Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reception Venue Hunting (repost 06/01/08)

Venue hunting yesterday was a big bust. Sobrang frustrating. Anway, here are the places we went to:

First stop:

St. James Hall, St. James The Great Ayala Alabang

- I was really really hoping this could be "the" place. One because it's affordable. Two, it's air-conditioned. Three, it's right below the church. Ay may four pa pala, you can bring in any caterer you want. When I went in, my first thought was, hmmm, definitely a possibility. But then after a while, I realized that it was a bit small and cramped. There is no way that we would be able to fit 200 people plus the buffet table plus the LCD screen in there. Pffft. That's my bubble bursting. The main reason why we were looking for a cheaper venue was because we wanted to invite more people and a venue for 180 people definetely does not even begin to cut it.

Next:

Alabang Country Club

- Like I said in my previous blog, I wasnt seriously considering this place because I didnt think the service of their inhouse caterer was good enough and to add to that, I heard stories of couples practically spending thousands of pesos just to spruce the place up. But since we were in the area already, no harm in stopping by. When I saw the ballroom, I fell in love with it. It was spacious and elegant and could easily hold 250 people. I was actually about to march to their food and beverage office to book us up when I remembered what one of their coordinators told me over the phone. Their inhouse caterer would be ending their contract with ACC in December and she could not tell me or give me an assurance who the next caterer will be until December. That was definitely a big worry for me cause just in case we decide to wait for December, we would be risking our pencil booking with Bellevue. Haaay.

On to the next stop:

Leslie's Alabang

- Since we were hungry, we decided to hit two birds with one stone, eat at Leslie's and then ask about their rates. We might as well have used that rock to hit our heads. For one, the food was blah. Definitely miles away from Leslie's Tagaytay. Two, the place was hot. No, not the David Cook kind, it's the humid-to-the-point-of-fainting kind. I was literally sweating buckets. Oh yeah, they had those "coolers", but it would have been better if they just bought huge industrial fans. Mas nakatulong pa siguro yun. That no aircon setup is working perfectly well in Tagaytay. But in the middle of Alabang? Come on! Special props though for the Manong Guard who, shuttled us to and from our car with a huge, huge umbrella, shielding us from the heat of the sun. Buti pa sya naintindihan nya na mainit.

Next place:

Paradiso Terrestre

- I was a bit worried about this cause it was a tiny bit far than we would have preferred, so I timed our drive. From Madrigal to Paradiso, it took us about 20 minutes add that to the trip from St. James to the gate, more or less it would take 30 minutes to get there. Honestly, it was fine for me, but my mom kept pointing out how far it was and how traffic would be in December and how dark the roads of Daang Hari were. So i didnt really get my hopes up. But when I entered their proposed venue, I was left awestruck. It was huge, high ceilings, glass windows, the works. The set up would even include Tiffany chairs without the extra cost. Other venues would usually charge an extra 100 pesos per Tiffany chair. So, if you have like 200 guests, that's about 20,000 bucks out of your pocket. Ouch. Anyway, the place was great. My only worry was, it was a bit far.

Drove back to Alabang for our next place. We passed by Fernbrook. No doubt it was beautiful and magnificent and dreamy, but its beauty came with a price. For evening receptions, the venue alone (and it wasnt even the whole place, just this garden for 250 people) would cost 135,000 pesos. Add up the cost of catering and you're basically left poor. Unless of course you have an endless source of moolah just within your reach, which we didn't. So Fernbrook, definitely out.

Bellevue

- As I said it was our safest best. Tina, our Account Executive was not around, so I just asked a lady at the front desk if she can just show us the ballroom. First reaction? Perfect. It was spacious and nice, near the church. The staff were equally nice as well and they had this comprehensive package, that was so complete, it was definitely hard to say no to. But again, all of that came with a price. If we do decide to go for Bellevue, it would definitely put a dent in our pockets. Add that to the fact that we would really have to limit the guest list. Oh well.

Next locations:

Aqua Park, Hampton Court and Alabang Hills

- Pagiisahin ko na cause of all of them are no longer an option. Aqua Park, was smaller than I thought it was. Hampton Court was huge but it was like haunted mansion huge, with broken windows and all. Alabang Hills, it was okay, but after my Leslie's experience, I decided I dont want an outdoor venue. Mahiluhin pa naman ako pag mainit, baka himatayin ako, wag nalang. Not worth saving a few thousands.

Anyway, I guess we're down to about four: St. James Hall, Alabang Country Club, Paradiso Terrestre and Bellevue. When I got home, I made this elaborate costing excel sheet comparing each. Of course St. James Hall came out the least expensive, while Bellevue, suprisingly was not the most pricey one. I guess I would just have to wait for James before making the final decision.

All in all, it was a tiring and frustrating day. But one highlight of our trip was getting to see St. James The Great. I was privately worried that it would be so huge that I would be intimadated walking down its aisle. But as soon as I entered, I felt in my gut that it was the right choice. And though it was frustrating and tiring trying to find the reception venue, there was no doubt in my mind that I would want to get married anywhere else. Whew. Tears.

Anyway, back to the stressful world of reception venue hunting. And oh yeah, did I mention James was arriving today? (baka lang naman di ko namention. hehehehe.)

----

updates:

* Bellevue got a new chef, supposedly the food is better now. havent tried it though.

* Alabang Country Club stuck with Makati Skyline (package starts at 900++ per head)

* Alabang Hills requires a letter from a homeowner.

* other options: GCF (see related post) and Portofino (also requires a letter from a homeowner)

post signature

--
I am a witness to the suffering of my people.
I am a chronicler of truth and a catalyst of change.

-The Scholastican-

4 comments:

Jhimmy said...

Hi. We're planning to get married din sa St. James and we're looking for a reception venue na di sobrang expensive like FernbrookSince your blog was last year pa, I was wondering kung san kayo natuloy magreception. It would rfeally help us out in choosing the perfect venue. Thanks.

maan said...

hiyee. we got GCF. you can read my post here: http://simplymaan.blogspot.com/2009/02/south-secret-gcf.html

if you have more than 200 guests, this will be perfect. :)

haroldau said...

hi.. we're planning to get married din po sa st.james.. i saw the pics of gcf at your blog.. do you have more pics of gcf on the actual wedding day? im really curious on how it looks like for wedding events. thanks!! if you could email it to me or add me on facebook, whichever would be great! thanks in advance!

david_aventurado@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

hi!! we're also planning to get married at st.james. i was surfing the net when i came across ur blog. really helpful! just curious though, do you have more pics of gcf during the wedding day? im just wondering how it looks like during the actual wedding day. thanks much! if you can email it to me or add me on facebook.. thanks again!
david_aventurado@yahoo.com