Review: Decorator – JG 1STOP Services (The Good)

In the kahwin-kahwin (wedding) blogosphere, this review can be considered wayyyyy overdue and definitely stale because my wedding is almost a year ago! (We are 11 days away to celebrating our ONE year wedding anniversary, alhamdulillah.) But I’m still going to do one anyway, because I would like to preserve the memories (god knows I have such short memory span), and to be honest, I have still have not yet consolidated my wedding expenditure! It’s a case of “Oh, it’s over and done with, and even though I know I went (a bit) over budget, I still have lots left over I didn’t suck my bank account dry so I don’t really need to know the exact figure spent”. Yet now that I have had quite a few instances of people asking me how much I spent on my wedding (because they’d like to have an idea of how much they need to prepare for theirs), it’s gotten me curious to know how much I really did spend. And while I’m consolidating, I might as well do a review. So here goes!

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My Big Fat Malay Wedding

Which I’m glad I insisted on not having (at least for my family’s reception, and although a 500 pax guestlist may still seem a huge number, it’s definitely modest as compared to the 1200 to 1500 pax invited for my three elder siblings’ weddings.)

But this isn’t about my wedding, obviously,  which I still haven’t found time to blog about, since I’ve been swamped with work! This is about something which I just thought was worth sharing. Now, unlike other kahwin bloggers I don’t usually promote wedding-related events here, but this one has more meaning than the ‘here’s how to spend even more money than you can afford to* for a one or two-day event in your life’ kind of event.

*afford to = you can spend and still have money left over to pay for your future home renovation without taking a loan, or you can spend without having to starve scrimp and save, then having the money in your bank account almost wiped out after the big day(s) is over, and should an emergency happen thereafter, you’re quite frankly (financially) doomed

Ok, enough of my cynicism. I saw this off my FB feed and thought it worthwhile to share!


You can check out ‘Assakinah Academy’ on Facebook for more information.

BTW, I am in no way affiliated to the organiser and have never attended any course, programme or seminar conducted by them, so I cannot vouch for the quality of the event. But if you do attend, do share your experience! 🙂

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The Perfect Venue: The Reveal

I’m squeezing in some blogging time while my mister, ahem, husband, does his usual morning routine in the toilet.

It has been a busy busy busy period post-wedding. 14 December solemnisation and my family’s reception, 15 December the husband’s family’s reception, 16 December fly off for our honeymoon, 20 December return, 21 December do the sembah-sembah aka the tradition of newly weds visiting the elders, aunts and uncles with my parents; we covered 5 houses in the east and northeast for my family and then ended the evening with a barbecue cum karaoke gathering with the husband’s closest cousins (aka ‘the boyzzz’), respective wives, his mom and some aunts.

Yesterday, 22 December we continued the sembah-sembah beginning at 1pm and ending at 10.30pm or so, covering 7 houses. (And we still have several houses left to cover!) To say we’re exhausted would be an understatement (although the mister could still stay up to watch soccer with some of the boyzzz… bola punya pasal, penat tolak tepi! While I just washed up and prayed Isyak and went straight to bed.)

So my deepest apologies to those who have been asking about my wedding venue throughout the week. Now that the wedding is over (and the possibility of gatecrashers – no matter how far-fetched or minute the possibility – is no longer there), I’m ready for the big reveal!

Which basically means I’m going to copy and paste the email I have been sending to previous commenters, with some additional information! (The husband is back from the toilet and is already asking me what I’m doing… I tell him I’m blogging and he asks whyyyyy… looks like short quick posts would be more the norm rather than the exception soon.)

Okay okay so here’s the big reveal (yeah right)!

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The Perfect Venue – What’s the Catch?

Nothing’s perfect in this world, so what’s the catch? Indeed, in raving about the perfect venue, I did not mention certain restrictions. Since many have asked about it, I believe it is only right that I write about its restrictions so that no one gets too excited over it, only to be disapppointed later because this or that can’t be done there. (I guess I did make out the place to be oh-so-perfect, hence the many enquiries but it only seems so because I am aware of the restrictions and am perfectly fine with them.)

So here goes, a list of restrictions:

Cooking of food there is NOT permitted. This is due to NEA’s regulations that prohibit open fires within the premises. When we went on our second visit there to make our booking, the lady officer who served us mentioned that they have already been fined a number of times by NEA because some caterers inconsiderately ignore the ruling and set up makeshift cooking / reheating stoves. We were informed, however, that there are plans to build a special area (inspected and approved by NEA) where caterers can at least reheat food without posing a fire hazard to the place or accidentally activating the smoke detectors, water sprinkler system and abang-abang CD rushing to the area.

This basically means that I have to either get my caterer to cook someplace else nearby, or get a caterer that has its own central kitchen. The former is a no-go, because after asking around, most established catering companies would charge logistics fees of $800 upwards for cooking elsewhere and transporting the food to my venue. And these are companies that won’t entertain my request to downsize the menu so that the cost would be cheaper, either. So I’m going for the second solution, and Alhamdulillah we found one alternative caterer that has always cooked at its own location and brought the food over, and whose menu is basic and fuss-free. There would be no extras like mi kering kontang lokek isi banyak taugeh je, bubur kacang pulut hitam segala macam, bruschetta meringue macaroons marshmallows cookies brownies smarties, ice cream candy floss corn-on-cob hotdogs keropok lekor roti john ayam percik, and other money-guzzling calories yang sewaktu dengannya; if anyone wants more than the basic menu, they can pay for their own buffet meals at a restaurant after attending my wedding. Or turun lif turun tangga pergi pasar malam depan mata.

There was another caterer that first came to my mind due to its seriously sedap food (that I got to eat at the mister’s friend’s bride’s reception) but I could not reach them via the phone number AND email given on their website. We’ll try to contact both caterers again (and perhaps another two to three that I recently found out about from the Bussorah Street Ramadan Bazaar / recommended to me by a colleague), and get food-tasting sessions before we finally decide on one.

Now this next restriction is going to put a dampener on the wedding berangan-ing of all you brides-to-be out there with a Pinterest account. Why? Because if you have a Pinterest account that means you have been actively using it to pin all sorts of pretty and gorgeous and gush-inducing wedding decor you see online, true true true? (Either it’s a Pinterest account or it’s a blog where you post about all the pretty gorgeous gosh-inducing wedding decor you see online.) Guess what, if you book this venue, you would be restricted to a grand total of ONE wedding decor company. And it’s a little-known company at that. The kind that does void deck weddings in the same style as 5 to 10 years ago perhaps? You would probably be limited to 3 colours and just yards of cloth folded and twisted and hung up here and there. (Actually I don’t really know as I have not contacted the decorator yet; I’m just saying this based on the photographs of decor done by them as shown to me by the venue’s lady officer.) There goes your dream English rustic garden / Moroccan palace / Japanese zen / tropical Bali / American nautical / Mardi Gras carnival / playground rainbow colours – themed wedding. I can just imagine images of those weddings swirling round and round and getting smaller and smaller as they get flushed down the toilet bowl.

That being said, however, the appointed decorator’s work is still pretty decent, and fixed at a low price even lower than the one quoted by one decorator who did a two-colour decoration with some fresh flowers for an engagement reception at the void deck. (An engagement reception with decoration! I’m amazed how some Malay families find ever more extravagant ways to spend their money. Eh kalau dah terbanyak duit sangat kasi* akulah! Aku tolong kau simpankan sampai kau dah beranak-pinak jadi kalau cikgu anak kau suruh beli Kamus Dewan untuk belajar bahasa sendiri, aku boleh keluarkan duit tu bagi pihak kau dan cakap: tiada masalah, ada Bimla ada wangnya! Nak beli 50 buah lagi kamus pun tiada masalah! Lainlah kalau kau dah tak nak mengaku bahasa Melayu tu bahasa kau lagi.)

Excuse that rant above. Back to the subject, with the price fixed that low, being restricted to that one decorator is actually a blessing for this budget-conscious pengantin-to-be! It also saves me the headache and hassle of going around surveying for and comparing the rates of different decor vendors! (Didn’t you know, besides being budget-conscious, I’m actually a pretty lazy bride-to-be too? Why, I did a grand total of ONE on-site venue recce before declaring it the perfect venue! That’s how rajin I am, hahah…)

So, now you know why I’ve never gushed over pictures of pretty weddings here.

Ok, last restriction! Due to the nature of the venue, let’s just say certain forms of wedding entertainment would be inappropriate. These forms include, but are not limited to, sesi melalak sampai gelas retak karaoke singing, live band performances and cowboy wannabe sessions tarian kuda kepang . If you ask me why they are inappropriate, I would tell you it jars with the nature of the venue. If you ask me so what’s the nature of the venue? I’d be more than willing to share… Next year! ;P

This last restriction may also be a dampener to some of you guys (or your makcik pakcik with unfulfilled singing / horseriding ambitions), but has absolutely no effect on me. My idea of wedding entertainment consists of background piped-in music from a carefully selected collection of traditional Malay songs, contemporary love songs, spiritual songs, jazz, and the like. It’s called background music because when I attend weddings I hate to have to shout over loud music to be heard, or wish I could grow an extra pair of hands to clamp over my ears while my original pair of hands feed myself, so I am not about to impose the same thing on my guests at my own wedding. Perhaps, I could include one activity that my close relatives could occupy themselves with as they sit around enjoying each others’ company (nope, it won’t be the cliché photobooth or guestbook activity… It’s another one of my crazy ideas – in fact I’ve already done it in one of my earlier posts!). Minimal fuss, minimal cost!

So that’s it! I hope this post gives you guys a better idea of what to look out for when surveying venues in general. It helps to first have an idea of how you want your wedding to be like. That way you’d know what to ask, depending on what you need. Yalah mana tahu ada yang pengantin lelakinya nak datang naik helikopter, jadi kenalah tanya kalau tempat majlis tu ada helipad, kan? 😀

*’Kasi’, dalam Kamus Dewan, ditandakan dengan kependekan ‘bp’ yang bermaksud bahasa percakapan, atau senang cakap, bahasa pasar. Jadi dalam penulisan rasmi (seperti karangan dalam peperiksaan GCE ‘O’), janganlah digunakan perkataan ‘kasi’, faham semua?