Wedding menu choices have come a long way from the days of simply, “Chicken or fish?” With the growing prevalence of gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic and other health conscious diets, chances are you know someone with these or other food preferences. So, whether it’s accommodating Aunt Helen’s gluten-free diet or your cousin’s vegetarian preference, how do you create a wedding reception menu that provides palatable options for all dietary restrictions, without blowing your budget? Here are some tips for providing tasty options for all of your guests – those with and without food allergies or limitations.
1. ASK GUESTS IN ADVANCE
There’s no way to know about your guests’ allergies or restrictions unless you ask. Leave space on your RSVP card for guests to explain their sensitivities. Getting this information from guests will help you and your caterer plan for your big meal.
2. TALK TO YOUR CATERER
Reach out to your caterer for suggestions. They deal with wedding guests regularly, so they will likely have some great alternatives and recommendations. If you haven’t found a caterer yet, look for one that has experience working with dietary restrictions.
3. CHOOSE SIMPLE FOODS
One of the most common food preferences in recent years is the gluten-free option. Fortunately, there are many non-gluten foods that are affordable and popular – in fact, plenty of your guests will likely enjoy these offerings without even realizing they are gluten-free! Some mainstream choices that are free of gluten include steamed or roasted vegetables, fruit cocktail, non-breaded meat, corn chips with salsa and guacamole, baked potatoes, and nuts. Not only are these options budget-friendly and commonplace enough that all of your guest will enjoy them, but many of these selections also fit the bill for honoring vegetarian diets.
4. CONSIDER A BUFFET
A buffet ensures guests have plenty of options. Try to have at least one or two options that all guests can enjoy. Label each dish so guests know what items are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free or nut-free.
5. DON’T FORGET ABOUT DESSERT
The main course is important, but don’t forget about dessert! Consider adding vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free options to your sweets table. Chances are guests with dietary restrictions won’t be able to eat traditional wedding cake but they may be able to enjoy fresh fruit or a chocolate fountain.
Planning a wedding menu is hard, but try not to let it overwhelm yourself. Do your best to accommodate dietary restrictions; guests will appreciate the time and thought you put into making sure they are well fed, comfortable, and happy.