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How to Accommodate Dietary Restrictions at Your Wedding or Event

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, there is a plethora of dietary restrictions to take into consideration when hosting a wedding or event. It’s not just vegetarian and vegan anymore. There are also dietary restrictions like gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, kosher… and the list goes on! 

When planning a wedding or event, you’ll want to ensure that your guests are as comfortable as possible, but it can be tricky to navigate the nuances of every attendee’s dietary restriction. That’s where John Michael Events comes in! 

We are culinary experts, not just in creating delicious food, but also in providing food that is friendly to everyone’s allergens or dietary restrictions. Our team of professional event chefs have seen it all and are experienced in accommodating anyone’s dietary restrictions. 

In this post, we will guide you on how to accommodate dietary restrictions at your wedding or event, whether you are having a buffet, plated, or stations style meal. 

Time to dig in! 

The Major Dietary Restrictions to Consider

What are the most common dietary restrictions you should consider when planning an event? Here’s a handy list! 

  1. Vegetarian (No meat)
  2. Vegan (No animal products) 
  3. Gluten-Free
  4. Dairy-Free
  5. Nut/Tree Nut-Free
  6. Shellfish 
  7. Kosher 
  8. Keto 

Of course, everyone is different, so one of your guests may have a dietary restriction not listed here, but this list is an excellent starting point when planning your event menu! 

How to Accommodate Dietary Restrictions at Your Event: Ask Your Guests! 

The first step that we recommend in accommodating dietary restrictions at your event is to ask guests what their dietary restrictions are! 

If you’re planning a corporate event, it can be as simple as sending out an email or survey to your attendees. If you’re planning your wedding, you may already know your friends’ and family members’ dietary restrictions and if not, you can shoot them a text or email blast to get that info. 

Having a clear list of the dietary restrictions that you’ll need to accommodate will help you to plan ahead, especially with the next step. 

Decide on an Event Catering Style 

Once you have the full list of your guests’ dietary restrictions, you can decide which event catering style will work best for your event. 

If you are working with a wide variety of dietary restrictions, a buffet or stations may be best because they naturally offer more food options. With a buffet or stations, you could have a meat entree, a vegetarian dish, a gluten-free option, and more, all on the same menu! Plus, doing a buffet or stations would mean one neat per person price for all of the dishes on the menu.  

If your guests don’t have a lot of different dietary restrictions or if they have a couple of the same dietary restrictions in common, you may consider a plated meal. 

With plated meals, you’ll typically offer 1-3 different meal options. You may opt to offer your guests a choice between chicken, fish, or beef. If you have a lot of vegetarians in your group, you may offer a vegetarian dish as one of the main options.  

However, if you have just a few guests with special dietary restrictions, such as vegetarianism, you may decide to offer guests a choice between our adobe grilled chicken or maple salmon, and then have us make a few special vegetarian plates on the side (vegetable lasagna anyone?). 

Consult Your Caterer 

With John Michael Events as your event caterer, you don’t have to worry about a thing! It is second nature for our chefs to accommodate any dietary restrictions and we are happy to do so! It is our mission to ensure your guests’ comfort and safety, so please don’t hesitate to ask us about any dietary restriction that someone may have! 

As we plan your event menu, our team will also ask you for the complete list of guest dietary restrictions. That way, we can doubly ensure that everyone is covered on the day of. 

Our team of catering professionals can also guide you with the previous step in deciding which event catering style to select. 

We are here to help! 

Create Place or Escort Cards 

An important piece in accommodating dietary restrictions at an event is guest and staff communication. 

How will the catering staff know who has what dietary restriction? 

Do your guests with dietary restrictions know that they have special plates made just for them? 

This is why place or escort cards are so helpful. Traditionally, these are tent cards that state each guest’s name, which table they are assigned to sit at, and which meal they have selected. 

With plated meals, guests will set these tent cards at their place settings, where the catering staff can easily read them when it is time to serve the meal. 

While place or escort cards are typically used for plated meals, they can also come in handy for buffet or station meals, if you have a handful of guests who are getting special plates for them in lieu of the buffet or stations. 

These guests could hand their place card to the catering staff to indicate that they should receive a special, allergy-friendly meal. 

Label, Label, Label!

If you have a buffet, stations, or any other food displays where guests can self-serve, make sure that your caterer provides food labels that indicate which allergens may be present in each type of food. 

For example, a food label may read “Broccoli & Cheese Casserole” (one of our popular side dishes!) and then there may be indicators letting guests know that there is dairy and gluten in the dish, but it is vegetarian. There may also be a description of the food and its main ingredients. 

Labels are essential to provide clear guest communication about dietary restrictions. We at John Michael Events always provide these food labels. We’ve got your back! 

Still Unsure About Dietary Restrictions? Ask Our Team! 

John Michael Events is an experienced Orlando wedding and event caterer, specializing in serving all types of events, from weddings to social events to corporate events. We offer all-inclusive wedding packages that not only include event catering, but also the additional vendors you’ll need to throw the perfect wedding or event! Twice a quarter, we are proud to host “A Taste of John Michael,” a one-of-a-kind group tasting experience, where clients are invited to sample a variety of our delicacies.

Ready to book the best catering in Orlando? Contact our team by hitting the button below. We would love to chat with you!

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