Chronicle 008: How to budget your solemnization party.

Ever since I decided to hold it on a separate day, many questions bothered me.

Top of my list:

1) Budget

The thing is that we had originally decided to have it on the same day as the wedding to save us some money and buy us some conveniences. Now I have to set aside another amount for this event. I was prepared to do a lot of DIY if that is what it takes to save money.

I called up some cafes that was recommended to me due to my budget.

I have around 25 guests, since it was meant to be a very small and intimate gathering. If you estimate per pax to be about $50 (food and venue), food will cost $1250. To have some spare cash for the other things, you will have to budget lower. $30 per pax for food and venue amounts to $750. Ok, maybe this might work.


2) Venue & 3) Food

I called places like group therapy cafe, fine palette cafe, ardent’s cafebar, talent cafe and a few others. They were recommended to me by a close friend. They served mainly sandwiches, pork chops, fish & chips, pasta etc you get the drift.

Most of which requires a minimum spending of $500 or so in order to secure a private area. They estimated for me that it should come up to $35-$45 per person, amounting to $875-$1125. I will be paying for venue (ambience and music), food & drinks and the wait staff. No alcohol included yet.

My other alternative, was to find a venue but have the food catered. So I looked for buffets. For 25, the food would come without warmers. In my eyes, this meant, food served in ugly aluminium trays. That’s not what I want. But the costs added up to be more affordable. Food for 30 people amounts to be less than $600 for a 10 course buffet spread (see

Then I will need a venue, a decor-able, decent venue. If I had a big house, that would be perfect. I live with my family in an apartment.

BUT wait, there is a function room by the pool that I could rent in our estate. I’ve held a birthday there and a party for 40 there before, albeit with zero decorations at that time. This brings down my venue costs to the lowest but my decorations costs to the highest. It is essentially an empty room with 6 movable tables and 40 plastic chairs.

4) Justice of Peace

On the date that we wanted, the justice of peace we contacted had only 3 time slots. 9am, 3pm and 9pm. We choose 9pm. It may be a little weird to have the ceremony after dinner, but I thought I could work that out.


5) Decor

I was excited to decorate though. A blank canvas with all the possibilities.

Comparing to the cafes I had in mine, I thought the function room was a convenient option. Reasons: I have yet to visit the 5-7 places I called up personally. I will have to go through the site visits, the menu, decor restrictions etc as if I was choosing a hotel for my banquet. Too much work and too little free time. In the end, I decided on the function room and started planning the decor. General decor, food table setting, guest table setting, center pieces, balloons, crockery and cutlery, drinks, invites, thank you gifts, and most importantly the table we are going to use for our signing. DIY, DIY and more DIY!

6) Photographer

I’m just gonna have my good friends help me take pictures!




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