Scientific Weddings – a new phrase in the phase of the ‘New Normal’


(Posted 05th of July 2020)

Once upon a time would a function room at the Kampala Serena Conference Centre cater for between 30 and 35 tables with a capacity between 300 to 350 guests, but that was before a #COVID19 imposed a new world order on the hospitality industry came into effect.
The so-called ‘New Normal‘ today demands physical separation between guests and subsequently did the room layout only permit for 20 tables, translating to 100 guests in addition to the high table, which size has also been reduced to just 4 – the newly wed couple, Maid of Honour and Best Man.

Uganda’s president coined the phrase of a ‘scientific wedding‘ when at various stages over the past four months he announced movement restrictions or eventually relaxing them.

For couples planning their weddings now does this pose a challenge as to who will be on the invitation list, when so many fewer guests can attend while for the Kampala Serena Hotel, and all the other hotels in the city and upcountry, the challenge will be to make ends meet when their capacity, like in this case, is reduced to a mere one third of previous numbers.

But these are just some of the changes, the new reality has imposed on venues.

(Staff assigned to the function are being briefed before some key members line up for a group picture with Director of Food and Beverages Mr. James Odenyo in the middle and Executive Chef Eshton Muthai on the very right – none of them very recognizable behind masks and shields)

Staff too, as well as service logistics, must now comply with the new regulations governments have imposed on the hospitality industry. ATCNews was able to witness the briefing staff received ahead of the function going underway and the emphasis placed on physical separation and the wearing of masks and face shields. All of them being aware of the job they had to do and were trained for, received extra instructions on the do’s and don’ts they now have to follow and questions asked were answered by both Executive Chef Eshton and Food and Beverages Director James, who personally conducted the briefing.

(This one minute video clip shows how the buffets are now attended to by members of the kitchen team to serve guests)

We all remember the past, when buffets were the focal point for guests coming to such functions and how one could browse and pick things to one’s liking. No longer! Guests must now be served from the buffet by staff, as guests are no longer allowed to handle serving spoons or tongs, signs of how deep the changes the pandemic forced upon us all have gone.

Serving spoons, tongs and other utensils are regularly exchanged and sanitized before use to ensure a hygienic environment. All chafing dishes were wiped down before the food trays were inserted and once again just before they were opened, ready for the lunch service. A similar regime was put into place at the salad bar and the dessert tables.

The wedding function – for respect of the privacy of the couple and their guests were no pictures taken of them – went very well as did another wedding lunch at the terrace of the Lakes Restaurant, a sign that Kampaleans are enjoying their newfound freedom again and are beginning to return to their favourite hotels and places they used to frequent before the lockdown hit the country on 22nd of March.

The Kampala Serena Hotel is definitely now ready to serve their guests again and special accommodation offers, including ‘Staycation‘ options are available, as is the case for sister operation Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa.

From ATCNews it is a warm welcome back to the two Serena properties in Uganda and it is good to see familiar friendly faces again, albeit in part hidden behind the mandatory masks we now all have to wear.