On the topic of foot baths, dedicated entryways and exits, and alcohol stands
Now that we’re easing ourselves back into less strict protocols and are finally able to look forward to the rest of 2020 and the coming years with a bit more definition, resuming your wedding plans is most likely your primary agenda. Whether you’ve already reserved a venue and are rearranging your wedding plans or are considering booking a venue for your upcoming wedding, Inspirations.ph asked The Glens Tagaytay General Manager Catz Jalandoni and La Pergola Verde Operations Manager Noel Romero what are the changes to expect when it comes to gathering guests in one venue.
Malls, restaurants, and resorts have been rolling out informational videos on the new normal so what about event venues? It’s comforting to know that most event venues have taken safety precautions into their own hands. What this means for soon-to-wed couples is they can rest easy and be confident in inviting their nearest and dearest to a location that puts a primer on safety and sanitation. Below is our interview held last Saturday at the Love Wins Forum: Catering and Venues in the New Normal.
How can we ensure the safety of guests, the celebrants, and the suppliers if we hold our weddings and parties at party venues again? What should we look for in venue operators?
Noel Romero (NR): We’re mirroring a lot of elements from the mall protocols. Our venue will have multiple entry points, we’ll be putting foot baths in all those entry points. We’ll be dedicating entrances and exits—one doorway for entrances, one for exits, another doorway for our co-suppliers, especially for our catering staff. All our staff will be equipped with masks and face shields, and of course sanitizing guidelines are even more important. We’ll be even stricter with that. There’s also sanitizing regularly touched surfaces like counters, doorknobs, faucets, etc.
Also, things might flow a little slower because we’ll be requiring contact information from all guests. We’ll really have to go hand in hand with wedding coordinators and in a way we’ll have to be more involved with the event. Because as venue operators, if a coordinator is already running the show, we kind of take a backseat and just let them. But now in these trying times, we have to be more involved. An in a way, be more active when it comes to the guidelines we’re imposing. Also the contact information of co-suppliers as well.
Catz Jalandoni (CJ): For The Glens Tagaytay, what we offer is very unique. First of all, our venue is huge, it’s 3.5 hectares and we only do one event a day—so in the matter of social distancing—what would you like? 3 meters between each guest? We can do that! Our biggest venue has a 300 seating capacity, so if you divide it that you get 150. But you have to keep in mind the servers also.
We have mutiple easily-accessible venues so you can also do a multisite but within one venue. There are indoor and outdoor areas—so you can put those who are more at risk such as the elderly and the children in one area. And then the couple, practicing safety guidelines of course, can shift from space to space to still spend time with the entire party. For The Glens, what we were more strict about is suppliers should not ingress at the same time. So now we have a schedule, who needs to go first? Suppliers cannot ingress together which means ingress will take longer.
As venues we will work with the suppliers, specifically also the caterers and stylists, since they handle the materials that will come in close contact with our guests. So that when we come up with the protocols, we need not show it to the client, but if we ask, we have it.
What are your tips for couples planning their weddings in the new normal?
CJ: What a couple or celebrant will really need to put their budget in, if they get to reduce their budget because of less guests, is a fantastic coordinator. With a fantastic coordinator, you will not feel all these new protocols. Because of course we also have to comply with the LGU requirements, which we’re not sure yet as of now.
Can we really still have a wedding at a rented venue? It seems there are a lot of additional things we need to consider now.
CJ: Don’t panic—your suppliers are here for you. Don’t be afraid of the things that need to be done, it will still be seamless but we will have a longer checklist. But it’s really about the pre-work. You don’t really have to spend more time on it than usual, it’s just that a majority of it will be done by the suppliers. What we really need to comply with right now is what is allowed by law. So please be patient with your suppliers if they request more information than usual, it’s for our own safety and your well-being as well. But we’re definitely very capable and this livelihood we’ve created for ourselves is because we love creating events and we love celebrating and being able to see the smile on our clients’ faces. It will still be a celebration!
NR: Remember to trust your suppliers. We are doing our guest to comply with what is mandated by law. And of course we’ll do our best to ensure the safety of our co-suppliers and guests. We want you to know that we are hard at work.
Can we do ocular inspections?
NR: It’s by appointment. Before we would allow walk-ins, but because we’re operating with a skeleton force, there’s only a limited number of people in the office. Some of us still work from home. It’s best to set an appointment but yes we allow it, and guidelines will of course be imposed.
CJ: Yes if you’re able to go, but it’s also by appointment so that we can prepare and sanitize the required areas. Also so that it’s not multiple oculars. We need to ensure the sanitation of The Glens before we accept oculars. I think for the last few years we’ve had a 360 video of The Glens and we’re using that much more now. We’re reshooting it also and creating a virtual tour. It really is different when you see the venue personally, but it helps when couples see videos.
Catch the replay of the Love Wins Forum 4: Catering and Venues in the New Normal here and tune in on Saturday, June 13, at 10 AM for Love Wins Forum 5: Capturing Memories in the New Normal with Pat Dy, Jervy Santiago, Paul Vincent, and Yong Ferrer at the Themes & Motifs Facebook Page.
Photograph by Ronan Capili for Inspirations Weddings and Debuts Magazine June 2019