Spring means showers and flowers, and it is also the unofficial start of wedding season. This past weekend I attended a fabulous wedding. The rain stopped, the skies opened, and the sun shined down on a beautiful couple with hundreds of family and friends. Whether you are in a wedding or simply attending, you have to plan your meal accordingly. Most guests can mindlessly sample the hors d’oeuvres while sipping the “Bride and Groom Martini” drink special of the night, but this behavior is not for everyone. So what is the best approach to this highly-celebratory social event? Though the answer is up to each individual I will offer a few suggestions.
The cocktail hour starts the night. Endless trays are butlered around by the staff, and while most will happily nosh their way through each tray, you wonder what is in the dish, how it was prepared, and ultimately if it is ‘safe’ to eat. Then there is the sit-down portion of the evening. You are here to have an enjoyable time with friends and family, and that includes taking the guesswork out of dinner. A few strategies include:
– Call the restaurant/venue prior to going
– Talk to your waiter before they begin serving the main meal
– Bring food with you
– Have a snack/meal before you go
Today many places are aware of food allergies and the gluten-free diet. Wedding venues in particular strive to satisfy the wedding party, and offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. If you know the bride/ groom you can have a request put in, but it is just as effective if you notify the place directly prior to going. You can also inquire about the cocktail party dishes. Once there during the cocktail hour, if you aren’t sure, stick with the basics: vegetables, cheeses, and fruits. During the sit-down portion you can pull your waiter aside and explain your platter will be gluten-free. In my experience they will be more than willing to work with you to keep your food free of sauces and seasonings, and will also notify the chef.
Though it has become easier to talk to waiters and managers about the gluten-free diet, as a precaution it is always advised to have food with you. This goes for your daily routine as you never know where the day can take you. Keep it simple, such as a bar (cereal or fruit/nut) that can fit nicely in your purse. If you prefer pack additional food, such as a premade peanut butter sandwich, and keep it in the car. This way in case you don’t feel comfortable eating there you have a back-up plan.
Lastly, have a snack or meal before you go. A wedding can last for the better part of the day, and you will need the energy especially when the dancing begins! If you eat before you go, you can spend your time socializing and sipping a drink instead of eyeing the platters with questions running through your mind during the cocktail hour. I would, however, still contact the venue to confirm your formal dinner platter to ensure you have a solid meal. These events are to be enjoyed by all. This includes you. Plan ahead and when the time comes, celebrate!