Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published June 24th 2013
Invite All Your Friends to a Special Do
Raising a glass to the birthday boy.
This year was my dad's sixtieth birthday, and he wanted to have a special do to celebrate. He decided to have the party at his favourite club, Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness, which is where he and his mates socialise on a weekly basis.
The club prides itself in being a hub for the local community to play sports, workout at the gym, take a few shots at snooker, watch major sporting events, and chill out at the bar.
As well as holding celebratory parties for their squash and badminton tournaments, they also cater for personal parties as well. Licensed to play music up to 1am, Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness can provide professional DJs at competitive rates or put you in contact with disco organisers. The lounge holds up to a hundred people (which is about how many people my dad wanted to invite), but if you have a bigger guest list, they can open up the patio doors, bring out the garden tables, and extend the event into the car park.
It was the perfect venue for my dad's party because he is a member, and most of his mates are familiar with the club. Already being on friendly terms with the staff, it made organising the party much easier too; since they were all invited, they had the extra incentive to make it a blast.
We opted for a disco rather than a DJ so that we could pick songs from our own CD collection that everyone would know and be able to dance around to. They were able to put us in contact with someone who charged £250, the only downside being they wanted cash in hand.
When it comes to food, the club offers four buffet options. The first is a fork buffet that includes one hot meal served with garlic bread, new potatoes or Pilau rice. This is £9.75 per person with dishes such as korma, tangine, lasagne, and chilli con carne.
The finger food buffets vary between £6.95-£12.95, depending how many items you want per person (4, 6, or 7) and whether you want hot or cold food.
We went for the hot and cold finger buffet, which included wraps, plus six items of of choice from the menu. When we looked at the menu, we were a bit disappointed to find that almost everything was wrapped in some kind of pastry - sausage rolls, samosas, pork pies, deep fried chicken, spring rolls, etc. While this is to be expected with finger food, it would also have been nice to see sandwiches and fruit on the menu.
It didn't turn out to be a problem, as the staff were more than willing to accommodate our personal tastes, and there were healthy options that you could order as an added extra, such as cous cous and various side salads. The club seem to know what they're on about though, because when we ordered vegetable crudites, they were left untouched by the guests (oh well, at least our guinea pigs will have a nice treat).
Everything was set up when we arrived.
We headed over to the club early to make sure the balloons had arrived, and that the disco people were setting up, then at 8pm, the guests began to arrive in a steady stream. The party was like a permanent happy hour, with champagne on arrival, and free drinks all round - something everyone took advantage of.
As well as playing music, the disco organisers made the occasional announcement, like wishing Dad a happy birthday, letting everyone know the buffet was ready, and saying when it was time to cut the cake.
Sandwiches, wraps, and mini quiches
To be honest, with all the pastry, I was expecting the food to be pretty stodgy, but while pasta could have done with a bit more flavour, and the bread for the sandwiches was pretty poor quality, everything else was very good.
Samosas & spring rolls with chilli sauce dip
The samosas and spring rolls were crispy and light, and the hot chicken wings, though titchy, appeared to be the most popular item on the menu, with the plate having to be replenished several times.
Succulent juicy prawns with Marie-rose sauce
My absolute favourites were the roasted vegetable & pesto wraps, and the magnificent display of king prawns skewers, which were served with Marie-rose sauce.
Chouz buns, profiteroles, and fruit skewers
The one thing the club didn't do were cakes, so we had to buy those ourselves. We bought a selection of profiteroles and cream buns from Marks & Spencers party food service.
This also included Dad's Colin The Caterpillar birthday cake, which we did not get round to until late because everyone was having too much fun chatting.
Dancing at the disco.
Once the cake was cut, and the wine had taken away most people's inhibitions, everyone took to the dance floor and 'danced' - or in most cases, looked like they had been given the hot foot. The party wrapped up a little while after midnight, and beds stayed occupied longer than usual in the morning.