How to Cater to Your Wedding Guests’ Dietary Restrictions
According to the Food Allergy Research & Education organization, 32 million people (approximately 10% of the population) in the United States have food allergies. This number is at an all-time high and statistically speaking, it suggests at least one person at your wedding will require specific food needs. When hosting an event involving food, an invitation should be extended with a sense of responsibility and consideration for the guest’s dietary restrictions. Providing that extra level of care will help make your guests feel appreciated and make your special day even more memorable!
Here at Relish, we take dietary restrictions seriously and will work collaboratively with you to create the perfect menu that fits any request. To ease your workload, here are some of our tips on how to cater for your wedding guests’ dietary restrictions.
Be aware and learn about the most common dietary restrictions and preferences
Knowledge is power. Prior to asking your guests about their dietary restrictions and preferences, it is important to understand what these mean and what types of foods they refer to. Use the following list to learn about the most common restrictions we cater for.
Gluten intolerance is a condition that causes a person to react after ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. About 6% of the U.S. population has gluten sensitivity and 1% have celiac disease. Those with celiac disease have an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.
Recap: Avoid products with wheat, barley and rye
People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose (the sugar in milk products). Even though this condition is typically harmless, it can be very uncomfortable for some.
Recap: Avoid milk and other dairy products
Peanuts are one of the most common allergy-causing foods and can sometimes be found in foods you wouldn’t expect. Interestingly enough, peanuts are legumes but they are similar in structure than tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans and cashews). In some cases, those allergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts but keep in mind this isn’t always the case.
Recap: Make a distinction between peanut allergy and tree nut allergy. Depending on the person’s allergy, avoid peanuts, and/or almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans and cashews.
For some, following a vegetarian diet comes from the desire to avoid meat products or reasons related to health and environmental beliefs or religious practices. For others, a plant-based diet allows them to avoid triggering allergies.
Recap: Avoid meat products
An increasing number of people have been adopting a vegan diet for ethical, environmental or health reasons. Veganism as a movement excludes all forms of animal exploitation from food, clothing and any other purposes. When it comes to food, the vegan diet excludes all animal products like meat, eggs and dairy.
Recap: As a rule of thumb, avoid animal products like meat, eggs and dairy. There are several variations for the vegan diet so make sure to ask your guests for their specifics
Kosher food is a term used to describe food that adheres to Jewish religious tradition and reverence. According to the laws of the Torah, there are only certain types of meat that may be eaten and these must be sourced in their own specific manner to be considered Kosher.
Recap: Ask about dietary restrictions based on personal or religious practices
Keep track of dietary restrictions and preferences
After getting acquainted with the dietary restriction and preference terminology, it’s important to start reaching out to guests and taking note of every single restriction and preference that is mentioned. A good way to manage this information is by adding a question on your invitation so that it is included as a response when guests RSVP. Keeping this list will make it easier to organize and group restrictions, preferences and start getting an idea of what types of accommodations you’ll need to prepare for.
Distinguish between restrictions and preferences
With a set list of all foods that need to be taken into consideration, draw a line between restrictions and preferences. Making this distinction from an early start can help with the planning and organization of food. With that said, the best approach (and budget permitting) is to treat all requests as if they were allergies to be respected.
As a catering company, we are in tune and fully understand the extent of care for many dietary restrictions and preferences. We also know how to satisfy those who have them. Let us create a wedding menu with you and your guests in mind.
If you are in any need of help or guidance on how to communicate dietary restrictions and preferences with your guests, our professional wedding designers are here to help. Simply fill give us a call at 303.532.4095 or send us a message!