Tis the season of food people! Yes, we’ve got menus on the mind around here. If you’re planning a wedding celebration, a dinner party of any gatherings where people will enjoy some fabulous morsels, then we bet you are thinking about it too. But what about your guests that need to think twice about what’s on the table? It’s a fact of life that some people have restrictions on what they can put in their bodies – sometimes by choice and sometimes because of very serious medical conditions. For this reason, we always recommend including an RSVP question on your wedding website to specifically ask your guests about any dietary restrictions or allergies that you need to be aware of.
For those of us who don’t have food restrictions or preferences, this world can seem daunting. So today, we are going to do our best to cover some of the food considerations you might see come back as a response to the all important “Do you have any dietary restrictions?” RSVP question.
Vegetarian / Vegan
Vegetarian guests do not eat meat or animal flesh. This includes soups that have a meat-based stock. Some guests may refer to themselves as pescatarian, which means they eat fish, but not animal meats or flesh.
Vegans follow a plant-based diet and do not eat animal flesh, and also restrain from eating animal products. This includes eggs, dairy and other animal derived products (for instance, certain types to gelatins.)
Sweet Potato Bruschetta, recommend in One Green Planet’s Guide To Vegan Wedding Foods
Kosher diets follow the rules of Kashrut or Jewish dietary law, which dictates what foods may be eaten and how they should be prepared and consumed. Meat and diary foods may not be stored, cooked or consumed together. There are restrictions on the types of animal meats that can be consumed. Specifically only animals that chew their cud and have cloven hooves are allowed, which prohibits animals like pigs, rabbits. Kosher foods are also slaughtered and prepared in specific ways. Dairy must come from a Kosher animal and be processed in a Kosher facility. Non-meat and diary items are also subject to Kosher law, including wine.
A Halal diet specifies foods that are permissible for Muslims to eat or drink under Islamic Shariʻah (law). It includes both the types of foods that can be eaten, as well as how the foods are prepared and primarily applies to meat and animal tissue. Common restrictions include not consuming pork, blood, animals that are not killed in a Halal way, and alcoholic beverages.
Halal wedding menus by Silver Spoon Catering
There are numerous types of nut allergies. Two of the most common are peanuts, which are legumes, and tree nuts, which includes almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts/hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, and walnuts.
Like those with peanut alleargies, individuals who are allergic to shellfish can have extreme reactions. This allergy can include shelled marine animals like shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, mussels, scallops, and oysters, as well as octopus, squid and squid ink.
Free downloadable food allergy place card printables by Marry This
Celiac disease (gluten-free)
Those who follow a gluten-free diet do not eat barley, rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), or wheat. Sone common food that they do not eat (unless they are specifically marked gluten-free) include: bread, cake, beer, cookies, crackers, croutons, french fries, pasta, salad dressing, soy sauce (and other types of sauces), potato chips, some soups/soup bases.
Photo by Robert Betz, featured on Gluten-Free Living
Lactose intolerant (dairy free)
Individuals who are lactose intolerant can not digest lactose, which is the sugar primarily found in milk and dairy products. Common foods that lactose intolerant guests will avoid are cheese, milk and ice cream. Lactose is sometimes found in bread, baked goods, salad dressing, candy, as well as foods that contain whey, curds and dry milk/dry milk solids.
Dairy Free Naked Wedding Cake by The Organic Wedding Cake Company
If you are working with a caterer, it is essential for you to keep them updated about anything your guests’ can not eat. They are the experts and they will have many ideas about how to keep your guests both safe and happily fed. If you are planning a DIY potluck, working with a local food truck, or supplying your own food, then searching for alternative or complimentary food items for your restricted guests will certainly bring smiles to their faces. If your celebration includes any buffet tables, and you know you have guests with certain food restrictions, it is helpful to label foods or let them know about ingredients that could be harmful. Some guests with severe allergies may prefer to eat before coming or bring their own meal/snacks.
The important thing to remember is to communicate with guests so that you and others involved in the food preparation are aware of any concerns. Taking the time and thought to ensure that all of your guests are able to enjoy the day will mean the world to them.