Wedding Wednesday – Solemnisation of Marriage and Choosing The Right Venue

Hello, just a little word of caution before you carry on reading. This is going to be a long read, as I will also be sharing my own wedding experience and knowing me, I can be quite long-winded. Grab yourself a cup of tea and biscuits before you begin!  =)

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Now that you are about to tie the knot, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. Choosing a wedding venue(s) can be tough. In theory, getting married is all about the two of you but in reality, it involves both families; if you are unlucky, extended family members too.

First things first. Are you planning to register your marriage at the office of the Registrar of Marriages (ROM) or through a religious ceremony (church, temple)? Or do you plan to host an intimate ceremony elsewhere and would like to arrange for a registrar to make the trip there?

In our case, we initially wanted an intimate garden wedding ceremony but we could not get a registrar to make the trip up to our intended venue as said venue isn’t located in the Klang Valley, where we are based. This is something to note for those who would like to sign the papers out of the state in which they live in. It isn’t so easy to get a registrar to solemnise your marriage if your ceremony will not be hosted in the same state you live in.

Instead, we chose to sign the papers in a temple – the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association. We wanted our registration of marriage to be meaningful and we were lucky enough to receive blessings from the chief monk.

Some of our friends have opted to host the wedding dinner reception and various ceremonies eg. Chinese tea ceremony before they solemnised their marriage but we wanted to be husband and wife in paper (lol) before we proceeded with the ceremonies, so we officially tied the knot in July 2014.

Moving on to venue selection. Are you planning to host a destination wedding, dinner reception or both? If you are going for a destination wedding, are you planning to host it by the seaside, in the mountains or in just a lovely garden setting? Are you planning to celebrate in the country or abroad?

For us, I initially wanted to walk down the aisle at the renowned Pangkor Laut Resort, but due to budget constraint, we had to look elsewhere. We wanted to make sure our guests did not have to pay a single cent! No way am I making my guests pay over RM1,000 to share our joy! This brings me to my next questions:

With this wedding, would it be an intimate one or are you planning to invite nearly everyone you know?

What’s your budget like?

Would your guests be required to pay for accommodation / travel to said destination?

For the dinner reception, would the venue be too far for relatives to get to? (will be discussing this in a bit)

As I’m not one who’s also able to take the heat, a beach wedding shouldn’t have happened in the first place… this is the first time I’m saying this to anyone, but the idea of not having to wear heels really drew me to wanting a beach wedding in the first place. I’m not very good with heels, as you will see later. 😉

So, for a destination wedding, if you intend to still walk down the aisle and celebrate in the presence of close family and friends (what Paul* and I really wanted), it’s good to look into going somewhere that would be most comfortable for you both.

Paul* and I happen to be open to the idea of a garden wedding in the highlands, where the cool and comfortable weather would hopefully prevent tempers from flying. =D

Being frequent visitors to Ye Olde Smokehouse in Fraser’s Hill, we decided to host our (technically, second) wedding ceremony there. My Super Mum started the ball rolling by contacting Datin Harnee, the lovely owner of the place. We then scheduled a meeting with her and upon discussing prices, we decided to host our wedding there.

Hosting our ceremony at Ye Olde Smokehouse meant that we have to keep the number of guests to 50, as the Smokehouse isn’t able to accommodate that many people in its premises for a sit-down dinner. Alternatively, if you opt to dine in the garden and choose to go for a BBQ buffet dinner, the Smokehouse is able to accommodate more people, but we wanted everyone to sit down and dine in comfort INSIDE the Smokehouse as we were worried it may be a little too cold and damp for our elderly guests come nightfall. Oh, and there are lots of bugs out there. It’s Fraser’s Hill, after all!

We were really lucky with our venue, as Datin did not charge us extra for decor. She gave us a free rein with colour selection and basically, we didn’t have to worry about a single thing. She set up the decor, gave us beautifully covered chairs and even went the extra mile to roll out her beloved carpets on the garden just to keep the green carpet walkway in place. Here’s what they did for us:

Ye Olde Smokehouse Fraser's Hill Garden Wedding

Ye Olde Smokehouse Fraser’s Hill Garden Wedding

The carpets weren’t meant to be there, Datin initially placed the little pots of flowers on the green walkway to preventing it from flying away, but our photographer felt it was better if the pots were placed next to the seats instead. It did work better for us as both our parents walked us down the aisle – we wouldn’t have had enough space if the pots were placed on the walkway.

Most venues provide simple decor for weddings, and usually, couples would opt for a separate vendor / decorator to do up the place further. We were really lucky with the Smokehouse as everything was covered. As our wedding venue is already pretty enough, Datin only asked for rose petals and said we could bring up anything we want and “leave it to us”.

A day before heading up to the hill station, Mum and I attacked Floristika in Bangsar and bought lots of flowers and we simply passed everything to the Smokehouse staff. Here’s what they did with some of the roses:

Roses at Ye Olde Smokehouse Fraser's Hill

Roses in water. Who would have thought?

 Here’s a shot of our tea reception post-ceremony:

Ye Olde Smokehouse Fraser's Hill Wedding Tea

makan time!

This was just part of our wedding party, the rest were in “hiding” round the back of the Smokehouse, haha. Also, note those flower pom poms… Datin and team spent the night putting them up for us, we brought a few (Daiso-bought) pom poms and they put them up together with leftover pom poms from previous weddings! This is great if you aren’t fussy with colour themes.

Datin and her wonderful team also spent hours working on setting up our dinner venue. Here’s the end result:

Ye Olde Smokehouse Fraser's Hill Wedding Dinner

it’s dinner time!

Note our initials on the wall? We bought them from Typo, and the candles on the tables were bought from Ikea during Christmas. =D

When choosing venues, it’s also good to note if the venue enforces a corkage charge. Work it out to see if it would be better for you to just go with the outlet’s liquor. We opted for the Smokehouse’s house wines, which were very good… then again I’m not much of a wine connoisseur. It also saved us the trouble of having to lug bottles of wine up the highlands.

I should also note that Ye Olde Smokehouse was only able to accommodate roughly 30-odd pax on its premises when we celebrated our wedding, so we had to rent two bungalows to accommodate the rest of the wedding party, Mum and Dad also worked with the bungalows’ respective housekeepers to feed everyone and hopefully, that kept everyone happy!

Our Fraser’s Hill do was an intimate one, meaning only close friends and immediate family members were invited. This was held a week before the main wedding celebration – the traditional chinese tea ceremony and dinner reception.

Our wedding dinner reception was hosted at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, which is located not too far from the city centre nor too far from where Paul’s* extended family lives. We managed to come to a compromise! That’s something to note about the location of your dinner venue.

We decided against a hotel in the Kuala Lumpur city centre as:

1. The congestion!

2. Higher chance of guests coming late and using No.1 as an excuse!

3. Parking may be a problem!

4. Some petty guests may complain it’s too far for them to get to.

Thankfully, Putrajaya Marriott gave us the luxury of being able to enjoy a delightful venue minus the KL prices and traffic jam. No leeway for guests to say they were late due to traffic woes! =D

Another thing to note is the number of guests you plan to invite. Many venues are able to allocate up to 50 tables, so if you intend to invite more than 500 people, be sure to enquire if your selected venue is able to accommodate said number.

Of course, many complain that the food served at hotels aren’t that great, and it may work out better to host the dinner reception at renowned restaurants such as Noble Mansion, part of the Oriental Group of restaurants. There are pros and cons, really. Hosting a reception at a hotel means guests get to dine in a more comfortable environment and I suppose you receive a more personalised treatment on your wedding day. Free bridal suite stay? Additional deluxe room? Little things like these, I find, helped us unwind a little before and after the reception.

Then, there are the standard decorative items provided by most hotels:

Ice Swan Carving Putrajaya Marriott Hotel

melting swan carvings @ Putrajaya Marriott Hotel

Like this. Ice carvings. Do we really need them? Not really. But that’s the novelty of hosting a dinner reception at a hotel. =D

Generic wedding cake Putrajaya Marriott Hotel

Generic wedding cake @ Putrajaya Marriott Hotel

And yep, generic fake wedding cakes. But I suppose restaurants have this too. Our beautiful backdrop had cranes – our wedding theme. All done by the hotel’s vendors. I wish I could post a photo of our beautiful backdrop (fairy lights, our names and two paper cranes) but we can’t, due to privacy issues.

Napkin Putrajaya Marriott Hotel

Nicely folded napkin @ Putrajaya Marriott Hotel

Okay, you can also get nicely folded napkins at restaurants but I guess you pay for the ambience, for the ballroom as it’s already grand in itself and you don’t have to spend so much on decor. We made a big mistake there and I will be letting you in on this in another post.

Whew, that was a long post and if you’ve read this far, thank you for staying with me! I’ll end this post with a photo we took with Datin Harnee, who put in a lot of effort into making our beautiful garden wedding possible.

Datin Harnee us

Our brilliant wedding planner + Ye Olde Smokehouse owner, Datin Harnee

We are very lucky to have found such a beautiful wedding venue, and everything was so well-planned, thanks to her. Without Datin Harnee, we wouldn’t have had such a beautiful wedding.

Of course, I have my parents to thank for they were the ones who sponsored this party of ours.

If you are looking at hosting an intimate party / wedding, we highly recommend Ye Olde Smokehouse Fraser’s Hill. Let me know if you need Datin’s contact, we would be more than happy to share it with you. =)

Marriott Putrajaya’s Tety was also wonderful, the minute she took over from the previous Events Manager everything ran smoothly without a glitch. We are very blessed to have chosen venues that provided us with excellent service and catered to *almost* all our whims. Mind you, I’m a difficult person and I don’t give out praises and positive words that easily, so that’s saying a lot.

Having said that, it is your big day. You must be happy with whichever venue you choose and make the most of it. There’s always room for discussion, so be sure to bargain with the respective hotel / restaurant you have got your eye on as almost always, they may just be able to throw in a few extra freebies / discounts.

I personally feel booking your venue should be on top of your wedding to-do list as good places get snapped up real quick, especially during auspicious dates so be sure you lock down your dream venue… or you may just be disappointed!

Speaking of auspicious dates, we got ours from Loh Tat Pit, located on Petaling Street. Should you go for them, be sure to ask for a personal consultation with the “master” as you will be in for an interesting experience, I promise you. 😉

Oh dear, over 2,000 words! I better stop here. =D Stay tuned for next week’s Wedding Wednesday, where I will be discussing the most important thing for brides-to-be… THE WEDDING DRESS!