Catering can easily be one of the most expensive items in your wedding budget. Making sure that the meal is to your taste and pleasant for your guests is a major part of the wedding couple's responsibilities. This can be made more difficult if you are concerned about food allergies and sensitivities. The following guide can help you make the right decision on your menu choices.
Understand the etiquette
Etiquette requires that you make reasonable accommodations for your guests. In the case of food allergies, this means you should probably take steps to provide options that address any allergies in your wedding party or immediate family, as well as providing at least two options for the rest of your guest list. You should also plan to avoid any allergen on the menu if you are notified by a guest that they have a life-threatening allergy, such as to peanuts. You are not required to survey your guests for allergies or meet the minor allergy requests of every single person on your guest list.
Provide several options
Most weddings provide two main meal options. Traditionally the choice was between steak and chicken or chicken and fish. For modern weddings, the options are sometimes between an animal-based protein and a vegetarian main dish, as this will address a wider range of food sensitivities and preferences. You should also plan to have a couple of options for side dishes. For example, if you are serving a dressed salad, also offer an option with no dressing. This way people with minor allergies or sensitivities can make choices to avoid triggers.
Avoid major allergens
Your caterer is likely aware of the more common allergens, which include peanuts and nuts, dairy, shellfish, and wheat. They can help you design a menu that doesn't use these items or offers plenty of variety so there is a side dish or two that is free of most of the allergens. For example, they may recommend that you serve rice in a broth sauce instead of pasta in a cheese sauce, since the rice dish doesn't contain wheat or dairy.
Ask for food labeling
The ingredients for everything being served at your wedding need to be easily accessible by all members of the catering staff. This way the servers can check quickly to see if a dish contains a potential allergen if a guest asks for clarification. The staff must also be trained on how to serve in the event they are notified of an allergy so that they can avoid cross-contamination.
For more help with wedding catering, contact a caterer in your area and discuss your plans.