Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wedding Preparations - Shortlisting Venues

Dream Wedding Venues

Unlike most of the friends my age, I'm one of the rare few that have always wanted to have a wedding banquet. Western style dinners are nice but I could always do that for birthdays, with friends who would better appreciate such settings. Luckily for me, bf was on the same page. I read so many stories about brides reluctantly doing the banquet just to make their parents happy, but in my case, it was for myself! I was more scared about whether they will ask me to keep it simple and save cost. Hahaha.

I was willing to splurge most of my wedding budget on a good banquet with good food. Money can always earn back but wedding is only once in a lifetime! That being said, I'm not the kind that care much about details such as expensive exotic flowers, designer gowns, customized stuff, so I guess I can put the money saved from all these stuff into what matters more to me! But of course must spend within means lah. It's still scary to think about how much money we are putting into a single day.

Our Venue Search

1. Estimate Guestlist
First, we did up a estimated guestlist and ran through it with our parents so that we know the approximate size of wedding.

2. Choose a Fixed Component from either date/ guestlist size/ hotel.
For us, we were flexible with the guestlist and we did not have an ideal hotel in mind, so we went with the date as the fixed component.

3. Filter venues based on fixed component
I started by emailing some of the 5-star hotels I fancy most. I intended to first check their date availability and if all cannot, then I move on to the next batch of hotels. Actually I liked some of the hotels in Sentosa but bf said no to Sentosa because it's too far :(

Everybody told me that they had difficulty securing a hotel even though they started more than one year before their wedding. Surprisingly, there were still a number of available hotels on our first list of selections!

This method was an easy way to simplify my selection process cos as long as the ballroom was unavailable on my date, I will delete them from my list no matter how nice the hotel is (Four Seasons ballroom is really gorgeous but taken already). I know of some couples who will change date for the perfect ballroom but then I feel it will complicate the process and widen the options instead of narrowing it down!

I also checked the minimum and maximum capacity and deleted those that are not suitable. For example, Mandarin Orchard had two ballroom but one was minimum 40 and another one was maximum 22. We had around 30-35 tables so we knew we had to give this one up.

Imagine my happiness when Shangri-La Hotel replied that the ballroom was available on my date! However, bf's friends and family commented about the food and bf decide he don't want Shangri-La already :(

Oh well, there were still afew others on my list!

At first we considered Marina Bay Sands because the price is very attractive but I didn't think I would like it more than the other hotels available on our date so I didn't bother to make any viewing appointment. For the rest, I made arrangements to view them back to back... Very important point to note! If you can, try to view all the shortlisted hotels within afew days to reduce the risk of another couple taking up your slot while you are waiting for the next viewing. Some hotels allow soft booking, others do not.

We visited Regent Hotel first. I really liked the grand feeling when I entered the hotel, and the wedding theme is really chio. I fell in love with this one at first sight. Most hotels have super boring decor, so this was unique.

(Photo credit: Steph Tan Photography)

We almost confirmed it but I didn't want to end my venue search with just one visit so we decide to wait. Also, they had no outdoor solemnization so I was quite disappointed. Really don't want to sign my papers in a function room if I can... I've always liked garden weddings but due to hot weather in Singapore, it's not really feasible. So if we can do it at least for solemnization it'd be great.

Next, we visited Pan Pacific Hotel as we thought it would be quite meaningful since it was where he proposed to me. There is a nice outdoor solemnization venue which is also sheltered, so I don't have to be afraid of bad weather. Our coordinator was especially nice, but the bigger ballroom wasn't available and I didn't like the alternative ballroom which was long and narrow. Also, after being wow-ed over by Regent's beautiful lobby, I wasn't too impressed by Pan Pacific. Overall we still like Regent Hotel more.

So we visited another shortlisted venue, Marriott Hotel. At this point we were very sure we wanted Regent Hotel already, go Marriott Hotel is to see see look look only because I saw their ballroom photos online and didn't have much feeling for it. Haha.

As expected, the ballroom looked quite plain and decor is minimal. Chatted with Ben and Isaac about Regent VS Marriott the previous night and they both prefer Marriott for its simplicity. True, Marriott is definitely more modern but have to say, Regent is still more grand and exclusive.

Then we saw the poolside pavilion and to know I could have my outdoor solemnization as wished, my heart went to Marriott immediately. After comparing the perks, we decided that Marriott is a better option. Also, it's right in the middle of Orchard Road so it's quite accessible for our guests too. Although Regent Hotel is also in Orchard, it's at a quieter end.

The next day, we went ahead with our schedule to visit Sheraton Towers. Perks are similar to Marriott, price is lower, and the coordinator was friendly. The ballroom is also more grand, but the downside is that it's L-shape, unless we can reduce our guestlist. In the end, we decide to forgo this hotel as well.

Supposed to also visit Fullerton Hotel and Grand Hyatt few days later but we were already quite fixed on Marriott hence we cancelled the appointment. I think we were just afraid that we end up liking them too, then jialat already lor. Hahaha. Up till today I still wonder if I should have just went ahead to view these two hotels, maybe better perks leh?

Aiya every place got their own good points and bad points. I wanted good location, outdoor solemnization, generous perks, pretty wedding decor theme, grand and beautiful ballroom/hotel - all of these, without the exorbitant price tag. Impossible to find a hotel in Singapore that can fulfill everything lor. Unless I got alot of money lah, then 'affordable price' no need to be in the equation already, can even fly all my guests out via first class for a destination wedding. Hahaha. Dream only.

Our venue search damn fast. Less than a week settle already! When I had my staycation at Marriott Hotel last year, didn't expect that it would end up being my wedding venue too!

We were highly encouraged by our friends to visit more wedding showcases but we didn't, because none of the events happening during our search were on the list of hotels that we were interested in. Am going to Marriott's showcase in end June though! Just to have a feel of the decorated ballroom and see if we need to top up more to make the venue prettier!

Glad my parents are quite pleased about me holding my wedding at Marriott Hotel too!

Related Entries:

The Proposal
Parents Meet Parents Session
Selecting Our Wedding Date
Wedding Venue
Vendor Research

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