Author’s Note: I made this review in mixed vernacular and English a few days after our wedding and posted it at the Weddings at Work Facebook group. I decided to then translate it in pure English and transfer it in my blog sometime last year. I totally forgot to click publish! Oh dear. 😛
Preparing for a catholic wedding often starts with three things: date, church and reception venue. Once all three are set, the ball starts rolling in. After we decided we wanted to get married on our 9th anniversary which, coincidentally fell on a “hot” date, we started scouting for the church and the reception venue. My next review will feature the reception venue that we chose.
Renaissance Convention Center – Ballroom – Riverbanks Center, Marikina – 5 stars
- affordable venue that can accommodate 300 pax (according to their fliers and it was less than 30K when we booked them sometime in February 2016)
- ample parking space for guests
- only one event per hall per day
- good, cool and working airconditioning units
- comfort rooms are clean
- there is a dormtel nearby where you can rent a room for your touchups
- no corkage for everything else except outside caterer (as of January 2017)
- electricity is charged separately from venue rental
- very bare and only a small platform for stage is included in their rates
- very limited accredited caterers (only three when we booked, but I heard that Hizon’s Catering is now accredited)
- cooking-on-the-spot is not allowed
- the flooring needs to be cleaned and/or upgraded/changed
- roads leading to the venue is usually congested/traffic
This venue was the reason why we ended up getting married in Marikina. When I got engaged, the first wedding resource that I checked out was Girl Talk forums from FemaleNetwork.com because of the thread where brides and grooms list down their wedding suppliers. As I mentioned in my previous review, we didn’t have a major requirement for the wedding venue. We just wanted a place that can accommodate our estimated 250 guests with ample parking space for everyone and near a nice church. I thought that was easy, not until I realized that most venues nowadays cost an arm and a leg for venue rental alone. I ended up doing a lot of research work on this one since we could not afford shelling out more than a hundred thousand just for venue rental. After making a list of possible venues, we decided to spend a day visiting our prospective churches and venues. We were not supposed to drop by this venue that day because we got stuck in traffic but lo and behold, their office was open until 8 pm. What’s even better was that the couple we just saw getting married at OLA earlier that day were having their reception in the same venue. I instantly fell in love with how the place looked at night with all the lights turned on. But alas, we were not able to get an afternoon wedding slot for our date so I had to settle with having the reception in the morning. I was concerned that it might not be too nice inside during the day but I was wrong. Since there were no windows and the doors were kept closed, it didn’t matter if it was midday outside since it was still dark inside, so yes, we were able to use mood lights just the way we wanted to.
The place is big but I doubt if it can accommodate 300 guests. We had 250 guests and we already had to use the mezzanine area so the place won’t be cramped. Parking space was not a problem but since it’s a pretty busy area, traffic can get bad.
Ms. Jenny, our account executive (AE), was very accommodating, courteous and responsive. She immediately answered all our queries and was able to accommodate our requests such as having our supplier come in at 12 midnight to install the ceiling swags (however, on the day, the supplier didn’t come in at 12 mn! More on that in my future reviews.)
During reception, I noticed how every now and then a staff or someone from the security would come in to check us out. Turns out that they were checking out the lone chandelier in the ballroom because the ceiling drape supplier allegedly had a small accident with it and they were worried it might come crashing down during the event. Kudos to the staff for handling the incident very well. They didn’t tell me about it not until the event was over so I was able to enjoy the reception… but looking back, imagine the horror it would have caused if the chandelier fell!
The electricity charge was also reasonable considering we extended for about an hour. We were refunded for the unused security deposit we made.
As mentioned above, other “pros” of the place included but are not limited to: nice clean bathrooms, ample parking spaces, good, cool, working airconditioning units. What I really like about the venue though is the sense of exclusivity that you will feel despite the fact that the area around it is crowded. Perhaps it helped a lot that there were a lot of trees surrounding the hall itself and that despite being within the Riverbanks Center compound, it was far from the mall itself and from the center of activities so there was a sense of privacy in the area.
The ballroom hall is really bare though and the ceiling is high so you might need to use tall vases and you might need to add extra styling to make the place nicer, unless you really are aiming for a minimalistic feel. Although the ceiling already looks fine without any treatment, you may want to add swags since the ceiling is high. However, since the hall is also L-shaped and the lone chandelier is oddly-placed, finding a way to make the ceiling swags look less awkward can be a challenge. What our ceiling swag supplier did was to install a carousel-type full ceiling swag with a little extension at the back part of the hall because of it.
The lobby outside the main ballroom is small though and may be cramped if you put a lot of decors outside especially if there is another event in the hall across. We skipped having a photobooth because of the space constraints. We opted to have a photowall instead across the registration area. We also had an Instax guestbook signing area and perfume bar for our giveaways in the little space that we had. Thankfully the event in the other hall didn’t start until after our event was finished so it wasn’t really too crowded that day.
In summary, we’ve had a pleasant experience holding our reception at Renaissance Convention Center. For the most part, it was because their staff was courteous and responsive to our numerous inquiries and requests. I felt they really cared a lot for their clients. If there is something that the management of this place could improve on, I guess, it’s that some of their floor tiles needed to be replaced especially at the Ballroom since it would look a lot neater if there were no broken floor tiles anywhere. I am not sure if their rates now are still the same as in 2016 but I do recommend this place for couples looking for a decent venue that is within their budget.