Toast and Cheers with Honeyz: Choosing the Ideal Wedding Venue
If a wedding is a glass of champagne, then the wedding venue must be the glass! Haha!
So you bet, the search for the venue has been bittersweet – sweet because it is where we’re gonna host our fairytale nuptials but bitter as luck hasn’t been too kind to us. Think unwarranted price hikes, slow responses and inadequate seating capacities.
The scouting trip began with some highly recommended venues by expatliving.sg, perfectweddings.sg and the ows.com.sg (Outdoor Wedding Specialist) and after much deliberation, we finally found THE ONE! Whoopee!
I’ve written a short account of my experiences with each venue we approached. If you’re hunting for the ideal reception venue too, this post might be a pretty good guide.
My fiancé and I love a good view so we decided to skip the traditional hotel ballrooms that are usually encased within upholstered walls and choose venues that are above the “vertical limit” with glorious floor to ceiling views. Haha!
Our first choice – Salt grill & Sky bar @ ION Orchard
Image credits: chope.com.sg
“Way up high on the 55th level of ION shopping mall is Salt grill and Sky bar, a 6000 square foot space helmed by celebrity chef Luke Mangan. In the main dining area, which has floor to ceiling windows, guests can enjoy views of southern Singapore while being served contemporary Australian cuisine.”
This was THE place where our love flourished two years ago so my fiance and I were pretty adamant that this was the perfect venue for our wedding.
Moreover, I thought the endless slope from the bar to the restaurant would make a splendid wedding aisle – it’s like you’re descending from heaven! 😛
Image credits: http://www.affluent-media.com
So we emailed the venue and this was the information that was given to us:
Maximum capacity – 100 -140 To seat 140 people, the restaurant would have to remove all their chairs and tables and bring in banquet chairs and tables which are smaller in size. Removal of furniture is from $1800+ (depending on the number of furniture) and hire of furniture is at $10+/chair and GSM $35+/table. The number of tables needed would be about 25.
Luncheon timing – 11.30 to 3pm (They would need the restaurant back by 3:30pm.)
Degustation menu – SGD140++ per pax.
To include drinks is another SGD50++ per person.
Additional costs involved to hire AV equipment and floral arrangements.
Honestly, the total cost way exceeded our budget but we decided to go ahead with the booking because we just couldn’t resist its breathtaking panoramic view of the city!
The enquiries were made in the last week of August 2013 and we emailed the restaurant on the first day of November to confirm our interest.
Alas, we were presented with a slew of bad news – the restaurant would be undergoing renovations in early 2014, prices had increased ($150++), post renovation seating capacity was unknown and even the menu would be unknown until closer to the date! 🙁
The uncertainty did little to invoke our confidence in the place that would be forever in our memories as the home of our wedding.
Despite this very bad news, we still insisted on going ahead but were told to wait till the end of February (when the renovation is completed) to confirm our booking.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Finalising venue details in February is seriously cutting it too close for a November wedding with a lot of places already being fully booked.
Finally, we bid ION adieu and continued our wedding hunt elsewhere.
We’re still very keen on a high rise wedding venue so we decided to pay 1-Altitude a visit.
We’d been to their rooftop bar and were absolutely mesmerised by their posh ambience and sparkling skyline view.
We googled the establishment and found this description on Yoursingapore.com.
“Occupying the three topmost floors of the 282 metre One Raffles Place Building, 1-Altitude comprises of three very different concepts—an al fresco gastrobar called 1-Altitude Gallery & Bar on level 63; an European restaurant named Stellar on level 62 and a sports bar named 282 that comes complete with its own golf simulator on level 61.”
Stellar sounded like a pretty good option so we decided to explore their restaurant.
Upon arrival, we were (honestly) pretty disappointed.
Image credits: http://www.o-o.io
We expected the same lavish settings as Salt grill & Sky bar @ ION Orchard – spacious premises and floor to ceiling windows with a picturesque view. But we got none of those. The place was… well compact with uncarpeted floors that made the restaurant look somewhat lacklustre and canteen like.
But we thought since we were already at the restaurant, we could still try their food. Who knows? We might still be impressed and book the venue!
So we went on an impromptu dinner date! 😛
We ordered their tasting menu and selected four items including two appetisers, a main course and dessert.
I remember the main course and dessert were extremely mouth-watering but their appetisers were only so so.
My least favorite was this breaded foie gras dish. The fried bread was bland and the paste surrounding it was too rich for my liking.
That was two months ago but we heard Stellar just went through a revamp. The photos here were pre-renovation so they could be better in terms of decor and menu now. But since we had limited time, we decided to move on to the next potential venue.
We finally ditched the sky-high venues and began to explore other scenic venues.
And this was our third choice – Catalunya, introduced by a good friend of ours.
Image credits: tripadvisor.co.uk
“Catalunya is a contemporary Spanish restaurant situated at the newly-built The Fullerton Pavilion. Helmed by an international team of award-winning culinary experts from the likes of elBulli, Santi, Drolma, and Sketch, the restaurant serves a menu that reflects the diversity of Spanish cuisine, and elegantly melds the finesse of Asian hospitality and classic Spanish charm.
Designed by award-winning design firm AvroKO, Catalunya is situated in a unique glass-encased dome floating atop the waters of Marina Bay. With warm lighting and modern furnishings of a Spanish Boqueria made from rich natural materials, this 4,300 square-foot, 120-seat modern Spanish restaurant offers indoor and alfresco dining options for those seeking to discover new experiences. Indeed, diners from around the region will be treated to intimate indulgence amidst the sophisticated settings of Catalunya.”
The restaurant is gorgeous! I went there with my good friend Rusty and she too agreed that the glass enclosure feature is magnificent! Check out that view!
We visited Catalunya on a busy Wednesday evening and indicated our interest in booking the venue for our wedding. Even though we did not make any prior appointment, we were still given a mini tour by their friendly staff. 😀
At this point, I was absolutely willing to trade my skyscraper view for this enthralling panoramic waterfront view but…
They could only accommodate 90 seated guests, significantly below our planned number of guests. Sniff. Since this also fell through, the search continued.
We celebrated our sixth monthiversary at The Jewel Box’s Black Opal and we were very impressed with the unique hilltop dining experience, the consistency of the quality of cuisine served as well as the impeccable service rendered by their staff.
Hence, we decided to now approach The Jewel Box.
Image credits: thebestsingapore.sg
“As the only hilltop wedding destination in Singapore, the Jewel Box at Mount Faber commits to bring a piece of nature into your wedding venue.
There are 6 distinct wedding venues available for your choices from classic setting, modern themed to romantic garden wedding in The Jewel Box at Mount Faber. Located at the edge of the hill at the height 106m above sea level, 6 distinct wedding venues are nested amidst the lush greeneries of Mount Faber Park.
It doesn’t matter which venue you choose, each wedding venue with gorgeous scene of pristine beauty and the unique elements of nature will be a part of your dream wedding, and bring the memorable experiences for the bridal couples and the guests.”
As these things always go, I started by sending out an email with details of my planned wedding. I had read about some of their wedding packages online and enquired whether they may be amenable to the idea of giving me free corkage (trust me alcohol is expensive business and can effectively double the cost of a banquet so look for free corkage whenever possible).It was two weeks before I heard anything back from Jewel Box, which seems like an eternity when you’re pulling your hair out trying to settle a venue. I finally received a polite email congratulating me on my forthcoming wedding. It was a nice email but a little too late. Read on and you’ll know why. 🙂
As more and more time passed, a sense of desperation started to set in. We knew that a lot of places had already been snapped up on our auspicious date and wondered whether our fairytale wedding would be just that, a fairytale never to come true.
My fiancé started to cast his net wider and chanced upon a website specializing in outdoor and specialty weddings in Singapore. I had a look at the site, not really expecting much, but found my interest awakening once again as I found more and more venue choices.
I tried not to get my hopes up too much, but a certain restaurant by the name of 1-Twentysix caught my attention. Gone were the lofty heights and vistas of 1-Altitude and Salt Bar. The photos showed me something else. A charming, romantic, outdoor garden-esque venue, like something out of, you guessed it, a fairytale!!
Image by Singapore Brides.
I wasted no time and quickly dropped them an email. Much to my surprise I quickly received a reply to arrange a meet up to discuss things further. Suddenly from a snails pace, things were moving up a gear. I was still trying not to get my hopes up too much.
The very next week I went with my fiancé to meet Beth, an events planner for 1-Twentysix and I must say, what a breath of fresh air it was to finally meet someone who seemed as passionate and excited as we were. We were shown photos and given suggestions, we even discussed wedding cakes that I had in mind, all of which Beth assured me would be possible through their wedding cake specialist.
These were the cakes we showed her. 😀
My fiancé and I dined at 1-Twentysix from their Christmas set menu and the entire experience was just first class!
Before we knew it, we found ourselves handing over a deposit for what will be, I hope, my dream wedding.
With a change in management and following fresh renovations, 1-Twentysix has now been renamed Cotton. New management and renovations means new policies and unfortunately higher prices, but thanks to the miracle that is Beth, the original price point was honored (unlike a certain other restaurant we visited). Additionally, loads and loads of amazing services were also included in the package, all courtesy of the wedding planning services at Cotton.
Our final package includes: pre-dinner canapés for the solemnization, 5 course fine dining meal, experienced wedding planning services, specially designed signs for the event, professional band, flowers and decoration of the venue, custom made 3-tier wedding cake, provision of ang pao box, 4-tier champagne wedding fountain, wedding cards, free flow soft drinks, 30 bottles of wine, 3 bottles of champagne and free corkage!
Wow! All at the same price point as most of the other venues we had looked at. Trust me, I am not being paid to say any of this; I am genuinely ecstatic with everything we have received from Cotton.
We set out originally with a classic fairytale ball theme in mind, but having now found Cotton, we have changed our theme to that of a secret garden fairytale wedding. A magical concept that I can’t wait to share with you in more detail in future posts.
It has been quite a long and tumultuous journey to reach this point but the best really does come to she who waits. I can now look back and smile at the hurdles I had to jump. 🙂 I am finally here, one step closer to my dream wedding.
Your friend, Juliana