Accommodating vegetarian guests at a buffet BBQ wedding?

posted 5 months ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
266 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2025 - City, State

Have you asked the caterer?  I’m sure they’ve run into this before and likely have a plan.  Many will plate separate meals for those who need them, even though the masses are eating from a buffet.

Yes, you need to ask on the invitation (response card or other insert) about dietary restrictions.  Otherwise you won’t know what to plan for.

What does salmon have to do with anything?  Vegetarians don’t eat any type of meat.

Post # 3
3093 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

It would be worthwhile to know how many vegetarians and how restrictive they are. 

If anyone is vegan or doesn’t eat dairy, that’s a lot more complicated than a pretty relaxed vegetarian or two. 

If there are only a couple who respond saying they’re veg, it’s probably worth it just to message them directly and ask what they do and do not eat. 

Post # 4
2484 posts
Buzzing bee

Salmon isn’t vegetarian and either are baked beans.

but Mac and cheese, veggies, coleslaw, cornbread is enough for a meal, so I think you are ok.  Just make sure the Mac and veggies aren’t made with any stock/bacon/etc.

Post # 6
132 posts
Blushing bee

Here is my vegan two cents.  There are different types of vegetarian subcategories but vegetarians by the strictest definition do not eat fish. I think you should ask about dietary restrictions. Maybe some vegetarians can get by with your current menu but vegans can not. I totally diagree with a previous poster who said that the side dishes should be enough. If I am worth inviting to a wedding than I should be worth a complete meal just like any other guest. Order a vegan entree. That way vegetarians no matter what type and vegans can have an entree.  It should be cheaper than salmon and meat eaters will be less likely to eat it. 

Post # 7
63 posts
Worker bee

Yep! We are doing stations, so similar thing. We put in small text at the bottom of the RSVP “Dietary restrictions and allergies ____________________”

It is super useful. We are going to give the info the venue-they will let us know about hidden allergies in the food, and we can give the guests a heads up. Our stations accommodate the vegearivege and vegans, but not the person with Celiacs. So the caterer will make a special plate just for her.  It’s common and pretty easy. And don’t worry, your caterer should be used to it. The vegetarians/vegans will be much happier with a separate plate of w/e if needed instead of salad.

Post # 8
654 posts
Busy bee

DoeEyes :  we had a plated dinner but we didn’t ask about dietary restrictions. Figured if there was any allergies we or our venue would be informed. We had a person with celiac disease who reached out to us and we made sure to provide a Girlfriend meal and dessert for them. 

Post # 9
154 posts
Blushing bee

I’m a vegetarian and have been to many buffets, parties, and weddings where the only thing I can eat are the side dishes and it doesn’t bother me at all! However I am someone who prefers Mac and cheese as a main dish anyway. Especially with bbq sides, I was perfectly happy without an entree. That is just my own personal preference however so it may not be a bad idea to get a tally of those with dietary restrictions.

Post # 10
2407 posts
Buzzing bee

Ensure several of the side dishes are vegetarian or vegan. Several of your sides are not traditionally vegetarian – ie, baked beans are often made with pork fat. If you can confirm any of the sides are vegetarian and/or vegan,have them labeled as such.

Yes, you should ask on the RSVP about dietary restrictions. If you have any vegans, your menu won’t work for them. It might also be challenging for anyone who doesn’t eat pork.  Or even anyone who follows a heart healthy diet – my dad would have to avoid a lot of items on a traditional BBQ menu, sadly.

I used to be vegetarian but I do eat a bit of meat occasionally these days.  And I think you need to offer a vegetarian/vegan friendly entree option.  It’s 2019, vegetarianism is quite common, it’s shitty to expect someone to make do with a few side dishes. 

I wouldn’t  bother with the salmon; it won’t work for the vegetarians.  Any pescatarians can eat a vegetarian or vegan option.

Would your caterer be willing to prepare a set number of vegetarian meals specifically for the number of guests who have indicated they are vegetarian?  

Post # 12
3118 posts
Sugar bee

Mission BBQ’s baked beans and green beans are not vegetarian. One is made with brisket and the other with bacon. You may need to order separate vegetarian meals from a different vendor.

Post # 14
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

We did BBQ and did a completely pescatarian meal. We had salmon, veggie patties (not a burger per se, it was edible on its own), corn on the cob, garlic roast potatoes, and veggie skewers (all these things done on the BBQ), plus a bunch of salads, rolls, etc. We’re in the PNW so definitely not true Southern BBQ or anything, but we all ate really well! Just some options you could go with that would still be able to be BBQ’ed/have your veggie guests feel like they don’t have a completely different meal made for them! 🙂 

Post # 15
925 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I’m a vegetarian and I LOVE mac and cheese. I would also be wary of the cornbread, because some are made with lard. I would check with the caterer what the breads & beans are made with.

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