Saturday, August 3, 2013

Alkaff Mansion Wedding Fair 2013

I have been looking forward to Alkaff Mansion Wedding Fair, as the it seems to have all we want. Food reviews are good, unique colonial style bungalow, and a quiet venue located in the middle of Telok Blangah park. However, after visiting the actual place, I am not that convinced. Perhaps my expectation was too high.

Flight of stairs leading to Alkaff Mansion

Walking up a flight of stairs (Point to Note: the stairs are steep), one will face the main building. I didn't manage to take the photo, here's the photo from their website. Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Alkaff Mansion's main buidling. Photos from Alkaff Mansion Website

The entrance is tastefully decorated with the used of antique-looking chairs and table. It is used as the restaurant reception area.

Alkaff Mansion main entrance

Walking through the main door will bring you to the ground floor dining room, which seats 60 pax. The second level dining room is accessible through the staircases on both side before entering the building. The ground floor and the second floor is essentially separated in this sense. Ideal if you are just planning  to utilize either one of them.

I personally don't recommend using the ground floor dining room for celebration. There is a huge glass display in the centre of the dining room that will essentially block the view and interactions for most guests.

Ground level dining room

The second level holds a bar and a dining room. The bar is one of my favourite spot of the whole building. It is very cosy with lots of sunlight coming in from the windows. A small solemnization can be done here for around 20-30 guests. It also makes a perfect setting for pre-event cocktail reception.
The bar at the second level

The bar has a full view of the garden and the gazebo. This is the picture you want your photographer to take if you are having a garden solemnization in Alkaff Mansion. 

The 2nd level dining room is adjacent to the bar. You can see the relative layout of the staircase, the bar and the dining in the picture below. 

The layout of second level dining room is not very ideal, but is better than the first floor. As you can see from the picture below, there is a square opening at the middle so it create a sense of separation. However, since the view is not block, it is not as disrupted as the first floor.

The main draw back for this dining room is the partition of 2 private dining room at both sides of the floor. Although glass is used to minimize the disruption, but the fact that the panel is not movable or removable will still creates a barrier among the guests.   
Picture shot from the entrance of the 2nd level dining room. A private dining room is partitioned away at the far end. A similar room can be found at the right hand side of this picture. 

2nd level dining room from another angle, here showing another dining partition. 
Here's a video that probably can give you a better idea of the whole layout. The second level can fit 100 pax including the 2 separate partition. Probably knowing their own limitation for events, Alkaff mansion has a permanent marquee at its courtyard, which is where the main wedding fair is being held this time round.

Outside the main building is the garden gazebo, which you will probably passed by before entering the building. The gazebo can be used for garden solemnization. Few chairs were laid out to give an idea of a solemnization set up. As you can see from the pictures, it is NOT a good idea to have your solemnization between 10am-5pm. You guests will be baked directly under the sun!

Between the main building gazebo is the terrace, which double up as a bar and probably a cocktail reception area for garden solemnization. It has the much needed shelter for Singapore's rain and sun.

The courtyard and the grand marquee is after the terrace. This is a shot of it. Yes, it is located a level below the terrace and the building, thus more stairs!

The grand marquee at Alkaff Mansion
This is the view of the stairs from the courtyard/marquee level. You can see the tip of the mansion from here.

Staircase connecting the main building and the courtyard.
One thing that irks me about Alkaff Mansion is the feeling of "tentage everywhere". To be fair, there's only 3 addition of tentage: one at the right side of the building, which is partially hidden from sight and used as backup venue for solemnization; one at the left, which is the shelter for the bar; and the last one is the wedding tent that located at the courtyard, which is situated at a lower level away from the main building. 

They are probably a necessity given Singapore's unpredictable raining pattern. But the modern tentage takes away the rustic colonial and spacious feel that makes Alkaff Mansion grand.    

Various tentage on Alkaff Mansion ground

Inside the marquee were some display of vendor's services. Here are some table setting that was setup.

Optional table setting

They also have wedding cakes on display, which is rare in Singapore!
Cakes by The Delight Heaven

And since the theme of the day is Wedding Tea Party, the food station is decorated with various Alice in The Wonderland props. They are so cute. Hope I can get my hand on it. :P

Props by Celebrate Heaven

The food was very good. But as it is a buffet style, I can't get a proper pictures of them.  The penne in truffle porcini mushroom sauce is one of the best we have eaten, and we have been to Italy to eat them. The wine that came with the package is by il Meridiane from Sicily. It was smooth and easy to drink. And frankly, I have not tasted a bad Italian wine before.

Food and wine
The highlight of the show is definitely the bridal fashion show by The Atelier. I have been quite looking forward to this fashion show since I am considering buying a dress. The Atelier is one of the wedding boutique in Singapore that bring in designer wedding dress. Dresses showcased on that day includes collection from Marchesa, Carolina Herrera, Legends by Romona Keveza, Amsale and Alyne by RIVINI. Here are some of my personal favourites.

Left: Alyne by RIVINI. Right: Legends by Romona Keveza

There are some hits and some misses for both designs and quality. Designers and overseas labels does not automatically equals to quality. It is important to see and feel the dress for yourselves. The dress at The Atelier ranges from $3000-$13,000.

The food is good (rank high in my list of Italian food). However, the mansion layout is not very optimal for wedding. While having a celebration at the grand marquee is possible, it does not have the charm of a historical builidng, which sort of defeat the purpose of having a wedding at Alkaff Mansion.

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