I initially wanted to post this dilemma I’m in on the Cozy Cot Malay / Muslim weddings forum, but then I realised it’s way too long for a forum post so I doubt anyone will entertain my question there. I’m hoping the kakak-kakak kahwin network of bloggers that I have made friends with virtually / blog followers I’ve gathered over these few months would campak your opinions on this crucial decision I’m about to make! So please, you guys! I have faith in you so give me as many comments as you can OK!
I didn’t want to talk about it here initially because it would mean revealing a part of my proposed budget, and I didn’t want to do that because, well, I intended to get the whole wedding over and done with first! Money is a sensitive issue when it comes to parents and their faces (I really hate this F word), and although I am the one footing the whole entire bill, not them, however when it comes to money spent on the wedding, it still is a big deal to them.
No, they’re not expecting me to spend $60 k like those parents in the Refleksi drama; in fact they know I am striving to keep costs as low as possible and they know the words ‘wedding’ and ‘budget’ are practically Siamese twins in my dictionary. However, they still prefer that money-related information are kept within the nuclear family first, and should other people like their friends or extended family or relatives need to know because they’re curious or are doing some early surveying, they should approach them personally and not find out from outside sources, like oh, the internet.
Now, I know that I have family (some siblings, aunts, cousins) among my (silent) readers, so I am taking a big risk here. However, after that above preamble I hope you would continue your silence and keep whatever you have been reading to yourselves. I have faith in you guys too ok!
Alright. *Takes deep breath.* Here goes!
Hi everyone, I would like your opinions on catering. My wedding is in December 2013 so I need to settle my catering ASAP.
I’ve contacted several caterers and done some food tasting, but none has impressed me much thus far. I’m not asking for anything fancy, just briyani dam that’s fragrant and flavourful, with tender and generous kambing.
I found one caterer (whose food I’ve yet to taste) and he’s offering me these for $14/pax for 500 pax:
– Briyani dam kambing (the kind that would be scooped direct from the periuk)
– Ayam masak merah
– Acar limau / nenas
– 3 types of drinks: Hot drink (Teh ‘O’), cold drink (fruit punch / lemonade), chilled plain water
– 3 types of kuih (epok-epok & 2 sweet types – I asked for one fruit tart and the other some Malay talam to be chosen later)
– Bubur (choose from kacang / pulut hitam / terigu)
– Laksa (this one he says is complimentary)
– Fruit (anggur / pisang)
– Kendarat staff (5 pax)
– Washing staff (3 pax)
– 50 packets berkat nasi
Additional complimentary items:
– Fresh flowers and some name engraving thing (I think he means a table sign with my name and my fiancé’s name in fancy font) for every guest table (15-20 tables)
– Fresh floral arrangements for bride & groom’s table, wedding favours table & dessert corner
– Decorated menu signs on the buffet table
Bear in mind I’m actually only engaging him for food and logistics (cooking at his own void deck and transporting the food) because my venue rental includes tables and chairs, and decorator at separate fee, but he says he wants to give me the decorative items because he knows receptions at my type of venue usually have really basic decoration and he doesn’t like to see receptions ‘bare’ and ’empty’ so he’s giving me those additional items in order to make my reception look nice and proper.
Actually, when I first contacted him, I honestly told him my budget which is $12/pax, but he asked for $13. I agreed.
Then, he reported to me that he had a problem because the 2 contacts whom he usually rents cooking equipment and cutlery from are fully booked for my wedding date. He found an alternative supplier but since he’s not a regular, the rental is much higher so he asked me for $15/pax. He was open with me throughout; he even told me how much he is usually charged by the 2 regular suppliers, and how much the new one is charging. He told me he was planning to just put his own deposit down for that more expensive supplier, and that should I not engage him, that is his own cost to cover. I then actually helped him source for another supplier who could give him a cheaper rate (that’s another story!), tellling him that I really can’t let my budget go up so this is one way I can help him. I was really hoping to get his catering at $13/pax, but after he went to see the supplier’s equipment himself, he came to me with a proposal for food and additional decorative items an additional $500 from the initial agreed price, i.e. $14/pax instead of $13.
Now, I don’t know why I went to such great lengths to help him source for another supplier when I’ve not even tasted his food nor met him personally! I only talked to him on the phone and via sms. I’m only going by my gut feeling based on my cousin’s feedback; he catered for my cousin’s friend’s engagement, and according to my cousin the briyani was fragrant, kambing was tender, ayam masak merah was delicious and the quantity was more than enough. She got to bring packed food home even though she’s just a friend and not a relative.
He also spoke to me nicely and patiently all the time, in a fatherly manner, and he sounded very sincere in wanting to make my event a nice and proper one. He also assured me that he will make sure the food would be flowing til the end of the event, and should the desserts (kuih and bubur) run low, he would try his best to make sure that the dessert table would not be left empty (meaning he would top it up with more of the same, or a different kuih if needed). I asked him about when we need to make a deposit, and he says he doesn’t usually set a certain deposit for his customers, preferring to work on the basis of trust. And he told me not to worry, he’s got my date down and he’ll reserve it for me even though we haven’t even met and he hasn’t got a single cent from me! He told me I can take my time to talk it out with my parents first, to see if we’re really set on engaging him, and he won’t change the price we’ve verbally agreed on… So nice of him, right?
So I would like opinions on whether the price is worth what he’s offering in terms of food, service and complimentary items. When I started planning my wedding, I told my mom to cut down the no. of guests to 500 instead of the usual 1000 over, because I wanted to save money. But if I were to pay $7000 to feed 500 people, when I see other BTBs getting packages starting at $8500 for 1000 pax, I feel like I’m not getting value for my money.
I’ve checked with the decorator; their basic package actually includes artificial floral arrangements for the 15 guest tables, with the option of changing to fresh flowers at $15 per table. I told her about my caterer offering to give fresh flowers, so she said in that case she can’t lower the price for her basic package, but she can replace the artificial floral arrangement with things like ribbon tie backs for the chair covers, etc.
I know it’s only a difference of $500 from the initial agreed price, but that $500 could determine whether or not I get videography for my wedding, which lasts so much longer than fresh flowers on the actual day.
Opinions please, everyone!