Do you have allergies and are either getting married or attending a wedding soon? I can help you out! Allergies tend to be more stressful during parties and events because you usually don’t have as much or any control over the food. I’ve been lucky to have been to a few weddings where the bride and groom knew about my gluten free allergy and gave me a special gluten free meal.
It is rare for the wedding cake or desserts to be allergen free so don’t expect that unless if the bride and/or groom has allergies. Keep in mind, you are at a wedding to celebrate the happy couple, and they may have overlooked your allergy or didn’t know about your allergy, and that is okay. One of the weddings I attended did not know about my allergy so I was very thankful that I ate beforehand. I highly recommend eating a small meal before weddings and/or bringing allergen free snacks so you don’t have to worry if there are not any options for you. You cannot expect them to accommodate your allergy but you can better the situation by planning ahead.
I am gluten free, and I am getting married this summer! My venue is very gluten free friendly – they have gluten free entrée options, all of their sauces are gluten free, many of the appetizers are naturally gluten free, and there are gluten free desserts such as flourless chocolate cake and cookies. I was incredibly lucky that my first choice venue happened to be very gluten free friendly. My venue is in Connecticut which tends to be a more allergy knowledgeable area. Feel free to research which venues are allergen free friendly or be willing to educate your venue on how they can be allergen free friendly during your wedding.
It is up to you if you would like to have an entirely gluten free or allergen free wedding or if you want to have allergen options for you and other guests with allergies. I decided to have gluten free food options available instead of doing an entirely gluten free wedding. The Chef and his staff know that I am gluten free so I am confident that they will make sure I have the options I need. About half of our hors d’oeuvres are gluten free such as lobster salad with endive, watermelon/feta/basil skewer, shrimp cocktail, and cheese display.
For the entrees, we are offering our guests a choice of chicken, salmon, along with a gluten free and dairy free option which is vegetable napoleon with grilled eggplant, zucchini, squash, and Portobello mushroom. Other gluten free entrée options available at the venue are vegetable tagine, cauliflower steak, Cajun tofu, and pasta.
For dessert, our wedding cake will not be gluten free. However, I am going to have gluten free cupcakes. I’ve had gluten-eating people sample the gluten free cupcakes, and they absolutely loved them so I know that I won’t be the only one eating the cupcakes! It is challenging to find a wedding cake baker who is able to make a allergen free cake, along with one that will taste good. You could make your own cake but this may be a lot to take on for your own wedding. Instead, you could have a family member or friend create the cake. Some bakeries will agree to decorate a allergen free cake if you bring them an already-baked cake. However, you still want to make sure that the environment is safe. I recommend visiting the bakery and preparation area to make sure the facility is safe from cross-contamination. You can also opt to have an ice cream or candy bar if you would rather not go down the cake route.
Another item to consider is whether you’d like to have a sit down dinner or serve it buffet-style. If you do it buffet-style, then make sure you have allergen labels for each food item. A downside to a buffet style dinner is that guests could accidentally misuse serving spoons such as using the bread tongs for the salad which could cause cross contamination. I am having a sit down dinner, and I feel confident in the staff since they are well trained to handle allergies.
Most importantly, if the venue does not have allergen free options, don’t’ be afraid to ask them if you can bring in outside food that you can eat. After all, no one wants to go hungry at a wedding!
Jackie Aanonsen is the Founder & CEO of Gluten Free Follow Me, the guide to dining gluten free in NYC, California and beyond! She details and ranks over 2,000 gluten free friendly eateries and products on her website - follow her journey!