The Sweet Christian Bride

Food Allergies at Your Wedding

Hi.  My name is Lindsay, and I’m gluten free.

Sometimes having food restrictions feels like a defining problem that needs a confession and apology, other times it feels like part of a fashionable trend.  Regardless of how I feel about it, I can’t eat gluten without paying for it the next three days.

Living in California, I’ve adapted fairly seamlessly thanks to emerging gluten free menus and ample health food stores in our health-conscious culture.  The only time having a food restriction is tricky is when a menu is pre-planned.  Banquets, meetings, airplanes, and of course, weddings all have menus that I can’t dictate, and that’s okay.  I’ve learned to bring food with me and to have a good attitude even if I can’t eat with everyone else.

What I’ve come to realize is releasing expectations allows for extreme gratitude.  Once I successfully accepted that I should never expect someone to accommodate my eating restrictions, I became acutely aware of those who went out of their way to do so.  It’s a gift when someone cooks or orders with me in mind, especially if I am one face in a large crowd.

At a wedding on Sea Island, I sat in a room full of a hundred plus people at an elegant rehearsal dinner.  Because it was a destination wedding, all of the guests were invited into the golf club’s dining room for this affair.  We had been served first-class courses all night long, most of which I was able to eat (yay for meats and vegetables).  

What blew me away was that next to my plate was a basket of warm, gluten-free bread with its own spread of butter nearby.  The bride had made a point to remember that I had a food restriction, to ask me what that entailed, and to order ahead with me in mind.  She even came to my seat during the meal to make sure that I had everything I needed.  And when the cake was served, I was brought a crème brûlée.  I couldn’t believe how attentive the bride was to me on her rehearsal dinner night.

Since then, I’ve noticed an increasing awareness for guests’ food restrictions at weddings beyond the traditional vegetarian option such as making one small layer of the wedding cake gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free or [insert allergen]-free.  Or something as simple as a card on the table listing allergen-friendly courses is significantly helpful. 

No one expects to be individually catered to at a wedding, but if you have the capacity to address individual dietary needs of your guests, your service will be noticed and appreciated.

By Lindsay

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