And so…the Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore it shall be. Well, it shall be one of the venues.
Our plan is to have 2 different events – the first, a dress-up costume dinner catered for friends on 31st October – Halloween night (for obvious reasons) and the second, a more ‘traditional’ wedding luncheon for family.
The mom-in-law (to be) flipped through her Chinese almanac and offered the fiancé and I a few dates that were deemed ‘auspicious’ for the two of us. Because we knew we would have to have ‘tone down’ the Halloween theme for our more traditional guests, we decided to host separate events and picked a later date after Halloween for our families.
Why Four Seasons?
We also enquired with Mandarin Oriental, Marina (which would’ve been my first pick) and the Shangri-La, but they were either already booked or their packages did not suit our needs.
Side note: They’re both really good hotels, but we were impressed with Mandarin Oriental’s service when we were helpers for one of my buddy’s wedding a couple of years back. What I also really liked about the Mandarin Oriental was that, one could pick the individual courses from a selection they offered.
So we actually only visited only this one hotel and made our decision fairly quickly. I guess having shot weddings at least 4 times a year at the Four Seasons, I’m pretty familiar with the venue – it’s interiors, food and some of the staff. In short, I know what to expect from the hotel. The hotel is also pretty centrally located, easy to get to and parking has never been an issue.
Here’s the other thing where my ‘insider knowledge’ played a part. Over the years, I’ve found the lighting in the hotel’s main ballroom pretty consistent. There’re no funky green or purplish tinted bulbs, or flickering non-daylight corrected LED lamps. While the reception area is a little darker (for dinners), it is tucked away as part of the ballroom’s peripheral space (not a shared corridor) and big enough to accommodate guests while they mingle. But (there is a but here), when two weddings do happen at the same time – one in the main ballroom and the other in the Crescent Ballroom – I’ve observed some confused guests walk into the wrong reception area before. But it’s nothing a little signage couldn’t fix.
For wedding events, the Four Seasons offers during the pre-lunch/dinner cocktails, an option between;
- it’s signature Peking Duck Station
- Martini Ice Bar or
- Strawberries on Ice
You can choose to have more than one option, at a ‘top up’ of course. We picked the Peking Duck Station, because we think our Chinese families would appreciate this more than say…Vodka.
The Wedding Package
Like most hotels, the hotel prices it’s lunch and dinner menus differently. Wedding lunch packages are typically slightly more affordable, with 3–4 different menu options at varying pricing tiers. However, we decided to pick one of the dinner menus for lunch because it looked more appetising.
If you’re curious about the various hotel’s rates and their packages, most hotels of the same tier (or number of Stars) offer more or less the same items. The way the menu is structured and the dishes on offer would be pretty similar (appetiser platter, soup, proteins – roast chicken/steamed fish, maybe seafood, carbs – rice/noodles, and a dessert). They then try to throw in more frills like complimentary stays, free bottle of wine per table, a 25L or 30L barrel of beer, free corkage of liquor, etc etc…while some may seem to offer ‘more’ items, or less, it seems to me that really when you put your sums together, what one would be paying for, would more or less be the same. That is of course when you’re comparing apples to apples – say Four Seasons to Mandarin Oriental, or Capella to St Regis. So we didn’t sweat too much over the smaller stuff when we sat down to haggle with the sales rep from Four Seasons.
The Fine Print
The Four Seasons Hotel uses a structured payment schedule, where a smaller sum is collected as deposit, and then incremental payments are made over several months leading up to the wedding date. I guess one could say, this makes the ‘pain’ from one big lump sum at the end of the wedding less. But one could also note, that a structured payment schedule disadvantages couples if they had to reschedule or cancel their event (for what ever reason it may be).
I also found the sales rep a bit sticky about the use of ‘copyrighted’ music as background music. We could only use their in-house selection of music, or play on repeat one (only one!) audio CD. This would have to be a complete audio CD from one artist or a collection purchased from a music store and not a self-compiled MP3 CD. That’s draconian man! Move on into the digital iTunes, everything in a cloud era! This, I blame Compass, RIPS and MPS – a topic I guess I can gripe about in a later post.
Signing my soul away and free Martinis
After I handed over the ‘mighty plastic card’ and signed the papers, the sales rep bought us a couple of martinis at the hotel’s newly renovated One-Ninety Bar. At which point I updated my Facebook status with;
“Martinis to celebrate (or numb the pain?) for one of the two planned ‘big days’ next year. Woohoo?”
We’re pretty happy with our decision, it’s one big tick off the list. But…we’re now stressing about the venue for our Halloween event – we still haven’t found one! Well, till the next update…wish us luck!