When I first wrote about food allergy etiquette at Weddings, I talked about how I would make my own wedding food allergy-friendly. I came up with the idea that I would include an option for people to write down their dietary restrictions on the reply cards that they use to RSVP.
Here is what I came up with:
This is a trick I learned from planning conferences at work, where we allow participants to make their dietary restrictions known through online registration. While this works pretty well for finding out what dietary restrictions we have to work with: gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, kosher, halal, etc; making sure the person with the dietary restriction ends up with the right food is another story. When I was in Hong Kong last year for work, we decided to request that separate menus be created for each diet and then pass out the menu to the person as they entered the restaurant. The problem was, that people took vegetarian menus or gluten-free menus, even if they hadn’t requested the special meal. So, those with the real dietary restrictions sometimes ended up sans special menu.
Once I know what dietary needs I’m dealing with when the reply cards come back, how will I make sure these people get the right food? It may not be the most efficient way, but I think the most effective way will be to tell the caterers that we have a certain number of vegetarians, nut allergies, or kosher folks (to name a few special diets) and then liaise directly with my diet restricted guests to let them know to tell the servers that they have a special dish. We could even remind people to do this on the menu that will be at each seat. For example, after listing each dinner option it could say, “please let your server know if you have requested a special meal.”
Does this seem like it could work?