Post # 1
So I am completely curious to know what the Bees have to say about guests replying with special diet requests. This came up for me personally about a year ago when I was RSVP-ing to my cousin’s wedding. I have celiac disease which to anyone out there who is unfamiliar with this really fun condition it means I cant eat gluten without getting really really sick. Like really sick. Like earned me a trip to the emergency room a few times kind of sick. This is of course an extreme but even at its best it is like having the stomach flu for a few days (sorry if TMI!) so obviously just sucking it up and eating it isnt really an option. This left me with a particular quandary, though, in how to politely reply that I would like to attend the wedding but couldnt eat the meal. I tried and tried at the time to find some piece if ettiquette advice that would help me along but there was a surprising lack of advice on the subject. Co-workers and friends werent any more helpful either as their opinions ranged from reply with meal and dont eat it to dont go to the wedding. I finally settled on replying for my fiance and I with only one meal choice selected and then wrote my cousin an email (a call would have been nicer but she was REALLY busy at the time so I figured email was more convenient for her) explaining that I really wanted to attend her wedding but because of eating restrictions I couldnt participate in the meal. I told her I was more than happy to find food for myself in between the ceremony and reception and wouldnt want her to pay for a meal that would unfortunately go uneaten. To my surprise my cousin graciously replied that she would talk to the caterer and, in the end, was able to get me a special meal that I could eat along with everyone else. I never would have expected this but in the end it was such a nice gesture. So here is my question to all of you (since I know that some of us have experienced the guest reply with the less than polite requests) What is the correct way to handle the situation when you are the one who has the “special” requests? Do you think I handled it correctly? Anyone have any other suggestions? And as brides when we get the special requests what is the polite way to handle them?
Post # 3
I put on my rsvp card to contact me with special diet requests. I didn’t want anyone to not eat because they were allergic(which was my biggest worry) My venue is accomodating my requests as long as we are not inventing the wheel. In a lot of cases the kids meal was an option. One of the choices I had made was gluten free to start so that helped in 2 situations. I think it’s polite to offer so that no one feels awkward having to ask you.
Post # 4
I think you handled it very well, and from the bride perspective so did your cousin. It’s not like you didn’t pick something because you didn’t like it. You couldn’t because you have a serious illness, and that is something that must be accommodated.
ETA: We put on our website to let us know if there were any dietary restrictions or special accommodations needed.
Post # 5
I think you handled it very well. And I actually think an e-mail (rather than a phone call) was a better approach. That way the bride had some time to read your e-mail and think about options, rather than have to provide you with an answer on the spot.
As for how to handle it as a bride, I’m not sure. I am allergic to shellfish so I am sensitive to food allergies/issues. I know one of my guests greatly dislkes certain foods (so much he claims to be allergic) and I will make sure there are options for him without those things he dislikes.
There will be shellfish at my wedding (because I know people really like it) but it will only be at the coctail hour where I will know exactly what is what.
I’ve recently been to 2 weddings. The first, I was a bridesmaid and the bride knew I was allergic so she put a special sticker on my dinner card (there were several picky eaters/weird eaters that she accomodated as well as those with allergies).
The second wedding was a buffet, so I was able to ask the severs what was in everything to make sure I didn’t get any shellfish. The whole cocktail hour was crab & shrimp (since it was a MD wedding on the water) so I just went without there. Never told the bride & groom about my allergy.
I know celliac disease is harder work around than a pure food allergy though.
Post # 6
I think you did great! I agree with KatNYC2011 that email was the right way to go because it let her respond at her leisure rather than right on the spot. You didn’t demand she provide you with an option; you just informed her of your circumstance—the worst thing that could have happened is that you saved her $200 and you supply your own food.
I like MissHelen’s suggestion for brides to put on their website to contact them with any special dietary problems. If you have a buffet dinner, it also great to label the food so that people know exactly what’s in it—if you knew your guests had allergies, you could even put allergy information on the labels (like, “contains wheat”).
Post # 7
i feel really bad b/c I know there was at least 1 vegetarian at my wedding and I never told the caterers.. They were amazing though so I am assuming they whipped something up.
I think you handled this the best way possible. Because you didn’t just check a meal off that would have cost her $, but at the same time you had a backup plan that you informed her of so she didn’t have to do anything. And of course the right thing for her to do is try and accomodate you which she did.
Post # 8
We’re putting it on our invitations to specify. I already know a few of our guests have food allergies or specific preferences. It’s not a problem to accommodate them, because we don’t want anyone to not enjoy anything.
I think you handled it well. I would have been fine accommodating you if you had been my guest because you weren’t rude.
Post # 9
I’m not a celiac but I am gluten intolerant. I usually try to get a heads up on whether the dinner will be buffet or plated. If it is a buffet, I usually just try to make do, but if it is plated I usually let the bride know. I think you handled it just fine. I actually find plated easier to navigate than buffet, because it is so hard to know what is in many buffet dishes. I’ve only been to one wedding that I had a really hard time at because the food was Southern themed (aka, breaded or fried) and I just ate a lot of salad. 🙂
Post # 10
One of my really good friends has celiacs, and I’ve had to learn to cook for her 🙂 Plus we know a fair number of lactose intolerant folks (and some kids), so we knew there would be dietary restrictions at our wedding!
And actually, every single caterer we spoke with mentioned that they could easily accomodate any allergies or food restrictions if we let them know ahead of time. I think that food allergies and intolerances are becoming more common (or at least more widely recognized), so caterers who are worth their snuff should be prepared to handle it.
In our case, all it took to accomodate our “special” requests was to write on the catering list (where we had to give them names, table numbers and meal choices) “vegan meal”, “gluten free meal” or “dairy free meal” and they didn’t bat an eye when I emailed it to them, just responded with a full count of chicken, pork, kids meal, vegan, gluten free and dairy free for confirmation.
Post # 11
I think you handled it just fine! I agree with a PP that an email was actually better than a phone call because it gave the bride time to contact the caterer and see what her options were.
Gluten-free meals aren’t uncommon and most caterers/restaurants/wedding food services are used to making meals to meet dietary requirements.
As a bride, I would much rather hear from a guest beforehand rather than learning after the wedding that they went without eating.
Post # 12
generally there’s a place on the RSVP card. If not, I’d call the bride and ask her if it’s ok and what to do. If she hesitates or seems to be a problem, I’d try to work around it. Offer to even bring own food or ask her what she’d like you to do.
Generally reception places can cater for this and it’s all cool, but try not to be a problem.