Planning a Gluten-Free Wedding in Richmond VA
By Chef Jannequin Bennett
Having a gluten-free wedding is not only possible, it’s easier than ever before. Here are some tips to help you create a memorable feast!
Know What You Want
This is YOUR day and you want to enjoy it. You may feel strongly that you want a completely gluten-free menu or offer a mix of choices. Whatever style of menu you choose, make sure the caterer or venue is on board. If a vendor can’t offer you what you want, keep looking. There will be someone out there who will happily accommodate your wishes!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Whether you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, it’s important that your caterer, wedding planner and venue are all familiar with and thoughtful about your dietary restrictions.
Ask your caterer if they have experience with gluten-free options for large events like weddings. Make sure you clearly communicate your specific concerns.
Choose a Caterer Who Makes Most Things From Scratch
Most people know that bread has gluten, but it can also lurk in foods you don’t expect: packaged salad dressings, broth, candies, spice blends and basically anything with modified food starch. Chefs who cook from scratch will know precisely what was used throughout the cooking process so you don’t have to worry.
Choose Foods that are Naturally Gluten Free
Fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, rice, quinoa, lentils, and more are all naturally gluten-free. Most cuisines, however, have many delicious gluten-free modifications. Maybe you love Italian cuisine but feel hesitant to serve your guests gluten-free pasta. Polenta and risotto are as Italian as pizza, but with no gluten at all!
While we want our guests to mingle at a wedding, it is imperative that gluten-free foods do not mingle with foods containing wheat, rye, barley or any other grain containing gluten.
Passed hors d’oeuvres for the cocktail hour and stations set around the room instead of a linear buffet can help the caterer ensure that there is no cross-contamination of gluten-free foods with those that contain it.
It can be helpful to have signage if you are offering both types of foods. A simple “GF” next to the name of a dish on buffet signs will keep guests from having to ask a barrage of questions before making their food selections.
Yes, you can have your cake, and eat it, too!
With all the new flours and mixes available to bakers, it’s easier than ever to have a delicious gluten-free cake. If you are having a conventional cake but want to offer a gluten-free option to your guests, gluten-free cupcakes might be just the thing!
By clearly communicating your needs with vendors and asking the right questions, you can ensure that your gluten-free guests will have a worry-free experience!
Chef Jannequin Bennett is one of three chef-owners of Everyday Gourmet, along with Ellie Basch and Brian Coates. These three chefs have expertise in a wide variety of cuisines and niche diets, making them some of Richmond’s premier caterers. To learn more, please visit www.egourmetrva.com.
Photos by Sean DeWitt Photography