Tag Archives: reception

Rock On!

23 Oct

I’ve mentioned before that GP and I have a preference for rock-oriented songs.

Our wedding will be filled with songs which aren’t what people would call “standard” wedding songs. In fact, some people may not know some of the songs played at our reception! Hopefully it’ll run smoothly though. I won’t get into specifics – I sort of want to keep some air of mystery! – but the songs we’ve chosen for important parts of the wedding (sans a few) will be rock-based.

Our ceremony will have a number of alternative and folk rock songs strewn throughout. Since the last post, GP managed to cull about 40 songs from the massive list I gave him (I’m a bad decision-maker, what can I say!). We shifted some songs around to the reception, since we really liked some songs, and some we culled completely (for example, “Teardrop” by Massive Attack – I love that song, but it’s actually sad… and I didn’t realise that until now, doh!). Our pre-ceremony music will go for longer than 30 minutes, about 45, but that’s purely because we’re worried we’ll be late.

Most, if not all, of the songs during our ceremony will have some basis in rock and range from indie to mainstream and alternative to folk. There’ll be a few that only a select number of people will know (The Script’s “I’m Yours”) and others that are pretty darn popular (Coldplay’s “Clocks”), but all of them were chosen because they fit the criteria of, a) easy listening, even for guests who don’t listen to our genre of music, b) not depressing, like 99% of the songs I listen to, and c) fitting for a wedding!

This goes double for the reception.

I mentioned before that we’ll be having a few key things happening at the reception, most of them revolving around music, so it was important that GP and I get it right. We know not everyone will enjoy our type of music, but we hope our song choices will be enjoyed by a majority of our guests. And we’re hoping, for those who don’t really like our genre of music, they’ll enjoy it simply because it softens/lightens/hypes up the mood at the wedding. 🙂

Excitingly, we got the song list from FBIL Muso and it looks good! They’re mostly what I call “slow sway” rock songs, and will definitely suit as dinner music to entertain others while they eat and mingle. I’m not sure about half of the bands (before my time, unfortunately) but I’ve recently put most of them on to a Spotify playlist and am playing through it now. The running time is just under 3 hours, but let’s include the changeovers and getting-ready between songs, and they’ll probably be playing for about 3 hours. We’ll need to see how it can fit into the timeline, but it should be ok! 🙂

GP has also chosen the three songs he wants to perform, but still needs to run this by my papa. De Papa (GP’s dad) and FBIL Muso have an idea. I’m super excited about this one, but nervous for GP at the same time. We’ll see how this one goes. 🙂

As for the dance-portion of the wedding, GP and I have carefully chosen songs which span the ages and suit what we like. We’ve had to negotiate on some songs, but overall, we’re happy with our choices. Our last song of the night will be particularly, we hope, crowd-stomping worthy. Now we need to get all the songs and give them to our DJ. Eeesh, it’s getting closer to the wedding every day that goes by and I’m actually starting to freak out about the amount of stuff we have to do!

Hopefully our guests like/accept our music. It’s the one thing GP and I have both been incredibly thoughtful about. In fact, when we listed what we truly wanted out of our wedding, ‘good music’ was one of the priorities.

What do you guys think? Are we being too narrow-minded? Do you think we should add some songs we don’t really like?

 

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Balancing the Banquet

14 Sep

(Alternate Title: The Bighorns versus The Food)

Between my Masters work, the wedding, and Life, I began thinking about menu options. At the four-month mark of the wedding, I decided it’ll be good to knock a few things out of the way. One of those was something Mr Big and I excitedly discussed EVERY time we thought about our venue: the food.

Now Tamburlaine provides catering and drinks in a package, so that the bridegroom couple don’t have to worry about finding their own catering company. Plus side – we don’t have to do the additional searching. Not-so-much-a-plus-side, that meant we HAD to use their company. But after mulling over the menu, we concluded that they sounded delicious, and so, we settled with Tamburlaine, comfortable with the menu and the catering company they use, Wine Country Catering.

Unfortunately, we then found out (after putting a deposit down) that the catering company no longer does tastings (BALLS!!!) which completely bummed us out (we wanted to taste some food dammit!). The catering company, however, is known as one of the most prestigious catering companies for corporate, weddings, and other events, so we concluded that we weren’t worried about the quality of the food.

The most difficult for us in this foodie journey, being lovers of food ourselves, is choosing the food.

Let me just post a few pictures of the foods from Wine Country Catering to demonstrate what I mean:

Steamed asparagus with Persian feta tartlet served with honey roasted tomato and chilli jam. / Image from The Barrel Room.

Fromage Blanc tart with peanut brittle and Persian fairy floss // Image from The Barrel Room.

I don’t know what this is, but it looks good / Image taken from The Barrel Room.

Uhm, can people say, yes please!

So, from those pictures above, you can see that Mr Big and I had a pretty tough choice on our hands. Luckily, there were a few things that helped us choose:

  1. Chinese weddings often serve seafood only as that is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity to the bridegroom couple
  2. Not all of our guests can have seafood only, for example, the mother-of-the-groom and the groom himself dislike eating lots of seafood, and some of our guests have a severe allergy to certain types of seafood
  3. Some of our guests are picky regarding certain meats, for example, BM Cupcakes doesn’t eat beef and lamb, Groom’s Homie Oddball doesn’t eat lamb, we have three vegetarians, and one of our photographers is vegan.
  4. Some of our guests are lactose intolerant and another is allergic to chocolate, so dessert needed to be carefully considered.
  5. We’ll have children there! So they need to be kept happy and fed.

Now, in order to ensure that point 1 could be met, to an extent, we needed some seafood options. However, we had to cater for point 2. Point 3 meant that we also had to have a meat that everyone could eat. Point 4 meant that dessert needed to be carefully considered. And so, with all of that, we decided on the following:

  • V – vegetarian
  • SF – seafood

Canapés: (choice of 4)

  • Potato rosti with roasted beef and caramelised onion
  • Spinach and pinenut filo pastry parcels (V)
  • Satay chicken skewers
  • Roma tomato and fresh basil on garlic bruschetta (V)

Entrée: (choice of 3)

  • Smoked salmon, potato and rocket salad served with horseradish cream and capers (SF)
  • Slow cooked pork belly salad with braised cabbage, sautéed bok choy and an orange soy dressing
  • Tempura battered king prawns with Asian greens and honey/chilli sauce (SF)

Mains: (choice of 3)

  • Herb-crusted perch fillet, baked with lemon and parsley beurre blanc served on creamy mashed potato (SF)
  • Corn-fed chicken supreme filled with pinenuts, spinach and feta on linguine pasta with basil pesto cream sauce
  • Roast of soy and thyme beef rib eye served with roasted chateaux potatoes, dutch carrots and seasonal vegetables

Dessert: (choice of 2)

  • Fromage blanc tart with peanut brittle and Persian fairy floss
  • White and Dark chocolate terrine with raspberry coulis and fresh seasonal berries

Tea and coffee at a station which where the cake will be plated up for our guests.

And in keeping with point 5, we chose the “party platter” for the kiddies, so they get a selection of things to eat.

Children’s Options

  • Party platter – nuggets, party pies, frankfurts, etc.

Dessert: Vanilla ice cream with chocolate toppings (other flavours available upon request)

As for the vegetarians, we got a general consensus from our vegetarian guests and settled on this:

Vegetarian Options

Entrée:

  • Steamed asparagus with Persian feta tartlet served with honey roasted tomato and chilli jam

Main:

  • Sweet potato and fresh herb gnocchi with a saffron cream sauce, fresh shaved grana padano

Hopefully our guests like the food! We’re certainly excited!

In the next post, I’ll talk about every adult’s favourite things at weddings: BOOZE (and non-alcoholic drinks).

So what do you guys think of the menu?

Talking venues! and we have a date!

23 Oct

Hello readers,

How long has it been!? Sorry for the long, long absence guys. It’s been a quiet few months ’cause the fiance and I have been waiting and waiting on a date. We FINALLY have one! YAAAAAY! (It only took 6-and-a-bit months…). Now the wedding ride really starts. As the title suggests, I will be talking about different venues we’ve been thinking about (though the title could also suggest that the venues themselves can talk… but seriously, what kind of venue can talk?).

We’ve been looking at different places to have the reception and ceremonies, but we’re pretty sure we’ll be having our reception at Tamburlaine Organic Winery. We haven’t booked anything yet (a fact that completely confuses my parents) but we’re having serious conversations on places to have the ceremonies. We have about four scenarios with which to do the wedding which I’ve got written down in a Word file:

Scenario 1:

Civil Ceremony: Hunter Valley Gardens

Tea Ceremony: Hunter Valley Gardens

Reception: Tamburlaine Organic Winery

Scenario 2:

Civil Ceremony: Hunter Valley Gardens

Tea Ceremony: Tamburlaine Organic Winery

Reception: Tamburlaine Organic Winery

Scenario 3:

Civil Ceremony: Hunter Valley Gardens

Tea Ceremony: Place of accomodation (where we’re staying)

Reception: Tamburlaine Organic Winery

Scenario 4:

Wedding at the Sebel Kirkton Park Hotel

Scenario 5:

Wedding at the Hunter Valley Gardens

As you all may know (if you’ve been following the blog so far), we’ll be having two ceremonies: the ‘Western’ civil ceremony and the ‘Eastern’ tea ceremony. My mother was a little bit confused about the whole thing (even though I’ve been trying to explain it to her over the past six months) but I think we’ve settled that issue. Anyway, we’ve finalised that the civil ceremony needs to be performed between 11AM-12PM because of some cultural thing that states that I (eichanist) have to be handed over by my family to GP’s family between that time (otherwise known as the “Giving Away” portion of the civil ceremony). In Chinese tradition this means the groom drives over to the bride’s house, plucks her out of her family home, and drives to his parents’ house (where the tea ceremony will take place).

Of course, this is impossible if you’re having a mini-destination wedding like GP and me. Not only that, but GP’s parents live in Christchurch, New Zealand, so having the tea ceremony there isn’t really an option. So we figured that we can incorporate this Chinese tradition into the civil ceremony. When my dad ‘gives’ me to GP, I’m being relinquished from my family and being accepted into his. Or something like that. Now the only problem is where do we have the ceremonies?

Enter the five scenarios listed above.

All five scenarios have their pros and cons. We’re trying to keep the wedding within a localised ‘suburb’ of the Hunter Valley called Pokolbin (all locations are within this area) which makes travelling a lot easier for everyone. Tamburlaine and the Hunter Valley Gardens (HVG, for short) are about 5-10 minutes apart from each other. The Sebel Kirkton Park Hotel is located a little further away, but the distance isn’t huge. If we do use the Sebel Kirkton though, we’ll be using the hotel for all of the day’s activities. To make it more transparent, I’ll break down each venue/location and make note of their pros and cons.

The Hunter Valley Gardens (HVG)

The Ceremony:

As far as we can see, when using the HVG for a reception, you get to use the Gardens at a discounted rate for ceremonies. You also get the Gardens for 2 hours for photography (including a buggy to ride around in) and there’s a wet-weather option included (which is the onsite non-denomination Chapel). The photography and the wet-weather option is included regardless of the use of the HVG as the reception, but the discounted rate on the ceremonies is a bonus, especially because we’re keen to have both the civil and the tea ceremony there.

The Garden itself has five ceremony locations:

  1. The European Formal Gardens
  2. The Sunken Garden
  3. The Waterfall Outlook
  4. The Oriental Garden
  5. The Lakes Walk Rotunda

GP and I really liked the look of the Waterfall Outlook for the civil ceremony and the Oriental Garden for the tea ceremony. Because the Oriental Garden only sits a maximum of 70 guests, we’ll only be inviting family and close friends to this one. The Waterfall Outlook is in a shaded area, so guests won’t overheat in the sun (since we’ll be getting married at about the height of January). We’re also trying to think of what to do with the bugs, since there’ll be a lot of mosquitoes and flies about.

The Reception

There are two locations: the Tempus Two Barrel Room and the Garden Terrace. GP and I like the look of the Garden Terrace if we did the wedding at the HVG. It’s basically their restaurant in the morning. We haven’t been inside, but from what I’ve seen there’s a deck with rolling doors which open up completely to create a seamless inside-outside atmosphere. The deck itself overlooks the Oriental Garden, so it’ll be perfect if we have the tea ceremony there (guests could perhaps watch while drinking pre-dinner drinks).

The venue sits approximately 110 guests on round tables and 140 on long tables. Because we’re estimating about 120 people, we’ll have to use the long table option if we use this place. The dance floor itself is outside in an amphitheatre they have there, so a live band could be set up outside. It really is a pretty venue, though there are some flaws.

The HVG doesn’t have much in the way of seafood (which is a big cultural thing during Chinese weddings). I’m not too fussy about having seafood at the wedding ’cause I’m not a big fan of seafood. Another thing about the HVG is the cost per-head. The venue hire isn’t too bad, and on Sunday (which is when we’re planning on having the wedding) there’s a 50% discount. Unfortunately, the price-per-head for HVG for the Premium package (the best one they have) stands at about $20 more than the best packages of all the other venues we’re looking at. The Deluxe package (the next one down) is about the average price of the more expensive packages in other venues. GP also didn’t like the fact that the names of their foods sound too snobbish (e.g. “rabbit ragout on a bed of…”) though they do have more humble (and yummy-sounding!) offerings.

I also have a feeling that centrepieces and decorations are all “taken care of” by the venue, which takes the decisions away from us (the bridal couple). I would like a say on what goes where and how things are presented. I know GP doesn’t really have a head for decorations, but I’m sure he wouldn’t like the control taken away. It is our wedding after all. Need to remember to bring this up when we see them (hopefully I get a reply tomorrow).

Tamburlaine Organic Winery

The Ceremony

Tamburlaine do ceremonies on the lawn just outside the venue. There’s a little seating area with French-style chairs and tables and I’ve seen the pews they use to set up for seating. The setup is simple – 4 pews with satin sashes, rose-lined aisle, a wine barrel for signing of the Marraige certificate, and a garden arch. The lawn is not as pretty as the HVG, mostly just grass and Eucalyptus trees (very Australian). Some couples have gotten married in front of the manmade lake they have there, but that lake is mostly covered by reeds from the lawn (though looks stunning on the verandah at the back of the venue). We’re not too keen to have our ceremony here, but it is an option we should think about.

The Venue

Tamburlaine’s venue is called the ‘Member’s Lodge’ and juts out onto a manmade lake (the verandah I mentioned above) surrounded by reeds. It’s really pretty. Tea lights spatter the inside and outside of the venue and the venue itself is huge. It easily fits 150 people, so fits our guest list criteria. Like the Garden Terrace at HVG, doors can be opened to go out onto the deck outside, causing a seamless inside-outside environment. This is important for GP, as that was his one major ‘want’ in regards to the venue.

Decorated, Tamburlaine looks very pretty. My parents (especially my father) has an issue with the excessive use of white because of its symbolic interpretations to death in Chinese culture, but decorators should be able to change the colours (or spatter coloured tealights throughout). Also something I have to make mention of. The interior of Tamburlaine is a dark blue, so ‘wedding colours’ might be a little difficult to incorporate. Luckily we’ve picked out two major colours: red and yellow. Add blue and what do you get?

Beauty and the Beast colours.

I’m lame, I know…

Which brings me to the next topic, Tamburlaine gives you an enormous amount of flexibility when planning the wedding. They have a ‘make your own package’ deal where you can pick and choose what you like (and don’t like) to alter the per-head cost. This means you can tailor it to your budget. Food is also extremely varied: heaps of seafood, beef, chicken, lamb, duck, etc. The down side to Tamburlaine is the fact that you can only use their wines, but having tasted their wines, it’s not too bad. The sweeter wines are very nice, a fact which you need when tailoring to my side of the family (and my friends).

Sebel Kirkton Park Hotel

The Ceremony

GP and I haven’t been to the Sebel yet, so there’s not much I can say about it. The packages look okay, so do the pictures of the locations, but GP has some reservations against it. We’ll be checking the place out 3 November and I can give a more comprehensive rundown. All’s I can tell you is the Sebel Kirkton Park has three locations to choose from for the ceremony:

  1. The Manor Garden
  2. Between the Urns
  3. Wisteria Walk

Ceremony packages are only available when the reception has been booked with the Sebel.

The Reception

As above, we haven’t checked the place out. But from pictures I’ve seen, both venues – the James Busby room and the Hunter Rothbury room – have a courtyard which you can go out too. I’m not too sure if it’s as seamless as the HVG and Tamburlaine, but the interior (from picture) looks really good. The packages are well-priced too. Unfortunately, the cheapest one is only a ‘cocktail’ function, which forces GP and I into the next package up (we want a dinner-wedding). After our visit here, I’m sure I can give more information about the place.

 

That’s all for the venues. Not much of a segue, I know. In other news, I’ll be going shopping with my bridesmaids in about… a month from now. 😀