Accommodating vegetarian guests at a buffet BBQ wedding?

posted 4 months ago in Etiquette
Post # 31
968 posts
Busy bee

Do the people with dietary restrictions need to eat from the buffet? I’d ask the caterer if they can just make up special plates.

I would especially worry about contamination for allergies. 

Post # 32
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

We asked for vegetarians on our returns (we mostly knew who they were) and offered vegan veggie sandwhiches at our BBQ reception (we actually had a local veg friendly restaurant make them I think it cost us like 150 bucks for 18 of them) and just had them available with our BBQ buffet. We also had vegetarian friendly sides and it went off without a hitch.  We did pay for people to serve our buffet so our guests were directed to the appropriate veg friendly dishes. 

Post # 33
6198 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

I just have to agree that fish IS meat. A vegetarian by ANY definition doesn’t eat fish. 

And not to be more problematic, but many vegetarians will not eat cheese unless it is produced without rennet. It isn’t only vegans who take issue with cheese. 

Post # 34
2855 posts
Sugar bee

I would definitely ask for guest’s dietary restrictions on your RSVPs. Don’t just use check boxes, leave a space where they can write it. 

Then, check with your caterer about whether the sides are vegetarian or not. I was a pretty strict vegetarian for 10 years and if the sides you mentioned ARE vegetarian (or can be) then that would totally be enough for me. 

If they’re not, I’d ask the caterer to make up special plates for the vegetarians or adjust their sides. Very few vegetarians eat fish, so I’d skip that. 

Apparently 7-8% of Americans are vegetarian or vegan so if you have 250 guests there’s a good chance you’ll have 10-20 guests that need a meat-free meal.


Post # 35
15 posts
  • Wedding: May 2019

I completely agree with Nita07.  I too am a vegetarian and would feel disregarded if there was not a main dish and I had to resort to sides, especially if I am attending a wedding given that this would normally be a close relationship.  Also it is amazing how many non-vegetarians eat vegetarian dishes.  I often find that veggie or cheese options are sometime more popular than the meat options.  In My Humble Opinion it would be disrespectful not to ask for dietary restrictions – irrespective of vegetarian there are a lot of people of have allergies, etc…  I think food scores a lot of points in terms if how a guest enjoys an event.  

Post # 36
829 posts
Busy bee

Salmon is fish. Fish is meat. Not a true vegetarian entree.  


Can your caterer not make a few Special vegetarian plates for any guests that require them? Certainly there is a solution that doesn’t cost $600 and actually provides a meal that is vegetarian.

Post # 38
533 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!

DoeEyes :  Please update us! I’m planning on BBQ as well and not sure how to deal with the vegetarian/vegan issue. I myself am trying to cut down on meat, but at the same time, we’re having a hard time finding anything that’s affordable like this BBQ place (aside from Chipotle). This might sound crazy, but since we have access to a commercial kitchen, we may end up deciding to make our own vegetarian entree (pulled jackfruit, or maybe seitan) and make a sign for it for vegetarians/vegans. Either that or do two caterers (but that sounds like way more coordination).

Post # 39
7906 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

DoeEyes :  It’s great that you’re thinking about all this so far in advance. You’re definitely going about this the right way bee! 

Post # 40
28 posts
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chaska, MN

My fiancé and are doing also doing a BBQ type buffet and we have 1 person (my maid of honor) who is a vegetarian. I just talked with her and had her pick a vegan plated entree from the menu and my caterers were totally accommodating and understood. I say definitely talk with your caterer and make sure you know how many people for sure are vegan/vegetarian so they have a full meal option. 

Post # 41
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

My husband does grilled eggplant with BBQ for vegan friends.  It’s easy to add to the menu 

Post # 42
161 posts
Blushing bee

At my wedding, we had falafel sliders with tomato, arugula, onion and hummus. It was presented as a main dish even though only two or three people were vegetarians. Everyone loved them.

Post # 43
643 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I agree with everyone who says don’t waste your money on the salmon. I think very few people would actually eat it. Ask for dietary restrictions on the invites and then follow up if you’re not sure. I’d just add some more vegetarian friendly sides or work with your caterer on a seperated plated meal if necessary. So considerate of you to check on those guests with special dietary restrictions. Sometimes it gets forggoten!

Post # 44
35 posts
  • Wedding: June 2018

“The non-meat entree they offer is salmon.” 😂😂😂

I’m a vegetarian and am frequently in social situations where I don’t have many food options. I’m not too picky and don’t expect everyone to cater to me, so I’ll just eat what I can (sides and whatnot) but I usually leave unsatisfied and/or hungry. Personally, if I was your guest, I would give you 5 gold stars and a big hug if you offered enough vegan options to create a meal. I guarantee non-vegan guests will enjoy the vegan options as well. It would be very considerate of you to include dietary restrictions on your rsvp card, as you mentioned. 

Also, good on you for even taking the time to consider people with different diet restrictions 👊🏼❤️

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