Food allergies and intolerances are rough…not just for the people that have them, but also for the people trying to help accommodate them. And nothing highlights that first sentence more than an event, wedding, or dinner party. As a wedding and event planner, this is a topic that comes up quite often when I meet with my various clients because they want their guests to enjoy the event. I also understand what it is like to attend an event and not be able to eat a single thing as I struggle with food intolerances myself. Since there are so many different dietary restrictions, it can feel overwhelming as a host when it comes to accommodating these various needs. BUT accommodating is easier than it seems, and I'm going to show you how. Today I'm sharing a few quick tips on how to navigate accommodating food allergies/intolerances when it comes to the next event you are hosting!
Before we begin, I want to point out a few things:
Unless you have close family members with known food allergies/intolerances, you are not expected to accommodate everyone’s needs. Your guests don’t expect you to either.
Lifestyle diets are not a requirement to accommodate simply because these are, in most cases, a choice (ex. Paleo, Keto, etc.)
Don’t be offended if your guest brings their own food during your event (The alternative was not coming at all)
3 Quick Tips For All Your Events:
#1. If you are providing a meal, include some basic vegetable dishes or bland options that can be jazzed up with a sauce. It is usually ingredients in the dish that are the sneaky offenders.
- If you are hosting a bridal shower brunch and plan to serve quiche, consider also serving no-ingredients added scrambled eggs.
- If you are serving a buffet at your wedding, ask your caterer if the added flavor for the protein can be added in the form of a sauce instead of crust of some sort.
#2. If you are going to alter dishes or desserts to be “allergy friendly”, make sure they look like the real deal. Below is one of my favorite examples of this from one of my couples from last year (and what inspired this blog post!)
- The most frequent example of this is vegetarian dish options. It allows guests the opportunity to have an entrée without feeling like they are stuck on a desert island.
- Since Gluten is one of the most well known offenders and appears in more dishes than you realize, ask your caterer if they are able to serve their dishes gluten free. A few caterers I have worked with recently in Southern Oregon that are able to accommodate gluten free menus are Smoke & Mirrors BBQ and Bigham Knoll Events (there several more too!).
#3. The littlest acknowledgement goes a long way in making your guests feel more comfortable (and it keeps you from feeling overwhelmed). One dish or one dessert that is allergy friendly and is just as tasty as the “normal stuff” will make your guests feel cared for!
Corey & Monique knew several of their guests, both family members and friends, were allergic to gluten. Dessert is usually an off-limits part of the meal for those with dietary restrictions, but Corey & Monique wanted otherwise for their guests. Not only did they find a cake designer/baker that would be able to provide a gluten free option, they had the cake designed to blend in with the other one! Guests, unless they were informed, couldn't even tell that the pink cake was made specially for those with an allergy to gluten. Those guests who otherwise might have skipped the cake that night found themselves enjoying every element and part of Corey & Monique's wedding day...and the looks on their faces was priceless!
Images: Rebekah Jule Photography
Cake by: Sweet Stuff
Personal Parties (Birthday, Baby Showers, Bridal Showers, Etc.):
Always provide a spread of fruits & vegetables. A spread consists of a variety of these food groups with multiple options (not just carrots & broccoli) and provides a filling alternative for those with dietary restrictions.
If you have some guests that you are making adjustments for (without them knowing), reach out to them prior to the wedding or have a family member the day of let them know that ______(fill in the blank) is safe for them to eat. It makes your guests feel extra special knowing that they will be able to eat at least one of the items being served.
Since dinner parties usually have fewer guests, reach out to the guests you know that struggle with dietary restrictions and ask if your menu will work for them. If not, ask if there are any dish alterations or even additional dishes you can add to help them feel more comfortable.
Guest Tip #1:
If you are concerned about your attendance at an event, contact the host! Find out if their menu accommodates your diet restrictions, and if it doesn’t, offer to bring something to share. If the host is concerned about accommodating you, give actual tips and information on how they can! They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t genuinely want to help.
Guest Tip #2:
Acknowledge that the host made the effort to provide options for you and thank them. Hosts want their guests to enjoy the event so they want to know that the extra effort made a difference in your enjoyment of the celebration.
Thanks for reading my quick tips on making your next event more allergy friendly! I hope you feel inspired to throw your next celebration...and don't forget to give me a call so that I can plan it!
Wedding & Event Planning Expert
Events With Becca, Inc., established in 2013, exists to show the love of God through the planning, designing, and coordinating of all of life's most special celebrations. Becca's genuine heart, sweet spirit, strong organizational skills, imaginative fairy-tale design eye, overall expertise in the planning and execution of events allows her clients to enjoy every moment of the planning and execution of each celebration.