Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reception Viewing: Brighton Savoy

We started the beautiful Sunday with lunch at the Brighton Baths Cafe / Bar. James, our tennis mate/friend and pre-shoot wedding photographer first introduced us to the restaurant around March.

There was a set meal offer going on at that time with a 3-course meal for around $30 or $40, I can't quite remember. The restaurant was upstairs while the cafe / bar was downstairs with stunning views overlooking Brighton Beach.

The plan that day was just a relaxing lunch and to look at a reception venue - The Brighton Savoy, along the Esplanade, facing Brighton Beach. Prior to that I had already view photos of the venue online and was really blown away by the photos along the beach as well as the function room that was facing the beach.

Venue Name: The Brighton Savoy
Prices (2011): Sit-down dinner 5 hours from $106 pp
Package includes: Canapés, 3-course meal, table centre pieces and chair covers, cake-cutting and serving, 1-night accommodation and personal M.C or Hostess included.

View from the bar and coffee/tea room waiting area for guests.

Along the corridor from the reception area to the other function rooms.
The Seaview room - the function room that they recommended to us.
Darling was discussing something with the sales exec. I can't quite remember what it was.
Facing the beach - not so obvious now because of the sunlight.
From the Seaview room looking into the recption / lobby area.
The Seaview room opens up to a back garden and apparently they told us that it will hopefully be renovated in time for a more modern look and added gazebo.

After viewing Brighton Savoy, we pretty much had our minds set on it although we didn't quite like the min. requirement of 80 guests for that function room. Then again after some calculations, we realised we could probably make up that 80 guests if not more. :p But since we still have time, we just asked them to hold on the date for us for the time being.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Reception Viewing: The Westin, Hotel Windsor, Stamford Plaza, Elizabethan Lodge and Gown Try-outs: The Red Carpet

We started our second off day with another list of hotels to visit. These hotels were mostly in the city, except one that was in the suburbs of Blackburn. In total, we visited 4 reception venues and 1 bridal shop! Talk about jam packing a day's itinerary! But it was a fruitful one afterall since it helped us with the decision-making and I've got a pair of wedding shoes. :)

Venue Name: The Westin Melbourne
Prices (2011): Sit-down dinner - 1 hour canapés from $30 pp + 5 hours main course from $80 pp + 4 hours drinks from $38 pp or a packaged deal of $185 pp.
Package includes: Canapés, 3-course meal, table centre pieces and chair covers and 1-night accommodation.
The entrance / car porch area to the Westin
Inside of the Westin - Lobby / lounge area
View of the Westin Room III facing Melbourne's Swanston Street
View of the Westin Room III looking from the side of Swanston Street

Venue Name: Hotel Windsor
Prices (2011): Sit-down dinner 5 hours from $135 pp. Min. spend $10k in Grand Ballroom.
Package includes: Canapés, 3-course meal, personalised menu cards, chair covers and sash, red carpet entry, tea, coffee and chocolates and 1-night accommodation.

Entrance to Hotel Windsor

Hotel Windsor - lobby / lounge area

Entrance to the Grand Ballroom

Inside of the Grand Ballroom

Beautiful dom glass with chandeliers

Another view of the Grand Ballroom

The Bourke Room (before the Sep renovations)

Another view of The Bourke Room (Before renovations)

Venue Name: Stamford Plaza Hotel
Prices (2011): Sit-down dinner 5 hours from $128 pp
Package includes: Canapés, 3-course meal, table centre pieces, chair covers and sash and 1-night accommodation.
Stanford Plaza Hotel from across the street
Lobby area and view of the very high elevator
The function room (view 1)
The function room (view 2)

Venue Name: Elizabethan Lodge
Prices (2011): Sit down dinner 5 hours from $121 pp
Package includes: Canapés, 3-course meal, table centre pieces, table place cards, chair covers and sash, 1-night accommodation and use if the Chapel if needed.
Entrance to Grand Heritage Room. Min 100 or more guests
Inside of the Grand Heritage Room all nicely decorated for a wedding
Grand Heritage Room (View 2)
The Windsor Room (Smaller guest size)
Beautiful garden at the back of the Windsor room
There's also a bridge and waterfall in the back garden
The Windsor room - another view. Usually used for conference and meetings as well.

The Red Carpet bridal also coincidentally had a sale going on that day. We didn't plan to visit the shop unless we had time after viewing all the reception venues. But lucky for us the reception viewing at Elizabethan Lodge wasn't until later in the afternoon and so we had time to head to Ashburton for awhile to check out the sale.

Bridal shop name: The Red Carpet
Branch: Ashburon

2-piece peacock like gown. It was pretty obvious why I didn't take a liking to it :p
bridal shoes from Red carpet
I did however score a bargain on wedding shoes. $85 down from around $139 I think

And that was it, the end to another long day of wedding preps. ;) Sucks having to go back to work again tomorrow but ah well, at least the week will be shorter.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Reception Viewings: Rydges @ Swanston, Vibe Savoy and Photography: Suede Imagery

Darling and I took 2 days off again this time to go around viewing reception venues. We had decided that we wanted it to be in a hotel, or at least a place that provides accommodation since we'll both probably be drinking that night and so will all our bridemaids and groomsmen. And we certainly don't want to get caught for drink driving that night. :p And so I made a few enquiries and after selecting some of the hotels and we visited two of them today.

Venue name: Rydges on Swanston
Prices (2011): Sit down dinner - 4 hours $79 p/h or 5 hours $99 p/h.
Package includes: Canapés, 3-course meal, coffee and tea, chair and table covers and a 1-night accommodation in a spa suite for the couple.
Rydges Hotel on SwanstonView from the outside.Rydges Hotel on SwanstonThe restaurant area.
Rydges Hotel on SwanstonLamb & rosemary sauce.Rydges Hotel on SwanstonSeafood Paella.
The function room they recommended which can spread out for morre space.
Other side of the function room which is L-shaped.
The upper deck where the swimming pool is and where canapés will be served to guests on arrival. Couples can also hold their ceremony at the far top right where the waterfall is if they want to.

Venue name:
Vibe Savoy Melbourne
Prices (2011): Cocktail - from $42 p/h, Sit down dinner - from $65 p/h, 3-hour drinks from $38 p/h.
Package includes: Complimentary menu tasting, Canapés, 3-Course meal, floral arrangement for bridal table, scatter petals, table centre pieces and candles and 1-night accommodation.
Vibe Savoy Hotel from across the road.Smaller banquet room more for cocktails.
The upper landing area leading to the ballroom and function room - also where guests will be served Canapés. Bright lobby area with a touch of modern and futuristic feel. Also had a big banner advertising wedding packages.

The ballroom the Sales Rep. showed to us with beautiful Chandeliers hanging from above and large mirror doors from ceiling down. She was explaining that the doors at the far end can be opened for a slightly larger space.

We also had an appointment with another photography studio called Suede Imagery. Though we sort of already made a decision on LePortrait Studio, we thought there was no harm in just paying a visit to another studio just to gather more ideas and pricing. The photographer Tim Marcus had just returned from overseas and showed us his latest portfolio from Bali.

For some reason, darling and I both didn't feel comfortable with him and though his photos were somewhat artistic and beautiful, they didn't really capture our eyes. Then there was the pricing as well. Whatever quote he had was almost double the price(as compared to LePortrait) if we wanted to have an album made as well. And thus it was pretty much a strike-off from our list.

All in all, it was a pretty fruitful day and we were kinda edging towards Vibe Savoy as compared to Rydges @ Swanston for the reception. But those were only the first few reception places we had visited and so we weren't gonna make a choice so quickly yet. More still to come tomorrow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bridal & Couture Sample Sale - Bay View Eden

I received an invitation to the Bridal Couture and Sample Sale this year at the Bayview Eden Hotel. I can't remember how they got my contact details but anyway Ammie and Daisy were nice enough to accompany me there. I pre-registered for us since it was $5 for those who did and $10 who paid at the door.

The event ran from 11am - 4pm. And there even had something called the "Hour of Power" where if you were willing to pay $50 extra, you can bring a friend in an hour earlier to view all the dresses, shoes and accessories before anyone else. I didn't bother about that and we just went at the normal time. :p Here are some snaps:

Entrance - promoting the website with stacks of free bridal mags as door gifts.Ammie and Daisy browsing at dresses and checking out if there were any nice ones. :p
Assistant from Brides of Melbourne booth helping my put on a "tutu" like gown. I was laughing because I thought it looked funny.Mannequins line up around the booths. Ammie especially like the one on the right with this small pocket-like puffs on the gown.

The event probably occupied only a couple of function rooms and wasn't that big and so we sort of finish browsing in an hour or so. But some of the retailers did have some pretty items at reasonable prices. I almost bought a pair of shoes - but they didn't look too good after putting them on.

We were almost at the end when I chanced upon this gown at the Bride's of Melbourne booth - same one I tried the "Tutu" like gown. I tried it on and even though it was way too long - it just felt wonderful as this was the first gown that fitted quite well.

I was hesitating and pondering about whether to get it or not at $500, but Daisy and Ammie were both saying that it looks gorgeous. I wasn't sure about the prices for alteration as well. But the gown was indeed unique with sort of a slant at the skirt area where the top joins to the bottom.

In the end, I wasn't sure if it was because the lady offered it to me for $400 or it was because I had tried and browse too many gowns already and was itching to make a quick decision and get one, I bought it anyway. After that I started having ideas on how mum can sew more beads and sequins or somehow personalize it and make it more unique. That is, after I get the damn length altered first!