Thursday, October 31, 2013

Awesome News: We Are Getting Married at Bali After All!

It has been such a busy time for past few days. After viewing a few place in Singapore, and just can't get excited over it, as well as difficulty to please everyone, we decided we just go back to our starting point: Bali!

Given the uncertain circumstances, we want to get it done fast. So there we go: 12 Jan 2014 wedding at Tirtha Uluwatu!

Tirtha Uluwatu at Bali
Those who have follow my blog knows how I rave about this place. Those who missed it, check it out here and here.

Anyway, the last few days have been a fanatic coordination work: sorting out the deal with Tirtha Weddings in Singapore (there are a couple of hiccups here and there, we are still trying to work it out), spreading the news to friends and relatives and tally their attendance, sourcing for accommodation and logistic...

Basically trying to do what suppose to be done in 12 months and get it done in 2 months.

The good thing is, we have known and research about Bali and Tirtha Uluwatu on and off for 2 years. But there are so much more details to look into once it gets into actual execution. Eg. searching for bus rental companies and hotel.

Anyway, just hope for best and I will try to update the preparations/executions whenever I got the time!

Any questions on wedding preparation in Bali or about something I have written on the blog? Feel free to drop me an email or leave a instant message on my Facebook chat!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Amara Sanctuary Sentosa and Capella Singapore

With my mum's condition getting less predictable and Mr's brother's newborn in toll, we decided to give up our wedding in Bali (Sigh..).

Next up, plan a wedding for 150 guests in January 2014. Yup, that's only 2.5 months away. With most of my relatives in Malaysia, and half of them in Sabah, this is going to be really tight.

So, on last Saturday (12 Oct 2013), we attended the wedding show at Amara Sanctuary Sentosa. We also went to scout another two hotels, The Sentosa and Capella Sentosa, at the same time. This is actually a secret wish of mine: since I can't have a destination wedding in Bali island, perhaps I can recreate a "destination wedding" in Sentosa island?

Capella Sentosa Grand Ballroom. Picture from website

Amara Sanctuary Sentosa

Actually there's nothing much to say about this hotel. They have a nice grand ballroom and serve okay food. I read some reviews that Amara Sanctuary's wedding food was good (See here and here and here), but what we have tasted on that day is only so so. I am not sure whether my expectation is too high or they are performing below their standard that day.

Mr is totally not impressed by the ballroom. His original words "Why make the guests come all the way to Sentosa if they are going to end up at a ballroom anyway?"

The unique selling point for Amara Sanctuary Sentosa is their glass pavilion for solemnization, which is one of the kind in Singapore. I guess it is pretty special compared to all other options you can get in Singapore, but we have been to Bali, and this totally doesn't match up. (For you guys who want comparison, you can check out my post on Conrad Bali's Infinity Chapel and Tirtha Uluwatu Chapel, just don't blame me if your expectation was raised beyond reach.)

The Sentosa, A Beaufort Hotel

We weren't impressed. Perhaps it is due to the preparations going on when we were there. Anyway, I have signed up for their upcoming wedding show on 27 Oct 2013. But I am not sure whether I would still bother going after seeing the venue.

Capella Singapore

Capella Singapore. Cover photos from their facebook

Capella Sentosa is really beautiful. I have heard so much about it and seen tons of images of it. But I must said the actual surrounding looks much prettier than the already very pretty pictures and I love the tranquillity feel of it. And the architecture is so pretty - merging historical building and modern design in such a seamless and artistic manner. Those who follow my blog should know that I am quite a sucker for beautiful building by now (See Alila Uluwatu). I am almost half sold just on our way walking to the the banquet area.

The place we originally aiming for is Sentosa Room, since we only plan to have around 150 guests and it size fit us just nice. What's more, it is actually overlooking the sea and the greenery, which is a big considering factor for me. 

Sentosa Room

However, on our way to the Sentosa Room, we passed the Grand Ballroom. Although I have seen so many pictures of the Grand Ballroom, it still stunned me when I saw it for the first time (ok, perhaps due to the decor inside preparing for the wedding). I love how the sunlight filter through the sky dome down to the table. And since we are considering lunch celebration (partly due to my love for sun light), it is just nice for such effect.  

Pictures of Capella Grand Ballroom taken last weekend. The picture doesn't not justify its beauty. 

Love the sunlight. But Mr commented some people will hate to sit directly underneath it. 

In fact, after seeing the Grand Ballroom, me and Mr are seriously considering increasing our guests list to meet the minimum 30 tables required for the Grand Ballroom. 

However, despite such a fantastic setup, Capella has its own (serious, I must say) flaws. 

The day when we were there, there is no one available to bring us around due to shortage of staff. I was quite shock -  this is a 5 star hotel and there is not an extra person available. 

Arranging a meeting with the sales team is also extremely difficult. I called them on 8 Oct, trying to arrange a meeting on 12 Oct (Saturday), which is not possible as their sales team is off duty that weekend. I tried again after visiting the place, proposing that we meet on 20 Oct (Sunday) and failed again as the managers are fully engaged during this period. In fact, the earliest I can meet with the sales team is on 30 Oct (Wednesday).

I just cannot believe that a simple meet up takes close to 2 weeks to schedule! And this is a pre-sales meet up! I can't imagine what would happen if I really choose to hold my wedding in Capella - where I am at their mercy as a committed customer and the meetings would be more details with all the logistic involved. 

In fact, after some digging around internet, I found out that I am not the only one who faced such a tardy service. (See here and here and here)

More importantly, me and Mr's biggest nagging concern is the quality of food in Capella. There weren't a lot of reviews on Capella, and the few passing remarks available give the impression that the food are just decent. It turns out that the wedding banquet will be prepared by Cassia, which only has a rating of 38% at Hungry-Go-Where. (Although we should take ratings with a pinch of salt, but generally the restaurants we like typically have rating of more than 70% at HGV, such as Dozo, Etna, Flutes.) 

Being a foodie, we can't imagine serving our guests passable food after they came all the way to our wedding. 

And even though the Grand Ballroom is nice, we don't see the point of inviting people who are not that close to us just to fill up the space. It sucks to be "filler", especially filler at an expensive hotel. And Capella is at the top end of the range of expensive hotel.

Here's a rough idea of of the cost of wedding banquet in Capella. You can contact me privately if you want the full details. Meanwhile, we are eyeing at Flutes as our possible wedding reception venue. (Yup, that's where we had our solemnization before it moves to National Museum)