Providing a Gluten-Free Option
- Speak to your caterer.If you’re having your wedding reception catered, contact your caterer and inform them that there will be gluten-free guests in attendance.Ask them to prepare at least one or two gluten-free dishes (e.g. one main and one side). Since going gluten-free is currently a popular dietary trend, the catering company will most likely be used to providing a gluten-free option.
- If you do not have a caterer, but family members or friends are preparing the food for your wedding reception, you’ll need to have a similar conversation with them.
- Find out the ingredients of the dishes served at the reception.Ask your caterer (or the friends and family preparing the reception food) to provide a list of all ingredients used in preparation. This way, if wedding guests are unsure whether or not they can eat a certain dish, you’ll be able to inform them about the specific ingredients.
- Cooks and caterers who are not familiar with serving gluten-free food may accidentally include gluten in a dish. If you find out the list of ingredients ahead of time, you can warn the cooks and caterers and request that they remove the gluten.
- Serve dishes using fruit and vegetables.Since many popular wedding foods contain grains such as barley, wheat, and rye, it’s a smart idea to provide fruit and vegetables for your reception. Gluten-free guests will be able to eat these if nothing else.
- You could serve a seasonal fruit salad, or a vegetable-based salad, in addition to a more traditional Caesar salad.
- Offer a gluten-free drink option.If you’ll be serving alcohol at the wedding reception, keep in mind that beer also contains gluten.If your gluten-free wedding guests are over 21 and plan to drink, either find a gluten-free beer to serve, or offer a wine option.
- Ask your catering company what they usually do when bringing alcohol to a wedding that has some gluten-free guests attending.
- Place small signs indicating which dishes are gluten free.At the reception itself, you’ll need to signal to guests which dishes are gluten free and which contain meat or other animal byproducts. Do this by placing a small sign reading “Gluten Free” in front of the respective dishes.As is common practice, note “Chicken,” “Beef,” etc. in front of other dishes as well.
- The catering company will likely provide these signs if they’re used to serving events with gluten-free guests.
Serving Vegan Guests
- Plan to serve a vegan entrée.If you have one or more vegan guests attending the wedding reception, you can accommodate them by serving a fully vegan entree—or at least a few vegan hors d’oeuvres. Coordinate this with your caterer or the individuals preparing the food for the wedding. Pasta and vegetable dishes are common vegan options at wedding receptions.
- When eating large, catered meals, vegans often get stuck having to eat salad or a bland plate of vegetables in place of a full meal. If you serve a vegan entrée, vegans will be able to have a more interesting meal.
- Tell caterers that guests have dairy or egg allergies.If you’re concerned that caterers won’t take seriously the request to have vegan food served, you can tell them that guests have dairy or egg allergies. Catering companies will take these statements more seriously.
- You could suggest that, in order to accommodate these alleged allergies, caterers make an entrée using ingredients tofu and almond milk.
- If you’re serving coffee, plan to serve either soy, rice, or almond milk in addition to regular dairy milk for guests to add to their coffee.
- Indicate to guests which dishes are vegan.As when accommodating other dietary restrictions, if you’re serving food buffet-style, you’ll need a way to inform your vegan guests which dishes they can consume. Do this by printing out small cards that read “Vegetarian” or “Vegan,” respectively. This will save guests from confusion, and save you from having to answer many redundant questions concerning which dishes are or are not vegan.
- If members of the catering staff will be manning the buffet table, make sure that they also know which dishes are gluten free.
- If the catering wait staff are bringing the plates directly to seated guests, the staff should have a full list of which guests require a vegan meal.
Accommodating Other Dietary Restrictions
- Inform your caterer about any guests with nut allergies.To accommodate nut allergies, you’ll need to ask the caterer to serve an entrée that does not contain nuts. While this is relatively simple, the entrees for guests with nut allergies will need to be prepared and plated separately. Stress to the wait staff the importance of keeping these dishes completely separate from any meals or food supplies that have contacted or contain nuts.
- Nut allergies can be very serious; individuals allergic to nuts can have severe allergic reactions, and nut allergies are occasionally fatal. Unlike some other dietary preferences, there can be serious consequences for not accommodating a nut allergy.
- Provide a kosher meal option.If you have kosher guests coming to the wedding, you’ll need to provide at least one kosher side or main dish. Coordinate this with the reception caterer, or the family members preparing the food. If a large number of your wedding guests are kosher, you may need to contact a separate catering service that specializes in serving kosher dishes.
- Kosher food laws are complex, but commonly eaten non-kosher foods include pork (or any pig meat) and many types of fowl. Kosher laws also require that food be prepared in specific ways.
- Accommodate lactose intolerant guests.This is a relatively simple dietary restriction to avoid, although milk and its byproducts are present in a surprising number of foods. Check with your caterers or other individuals preparing the food, and make sure that there are at least one or two food options that do not include any dairy.
- Non-dairy dishes will need to include no cream, cheese, or milk, and should be handled and plated away from dishes which contain dairy.
- You can ask on the wedding invitation whether your guests have dietary restrictions and will need a vegan or gluten-free meal, or other accommodations. It’s common to provide food options on the wedding invitation, and the invitation could include boxes to check for “vegan,” “gluten free,” and a small area for guests to note any food allergies.
- You may need to include an insert with the invitation itself, if the food-selection portion takes up too much room on the (typically small) invitation.