From cake designs and catering, to appetizers and cocktails; planning a tasty wedding menu can a deceptively complicated task. There are just so many factors to take into account, such as what can you afford on you budget? Do you want to keep the refreshments light, or indulge your guests? Do you want to go for more exotic fare, or are you looking to keep things traditional?
Even after you’ve answered all those questions and crafted a seemingly perfect wedding menu there’s the looming spectre of food allergies, and dietary restrictions to consider. After all, when a substantial portion of Australians are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or nut-averse; a simple spread of meat or fish just doesn’t cut it anymore.
While any considerate host has to consider the comfort and convenience of all their guests, keeping track of every single persons’ specific dietary preference is nigh impossible, especially if you’re planning a large event. Don’t worry though; you don’t have to plan a made-to-order meal for every single one of your attendees. With these handy guidelines in place, you can plan a complete menu that can cater to even the pickiest palate.
Be Aware of Common Restrictions
While a rare allergy to prawn cocktails might catch even the most prepared wedding planner off guard, there are certain dietary restrictions that you just can’t afford to overlook. Here are a few that you should keep in mind.
Vegan/Vegetarian – While vegetarians just don’t eat meat, vegans avoid all animal products altogether. That includes: dairy, eggs, fish and honey. When you’re thinking about planning a non-meat option for your menu, make sure to take all of these restrictions into account.
Nut Allergies – Nut allergies are fairly common, so most caterers will already have sufficient experience in adjusting their menus to accommodate these individuals. It’s important to note that highly allergic people may not even be able to ingest a meal that was prepared with peanuts. In these cases, you may need to have a separate dish prepared for specific guests.
Gluten Free – As more and more information about the potential harmful effects of gluten come out, an increasing number of people are turning away from grains like wheat, barley. Rye and malt. Planning for these guests might mean that you need to make some changes to your wedding cake recipe, but if a gluten-free cake isn’t an option then you might opt for an additional desert option such as fresh fruit.
Halal/Kosher – If you have any Muslim or Jewish guests at your wedding, then you may need to plate up a specially prepared non-pork meat option. Alternatively, just keep away from pork altogether. Because most Muslim guests won’t drink alcohol, you might consider a non-alcoholic option for your open bar as well!
Ask on the Invite
Add a line to your RSVP card which prompts guests to add in any details regarding dietary restrictions or allergies. Armed with these suggestions, you can prepare a menu that can satisfy all of your guests in turn. Alternatively, if you’ve decided on a menu beforehand, you can include a prospective menu alongside the invitation. Simply ask guests to check off the option they’d prefer and you can communicate the necessary details to your caterer.
Make Sure Your Caterer is Aware
Not all caterers are experience with serving up great gluten-free of vegan fare. If you have a substantial number of guests with specific dietary restrictions, you’ll need to confirm that your caterer is up to the task.
Have A Well-Labelled Buffet
If your research returns a diversity of tastes and restrictions, you might want to consider setting up a well-labelled buffet or food station, which can service all of your guests’ needs. One thing to avoid here is cross-contamination, make sure that meat dishes are kept separate from vegan dishes, and that gluten-free alternatives aren’t kept right next to their floury brethren. As an added convenience you might even include a list of ingredients next to each dish, to help guests make the right decision for themselves.