When a close friend of mine, Terence, tied the knot two years back, both he and his bride paid for the entire wedding themselves – a remarkable feat considering the entire affair was almost $30,000! The wedding reception was relatively small, just about 90 guests or so, plus several of his relatives who traveled to Singapore from Perth to attend the event.
He secured a discounted rate at a local hotel, and the out of town guests were all putting up at the hotel, which was a 15 minute walk away from City Hall MRT station. The solemnisation was held at St Andrew’s cathedral, and the wedding dinner was held in the same hotel that his relatives were staying in.
The bride’s mother wanted to make it easier for everybody to attend the wedding, so right from the start, she proposed to the couple that she would pay for the transportation rental of two large private buses ferrying guests to the wedding dinner. This offer was gratefully accepted by the both of them.
Before the wedding invitations were sent out, they sat down to make up a schedule and decide on designated pick-up points for guests attending the dinner. As most of the local guests were concentrated in a few areas of Singapore, they managed to work-out the pick-up points and a schedule that would transport everyone to the hotel in ample time for the wedding dinner.
After the dinner, the buses came back and simply returned the guests to the designated pickup points. It was an extremely well-thought out plan to insure the avoidance of problems with transportation, as well as avoid any possible drink driving episodes. Importantly, all the guests were dropped off safe and sound at their homes by the end of the day. Naturally, all the guests had no excuse not to attend the wedding.
A few months ago, another good friend of mine, Thomas Lim, was also tying the knot. His bride-to-be and her friends took charge of all the wedding plans.
The wedding was slightly larger this time, about 140 guests. The lunch reception was held in a restaurant within The Singapore Botanic Gardens which specializes in fine European cuisine. The venue was a 15 minute walk away from the parking lots located near to the main road.
A map to the location was included in the wedding invitations. But, when I drove into the carpark, I noticed a problem. There wasn’t enough parking lots for that many cars as were expected. Guests who drove had difficulty finding empty lots to park their cars and led to attempts to park along lanes, making it very difficult and dangerous for traffic to pass.
There were also a number of guests who did not have personal transportations. To reach the venue means they had to embark on a 12-15 minute walk under the blazing sun. In the end, the lunch reception started about an hour later than planned because the guests were delayed in reaching the reception venue. There was no real harm done, but it was definitely something that could have been handled better.
Comparing the two scenarios, it serves as a lesson that a couple should never make it an ordeal for guests to attend their wedding. Considerable care should be taken to ensure their comfort and safety. Even if there isn’t enough budget to provide transportation for all of your wedding guests, try and ease their burden on those quests that are travelling the furthest to be able to attend your wedding.
If parking is a problem at a venue, then look at alternative venues. Nobody’s going to appreciate the beauty of the venue or your wedding event if it brings so much inconvenience for them just to get there, or worse still, receiving a parking summon for illegal parking.
If you can, look into the costs of hiring a valet service to park your guest’s cars for them and save them the walk. This is particularly a thoughtful and appreciated gesture in reception settings held in parks or some country clubs, where parking lots could be quite a distance away.
If you’re having your wedding in an urban setting, explore the idea of having a number of Uber or Lyft drivers on call from a certain time period at the end of the reception, and make a note in the invitations that they will be available to offer free rides home to those who does not drive.
As anyone in Singapore knows, waiting on the phone to book a taxi at certain hours could be frustrating sometimes. Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and be in a much better mood if they are not worrying or anxious to avoid the rush to get home when the event ends. It will also make your lunch receptions or wedding dinners much more relaxed affairs.
On an end note, good planning coupled with thoughtfulness will fill those chairs on your big day.