Menu Planning for Guests With Special Dietary Needs

Wedding Dietary ConcernsChances are meal planning for your wedding reception may be the most fun your fiancé has had since your engagement began. What groom doesn’t love planning an elaborate dinner party for his closest friends and family, after all? Thinking about food, much less sampling it, can be a delightful part of wedding planning. Unfortunately, menu planning for a wedding isn’t without its own concerns. It is important to take into consideration the dietary needs of your guests, to make sure everyone is able to enjoy your reception and go home feeling great.

Know Your Guests’ Needs and Plan Accordingly

The simplest way to find out if any of your guests have dietary restrictions is to ask. Including a line about dietary restrictions on your RSVP cards is a great and simple way to start figuring out if you need to have special meals prepared for certain guests. You could also add a note to this effect on your wedding website.

If many guests suffer from the same allergies you may want to let this influence the meal options you choose. For instance, if it turns out three cousins are highly allergic to peanuts it’s probably wise to avoid any foods during dinner or dessert that feature peanuts.

On the other hand, if you only have one or two guests RSVP requesting vegan fare, you don’t need to offer an alternative to chicken or steak to all your guests. Just make sure you have a few plates of vegan meals reserved for those guests.

When It Comes to Catering

Most wedding caterers will be used to working within certain dietary restrictions, and should be able to offer vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and even lactose-free options, as needed.

  • The more time you give them, in advance, though, the better. So contact your caterer as soon as you’ve received your RSVP cards; that way you can agree upon all the meal options you’ll be offering your guests.
  • Consider speaking with your baker, as well, to offer a gluten-free dessert option for guests that won’t be able to enjoy your beautiful wedding cake.
  • Keep in mind that if many of your guests desire kosher meals, you should look to hire someone who specializes in kosher catering, and not all caterers are able to offer this option.