Food allergies can be scary things, both as a guest and as the hostess. Can you trust someone to meticulously read ingredients on every sauce to check for gluten? On the flip side, how can you gently ask guests to identify dietary needs instead of thinking they will absolutely remember to tell you? There's the argument that everyone with a severe allergy will absolutely contact you about the menu. But as a dietitian, I say better safe than sorry.
Anyone with dietary restrictions will tell you horror stories dining out anywhere. Recently I was in a local restaurant and overheard the following which basically sums up most food allergy nightmares:
"Guest: I have Celiac disease....Does this dish have gluten in it?
Server: No. Well...only a little gluten. So not really.
Me, in my head: OH MY GOD."
As a population, we are way under educated in handling food allergies safely. But you can be a very thoughtful bride, healthy hostess, or human being and ask: What is the most polite way to ask guests if they have dietary restrictions...especially for a wedding or large party?
An excellent wedding blogger, Brenda, picked up my question on Twitter. You can read her full post on how to write food allergy friendly RSVP's. To summarize, it's totally fine to add a line that says "Please note any dietary restrictions". For the day of the event, you can also add a small line to table menus that reads "Please let your server know if you have requested a special meal due to dietary restrictions." Once you have more information on what your additional needs are for your party, work with your caterer (or self) to make alternatives.
Have you had to handle dietary restrictions at a party?
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.