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A tropical 50th birthday celebration in the heart of Wimbledon

Keen to celebrate his 50th birthday at his home in Wimbledon Village, our client asked us to design and organise a party that would be magical, exotic and exclusive.

We came up with a theme that would create a space worthy of a private members club with a twist – a tropical atmosphere inspired by the lushness and mystery of Madagascar. Our only challenge was how to maximise the space to comfortably entertain 65 guests.

The Solution

Typical of a London townhouse, our client’s garden was no wider than the house itself. Whilst it was big enough for a marquee, the challenge was how to install the structure given that we would have no surrounding space. Never to be daunted by the seemingly impossible, the solution was to literally build from the inside out – unconventional yet so simple! By adjusting our normal build procedure we could successfully install a bespoke A-frame clearspan marquee that would allow the party to extend seamlessly from the ground-floor rooms into the garden.

We created a magical Madagascar environment using a dark and moody colour palette of greens and black. A mix of faux and real foliage and flowers transformed the marquee interior and immediately established the theme. We also incorporated existing garden features, including a patio, which was left uncovered, and certain plants and shrubs integrated into the floral arrangements. Festoon lighting was intertwined with the ceiling foliage and a colourful array of artificial exotic birds added plenty of charm and helped bring the theme to life. Dark green sofas and chairs, coffee tables and metal poseur tables gave the feel of a private members club and everything was tied together by stunning floral arrangements and complemented by flickering gold candle votives. An illuminated bar created a focal point and was beautifully decorated to link with the design theme, including an exotic floral arrangement suspended from the ceiling.

Lighting played an important part from the moment guests arrived. External lighting bathed the front of the house in colour and, once inside, uplighters lit the route to the rear of the property. Pinspots were used to highlight key areas within the marquee and gobo lighting, moving and fixed LED lights created a vibrant party atmosphere. A magnificent oak tree in the garden was also beautifully lit and the end of the marquee had clear sides and roof so that the tree could be seen.

Upon arrival, guests had an unusual and unique welcome. They were asked to ring a bell and a glass of Champagne would then emerge from a foliage wall, served by two concealed entertainers wearing long green gloves – a fun start to a magical experience. A selection of canapés was served as guests mingled and our DJ played background music to help set the mood, before the party really got going later on.

Our client had chosen bowl food for the evening meal and we served a delicious selection of tuna poke, Thai cashew chicken and Sichuan tofu, followed by a choice of lemon and raspberry mess and five-spiced apple and pear crumble. And throughout the event, the bar was staffed by expert mixologists serving cocktails, mocktails, spirits, prosecco, wine and soft drinks.

One final touch, which wasn’t of our making, was a fabulous fireworks display. Held every year at a nearby school, our client knew it would be immense and had deliberately chosen to have his party on the same date. We made sure that guests had the opportunity to break away from the fun inside to watch the spectacle.