Food is often at the heart of the wedding celebration. But without careful planning and consideration, mealtime can be a heartbreaker rather than a memory-maker for people with food allergies or dietary restrictions.
“In my eyes, every caterer should be able to accommodate any allergy with advance notice,” said Steve Guagliardi, Catering Sales & Event Planning Manager, Rich’s Catering & Special Events. “I encourage couples to include complete menu descriptions along with their invitations. That way guests with allergies are fully informed and can choose appropriately or note special dietary restrictions on the response card.”
Here are three simple steps to help you accommodate guests with food restrictions so everyone can eat, drink and be merry.
Leave space on your response card (or include full menu details as Steve suggested) for guests to identify food allergies and restrictions. Not only does this give you all the details you need to plan ahead, it also gives your guests comfort in knowing there will be food prepared with their needs in mind. Make sure you know the difference between a preference and a severe allergy, and don’t hesitate to follow up with a guest ahead of time if you’re unsure.
Consult Your Caterer
An experienced caterer will confidently accommodate any food restrictions you and your guests may have. Be clear about any and all guests attending with special dietary needs. If you’re having a sit down meal, make sure there are safe options in each course and ask your caterer how they would like to indicate which guests have allergies and how they’ll know where they’re seated. If you’re going with a buffet, make sure there are multiple options for guests with restrictions (you want them to enjoy a variety of food as well) and have a plan to prevent cross-contamination with serving utensils. Be sure to have gluten-free beverage options available, as many varieties of alcohol and beer contain gluten.
Labelling Leaves No Doubt
From hors d’oeuvres to dinner to dessert, clear labelling helps everyone know what’s safe and what’s not. You can take your efforts one step further by asking for a complete ingredient list from the caterer up front. Rather than including the full menu along with your invitation, you can opt to post an ingredient list to your wedding website for guests to review ahead of time. Have a copy available at the reception for any last minute questions or concerns.