How to Cater to Wedding Guests’ Dietary Restrictions Nowadays
From guests with gluten sensitivities or nut allergies, to vegan enthusiasts and Paleo followers, there are a lot of dietary restrictions to cater to these days. So, when planning your wedding menu, it’s not only thoughtful – but practical – to plan for a wide range of special needs ranging from preferential to essential.
It’s long been the common practice to let guests select chicken, meat, fish, or a vegetarian option on their reply card – but what about gluten-free, vegan, or nut-free options? Consider adding a line to your RSVP cards, asking guests to list any additional dietary restriction, so that you know what to plan for.
If you already know you have a number of guests with dietary restrictions or allergies, start the conversation with your caterer early. Most caterers will have experience tailoring their menus to specific needs, and will likely be able to make helpful suggestions to keep your guests happy, healthy, and well-fed.
If you’re providing guests with a buffet as opposed to a plated meal, make sure to clearly label the options (knowledgeable servers behind the buffet can be a big help too). This way, guests don’t need to ask a million questions about what they can or can’t consume, or run the risk of eating something that may harm them.
Whether it’s in the kitchen with the caterers or out on the buffet, make sure that any food that may trigger an allergy attack is kept far away from any food made with that ingredient. For example, keep nut-free options at the other end of the buffet than the peanut curry.
While some dietary needs can be easy to accommodate (like steering clear of shellfish or nuts), some specialized menus may come with an additional cost (like a gluten-free option, for example). Speak with your caterer about the most efficient way to keep costs down, but remember that the peace of mind that comes with providing your guests with safe options is pretty priceless.
You may find that one or more of your guests have such severe allergies that they just aren’t comfortable eating what is provided. If guests choose to abstain from the food provided, try not to be offended. See if there’s anything you can do to help keep that comfortable. You’ll feel better knowing they’re taken care of and able to enjoy the day.
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