Selecting a menu for your wedding reception is just one of many things you have to plan for your special day. But it’s not as simple as just choosing what you want to eat; you have consider what your guests might want too. Weddings can take a lot of time out of the day and a lot of people look forward to a scrumptious meal as part of the celebration. Yet every one of them have different tastes and dietary restrictions, whether for health reasons, religious purposes, or just preference.
There are a few different ways to cater to all tastes so that all of your wedding guests are kept happy and satisfied during the celebration.
1. Plan Ahead
Giving everyone good menu options for your reception can be challenging, but it helps to plan ahead. This means knowing how many guests are coming so that you can make sure there is enough to serve everyone. It also means finding out what the majority of people enjoy eating. Since most of your guests will be family and friends, you might already have a rough idea of what they eat, but it still doesn’t hurt to get some more information.
2. Ask About Dietary Restrictions
When you send out your invitations you should send out a menu card insert that asks for any dietary restrictions. There are a number of different kinds to consider! For example, more and more people are turning to vegan or vegetarian diets, opting to not consume meat and other animal by-products. Other people might be allergic to gluten, nuts, eggs, dairy, seafood, or even soy. While some dietary restrictions may be preference, or a mild intolerance, some allergies are lethal. It’s hard to know the severity of someone’s allergy unless you ask directly, so it’s just best to assume the worst to be safe. Know these things in advance so you can relay the information to your caterer.
Certain religions may also forbid specific foods. Hinduism, for example, forbids meat, fish, poultry, and eggs; and Judaism forbids non-kosher meat.
3. Offer Menu Selection
Another thing you could do to help cater to all tastes is to offer people a menu selection. This could also be an invitation insert, offering different meals they can select and check off, and then return with their RSVP. Menu selections can also be displayed on your wedding website; websites are becoming very popular as a way to easily communicate with guests and document the planning journey.
If you do decide to offer some options, don’t offer too many choices. This can be overwhelming for guests, but it will likely cost you a lot more money if your caterer has to make a bunch of different meals.
4. Consider a Buffet
Offering a buffet at your wedding is another way to make sure there’s something for everyone. Buffets allow people to select the foods they want to eat, rather than being given a plate of food they might not enjoy. You can offer an entire buffet dinner or just a salad or dessert bar. Other popular options include candy bars, sushi stations, fresh fruit and cheese, appetizers, and more.
Remember, though, that buffets aren’t always cheaper than sit-down dinners. If you’re going with a caterer, you’ll have to pay for all of the food they make, whether it gets eaten or not. If the buffet is part of the venue or hotel, wherever your reception is, you might just have to pay per person anyway.
5. Acknowledge Any Children
If you plan on having children at your wedding, remember that many kids are much pickier eaters for a variety of reasons, and they will also need smaller portions. Consider offering a special menu option just for them. In fact, you should request a separate menu for kids during your tasting and figure out how many of these special meals will be needed. Letting your caterer know how many children there are could cut down the price too, since their meals are bound to be smaller.
6. Be Respectful of Elders
Elderly people may also have specific dietary needs due to their health. Spicy food, acidic foods, or greasy foods can easily cause indigestion or heartburn, or certain foods may have to be avoided due to larger issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
7. Offer a Variety
There are a lot of ways to ensure everyone has something to eat, but one more way is to offer a variety of foods. If you’re planning on serving more than just dinner, you can mix up the starters and desserts so even a picky eater will find enough of something to fill them. For example, a lot of vegans are used to having few options when going out to eat, but can often load up at the salad bar.
In the end, you can’t please everyone, and it won’t do you any good stressing out about it. Just be mindful of everyone’s tastes and do your best to be as considerate as possible!