What will most people remember about your event? The food, of course! Food is the great uniter—the one thing we all have in common—and is often the highlight of an event. While your menu will likely (and rightly so) reflect your likes, dislikes, culture or traditional menu, do remember your guests may have different needs. Between food allergies and special diets, you don’t want anyone to find themselves with little to nothing to munch on! We’re not suggesting you try to prepare an individual meal for each guest, but everyone should feel comfortable. This week we have a few tips to keep in mind when you’re making menu decisions for your event.
Ask About Diet on the Invitation
When you have a huge guest list, accommodating everyone is impossible, so asking guests about their dietary needs is necessary. Some hosts add checkboxes for fish, vegetarian or red meat to their invitation, but this can leave out severe allergies or intolerances that are important for you to know about. Most people with uncommon needs are prepared to eat only what they can, but you should try to provide an alternative if possible. Consider adding a text box to your invitation so guests can add a note if they have an unusual restriction. You’ll have a complete picture of who needs what, and you never know what you might be able to arrange. Regardless, your guests will be happy you cared enough to ask!
Clearly Label All Foods
Sometimes dishes have ingredients that aren’t obvious. For instance, a potato dish that seems innocent might be made using meat broth or a pasta salad might contain cheese. Avoid confusion by asking the venue to use place cards (that match your theme, of course) to clearly label each buffet or menu item for common allergens or meat products. Your guests will know what they’re eating so they can avoid their problem food. And they won’t have to take the time to find someone to ask!
Include Hearty Allergen-Free Options
Many hosts assume they’ll be fine as long as they include a salad on the menu. This may be true, but can be a little unfair to your guests. Salad is great, but when someone makes the effort to attend your event, they deserve a good meal whether or not they have allergies! Make sure each guest has at least one hearty option available even if you have to order just one serving of an allergen-free or vegetarian dish.
Going above and beyond so each guest feels included in the festivities, regardless of their dietary restrictions, will be so appreciated. Your guests will be fed, happy and have a great time!