Deciding on the food for your wedding should be one of the most enjoyable aspects of planning your big day, yet it can be more than a little stressful, especially these days when so many people have special dietary requirements. Wedding venues in Melbourne and across country Victoria that offer restaurants or specialist caterers should be able to help you create a menu that’s both perfectly delectable and practical. However, they may first need a little information about you – and your guests – in order to create the perfect country wedding feast.
Allergies and intolerances
When restaurants and caterers talk about dietary considerations, they are not just referring to likes and dislikes. For some people, there are certain foods that they simply cannot eat. The most common reason for this is due to allergies, with reactions ranging from minor skin irritations and wheezing to life-threatening Anaphylaxis. For that reason, it is absolutely vital that guests with food allergies alert you to the fact, and that you provide suitable and safe food.
The foods that people tend to be most allergic to include peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, sesame and soy. Food allergies are more prevalent with children so always check directly with the parents should children be attending the wedding. And do remember that there’s absolutely no need to panic that no-one will be able to eat your chosen meal. As noted by the Victorian government, only around two adults out of 100 are likely to have food allergies.
The lifestyle diet
You may find you also have guests who for matters of lifestyle choice or sometimes even religious beliefs do not eat certain foods. The most common incidence of this is vegetarians, and it’s worth noting that the definition of vegetarian may also vary. Some people may refer to themselves as vegetarian when they simply do not eat meat. Others who fit in the category may eschew all meat plus dairy, seafood, gelatine or egg products. Vegans do not eat any of these. If you find you have guests who are vegetarian, it’s worth having a chat to them to check exactly what they do and do not eat.
How to check with your guests
The easiest way to check if any of your guests have dietary considerations is to include the question with your wedding invitation. You might include a small slip of paper that asks any guest with special requirements to call you on a provided number. A conversation is often better than email as you can quickly and easily double-check not only what a guest does not eat, but what they do. Non meat-eaters are generally easily catered for, however more consideration will probably need to be given to those who do not eat dairy for instance.
A varied menu
To cater to people’s tastes and lifestyle choices, the simplest solution is to provide a variety with your selected menu, including both meat and vegetarian choices. In the case of a set menu, you would generally provide each table with alternating vegetarian and meat dishes. To avoid any awkwardness between guests, do instruct the restaurant so that waiters can first offer the vegetarians the appropriate meals.
Your choice – guest choice
At many weddings these days, guests are given a written menu with a choice of two or three dishes per course. This is an elegant option that also allows guests with certain dietary requirements to easily select their favoured foods. When designing your menu, it can be a good idea to choose at least some foods that are ‘safer’ in terms of popularity. Most people for instance will eat chicken, but there may be a larger group who don’t enjoy duck or avoid shellfish altogether (it is one of those foods that many people have slight reactions to). So long as you have a variety of dishes, both cocktail menus and buffets can work well by allowing guests to pick and choose the foods that suit their mood, and their lifestyle.
Less common meal requirements
Should you have one or two guests with very specific requirements due to allergies or intolerances for instance, than the wedding venue will be able to provide a variation on your chosen menu that caters to their dietary needs. Do be sure to request that guests advise you of any dietary requirements as early as possible, so that you and the chef have plenty of time to plan a perfect menu for everyone.
Wedding feasts made easy
Country weddings should be about comfort, hospitality and wonderful menus created from the finest local produce. A wedding feast can help to truly define a wedding, so it’s always worth giving it the attention it deserves. Just remember to discuss any special dietary requirements with your wedding venue as early as possible, for easy and stress-free menu planning!