging to the decoration.

What do the guest lists typically look like? 

It very much depends on how much a couple of things. You have to take into consideration how notice you have given your guests to plan, especially if they’re making a trip over and where you are asking the guests to come from.

Let’s talk about food. Canapes or full meals?

This depends. What kind of tone do you want to set for your party?

Canapes are a definite must when guests arrive and are enjoying a cocktail while watching the sunset. Following this, we often have an array of different food carts to bring a casual, fun feel to the party. Or just lots of roaming canapes to ensure people don’t go hungry.

Read also: Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding & Harry Shum in Bali with The Luxe Nomad

How important is a dress code?

Given enough notice who doesn’t love a dress-up theme?! A white party is always an easy go-to. We also once did a burning man theme which everyone got well into.

I wouldn’t say a dress theme is key; however, it adds a fun element for people to get excited about before they arrive.

What are some stand out factors you’ve seen at parties you’ve organised?

We had over 80 performers at one event which set such a WOW factor. There were mermaid shows in the pool while aerial acts where happening overhead (on a structure we built over the pool for this purpose). There were stilt walkers, roaming magicians, and a 20 person Brazil Batucada Drummer marching band to transition from one part of the party to another.

Also, for one wedding we had Balioncye (a Beyonce drag queen) arranged to surprise the Bride. The vibe when she came out was incredible. Everyone really got into her performance, which lifted the atmosphere.

We are also lucky enough to have Lydia Rose, and her band frequently play at our events in Bali. Her band certainly knows how to set the tone for a good night, they are incredibly interactive and she even does a package with DJ / Saxophonist Sammy Sax who will get amongst the dancefloor and play sax while he DJs! It is a true performance!

When’s the best time to be throwing a party in Bali?

This is a very tough question. Typically June – September is the dry season. However, in the last few years, the weather has not been as consistent. That period would still be recommended and is generally the best time to visit Bali overall. However, it also depends on how many guests you are inviting. We do parties in the wet season (e.g. December) and need to have a backup plan such as a marquee etc.!

What’s the one request you’re hoping someone will come to you with?

I always love doing kids parties because you can get super creative with all the themes, personalise each detail and make it super fun! (I follow each Kardashian so that I can see how amazing their kids’ parties are).

A festival theme like Coachella, I have always wanted to do. Well, actually I would love to do a real music festival altogether. That’s always been a personal dream! I just got engaged, and I think we might have to have this theme for my own wedding!

Another request would be to incorporate a surprise flash mob into an event; I just love the energy and hype of it all (Sometimes I find myself YouTubing flash mobs late at night).

Photos and video by The Palms Agency

Where are you hosting your next event?

Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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