Friday, March 6, 2009

Banquet madness

This is the story of my banquet location search.

I armed myself with the list from, and started researching like mad.

Firstly, we need about 50-60 tables (!!!!) 
Yes, many relatives and frens we are blessed to have, so already that was a limiting factor when it came to our choices.

Secondly, because of the immense figure, we had to stick to a smaller budget so we wouldn't end up with a financial headache after the wedding.

After doing all the research, I had my heart set on Noble House initially.
It has the capacity, great central location, price within our budget and it's under Tung Lok so food shd be good.
No free hotel nite stay, but we figured we could take a room at nearby Fullerton and chill out after the whole day's happy madness.

We were all ready to book Sept 5 there, until ...
JX checked with his parents and they were not for the date cos it was still within the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Okei, we're cool. 

But Noble House was not available on those dates.
Nor the days before, after, or anywhere in the vicinity of the ninth month of 2009.
Not cool.

So, the search began again.

Now, we needed to find a place that can take 60 tables minimum, because our guest list seemed to be growing bigger and bigger.

I came across:
Hilltop Garden - Nice! High ceiling, can take up to 62 tables. Free flow beer and wine somemore. We've gotta pay an extra $1,200 for the crystal ballroom, but we figured it works out to about $30/table, so ... okei lah.

It was not available on the dates we wanted.
Between the end of the Chinese 7th month and October (we didn't want to hit October and beyond), we only had 2 weeks.
We comforted ourselves, "Okei lah, anyway Hilltop a bit far hor..."

So I started looking through my list all over again, and calling the restaurants to ask when they had a freed-up slot.

A word of advice to all BTBs, ask for the restaurant/hotel's available dates in the whole month, the month before and after.
It saves you time and you can have your options if things don't work out with the matrimony etc.

I found myself ping-ponging back and forth between the restaurants and the church, because we were trying to find a date that worked for both.

I didn't want to bother JX too much with the details until I had shortlisted the really good ones.
But after all my very "oh-man-how-depressing" research, I felt it was necessary to pre-empt him.
So I told him, "Our budget kinda allows for limited choices, most of which are too far, or too ugly. It's a challenge to find a place that can accomodate our 60 tables within our budget and looks decent, but I'm still trying lah ..."
My optimistic fiance is a man who believe IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING.
So he stepped in.

We checked out Dragon Gate at Harbourfront which looked slightly potential in its photos on the internet.
JX took a look around and went "Okei, not bad..."
I didn't like the place very much, but I was prepared because we didn't have many choices left.
So I asked all the necessary questions. 
When we finally walked out of the place,  JX went, "Actually ... quite depressing hor..."
He couldn't be more right! Haha.... I said, "Now you know what I mean..."
The place had 4 big pillars and it was way too Haha.

So on we went to the bridal fair at Vivocity where we discovered Pioneer Spring.
They were available on Sept 19, so we quickly booked it! Yay!
Plus, they threw in a free night's stay at Copthorne Waterfront + $500 restaurant voucher.
Yay, I get my hotel room!

So we were very happy.
Until the sales manager Kenny sent us the proposal.
It was a $100 more per table than we wanted.
When we asked why, he insisted it was the minimum, which got me fuming mad.
Cos then it was a misrepresentation on the brochure!
Yes, such things trigger my hot buttons.
Especially because I was careful enough to study the whole thing to ensure we don't hit any fine print boo-boos.

The matter went up to the Managing Director who told me the same story, that it's a weekday price, and the price we wanted is for the ballroom.
Allo .... we are taking BOTH the restaurant and the ballroom! 
So shouldn't we get an even better rate?
It was a ludicrously thin argument that made no sense.
He said, "I can offer you a lower price lah, since you want ... but I have to take out some things from the package..."
Whoa.... You're not exactly doing me a favour now, you know...

Anyway, I told him to speak to THE man, who amazed me cos the MD finally admitted to him they made a mistake, and hence JX asked him to come up with a package under our budget that we could agree on.

They reverted with one under our budget all right, except they really took out several stuff, such as the free flow beer and wine and some other what-nots.
Not agreeable.
Hence, we decided to drop them and I'm now reverse-advertising on their behalf.

At this point, Susanna from Hilltop Garden called me and asked if I still want the tentative booking I made for their Jurong branch.
After discussions back and forth, we finally decided to take it.
(Yes, I know ... It's even further than Hilltop! Hahaha...)
As I'm sitting here typing this, JX is with Susanna putting the downpayment.
It's due to be completed in April, so we won't be able to see it till then, but we're going by faith after seeing the artists' impression and their other branches.

That's one thing down.
Now to settle my church matrimony!

But that's another story altogether. :P
Just pray I get to use the JW church on the same day okei? 

Btw, the dinner is set for September 20! 
Haha ... I know it's a wildly popular date, and not that we bothered about it, but it's rather nice to know our wedding will be on 20092009.
Haha ... I believe it's a quirky thing God threw in.
He knows we are 2 ppl with short-term memories! :P 

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