The wedding venue was the first thing on my to-do list after Keith proposed. This is because I’ve often heard stories about how popular venues get snapped up one year in advance and since I had one year to plan the wedding, I decided that I wanted to settle this first. (Anyway, true enough, my original “dream venue”, which was Fullerton Hotel’s Straits Room was already booked when I enquired).
Having gone through the process of booking, here are a few things I’d advise all brides-to-be to take note:
- Plan your guest list first. This is going to help with your venue shortlist tremendously. Different venues have a different capacity and “minimum booking”, so you need to have a good approximation of how many guests you want.For us, we really wanted to make it a cosy celebration among only our nearest and dearest, and are not foreseeing to have more than 150 people in our “inner circle”. Our church wedding, on the other hand, will be the “bigger event”.As such, we only looked at small ballrooms with a capacity of 15 (minimum booking of 12) tables.
- Shortlist and start emailing. We shortlisted all the venues that can accommodate our number of guests and are most keen on three of them: Four Seasons Hotel (Crescent Ballroom), Movenpick Heritage Hotel (Heritage Room), The Sentosa Resort & Spa (Beaufort Room) and Raffles Marina.
It is easy to email, and to me, what’s important during this stage is to see how responsive the venue is. A responsive catering manager assures me that he/she will be responsive when I need assistance in the future when I book with him/her. Also, always ask to go down and view the venue.
- Site inspection. We went down for all the venues we shortlisted besides Raffles Marina. This is because they were very unresponsive and don’t seem willing to meet us on weekends or after work hours. Well, we have to work and it’s expected for someone from the service industry to understand that they may have to put in these hours. This is why many of them work shifts.During the site inspection, we really looked out for a few things:
-How are the service staff like in the hotel? Are they polite? Are they helpful? Note that the overall service level of the hotel is going to leave an impression on your guests.
-What’s the table arrangement going to be like? For me, a straight aisle is very important, so I need to know if the tables can be arranged such that the aisle is straight.
-How do you feel about the venue? Can you see yourself holding your wedding there? I think that “gut feeling” is important.We chose Movenpick Heritage Hotel in the end for a few reasons: The staff, from the doorman to the front desk staff, are all very polite and helpful. We could feel their genuine warmth from the moment we step into the hotel; the entire hotel, not just the ballroom, is beautiful; I liked the signature fragrance of the hotel; I love that it’s in Sentosa because I love Sentosa; It’s incredibly easy to get to, whether by car or monorail (it’s located right in front of Imbiah Station, which is just two stops away from VivoCity); and I have a good “feeling” about it.
- Sign off. I will suggest committing to the minimum requirement at first and then later let your catering manager know you need to increase your tables. Your deposit is based on the number of tables you’ve committed. And since you don’t know if your guests may or may not RSVP affirmatively, go for the lowest possible commitment first.
So far, Movenpick Heritage Hotel seems to be a good choice for us. Even when I requested to do my pre-wedding photoshoot in their premises, my catering manager was very prompt and helpful with coordinating it. The service has been impeccable.