Post # 1
I am having a very small wedding but our guests have extremely diverse dietary requirements. FH and I lean towards veg.–but are not strict. We will eat fish and once in a while poultry. We do not eat beef or ham and will not have this served at the wedding.
My parents do not eat “vegetarian food” as they call it… they strictly eat meat and are pushing for more meat at the wedding. Since they are helping to pay, I have to comply a little
FH’s side is all vegetarian. Some of them are not “vegan” but they do not eat eggs. They are quite serious about it (to the point that they will only buy bagels from one deli because most bagels contain eggs).
The guest of FH’s best man is strictly vegan.
So how I am I to put a menu together? My initial plans was chicken, fish & a lasagna type dish. But I know lasagne usually has egg in it and now I worry about the vegans at the wedding. Should I have a chicken, vegetarian and vegan dish? or is that too limiting for the people who like meat? Ughh…. I used to be a vegan and I know how annoying that was to never to have food–but I also don’t want my carnivorous family to go hungry having to eat vegetables.
Post # 3
This is why buffets are popular options. That way people can pick what they want and leave what they don’t. A plated meal is going to be more difficult unless your guests are able to pick each single item that is on their plates, and in catering scenarios outside of a restaurant, that is not possible.
Based on personal experiences in the past, I do not eat chicken at all in banquet settings as nearly every one I have had has been undercooked which is very dangerous, and one of the common hazards of cooking large quantities. I also don’t care for most vegetarian/vegan options (I’m a carnivore but have no issues eating veggies). But you won’t be able to please everyone and you will go crazy trying. Do the best you can, given your options and circumstances. Interview caterers until you find someone who is willing and able to work with you and the diverse dietary restrictions that everyone has.
Post # 4
This is such a tough situation! Are you having stations or a seated dinner? Could you do family style? That way everyone can pass around the dishes they choose.
I know that speaking as a vegetarian, I’d have no qualms with eating a vegan meal. There are plenty of good soy cheeses and dishes with no cheese whatsoever that I don’t even notice are vegan – you can get a lot of wonderful ideas from the book The Conscious Cook which is entirely vegan and has great soy, tofu, seitan and mushroom based dishes which are filling and tasty.
Post # 5
Put the vegetarians and vegans in one group, and find something that is both delicious and vegan for them – a curry? Pasta? Risotto (with cheese served separately for those who want to mix it in)? I doubt your vegetarian guests will be annoyed at the lack of eggs/cheese in their meals–I know I wouldn’t care–and it makes your life much simpler. Then fish or chicken or both for the carnivores.
Although, if you really want lasagna, and the cheese is not a problem, it is not hard to find egg-free noodles.
Post # 6
I have the same problem. I’m thinking about going with heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of guessing which 2-3 entrees will please everyone’s palattes. I figure the more options we offer, the more likely all our guests will find SOMETHING tasty that will meet their dietary needs.
Post # 7
One idea is to have a buffet. Have a fish dish and a chicken dish, and make all your side dishes vegan. Have a few hearty side dishes (like an egg-free pasta salad and/or grilled veggies). That way the meat eaters get their meat, and the vegans know that everything else is safe for them to eat and can make a good meal out of the “side” dishes.
OR…have a chicken dish, a fish dish, and a vegan dish. Vegetarians will eat vegan food. After all, vegan food is essentially vegetarian food without the cheese and eggs.
Post # 8
I really had my heart set on sit-down, but I may just have to talk to the caterer about doing a buffet. My venue is not typically used for weddings–so everything has to be brought in from the outside and we will not have as much food as most weddings typically have. I think the buffet may turn out to be a better option because then we will not have to have our guests pre-order their meals either (as originally planned).
Are you girls doing a vegan dessert option also? I guess I will have to do this also.
Post # 9
Why not make all the deserts vegan? There are lots of yummy sweet things that don’t have dairy or eggs (or honey). That way there is one less thing to have worry about. Just don’t announce to the meat eaters that the deserts are vegan and they won’t know they’re supposed to complain about it. 😉
Post # 10
Ask about family style! I think it’s a great alternative to buffet, but doesn’t force the vegetarians to have a big ole’ piece of meat on their plate.
Post # 11
If the rest of your meal is vegan-friendly, the dessert should be as well. Or have one dessert that is labelled as being for them and one that everyone else can eat.
The only issue with family style is that those platters will be heavy and even the most careful guest has the potential to spill on their fancy clothes while dishing up food and passing it to the next person. Also, there usually isn’t any room leftover for centerpieces with family style.
Post # 12
There’s no need to have both a vegan and vegetarian meal, just have one vegan one! Check out the menus at some of my favorite vegan restaurants for inspiration (this is food omnivores will love, too):
Basically anything like one of the dishes listed on any of those sites will delight the heck out of your veg guests who are used to finding salad, a heap of bland sauteed veggies, or some boring pasta and olive oil as the only option they could eat at a wedding. Kudos to you for being so thoughtful!!
(and btw, I HIGHLY recommend all of those restaurants to the residents and visitors of NYC, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, respectively…been to each a million times and never once had a bad meal!)
Post # 13
Those are my restaurants!!! I used to go to Candle Cafe everyday for lunch when I was working in NYC. Counter was also my fav.
Unfortunately, I am very worried that the vegan meals my caterer will make will not be the same quality of the vegan restaurants in NYC. So I am a little fearful of having one vegan meal. Also the more labor intensive (like homemade seitan) will probably drive up the price out of my range. Unfortunately, good vegan food that tastes like the “real thing” is not very cheap. I guess I will have to talk to the chef about some different ideas. But I would like my wedding to be as vegan friendly as possible.
IS your wedding entirely vegan? What are you serving?
Post # 14
We have this problem too. We initially wanted to go 100% vegetarian/vegan, but our families are freaking out over the idea that there will be no meat. *rolls her eyes* I asked if they seriously couldn’t survive 1 single meal without meat and they all acted like my Fiance and I were proposing to serve them rat poison and bleach, instead of delicious BBQ. Our compromise is to have ALL side dishes vegan, as well as almost all the cocktail hour snacks. In fact, the only meat we’re serving now is 1 main dish- some kind of meat for people to put on buns (FILs want roast beef, my dad is leaning towards BBQ). We purposely sought out a caterer who does vegetarian/vegan catering almost exclusively. They were HARD to find and took us the better part of a year of research and asking for recommendations, but I feel like the work was worth it! (I recommend calling your fav veg restaurants.)
As for desserts, I have to have a certain amount of vegan desserts because 1- we have vegan friends who will be attending [we hope!] 2- I have several friends highly allergic to eggs and I want them to enjoy dessert too. 3- My favorite cupcakes in the whole world are vegan! We’re going for a pie bar with a bunch of tasty cupcakes and a tiny cake to cut.