How to Navigate Food Allergies and Preferences for Your Wedding

 When you start working with a caterer in Maryland on the menu for your special day, it is likely  an exciting and overwhelming experience. There are so many options to choose from, and you want to make sure all of your guests have something that suits their tastes and dietary restrictions. It is very likely that several people who attend your wedding will be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or have a dairy free diet. Additionally, there will also be a few guests with food allergies that may be either mild or severe.

No matter a guest’s food allergies or preferences, you should plan to have a few options that everyone can eat. That’s why we’ve come up with a guide to help you create a menu that all of your guests can enjoy. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Ask Your Guests if They Have Any Dietary Restrictions Ahead of Time

Bring a list of your guest’s dietary restrictions to your caterer in Maryland so they can start planning menu options

save the date example dark green
Have your guest send back their dinner preferences and dietary restrictions attached to your save-the-date.

The best way to collect information about your guest’s allergies and dietary preferences is from  your wedding invitations. These days, it’s common to ask about any food preferences on your save-the-date. That way, you can be notified of any sensitivities as early as possible and begin menu planning with your caterer in Maryland. If you aren’t having guests return save-the-date cards, you can always instruct your guests to give you a call if they have any food restrictions. Once you’ve gotten all of your responses, it’s time to start planning your menu!

Step 2: Collaborate With Your Caterer in Maryland on a Menu Everyone Can Enjoy

Now that you know about all of the guest’s dietary restrictions, you and your caterer in Maryland can start brainstorming menu concepts

Wedding guests at a self-serve buffet
Start by planning your cocktail hour menu before moving to your main courses.

No matter your guest’s restrictions, an experienced caterer will be able to make a few dishes that work with any diet. Whether that means making ingredient substitutions or adding more items to the menu, your caterer in Maryland will be able to help you out with every step of the process.

To get started, let’s talk about your cocktail hour. Most wedding receptions begin with a cocktail hour and serve some small hors d’oeuvres. So everyone can enjoy a snack with their cocktail, you should coordinate with your caterer to make sure that there is at least one vegan option available and one that accommodates all with food allergies. For example, a veggie based hors d’oeuvre or one that is designated as nut-free will give your guests with different restrictions an option to try. Remember — you can have as many different types of food as you want, so you can always provide more than one option for those with dietary restrictions.

Step 3: Ask Your Caterer in Maryland for A Comprehensive Ingredient List

If one or more of your guests has severe allergies, ask your caterer in Maryland about the ingredient list for each dish

young couple meeting with wedding planner or caterer
Communicate any questions or concerns you have with your caterer.

When a guest attending your wedding has a serious food allergy, you should ask for a complete ingredient list from your caterer. Then, after you receive your ingredient list, you can send the recipes to your guests with food allergies to make sure they have something to enjoy. This way you’ll know for certain which foods each individual is able to eat and which foods they’ll need to avoid. If a guest responds to the ingredient list and a food item needs to be added or removed, you can always ask your caterer about ways you can make accommodations.

Step 4: Carefully Label All Buffet Style Dishes

Any self serve food options should be clearly labeled according to dietary restrictions

catered wedding food with label buffet style
Before your reception, make sure you know whether you or your caterer is creating food labels.

During your cocktail hour or your reception dinner, it's likely that there will be  some self-serving food options for your guests to enjoy. To avoid a dangerous situation, you should take care to clearly label each option so your guests know of any allergens or animal products before they take a bite. 

It is also important to note that cross contamination can occur as guests are serving themselves. To avoid any cross contamination you should let those with allergies and dietary restrictions get their food before anyone else can use the serving utensils. It is also important to label the utensils as well, so that guests serving themselves later can avoid cross contamination between dishes. 


If you are looking for a caterer in Maryland to help you create a menu that all of your guests can enjoy, look no further than The Smokehouse Grill. We’ll help you customize your venue for your guests and help you design your perfect menu and reception. Contact The Smokehouse Grill today and we’ll help you turn your dream wedding into a reality.

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