Planning a wedding or another large event requires a lot of coordination and attention to detail. Meeting with your caterer to discuss options for savory hors d’oeuvres, succulent entrees, scrumptious sides and delectable desserts can be one of the most important aspects of wedding planning. Oftentimes, I see brides and grooms carefully consider the general food preferences of their guests, avoiding foods that may be too spicy or too exotic, but overlook the fact that many guests may have food allergies or sensitivities to take into consideration.
Food intolerances and sensitivities are very common and are on the rise. An estimated 20% of the world’s population has a known food intolerance or allergy. Food intolerances and allergies can cause mild discomfort and even life-threatening side effects. We want everyone at the event to be talking about the meal they were served for months after the event, even those with allergies and sensitivities.
The most common food allergies and sources of intolerance that we encounter in catering large events are dairy, gluten, eggs, msg, soy, corn, garlic, strawberries, tree nuts and peanuts. While there are many other food allergies and intolerances to note, these are the most frequently mentioned ones in our business.
Here are some tips on how to seamlessly consider allergies and intolerances in order to have a happy and drama-free event”
A simple line on the RSVP card, letting guests know they should list any allergies/intolerances will help you tailor a menu that has options for everyone.
Your caterer can help create a menu around dietary restrictions. At Village Pantry Catering, nearly our entire menu is made from-scratch so we can seamlessly eliminate some items from a recipe that will irritate some guests. However, if there a lot of varied restrictions, we can make special plated meals for those with allergies to avoid cross-contamination.
Whether you are planning to have a printed menu at each place setting or a menu sign at the buffet, having ingredients listed will help avoid last-minute questions about what items contain the allergens. Guests with allergies will be at ease, knowing someone took the time to read ingredient lists on things such as salad dressings and breads.
On occasion, guests neglect to inform you of their dietary restrictions. Some may avoid certain food just for personal preference and not necessarily for reason of intolerance. It is helpful to have some hors d’oeuvres that are nut-free, vegan, gluten-free and kosher. That way, if someone doesn’t list these items on their RSVP card, there are still items for them to eat.
You may encounter some guests who have such extreme and sensitive allergies, that they would prefer to pack their own meal. Although you may want to accommodate them, just as you do all your other guests, the safest thing may be to allow them to bring their own food.
Originally posted as a feature on Marmalade Lily’s blog.