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 past week

There was supposed to be a post that I had written exactly a week back (but somehow did not get it published) about how I couldn’t go back to sleep after waking up 2 to 3 hours earlier than usual, despite getting only 2 hours of sleep before that… and then I added to that post and tried to publish but then – poof! – it disappeared…

So yeah that was just something I wrote in my post-sleep bride-to-be insomnia. I was anxious about getting started on so many things, seeing how my last official day at work was just the day before and my 3 weeks break before my wedding had started. Fast forward to today, and here’s what I managed to get done between then and now:

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Decisions, decisions

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!

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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:

One.
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.

Two.
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.

Three.
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?