By Gladys Pinky D. Tolete | January 2015
It is undeniable that what most Filipinos remember about the wedding is the food served at the reception. Here are some guidelines in making your reception satisfying and memorable.
The typical reception menu consists of appetizers, main dishes, dessert and drinks. Hotels, restaurants and caterers have ready-made wedding menus to make your life easier. However, if you are having your reception at home, just remember that those are the major “food groups” and you may serve food according to you and your guests’ preferences.
Despite the current trends when it comes to celebrations, a lot of Pinoys still prefer Filipino dishes. Some choose international cuisine to impress their guests because “balikbayans prefer pure Filipino dishes, and a buffet at that!”.
Couples usually get two main courses, one fish and one meat or chicken to keep their guests fully satisfied. Aside from the food, take note that couples also give special attention to floral arrangements. Brides are quite particular with how the color motif is interpreted in the decorations. Another trend is that more couples now prefer the buffet-style reception.
Speaking of buffet, many couples are still clueless which mode of service to employ on their reception.
The buffet is ideal for small receptions (100-150 persons). It is a spread of different kinds of food with each course having 5-7 choices, which usually include cold items, salad, soup, breads and rolls, a carving station, hot items and dessert. Individual stations/kiosks may also serve a particular kind of food like pasta and salad. Buffet is typical for the festive type of reception. There are misconceptions about the buffet as being magulo [disorganized], though there are ways to make them organized. Ninety percent of receptions nowadays have been buffets because the couples have their guests’ satisfaction in mind and simply because Filipinos love to eat!
The sit-down style is ideal for larger receptions, from 250 persons and above. This is a plated menu with 3 to 5 courses. It usually starts with an appetizer or salad, soup, the main course and dessert. To some hotels, the sit-down style is for the “formal reception,” which also means no kids allowed.
Cocktails are usually done when there is a lull between the Mass and the reception time. Cocktails are served while the guests are waiting for the couple at the reception. It is usually a prologue to the sit-down dinner. Cocktails consist of drinks and pica-pica or finger food. It is ideal for more casual receptions with 80-100 guests, or for ceremonies in time slots which are too late for lunch or too early for dinner.
Lauriats are for Chinese weddings which usually have 300-1,000 guests. This is a 10-course meal wherein the food is served on a lazy susan. The waiter usually portions the food to each guest before leaving the food on the table for the guests to help themselves later on.
The inevitable question – how much will all the sumptuous food cost? A typical Filipino wedding has 150-200 guests. To make budgeting easier, couples should consider what type of food they want to serve and if they want a buffet or sit-down menu. They should also consider the likes and dislikes of their guests. It does not necessarily follow that if the couple likes a certain menu, all the guests would like them as well. They should also think of guests who have other preferences like a vegetarian menu.
Hotels, restaurants and caterers have different packages of varying rates and menus. There will always be a package suited to your budget and tastes.
Tips If you can afford it, get a wedding day coordinator to make sure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day. Make sure you identify which part of your wedding you would really like to spend money on so budgeting would be much easier. Likewise, since it would be likely that you won’t be eating much on your reception, make sure to schedule a taste testing of your food so you would know how delicious your reception spread is (don’t forget that taste tests mean free food!).