Food For Thought: How To Cater For Wedding Guests with Special Diets

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Food For Thought



So, you’ve decided on a time of day, and a menu, and are eager to start working on that all-important centerpiece, the cake. However before we rush off into that topic, there’’s one more thing to consider about what you will serve at your reception.

Nowadays “special diets” are the norm, rather than the exception. Sometimes the restrictions are religious in nature, sometimes they are based on a sense of social activism, and in other cases they are for medical reasons and can literally be a matter of life and death.

How then can you aim to navigate this potential minefield while still serving dishes that fit your preferences and that will appeal to a majority of palates? Gathering as much information, between when the invitations go out and when you first meet with caterers will help you and your caterer to shape a menu that ticks as many boxes as possible.

On the upside, most guests with special dietary needs are used to dining in  a wide variety of situations and are able to pick and choose at events (some may even eat beforehand). Those for whom medical situations may be a concern will also generally alert  you upon accepting your invitation. Nevertheless, you may still want to be aware of the following suggestions so as to create as inclusive and accommodating an environment as possible.

• Add wording to your RSVP cards along the lines of “Please note any special dietary requirements”

• Add a note to your personal wedding website that invites guests to email you with their particular dietary restriction and requirements.

• Offer at least one vegetarian (preferably vegan) option during each course.

• Go for delicious options that are safe for more than one dietary restriction. For example, a vegetable and grain-based side dish can easily double up into a main course for a guest who eats vegan and/or gluten-free.

• For the dessert round, in addition to cake, offer up chocolate mousse, panna cotta or an ice-cream and sorbet station. Vegan truffles and cookies, and gluten-free cupcakes may also be a delightful options, however you will want to check the costs of these add-ons.

• If you are using a buffet-style service make sure that the dietary profiles of the dishes are clearly indicated.

• If you are using a plated service  make sure that the wait staff have been properly trained as to the content of the dishes so that they can answer any guest questions.

With just a little extra planning, every one of your guests will be made to feel genuinely welcomed, and even more importantly, none need go hungry!


“Food For Thought” is sponsored by The Wedding Convention TT 2016. Click below to learn more!


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Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes"

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