Singaporebrides | Fine Dining

September 2011

Before You Pick A Wedding Venue

One of the first things on a wedding to-do list is choosing a wedding venue, but how do you make up your mind? SingaporeBrides lists the key questions to ask your shortlisted wedding venues that will help you decide.

It’s so easy to fall head-over-heels in love with a wedding venue – whether it’s a grand ballroom, candlelit poolside deck, or a breathtaking rooftop garden. Well, don’t be swept away by the beauty of the location just yet. There are practical considerations to mull over before you sign on the dotted line.

1. IS THE VENUE AVAILABLE ON MY WEDDING DATE?

Couples usually decide on a good (and auspicious!) wedding date first before shopping around for a suitable venue. So this is probably the most important question you should ask before planning anything else. Also ask how many weddings have been booked on your Big Day – this will give you an idea whether you are getting the time and resources you are paying for. Ivy Woo, Marketing Communications Manager of Peony Jade Restaurant, explains: “For instance, at our restaurant, only a maximum of two weddings (lunch and dinner) can be booked in a day.”

2. DO YOU HAVE A WEDDING COORDINATOR TO ASSIST ME?

A hotel wedding planner (also known as the events coordinator or facility director) is your go-to person for all your banquet or reception needs. Grace Yong, Marketing Communications Manager of Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, explains: “Dream weddings don’t just happen – they’re planned. At Marriott, our Certified Wedding Planners are trained to coordinate different types of weddings. She will work with the couples from day one to understand their requirements and execute their visions in detail.” So be sure to ask about the wedding planner’s scope of responsibilities and if she will be there to assist you on the actual day.

3. HOW MANY GUESTS CAN YOUR WEDDING VENUE ACCOMMODATE?

Somehow, your guest list will balloon as the days go by. And let’s face it: You will find it hard to say no if your parents want to invite your great-grand aunt (and half a dozen of her grandchildren) to your wedding. So it’s absolutely crucial to ask how many guests your venue can accommodate. Ivy advises: “For instance, Peony Jade @ Keppel Club can accommodate up to 270 guests. Knowing this will help you to bump up or trim your guest list accordingly.” While you’re at it, don’t forget to ask guest-related details like if there are shuttle services, enough parking lots (and complimentary parking tickets!), and if the venue will be able to cater to disabled guests.

4. CAN I HIRE MY OWN VENDORS?

Most venues have a list of preferred vendors – caterers, cake companies, entertainment providers and florists – that they have a good working relationship with. In fact, some actually have strict contracts with their vendors so you may incur additional costs if you choose to hire your own people to do the job. Sometimes, it may not even be allowed. So ask before putting together your dream team.

Mint and white Skyve Elementary Bistro & Bar wedding Singapore 51Melissa and Gavin’s Cozy Wedding at Skyve Wine Bistro, by Seletar Broadway

5. WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR SETTING UP AND TEARING DOWN OF THE VENUE DECOR?

It is likely that your venue’s appointed florist will be fully responsible for the set-up and tear-down of your chosen wedding décor. Grace says: “The wedding couple shouldn’t have to worry about this unless they decide to pick their own florist at their own expense. In this case, they will be responsible for the décor as well as any damages to the venue.” Ivy adds: “It may actually be a better idea to go with florists who are already familiar with the venue.”

6. WHAT ARE THE POLICIES OF YOUR VENUE?

Knowing what to expect means lesser stress. Policies cover the entire gamut of T&Cs, like the time your guests have to leave; sometimes there are additional charges if your party overruns the stipulated time. Grace clarifies: “Ask your wedding planner to explain and clarify everything you need to know about the venue. For instance, there is usually a time when the banquet has to end. At Marriott, it is officially 11pm, although we do allow for an additional half an hour grace period.” The point is: if you’re unsure about anything, just ask.

7. ARE THERE CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO DECOR?

Before you dream of a stunning sea of lit candles, ask if your venue allows for open flames. Some do, some don’t – so you might have to adjust your expectations accordingly. Also, when it comes to chairs and tableware, venues use standard “house” supplies that are included in your cost. If you want to use something else, note that you may have to pay extra to rent them on your own.

8. IS THERE A ROOM FOR US TO REST, CHANGE, AND STORE WEDDING PRESENTS?

This is probably a given. Most venues will allocate a proper room for the bridal couple to rest, change into their wedding wear and snack before walking down the aisle. We have heard horror stories of a bride who only got a small space to do all that behind a curtain, so please ask!

9. HOW MUCH IS THE DEPOSIT AND WHEN IS THE BALANCE DUE?

This is one of the most important money questions to ask with regards to your banquet planning. Ask your wedding director about the deposit and when the balance is due. A tip: Also check if they have any ongoing credit card promotions. We’ve seen bridal couples pay via credit cards first to enjoy substantial discounts off the total bill. Provided that they repay the amount in full when their credit card bills arrive, it’s a good way to save some money and chalk up bonus points at the same time.

Melody and Kang Min's Beautiful Wedding at Chijmes and Four Seasons 32Melody and Kang Min’s Beautiful Wedding at CHIJMES and Four Seasons, by Acapella Photography

10. WHAT ARE SOME ADDITIONAL FEES I SHOULD BE AWARE OF?

Don’t get a nasty surprise when you receive your total bill – be upfront and ask about additional fees like service charge, administrative fees, taxes, and corkage fees. Grace explains: “Marriott’s corkage fee is at $35++ per bottle. Knowing this will help you to decide if you want to bring your own liquors for your celebration.”

Not every question will apply to your dream wedding so do ample research before asking away. We suggest that you shortlist a number of wedding venues and meet up with their wedding directors face-to-face for a detailed session and tour of the venue. This will give you a better sense of the service level of that establishment and what to expect during your Big Day!


Credits: Featured image from Yuing Xian and Manville’s Intimate Solemnisation at Forlino, by Bobbykiran Photography