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Bridal Club Magazine

Wedding Reception Menus - What If My Guests Have Special Dietary Needs?

There is no denying that one of the most enjoyable parts of the wedding is the reception. All your loved ones are together celebrating the first meal of your new lift together as man and wife. However for some, being forced to eat foods they may be allergic to or other - it may see them opting out of coming altogether to save causing a fuss. So before you begin planning your menu, consider the ages, dietary needs, food likes and dislikes of your guests. You can get a general idea of a guest's food preferences by asking them to indicate on the wedding response card what they like.

When talking to your caterer, it pays to discuss your meal options and be familiar with ingredients in the food. You could have guests with peanut or wheat allergies - some reactions being worse than others. Tell the chef if you need many special foods, or just one or two items. Remember that you can't please everyone, but you need to make sure there are plenty of things available that everyone can enjoy. Whether you are having a buffet luncheon or a sit down dinner, here are some points to consider while working on your menu:

Vegetarians vs. Vegans

There are two types of Vegetarians: those who will eat some animal products, and those that will not. A sure way to please everyone is to offer fruit and vegetable platters as part of the meal. Vegans do not eat any animal products - this includes eggs, dairy products and products that contain animal fat or gelatine.
Dips made without dairy products and light hors devours such as cucumber sandwiches are a light and tasty treat. Vegetable soup or bouillon and lush salads are also good ideas.


Diabetic people usually have very strict diets, and must watch their sugar intake. While it is possible to have a sugar free wedding cake, another alternative for your Diabetic guests is a choice of sugar free desserts such as gelatine or fresh fruit and cheese.

The Elderly and Children

Older people have vastly different tastes from children. While your kid brother would probably love a reception table full of pizza and nachos, your grandparents might not. Some elderly people may be Diabetic, on salt restricted diets, or have a tough time chewing hard foods. Some kids may be too little to eat foods such as grapes (a choking hazard). So how do you find a happy medium? If you are offering a sit down dinner, you can give your guests a choice between meals that are "kid friendly" or "adult friendly." Your caterer probably makes meals specific to each age group, such as spaghetti for kids and a meat dish for adults.

Inquire about salt free meals, soft foods, and recommendations for children's fare. If your caterer can't provide what you want, consider bringing in treats from another source as a backup plan. If you are hosting a buffet or heavy hors devours, you can pick and choose as many items as you want (and that fits your budget). So feel free to have those nachos, if you want them!


Many people are severely allergic to hidden food products these days. Anaphylactic shock can be one extreme reaction while others can cause unpleasant digestion complaints. Those who do suffer from anaphylaxis will most certainly have adrenaline on hand in case an emergency occurs.

These tips should help you, but they should not make you worry about making everyone happy! It is impossible to know the likes and dislikes of every person present, and even if you did, wasting time and energy trying to please everyone will only end up pleasing no one. Think about the types of foods that you enjoy, and have them available. By offering a variety of choices and doing some advance research, you will have a lovely reception!

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