When guests arrived at singer Amanda Lee and finance manager Tan Yao Zong’s wedding venue in July 2018, they found themselves not at a swanky hotel, but in the middle of an industrial park in Tai Seng.
Instead of a million-dollar view of gleaming skyscrapers in the city, guests looked out to construction tower cranes and big trucks parked amid factory lots and warehouses.
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But what lay within the venue on the third floor of the Goodland Group Building on Kim Chuan Lane, where the couple said “I do”, was a completely different look and vibe. Guests walked into a room filled with lush plants and took their seats on white Tiffany chairs, set up in rows in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows that let plenty of natural light into the corner warehouse unit.
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“I chose this place because it has an industrial feel, but is still classy. It also has a high ceiling which I like,” says Amanda, 33, who emcees and sings at weddings.
The couple hosted 80 guests that Saturday and paid $800 for the venue and an additional $1,600 for the decor, flowers and chair rental. The buffet reception, video and photography were separate costs.
“In hindsight, I wouldn’t say I saved money by choosing to do our solemnisation this way. It actually took more work to set it up, but it was a unique wedding experience and the guests really liked it,” she says.
Her bold choice of a venue is just one example of industrial spaces becoming increasingly popular as venues for social events.
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Unlike function rooms and club houses in condominiums or expensive hotel ballrooms, these rent-able spaces are great for hosting large groups and are private enough so you feel exclusive. Plus, no fighting for carpark space with the masses in town.
On event venue marketplace Venuerific, which lists 162 venues for event rental in Singapore, the most popular are in different or less accessible locations such as industrial parks and even Sentosa Cove.
“The usual way is to have events at hotels and restaurants and, while they can be really nicely set up, if you have been there many times, you lose the element of finding something unexpected,” says co-founder Ricardo Sentosa, 35.
While hotels and restaurants used to dominate the scene, he has seen a slowing demand in recent years, with more people turning to up-and-coming players that can better cater to their needs and fit their budget for small social events such as baby showers and birthday parties.
The average venue rental cost for 50 people or fewer on Venuerific ranges from $500 to $1,000. Ricardo says venues tend to tag on an additional 20 per cent for corporate events and weddings.
“Smaller event spaces offer a kind of flexibility that hotels and restaurants cannot because they are hungry for business and will do the best they can to satisfy the customers’ needs,” he adds.
So, if you’re looking to host a birthday party or other fun event this year, consider these eight hidden gems around the island: