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Wedding Planning: Are Buffets Really Out?

So you’re you’re finally planning your wedding and caterers have been coming out with their updated packages for the new normal. But you’ve got some questions like, how safe is it if we aren’t even allowed to dine in restaurants just yet? And should we really scratch buffet out of the options just as recent news articles suggest? We asked Philip Encarnacion, president of Richgold Weddings, to weigh in during our Love Wins Forum 4: Catering and Venues in the New Normal.

Read his insights below.

How are caterers preparing for the more intimate weddings?
Philip Encarnacion: We’ve drafted a Covid-19 Management Plan. Right now we’re still up in the air, we’re all waiting for final guidelines from IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) and the LGUs (local government units). But we have drafted our own, keeping the basic requirements of mass gathering (like social distancing, the masks, etc.), so we’re prepared.

Are you doing any weddings soon?
We have an upcoming intimate wedding with 50 people and we’ve prepared the plans. In the Philippine setting, they are imposing 2 meters but globally it’s 1.5 meters. So the usual round table of 10 will just be a table of 4 guests at 1.5 meters. The others will have to be coordinated with the wedding planners.

(Eds--To imagine it, it’s a table setup for 130 guests except you only have 50 people coming.)

When it comes to sanitation, we’ve developed a health declaration for all our people. Everybody who will work on an event will have a health declaration which will be submitted to the venue or the planner.

So what will weddings look like in the next six to 24 months?

Remember, before the advent of wedding venues and hotels, weddings were held at the backyard of homes? In the `70s! It’s just like doing that concept again. There were no clubhouses yet. So some of us can go back to that for now.

Without people seated in the table, it will look like a typical wedding but with less people. The only difference is when people are seated, there will just be four in a table, wearing masks and/or face shields. I don’t know with the guidelines we’re still waiting on for mass gatherings but from my understanding of restaurants abroad, they allow people to be seated together, provided that they are one family. Maybe that should be incorporated. One table per one household is another alternative.

Is buffet really out of the question for the new normal?
We have to correct the notion that the safest way to do it through plated service. Everyone thinks so because plated is sanitized and everything but given the right protocols, I think buffet is also an option to consider. It doesn’t necessarily mean that buffet is less safer. I think you just need the right management plan so that both can work.

The difference with settings abroad and here is that here, we’re very strict with wearing masks. So even if the food is exposed but the servers are wearing masks, there is no exposure. I think the fear with buffets is the queue. People think everybody runs to the buffet table. But if you can manage a queue of let’s say five people at any given time, you put markers in between queues, that could be managed well. What we have to really consider during the meal service is that when they’re eating their food and the masks are off, there should be no people closer to guests within the 1.5 meter radius. There should be no waiter during the meal service.


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.

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Caterer by: RichGold Weddings


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