Friday, October 16, 2009

2 wedding dinners, organised differently

if we compare how the two wedding dinners - the one in kuching and the other in singapore - were organised, it would be like comparing how wedding dinners were organised between my time and my daughter's.

back in the 70s, when i got married, wedding dinners seemed much easier to organise. there was no reception table and the system of allocation of seats was unheard of. it was generally a free-seating arrangement - you could choose to sit at any table as long as it was not at the bridal table.

there was no display of photographs of the bridal couple. there was no pre-dinner cocktail session. when you arrived at the dinner's venue, you made your way to a table of your choice, plonked yourself down and patiently waited and waited for the rest to turn up.

in singapore, one thing that has not changed much over the decades is that the dinner never starts on the time stated in the invitation card. if it says 7.30 p.m., it is reasonable to expect a delay of more than an hour; dinner will actually begin at 8.45 p.m. however, what happened in kuching caught some of us by surprise.

the wedding dinner in kuching, held at four points on 19 september, was organised the laisser-faire way. except for a few designated table reserved for the bride's family, the groom's family and certain relatives, the other tables were open to all. the ballroom was divided into two sections - one section for relatives and one for friends and colleagues.

what was pleasantly surprising in kuching was that most of the guests arrived before the scheduled time for the dinner. at 6.30 p.m. a large crowd had already gathered outside the ballroom, waiting to be ushered in. by 7.00, the stated time on the invitation card, most of the invited guests were already seated.

in singapore, we had drawn up the guest list and, using some computer software, organised the invitees into tables of ten. we started with 33 tables of guests and as the responses came in, this was whittled down to 30 tables. so, we had to make continuous adjustments to accommodate all the guests in 30 tables.

on the day of the dinner, we had the assistance of two teams (of relatives and friends) to help the guests with their assigned places. problems arose when some had almost identical names and some who were referred to simply as 'third uncle' in the list. then there were the proxy cases - like when a cousin represented an uncle or aunty.

what is the verdict? which method is more successful in getting the tables to be optimally occupied. if we go by these two dinners, both methods achieved quite similar result. in kuching, where the community is more closely-knit, the free-seating arranged worked without a hitch. in singapore, although some names required some sorting out, eventually eveyone was suitably settled in his place.

coincidentally, the number of tables was the same at both venues - 30 tables.


Uncle Phil said...
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Uncle Phil said...

We were married to the same person four times. We held our wedding receptions in Sydney, Singapore, KL and Sitiawan. The difference between between Syd and Sin was that everyone took to the dance floor after dinner in Sydney whereas everyone was rushing to the door for an early exit to the car park in Singapore. You see the diff.