Choosing Our ROM Wedding Venue

It was just a few months ago when I was looking for a suitable wedding venue and right now, I’m less than a month away from my solemnization wedding party. I guess I was super focused on crossing things off my list, so the first few wedding tasks I focused on was venue related.

From the get-go, I was crystal clear on how I’d like the wedding party to be like: Intimate, Open and Casual. Our initial plan was to do a super casual lunch reception after the solemnization ceremony. One of the challenges was finding a suitable centrally-located, easily accessible restaurant that could accommodate 60 pax at a reasonable cost.

Our wedding date is a Friday, so location was one of the important considerations in order for our friends to be able to attend our big day without taking leave for us. I shortlisted several venues, in hopes of finding a winning combination for location, suitable size and menu that would work within our budget.

Related: Read about the ingenious chicken nugget proposal and my experience creating my bespoke wedding gown.

Peony Jade at Keppel Club

Photo: Bridestory

Peony Jade at Keppel Club was one of the first few places I emailed for quotes. I knew if we wanted to please our parents, this wouldn’t be a bad choice. The food is apparently pretty good, the place is so huat (look at those red lanterns, can’t possibly go wrong), and the banquet menu packages are really affordable and come with a simple ROM set up outdoors as well.

Location-wise, it’s not like super central and that was definitely a consideration since it was a Friday lunch we were looking at. I wanted to do a recce, but I didn’t end up arranging for one.

That said, we knew we would probably have to do a traditional banquet lunch or dinner anyway, so we decided to save Peony Jade at Keppel Club for further consideration in 2018 when we did our ceremonial wedding.

Location – Maybe, Maybe not
Size – Yes
Menu – Yes
Cost – Yes

Peony Jade at Keppel Club
10 Bukit Chermin Road,

Keppel Club,
Singapore 109918

EMPRESS at ACM

Photo: EMPRESS at ACM

EMPRESS is a stunning venue. The restaurant is housed in a historical building and sits just by the riverside. In the day time, the indoor dining area is brightly lit and the restaurant offers a few set up variations including a more western-style set up with long tables if round tables were not preferred.

The photogenic restaurant has also hosted a couple of weddings even if it is fairly new and I’ve heard nice things about the contemporary Chinese menu.

Initially, I was really set on having a Chinese menu for the solemnization lunch reception, so EMPRESS at ACM really fit the bill. Plus, it wasn’t such a formal setting like an established Chinese restaurant such as Peony Jade or Lei Garden, and this modernity was what I really liked about it.

The F Man is a Chinese boy through and through, even down to his food preference, so EMPRESS was definitely approved. We were pretty close to confirming EMPRESS, but after many nights of using my “abacus” and evaluating the cost involved for a lunch wedding event and taking into consideration that even after paying a premium it was not exclusive usage of both the al fresco and indoor, we decided it was still too much of a splurge.

Location – Yes
Size – Yes
Menu – Yes
Cost – Maybe Not

EMPRESS at ACM
1 Empress Place, #01-03,

Asian Civilisations Museum,
Singapore 17955

Boufe Boutique Cafe

Photo: Wedever

Boufe is a super minimalist, hipster-approved boutique cafe. (I mean, these guys have unicorn and galaxy cakes and all that jazz.) When I was researching affordable wedding venues and using Wedever to shortlist locations, this was definitely a top choice.

This cafe photographs beautifully and is bathed in plenty of natural light in the day. They offered a pretty comprehensive ROM event package with a western wedding buffet menu, free parking for 40 guests, music system, decor and set up. Man, the value was unbeatable for this venue.

While I did want a Chinese menu, it didn’t seem like such a bad idea to just do a buffet since we were trying to make our budget work, but the location at Phoenix Park would make this really hard to travel to if friends were skipping out of work for a quick lunch. The F Man had also been here for a work event before and confirmed that, because of location, we should move on to the next restaurant on the shortlist.

Location – No
Size – Yes
Menu – Will do
Cost – Yes

Boufe Boutique Cafe
308 Tanglin Road, #01-01,

Phoenix Park,
Singapore 247974

AURA

You can probably tell by now that we were widening the search a little. I was really hitting a wall with Chinese restaurants since I didn’t want the setting to be too traditional as well. It’s not easy to find a nice contemporary restaurant that will fit 60 pax with a budget like ours!

I sent Aura an email regarding their wedding packages after recalling that I did a launch there last year and the venue was gorgeous in the day overlooking Marina Bay skyline. Yes, it’s really, really pretty.

The price was also right for a 4-course meal and free-flow drinks, beer and wine for lunch. I was ready to end my wedding venue search, but the F Man wasn’t so convinced about the food there and raised some concerns that maybe our parents wouldn’t enjoy it so much, so we didn’t end up booking Aura. By the way if you’re considering this venue for your wedding, look for Gene. He’s a really nice guy.

Location – Yes
Size – Yes
Menu – No
Cost – Yes

AURA
1 St. Andrews Road, #06-02,
National Gallery Singapore
Singapore 178957

There were a couple more venues that I reached out to and received the wedding package quotes for like Lei Garden and Peach Garden, but it just didn’t feel like the right fit for us since we were really hoping to spend some quality time with our closest friends.

The Armoury

I was kinda lost by this point, because I just couldn’t think of anywhere that would suit our really specific requirements, but for some reason, I decided to check with one of my closest pals from my poly days on whether his restaurant, The Armoury, was available on my date and if they had wedding packages.

Apparently, they have never done a wedding before, so we would be their first wedding couple.

Honestly, I had only gone to recce one or two restaurants, because I’m really lazy (and really too busy at work). The best part? Because we’re close friends, I ended up doing a recce, since it meant I’d be able to catch up with him. Technically don’t really need a recce to “check out the space” since I’ve been there before, but I guess the catching up was good enough incentive!

I enjoy the menu items served at The Armoury. Of course, even more so after they changed the very American gastrobar menu to include more local flavour. (Think salted egg yolk burgers.)

When it came to deciding on our menu, we worked off an existing events package menu. Chef Ben was really accommodating and we discussed possible items we could swap in and out and customized it to our preference.

There are definitely perks of working with a friend. It felt much less stressful to work with someone I know well and trust and who understood my budget conscious approach. Vallence knows me well. I don’t like spending excessively on anything that doesn’t really matter.

We ended up choosing to do a dinner party instead of a lunch and it was all well within our budget with a hearty selection of food items, free-flow beer and house pours too.

The Armoury
36 Beach Road, 

Singapore 189677

To be honest, I think I’m blessed. Many of my friends have offered to help me put together my intimate wedding party and it’s amazing to think that I have these people to rely on. I’ve worked with friends for my wedding gown, decor, calligraphy on my invitation cards, dessert bar, pre-wedding photos and wedding favours. Really nice feeling to be supported and have vendors who “get it” and even point out suggestions for our big day so that it’ll go smoothly. It makes planning so much easier.

Anyhow, when the big day comes, my priority is to stuff my face with delicious food from The Armoury and grab a couple of beers with my guests. I’m also really excited, because the babies are coming… and there will be chicken nuggets. #PrioritiesAgain

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One Response to Choosing Our ROM Wedding Venue

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