Housewife Emily Qian, 36, spent about $12,000 on her daughter’s one-year-old birthday celebrations last month.
The birthday lunch for 70 guests at a five-star hotel here cost about $7,000. The customised, two-tiered birthday cake and dessert spread cost about $3,000, and decor and photography for the event another $2,000.
“I know, it’s crazy right?” says Ms Qian.
“But it was important to me that things were done up tastefully. Besides, this was hassle-free. I just told the vendors what I wanted and they executed things well.”
She is among parents here who are forking out thousands of dollars to celebrate their children’s birthdays with a bang – not to show off, they say.
They are willing to splurge for a variety of reasons: It is a milestone birthday, a chance for the family to gather, it makes the grandparents happy and it is also convenient to take up packages offered by local businesses.
Ms Qian’s daughter Faith was treated to a Red Riding Hood-themed birthday party.
There were large red balloons, a balloon arch with a woodland theme, and a dessert table decked out with confections supplied by home-grown bakery Little House of Dreams.
“My daughter doesn’t remember a thing, but it’s fine,” says Ms Qian, who is married to bank analyst Danny Ng, 40.
“She’s the only grandchild and I wanted things to be grand. I want my parents – her grandparents – to be happy with the celebration.”
Financial planner Alvina Tiang, 33, and her husband Amos Lim, 36, also a financial planner, spent a lot less – about $3,000 – on their daughter Aleia’s one-year-old birthday bash (pictured above).
About 100 guests showed up for the Rainbow Brite-themed lunch party held at a steamboat restaurant earlier this month.
Ms Tiang’s friends helped with the venue decor and she ordered the birthday cake and dessert table pastries from bakery Temptations Cakes.
She says the guests enjoyed the food and desserts and told her that they had a lot of fun.
“I have no regrets; it was money well spent,” she says.
“My husband already has a theme in mind for next year’s celebrations – Jurassic Park.”
Cake makers here say that the trend these days for children’s birthday cakes is custom-made, multi-tiered fondant ones. Themes that are popular with parents include princess, mermaid, rainbow, carousel, animals and superheroes.
For kids with allergies, some bakeries, including Temptations Cakes, provide nut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free cake options.
Parents are increasingly also requesting dessert tables – confections stylishly assembled on cake stands and trays, set against a wall banner. The cake is usually the centrepiece, accompanied by themed decorations and balloons on or around the table.
Little House of Dreams says sales of its custom-made cakes and dessert tables have increased “three to four times” in recent years.
Ms Grace Goh, 40, who joined the company as a partner in 2014, says fondant cakes and dessert tables gained popularity a few years ago in countries such as Australia and the United States.
“Through social media, parents here are exposed to such ideas and naturally want them for their own celebrations,” she says.
Next page: More hot trends for birthday celebrations