It's wedding season again! Here are some tips for enjoying a beautiful wedding for the hosts and the guests - even when food challenges are a part of the mix:
For the happy bride & groom:
* Ask guests to indicate any dietary restrictions on their response card. We got married last June and put a simple sentence at the bottom the card "Please inform us of any dietary restrictions." Out of 150 guests, we had 2 with peanut allergies, 2 with dairy intolerance, and 3 with gluten intolerance (not including me!). I was very happy to know about this ahead of time so that I could be sure all of our guests could safely enjoy themselves.
* Choose selections that you wish to have, then discuss the details of any necessary alternative preparations with your caterer more than once, including plans to avoid cross-contamination. Be very specific.
* If you are having a buffet, ask your caterer to clearly label each dish. Be as elaborate as possible. This will caution guests with food allergies/intolerances/sensitivities and inform them of any hidden potential allergens.
* Put a note inside of or on the back of the seating placement cards for each guest that noted a dietary restriction. Include which selections are safe for them, or if a special meal has been prepared. Indicate by name who the guest should speak to in the event of a problem.
For the guests:
* Offer to call ahead and speak directly to the caterer or manager yourself, taking one thing off of the bride & groom's "to do" list.
* Once the reception begins, introduce yourself to the caterer/manager/person in charge of the food. Restate your food challenges (ideally, hand them a chef card) and get clear on how they are able to meet them. Sometimes making suggestions as to what would be safe for you is helpful.
* Let your server know your needs and that you spoke to the caterer/manager/person in charge.
* If there is a problem with your meal, do not approach the bride or groom during the wedding. Instead, speak to the caterer/manager/person in charge designated by your hosts.
* It never hurts to bring along snacks just in case - you don't want to be hungry. After all, this is a party and you want to be able to enjoy it!
* After your meal, check in with the caterer/manager/person in charge and give feedback about how the kitchen handled or mishandled your needs. When they've done a great job, sincerely thank them and tell them you'll pass it on!
It's spring and love is in the air...