By Rob Wilhoite with Capt. Rob’s Pigalicious BBQ

So, you have guests with special dietary requests for your reception and rehearsal meals. Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Even if it’s just a few guests, it matters. From a catering standpoint, there’s nothing worse than a guest coming to the table and not being able to eat anything.

Whether your guest has a food allergy (spices, nuts, seafood, etc.), gluten issues, dairy issues, or is a vegetarian or vegan, you should consider them when planning a meal. Most caterers will ask if anyone has special food requests. If they do not ask, it’s important that you tell them. While the caterer won’t toss you under the bus when a guest asks why the menu will not accommodate them, you do want them to have choices off the menu. Here are some ways to please everyone without breaking the bank!

Gluten Allergy 
Make sure your caterer has options without the usual gluten-containing items. If you’re serving barbeque, make sure they can eat the meat without bread, or maybe consider buying a few gluten-free buns!

RW TIP: For gluten-free, you’ll want to find out if this is a preference, or if there is an allergy. If someone has Celiac Disease, there are restrictions on whether or not they can even eat anything produced in a kitchen with gluten.

Vegetarians
The rule of thumb for vegetarians is one meatless item on the appetizer list and two meatless options on the dinner menu. Go for something that both your meat eaters and veggie lovers will go for. How about a delicious spinach marinara or a stuffed mushroom?

Vegans
Arguably one of the hardest diets to accommodate, when it comes to vegans, vegetables are your friend. Offer a simple eggplant or squash dish. Maybe add a fruit salad to your table or a tray of mixed vegetables.

RW TIP: Add a section on your invitations to see if your guest has any food allergies or is vegan. This will help you get a better understanding of what your caterer should supply.

You don’t need to create different menus to accommodate everyone, just give everyone a few choices. This will control costs and make for happy guests! You don’t have to stress over the menu because in the end, they are really coming to see you marry the love of your life!

Rob Wilhoite is Owner/Pitmaster of the award-winning Capt. Rob’s Pigalicious Barbecue Catering. Contact him at rob@robsbbqcatering.com or 804-399-3587. Photos by: Sarah and Dave Photography.