Q: My fiancé and I are particular about our food as we’re both vegetarians. Our guests, on the other hand, are all over the place. We have friends that are also vegetarians, others that are gluten-free, and then we have family who are huge meat eaters. We want to make sure everyone is happy, but we also want our meal to be healthy as that is important to us. How do we make sure everyone is taken care of?
This is a wonderful question especially nowadays where everyone’s meal requirements are different. You have food allergies, food restrictions and more. I deal with this on a constant basis with my clients, so you’re not alone. And I think it’s great that you’re thinking about all of your guests. It’s important to remember your guests, but also make sure you’re creating the wedding experience you want. So, I applaud you for thinking about the whole picture.
So, first off, I want you to know that any professional caterer will be able to help you with your special needs and provide you with healthy catering options. However, some caterers will specialize in what you’re looking for and others less so. You’ll want to take a look at their sample menus to get an idea of what they’re good at. And you’ll want to pick the one that understands what you want (from your conversation) and is comfortable with it.
Once you have the right caterer, then you can actually start putting together your meal. Now, before we dive into that, if you’re working with a venue that is your caterer, you won’t have a choice. However, they still should be able to provide you with some healthy catering options.
Now, the easiest way to make sure everyone is taken care of is to go with a plated meal. This way, everyone gets to pick what they want. Meat lovers can get the beef dish. Your vegetarian friends can get a nice veggie dish. And those with additional special needs like gluten-free can have that meal.
If you don’t want a plated meal, then you’ll want to do a large buffet or stations spread. You’ll need lots of options so that everyone can find what they want, but this is another way to go about it. I would definitely recommend that you stay away from a family style meal as it just won’t work with your group.
Outside of the main meal itself, you’re probably thinking about appetizers and dessert. In a similar vein as the buffet idea, you’ll want a nice variety of appetizers to please everyone. Some veggie, some meat based. You can certainly go heavy on the veggie side here if you prefer since it’s not the main meal.
For dessert, you’ll need to do something special for your gluten-free friends, but everyone else should be ok with whatever you choose. However, if you want to continue providing variety, go for a dessert bar instead of a plated dessert. This will give your guests options again, letting them pick and choose what they want.
And then you’re all set! Not so bad, right? If you have any other requests with regards to flavors, style or items to stay away from, make sure you share that with your caterer as well. Your caterer will be able to provide you with good suggestions and ideas to make sure you have the healthy catering options you want and your guests are happy too.
Oh and by the way, if you’re not into healthy catering options and you want comfort food or more of a diner experience, your caterer can help you with that as well. You’d still follow these same guidelines to make sure everyone is taken care of, but adjust it to your group and the experience you want.
(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)
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