Month: June 2016

Vexed over venue

Still unable to pin down a venue. As my tunang says, “Sekejap nak ni, sekejap nak tu.” I think he quickly wants to settle this soon! But its not easy la, there’s so many things to factor when you choose a location for combined weddings:

  • Cost – will it bankrupt you?
  • Accessibility – will the neneks terketar-ketar making their way to the venue? If a venue is ulu, the least they can do is provide punctual shuttle bus
  • Distance to home – is it equidistant to both your houses?
  • Facilities – is there a proper changing room that’s comfortable or do you need to change in the jamban? is there enough carpark lots around?
  • Space – after you place everything, is it cramped? will guests have to stand around grumpily waiting for empty tables?
  • Comfort – is there air-conditioning?
  • Restrictions – cannot cook, wash etc etc
  • Security – will they suddenly last-minute say you can’t use the venue? *coughCCcough*
  • Aesthetics – got pillar? got lines on the floor? got ugly hanging things?

And so on and so forth.

We still want to nikah at masjid, that’s for certain. Its the reception that’s a question mark. Now we’re also open to all in one packages with venue that could be affordable, considering we haven’t placed a deposit with Doulath* yet. But more often then not, I keep hearing horror stories about these providers. At least if you take separate and one screws up, your headache is not so great.

There’s seriously so few good choices out there that I went to look for alternative spaces eg. *SCAPE Ground Theatre (too ex!), Le Danz Ballroom (got bar!), Pavilion at Far East Square (too CBD – reminds me of work!), The Concrete Concept (too hipster!).

I guess right now, the plan is to settle for a CC but we don’t like being able to apply only so much nearer the date and no guarantees we will be successful too.

Oh well, hoping for the best!

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Overaggressive vendors

BTBS, try not to give your mobile numbers when asking for quotes unless you are at least 50% sure you want that provider. Else you run the risk of them calling you at 10 pm (!!) and when they can’t get you, message you to ask if you’ve found a caterer.

In March, I just casually gave my mobile number in the enquiry field on their website to this vendor, as it was required when I was doing my research for food/venue.

And when they called last week, I’ve already informed them that I’ve committed to a caterer (even if its just a soft-booking). But I guess they are trying their luck  again since they have a new tie-up with a venue to be announced soon.

Understand that the market is very competitive now and you need to chase all available leads, but please be professional and keep all correspondences within office hours. Especially when its a sales pitch and not a confirmed vendor. Hope the messages will stop, but I don’t think it will since they said they will contact me again on their new venue tie-up.

This reminds me of when we went to the Wedding Expo in January.. we felt like vultures were preying on us hahaha.

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Wedding photoshoot locations in Singapore

I’ve mentioned before that I signed up for a pre-wedding photoshoot which would most likely be in Desaru to our shared love for the sea. 🙂

However if I were do my photoshoot locally, these are the places I’d seriously consider. Me and my other half like exploring so these are some places we’ve been to. Sharing this with BTBs who’ll hopefully be inspired.

(All photos taken by me unless stated otherwise)

For the beach bums.. 

  1. St Johns + Lazarus + Pulau Seringat

Just a short ferry ride away from Marina South Pier. Take the ferry to St John’s and walk to the link connecting it to Lazarus Island. From there, walk all the way and then head towards the right to find this nice beach. Go to the end towards Pulau Seringat, where there’s usually nobody. There’s a shelter there where you can place your things. It was so beautiful and serene – go on weekdays!

However note that there’s no toilet (I changed in the bushes into my swimming attire!!) and the nearest one is on St John’s. Also the toilet cleanliness is like those pit stops along NS Highway in Malaysia.So consider this if you need to change baju.

St John’s is also worth exploring – there’s several old building and rustic houses which makes for good backdrops too. To maximise your $18 ferry ride, it will also bring you to Kusu island. But I’d say just stick to Lazarus.

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2. Tanjung Beach, Sentosa

Generally I’ve found that Tanjung Beach is the nicest of all in Sentosa. Even during weekends, the crowd is lesser as the sun-bathing ikan duyungs tend to gather in Siloso and Palawan. Head for the rocky areas for a different perspective. 10723867_368048590024662_45676571_nFor the nature lovers… 

3. Labrador Nature Reserve

Labrador Park’s a popular wedding venue – the Berlayer terrace has held weddings there as its simply picturesque. The mangrove trail and boardwalk is simply scenic – we went here on New Year’s Eve to escape the crowd and loved the isolation.

 

For the history buff… 

4. National Gallery

What I like about National Gallery is its wide open spaces and colonial architecture. We spent a few hours here and couldn’t even cover everything! There’s always something nostalgic about historical locations.. of things that happened way before our time but still live on in these buildings.

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For the environmentalists.. 

5. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

We checked this out because it sounded interesting – its educational and showed that we actually do have a diverse collection of plants and animals. If I’d do a photoshoot here, the main backdrop will be the dinosaur bones. However the lighting could prove to be a challenge and the photographer would have to look for creative angles. So get an experienced photographer if you want to consider this place.

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(credits to Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum)

I’ve several other places on the list and will blog about them next time hopefully. Think for photoshoots, we can afford to take more risks and go for unconventional options. Since we’ll already have the traditional romantic shots on wedding day.

Just think about what defines both of you and then work some ideas from there. In my ideal shoot, I would have wanted a re-enactment of how we met (paintball game) but I don’t really want to trash my dress. ;p

wedding at delta force paintball(credits to: Paintball Games UK)

BTBs, do share cool locations too.. even if not for photoshoor at least can get more ideas for dating spots!

Reality Cheque

There was this recent article lately in New Paper about wedding costs ballooning. There was an interview with a Malay couple who spent $33K for a MPH wedding. I was like… really?? Then I calculated my current costs after tabulating all the major vendors, and we are reaching around there already for our planned CC wedding. Even for a combined wedding and factoring in duit salam money, the final costs seems excessive.

Unfortunately we can’t do away with the majlis as both of us are the oldest child in the family. However we can try to manage the guest list since catering is a huge chunk. This social media generation doesn’t help too – we get carried away with glossy photos of lawa brides, beautiful venues and emo cinematic videos. And before you know it, your wedding budget expands like a balloon.

Being a relatively old bride (early 30’s..what to do, met my jodoh late ;p), I’ve learnt over the years how important it is to have spare cashflow for emergencies and ensuring adequate protection through insurance policies (esp healthcare). I’m glad that my tunang and I agree that investment is a must (but shariah compliant). So the rule of thumb is to have an emergency savings buffer of 6 months pay, and nothing less. We shouldn’t spend so much on the wedding till bank account kosong. Because the economy now is quite gloomy and predicted to get worse. We need to constantly doa that pintu rezeki will always be open to us.

Although the other half is same age as me, he only started working for a couple of years as he went a long journey from ITE – poly – degree, while I took the shorter route. So I don’t want to burden him as he has other financial commitments to take care off too. Both of us are also as the age where we are supporting our parents already.

But having said that, we can’t compromise costs for quality too (what if the pelamin roboh?). So things like catering, bridal and photography can invest more. Smaller things that are transient like henna don’t have to get the big names. Keep a close eye out for promotions if haven’t booked that particular service yet.  Please share if there’s other ways to save costs too. 🙂

To Entertain or Not?

Been wondering if there’s a need to up entertainment options for guests.

These include traditional bands like Sri Mahligai and Orkes Mutiara. It will certainly liven up the proceedings, but they come at a cost.Sri Mahligai’s website states their wedding package is $2000 with audio. My other half likes them because he is a traditional at heart, but its just too steep.

So far we’ve settled for a basic audio + DJ package without karaoke with MIS* Entertainment. Being a huge sucker for promos, I saw that they were running a Ramadhan promotion. Managed to get a discount – my other half settled the deposit and arrangements with their boss, Abang Ilhami.

(Btw if anybody’s keen, another promo running now is that Panjy Entertainment is having a free photobooth with every DJ service sign-up)

I guess we’ll just pass MIS our songlist closer to the date. Our intention is for 50% dakwash/nasyid, 25% traditional Malay songs and 25% English. We’ve requested for an emcee who can baca doa as well to restu the majlis.

But I just wonder if guests these days expect more than just listening to songs, especially for karaoke. Personally both of us dislike all the tone-deaf singing, but I’ve heard that makciks + pakciks will ask if there is karaoke. Not sure if I should top up to cater for them to syiok sendiri! They can find other ways to entertain themselves right? ;p

Some other unconventional ideas not seen commonly at Malay weddings that I’m more keen on spending: Balloon artist (think this will be a hit with kids), caricaturist for guests to take home their drawings and even a slow motion video booth that seems more fun than a normal photobooth!

Think the possibilities for creative entertainment are endless if we just think out of the box..

balloon couples in malay costume

Photography off the list..

Selamat menyambut Ramadhan everyone! Hope we all manage to make full use of this blessed month. Let’s take this opportunity to be better people spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Last weekend, we finally booked our photography vendor. Photography is something that both me and the tunang places very high value on. Partly due to my job hazard (I’m in marketing) and also because the other half is a photography buff and has experience helping in wedding photography too.

As we’ve all observed, the traditional event coverage style is evolving to a photojournalistic one that depicts a story through the use of candid shots and unique angles. In terms of wedding photographers, its a very competitive market out there. We’re all spoilt for choice as there’s just so many vendors with different skills and strengths.

I emailed a few popular names commonly used by Malay couples to get a sensing of the rates. This gave me a benchmark for the budget I should set aside. Not surprisingly, event day coverage itself costs upwards of $2K. For that amount, the basic criteria should be:

  • Provide photography services and technical expertise to showcase the vibrancy of the wedding.
  • The photographer(s) assigned must have a ‘good eye’; be versatile and creative to capture shots of various subjects in action
  • Employ journalistic photography tactics and engineer photographs that would capture the various key highlights (without being too intrusive)
  • Use a mid-range DSLR Camera and lenses minimally

With that in mind, I continued stalking the various portfolios online to get a sensing of their style. Some caught my eye but I was rather half-hearted for most. Then one day, I checked out Nadiah M Din’s wedding site to see who her vendors were and my interest was piqued when her BTS photographers were listed as The Fotorika*.

They’re new in the market compared to the established players, but I think their skills are just as comparable. Their emphasis is on clean, white and minimalist shots. I like.. keeps the shot focused and eliminate busy background noise.

(All photo credits to The Fotorika*)

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If you prefer more colorful happy shots, they bring out the vibrancy quite well, with your eyes still focused on the main subject.  This shows effective use of the rule of thirds quite effectively.

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Basically what my cerewet self is looking for is unique perspectives and no stiff posed shots on the pelamin. Are both the big picture and smaller details covered?

By a stroke of luck, they were having a promo and the package we signed was really value for money, especially as it comes with 2 photographers (the duo running Fotorika* itself) and a lot more end photos then what the competitors are offering. I really wanted 2 photographers because I realised during my work events that having one photographer leads to a one-sided stories.

Advantages of two photographers:

i) Able to shoot photos on the groom’s side when he is preparing. Normally we only get the bride’s perspective

ii) One can be stationed near the pelamin and one roving one to capture the other action elsewhere – your guests, food etc.

iii) Your main photographer won’t be so tired running around, and he can focus better and concentrate on what type of shots to engineer as per your preference

iv) For back-up just in case… macam insurance policy

Anyway, we met up with Team Fotorika* to see if we had the connection. Glad to say we did! They were really nice and shared more about themselves. We felt comfortable placing our trust in them to do a good job.

InsyaAllah, they will exceed our expectations and more. 🙂