Thursday, January 31, 2013

Regent Hotel - Actual day Happenings

On our Wedding day (October 27 2012)

Some snippets from our experience with Regent Hotel on our actual wedding (Oct 27, 2012). 
Most of our guests were staying in the hotel during the period for our wedding and I was scheduled to come to the hotel for my second dress change after the groom picked me up from my home. The original check in time to our bridal suite was 2pm but the sharp eyed staff noticed that we were that at about 1030am with the intent to do some photoshoot before heading to my husband's room to make a dress change. She approached us and informed us that they could check us in immediately since the bridal suite was available. This made things easier for us as we can come back directly to the hotel and zip into our bridal suite after the end of the morning activities at my home and not bunking in a small hotel room which the husband is sharing with his best men. 

However, it was later in the afternoon when we came back that we realised that the room phone was spoilt and this did pose a big inconvenience for us since a lot of people were visiting us in our suite. They offered a room change but we were pretty settled into the room and it would be an even bigger inconvenience for us to swap room. I had to give my mobile number so that they can call us whenever our guests visited. They sent in a dessert stand later in the night to apologise. 

The function room decorated for our solemnization that evening. March in music can be used too as they have a music player in the room. 

Cake and champagne pouring setup 

Details of the model cake. 

We choose the Elements of Elegance theme. VIP table set up, for our flowers we chose a mixture of pink colored roses instead of all of the same tone.  

Guest table set up

View of the room with the theme chosen. Alternate chairs were tied with baby pink sash with a darker pink colored lampshades (which originally were usually reserved for the ballroom) as I did not like the light pink shade reserved for use in Tanglin Room. 

Tanglin Room was renovated in August 2012 and there are now 4 projectors in the room so there is no worry that the guests would not be able to watch the video montages any more. 

1 of the drawback as previsously mentioned would be that reception area was a little tight in space. I had a total of 160 guests for my dinner reception and about 80% of my guests had arrived by 730pm that evening. The cocktail area was a little tight before the doors opened at 745pm. 

Food tasting at Regent Hotel

Food tasting at Summer Pavilion (6 April 2012)

Setup of the flowers at the lobby, this time with new flowers.

Part of the reason why I chose Regent Hotel is due to its contemporary American furnishing which would be a ideal photoshoot location. 

Part of the lobby and wine lounge area. Heard the grand piano is also a popular choice for photoshoot. 

Typically, food tasting is 1 month in advance of the wedding so that the couple and guests would be able to remember the taste of the food. Due to the fact that we were an international couple, there were only certain months when we can get to meet. Our food tasting was actually 6 months prior to our wedding where we have arranged for our families to meet in Singapore during a spring vacation. 

Food tasting was only complimentary for 8 persons with Tanglin Room booking. Additional guests were charged with 20% discount. Wine was not included in the food tasting and hence we had to top up for wine if we wanted to taste the wine that was to be served to our guests on our wedding day. Food tasting was held only between Monday - Thursday at Summer Pavilion during dinner. I was appreciative that my banquet manager was willing to help me change it to a lunch on a public holiday (with ample time notice, of course) where families from both sides were able to attend. 

Dish 1- Regent Deluxe Combination, our selection were sliced suckling pig, roast duck, jelly fish, prawn salad and vegetable spring rolls. 

Dish 2 - Braised Bird's Nest soup with conpoy, crabmeat and winter melon

Dish 2 - Summer Palace 8 treasure soup: black fungus, sliced abalone, mushrooms, sliced scallops, bamboo pith, bamboo shoots, sea cucmber and fish maw

Regent hotel started to join in the ranks to become a no shark fin's hotel since January 2012 so our original contract stated had shark fins but I was notified when making the food tasting selection that shark fins were not to be served so I requested for half portion soup dishes to be served so that we can choose between 2. Therefore 2 bowls of soups each for 5 persons were served. We ended up choosing the Braised bird nest soup as it was more flavorful. 

Dish 3 - Poached live prawns with Chinese herbs and hua diao wine. 

Dish 4 - Braised broccoli with golden mushrooms and dried scallops in oyster sauce. 

Dish 5 - Smoked chicken with Jasmine tea leaves

Dish 6 - Grilled cod fish in Teriyaki sauce. 

This is where Regent Hotel staff failed, on our menu card it was printed to be "steam cod fish in superior soy sauce" but what was served to be us was completely different. It did not occur to us that this was not steamed cod fish until 1 week before the wedding when I was confirming the last details with the banquet manager than they realised their mistake of serving the wrong dish during food tasting. Luckily, the method of cooking with the cod wasn't too bad so we stuck to what we had tasted. 

Dish 7 - Deep fried spare ribs in coffee sauce with crispy chinese buns. 

Dish 8 - Stewed Ee-fun noodles with yellow chives. 

Dish 9 - Warm yam paste with gingko nuts and coconut milk

In conclusion, the food were excellent on food tasting day and on our actual wedding day too. Of course, my husband and I barely ate anything on the wedding day but most of our guests were telling us how much they enjoyed the food that night was a sure sign. 

Wedding favors we selected for our wedding day - in line with the union of Chinese + Japanese. 

Keeping in tradition for our wedding card. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Regent Hotel - Tanglin Room

This is going to be a lengthy post. :)

After 2 weeks of hotel viewings and email correspondences with various hotels/restaurants  I finally decided to sign my wedding dinner banquet with Regent Hotel.

First hotel viewing and discussion with Banquet manager (Jan 21 2012)

Upon entrance to the hotel lobby, fresh flower smell wafted around me and the staff were pretty attentive to the guests who were walking in/out of the lobby. 

Had a short tour with the Banquet manager who met me who showed me the 3 rooms available for wedding banquets mainly the main ballroom (maximum tables of 40), Tanglin Room (maximum tables of 20) and Nassim Room (maximum tables of 14)

It happened that there was a wedding dinner that evening and I saw the fully decorated Tanglin Room with the Elements of Elegance theme. 

The initial wedding package shown to me was pretty standard fare but she agreed to let me book with a minimum table of 15 instead of 16 if I got the 9 courses dinner instead of the 8 courses. The banquet manager did not agree to most of my requests/perks immediately but told me that she have to go back to check with her superiors. No lock down date was offered even though I showed keen interest to sign with the hotel and wanted to wait till the Bridal show a month later. 

Her responses to my queries were prompt and since 80% of my requests were agreeable with her so I signed on the dotted line promptly a few days later with a 20% deposit. Although I had some reservations like its location (need to transfer bus from Orchard MRT), there was only 1 projector in the room and guests in the last row would not be able to see the videos and the cocktail area was a little small for 150 guests. 

However the reasons I signed with Regent were mainly

1) Long march into the reception room 
2) Banquet food would be from Summer Pavilion and the food reviews from this restaurant were generally not too bad. The selection of the wedding courses were extensive too. 
3) Reasonable room rates were offered to our overseas guests and agreeing to bring forward our food tasting almost 6 months in advance contrary to the usual 1 month in advance to wedding. 

Bridal Show (19 February 2012)

Photos from the Bridal showcase were complimentary from my friend who attended it. Look like the flower centrepiece would change from time to time. 

Themes
Elements of Elegance

This theme would have hanging lampshades for the ceiling decoration.

Elements of Emotion

Seasons in the Park (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter)

Opulence

Romance (Only applicable for Nassim Room)

This was my favorite theme but too bad it was not applicable for Tanglin Room.

Enchanted dreams (Applicable for Tanglin Room)

Another sweet theme but I think it would only look nicer with the curtains up during the wedding lunch reception. Heard that this theme is pretty popular for lunches when the window shades would be opened. 

Typical setup for the cake cutting and champagne pouring. Model cake would be used on actual day and cake model designs may change to match the chosen theme. 

Seat Covers / Table setup
The different varieties of seat covers and table cloth colors to choose from. Even though most of them were matched with the themes but the new couple can also customized it to the color they want.

Stage
Some of the stage decoration, please note the decoration from the top of the photo is for upgraded theme. 

Solemisation function room
Regent Hotel does not offer their pool area for ROM but a function room would be offered for the ROM. 1 thing that I did not really like was that the ROM function room would be not be confirmed until 1 month before the actual day as the hotel reserve the right to offer their function rooms to paid functions on the day.

Wedding invitation cards.
The selection of the wedding invitation cards. The designs were also tied in with the themes for the reception room but the new couple is also open to choosing cards not from their themes.

Wedding Guest book
Wedding guest books. 

Wedding favors
Wedding favors for 2012, favors would be updated every few months so please check with the hotel for the latest collections. 

Bridal show food tasting
Food served were some of the food that would be offered from their wedding dinner selections. 

Bridal Suite
Set up of the bed in the bridal suite. Although the room was a little dated but it was still clean and roomy. Though I have to admit the rose petals with the towel love swans were little old school. 

2 welcome amenities would be offered in the bridal suite

- Chinese floral tea + sweet tarts in the afternoon. (which was promptly consumed by my groom and best men on my wedding day =_+!)
- Champagne and strawberries in the night. (as we managed to bargain for a 2 nights stay in the suite so this was actually sent in on our second night which I think is a better choice as we were dead beat on the wedding night)



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Grand Copthorne Waterfront - Galleria Ballroom / Shangrila Hotel - Azalea Room

Grand Copthorne Waterfront - Galleria Ballroom 

- Minimum 10 tables, maximum 16 tables
- Short march in, same setup as Topaz Room in Sheraton Towers
- Menu is limited to 2 set menus, interchangeable between the 2 menus.
- Standard wedding package perks.
- Better deals if sign package during bridal show.
- Did not allow lock in date during consideration period.
- Good vibes with banquet manager who was very friendly and experienced.

Shangrila Hotel - Azalea Room 

- Minimum 15 tables, maximum 20 tables
- Room was impressive and long march in
- Menu is limited to 2 set menus, interchangeable between the 2 menus. No shark fins in menu.
- Standard wedding package perks, very strict with almost no room for bargaining.
- Did not allow lock in date during consideration period.
- Did not connect with banquet manager as she was quite aloof and did not sound that she was interested in dealing with me. Much as I like the function room a lot but I did not want to work with someone whom I cannot connect with.
- It is a little inconvenient to travel to this hotel on public transport.


Traders Hotel - Temasek Room

I viewed Traders Hotel as they only need a minimum 15 tables to book their venue for a weekend dinner banquet. Their price was the lowest among the hotels I was looking at so they won in terms of pricing for their normal wedding dinner package. 

The banquet manager was very business like and was not very open to adding perks or exchanging some of the items I did not need. She wasn't willing to lock down the date I was interested so that I could sign up with their upcoming bridal show then and asked me to confirm immediately instead citing that the date might not be available if I waited till the bridal show. I did not connect with her as much as I did with the manager from Sheraton Towers. 

Their menu was limited to only 2 food choices per food type and the pricing for their premium wedding dinner package was a little high considering that they were more of a business hotel setting. Please note that they are a no shark fin hotel. (which I thought is fine since we should try our best to protect the environment and animals)

Long march in for The Temasek Room. Definitely a plus point for me. Their march could be a choice of bubble machine or smoke machine. That could be a plus point since bubble effect isn't that common during wedding march ins. The reception area is also private to the new couple who booked the Temasek Room so it would be quite exclusive. 

Set up of their function room for solemnization.

Not too much other information or details from Traders Hotel as I was sure that it wasn't the venue I was looking for. (It just did not connect with me too much likely due to its business hotel setting and the function room was pretty much enclosed and I felt it was a little catastrophic) 


Sheraton Towers - Topaz Room

Sheraton Towers was the first hotel I had an appointment with. 2 of their main drawing factors to me were its proximity to the MRT station and the banquet food would come from Li Bai Chinese restaurant.

My first impression of the hotel was that they have a grand stairway which would make it a ideal photoshoot spot. Heard that the stairway was popular with many new couples. 

The banquet manager who met me was polite and made me feel at ease with her even though I was doing the viewing alone. She was quite flexible with some of my requests to exchange some of the perks for other items which I was more interested in. She even offered to lock down the date for the room I was interested and asked me to book the venue 2 weeks later as there was a bridal show upcoming so I could secure the perks from the bridal show. No waiver from the bridal show even if I could confirm my booking during the bridal show. However, they were the only hotel that was willing to lock down the date I wanted so I could sign with them. This made me felt that they were sincere with me. 

Solemnization venue could be at the waterfall area at an additional cost. Potential risk that the solemnization might be moved to an indoor function room if there was rain and you still have to pay for the venue! In terms of decoration, chair covers and basic floral decorations would be given but you would have to top up if you want more flowers. 

Guest setting from one of their themes - Whimsical. Looks a little fairy tale like with the purple lights on. 

Some of their Aisle floral stand choices

Some of the VIP table floral pieces. 

Bridal suites were their executive rooms themed after different cities around the world. The new couple would only know which "city" they would be staying at upon check in. 

In terms of the banquet package, it was quite a standard fare. It would all depend on how one negotiate the package. However, Sheraton Towers was quite open to swapping some of the perks for other perks but not on the alcohol as we have to buy it from the hotel. 

Food choices were impressive and there was a lot to choose from their list. In terms of food selection, I did not think I would have to worry if I sign on with them.

However, Sheraton Towers ended up being my second choice even though I went down to view it twice. WHY? 

1) Seating of 12 guests per table meant that my maximum number of guests would only be at 144 guests. Extra guests might have to be slotted in to make up tables of 13 and this number did not make my family too happy as they did not like the odd numbers. At that point in time, my rough estimate was about 150-160 guests so it would be very tight on us to commit to a venue with 144 guests. 

2) The march in for Topaz Room was extremely short, as the new couple would only march in the breadth of the room for the 12 tables setting.

Coupled with the fact, that both my husband and I had long legs so I was sure that our march be would be completed in 5-6 steps. 

ps: Ok, I have to admit....the short march in did kill my preference for Sheraton Towers. :P