1. Find out what the allergies are.
This is the most obvious part, but it’s still important. Even if there is only one guest with allergies at your wedding, you need to know what they are! Different allergies mean different things for your caterer, and while some are easy to avoid others are a bit trickier. That’s why it’s so important to have a firm understanding of what needs to be avoided. Whether it’s a peanut, gluten, or dairy allergy, it is still vitally important that you and the people making the food completely understand it. Certain allergies are more complex than others, such as peanut allergies. Many individuals that are allergic to peanuts actually suffer from a legume allergy. That means that other foods like chickpeas, green peas, and lentils will also cause an allergic reaction. That is definitely something to be considered before you ask for hummus on your appetizer table! This also applies to more rare and obscure issues, like onion allergies. An onion allergy will be triggered by tons of common food products from spices to mustard, and sometimes even garlic!
2. Find out how serious the allergy is.
Do not under any circumstances underestimate the power of a food allergy. While one guest with allergies might only have a mild reaction like an itchy nose or throat, or upset stomach if exposed to their allergen, others could have a life threatening response. That’s not what any bride and groom want at their wedding reception. Step number two is finding out how serious your guest’s allergy is. Some allergies are so severe that people cannot even be in the same room with the food, and if that is the case you should carefully consider what you offer on your reception menu. Never assume that someone will be alright if they come into contact with just a small amount of their allergen. Certain people have reactions from being too close to a food they are allergic to, or simple from smelling it!
3. Be on the lookout for hidden allergens!
This is especially prevalent with Celiacs disease. While there are milder forms of gluten intolerance, Celiac’s is an autoimmune disorder that causes a severe response from the immune system. This is also one of the hardest allergies to avoid. There is hidden wheat and gluten in so many food products from spice blends, to salad dressings, and even some drinks! If a guest suffers from this condition, even food processed in a facility that also processes wheat can be dangerous. Take that into account when choosing your menu and make sure that your caterer is well aware of this allergy. Don’t forget about your bar menu, either! People with gluten sensitivities or allergies cannot drink most beers or any grain alcohol. So if you’re planning to only serve Yuengling Lager and whiskey sours, perhaps you should plan to have an option for your guests that cannot enjoy those.
4. Make sure all staff at your reception is aware of the allergies.
This is a non-issue if you’re hiring A Catered Affair for your event, as we take allergies seriously. We make sure to alert every single individual working your event, especially kitchen and waitstaff that could potentially be handling food. If you have a different caterer, be sure to communicate the type and severity of any and all allergies, and make sure that they know to alert all people working your event. The last thing you want is every precaution to be taken against a peanut allergy only to have an unaware server eat a handful of peanut M&Ms before setting the buffet!
5. Either have special food or make everything allergy-friendly!
You can easily cut out the allergens completely, especially with our skilled chef and team here at A Catered Affair. No matter the allergy, we will find a way to make delicious food while ensuring the safety of everyone, especially your guest with allergies at your wedding. However, if you have your heart set on fried chicken but the best man has Celiacs, we can easily prepare a special, gluten free meal for that individual.
6. Decide on plated or buffet.
There is no right choice for your wedding. Consider what we’ve already discussed and use that information to help you make an assessment and find the best solution for your guest with allergies. With a buffet it is a bit harder to control the risk of contamination if an allergen is present. It is unlikely that every guest will be aware that your Aunt has a dairy intolerance and might use the cheese tongs to grab a mini slider off the appetizer table. If you want to avoid any risk and leave nothing to chance, a plated dinner might be better suited for your wedding reception. That way the kitchen and waitstaff who are aware of the allergies can take all precautions to avoid any accidents.
Written By Corinne Noelle
Morgan G Photography, Jenna Henderson Photography, Lauren K Allen Photography