How To Enjoy Weddings (and other special events) with Severe Food Allergies

Categories Lifestyle

It’s springtime – and love is in the air. There seems to be no better way to celebrate the season of love than with a wedding! While weddings are meant to be wonderful celebrations of love, these events can cause anxiety and pose a risk to people suffering from severe food allergies. I have been to my fair share of weddings over the last 24 years (including my own), and have picked up a few strategies to keep myself safe, in order to enjoy these special events. I am happy to share these tips and tricks, in order for others to also enjoy weddings!


  1. Inquire and call ahead. Whether you are close to the bride or groom and have known about the wedding since day one, or you have just received an invitation in the mail, inquire and call ahead. Think of a person to contact that would have the name of the caterer or restaurant that will be providing the food for the wedding (siblings or parents of the bride or groom, the best man, maid of honor, or even the groom. Pretty much just anyone but the bride – she’s got enough on her plate). Once you have found the information of the restaurant or caterer, call ahead to see if you can find out whether or not the food will be safe for you.
  2. Eat beforehand. Whether or not you know the food will be safe at the wedding, it is always a good idea to eat before the wedding. Not to be a pessimist, but you never know if the “safe food” will be placed right next to a row of peanut-butter candy (which would not be good if you were me), or come in contact with something that is not safe for you. While the odds are not probable for this to happen, I always want to be safe rather than sorry.
  3. Check in with the caterer. Notice the name of the catering company on an apron, the food that was described over the phone when you placed the call, or even the contact that you spoke with. Again, things can happen, caterers can change, the bride could change her mind on the food, etc. If I can see that the catering company is the same, and this looks to be the same menu that was described when I inquired, then I will feel much better before eating.
  4. B.Y.O.F. Or bring your own food. If you found out that you cannot eat the food that is being served at the wedding, make sure to bring your own food. A couple of years ago my husband and I went to a wedding that we knew I could not eat at. We packed a cooler with a few sandwiches, chips, and even dessert for ourselves, and kept this in the back of the car. When the guests stood up to go through the buffet line, my husband and I snuck out to the car, and enjoyed our safe sandwiches. This way we got to stay full – and also skipped the part where everyone at the table asks why you are not eating, and then proceeds to give their opinions on food allergies. By the time we made it back, the dancing had begun, and I did not feel like I was going to pass out. We enjoyed some drinks and dancing for the rest of the evening!

While it is important to be realistic and cautious when dealing with severe food allergies, I find it equally important to remain positive as well.

I can focus on not getting to eat the same food as others, or I can be thankful for the company, the beautiful surroundings (I have never been to a wedding where there was not anything lovely or pretty to focus on), and the safe food that I brought for myself.

Caitlin has grown up in Los Angeles acquiring food allergies, a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development, a loving husband, and an amazing job as a Children’s Librarian. She enjoys spending time with family, trips to the beach with her husband, Sundays at church, and writing. Having food allergies is a struggle, but Caitlin hopes with more resources available, people can learn to thrive with food allergies.


4 thoughts on “How To Enjoy Weddings (and other special events) with Severe Food Allergies

  1. Thank you for this post! I have a 4 year old son with peanut and egg allergies and we are struggling with a lot of weddings and exactly how to handle them.

  2. I love your tip about sneaking out to the car to eat while dinner is being served. My little girl is the one with severe allergies and it’s so challenging to take her food out at the table and people coming up to us constantly to talk about her food allergies! Thank you for sharing a great post.

  3. Our friends, luckily, understand the severity of our allergies and the limitations of catering. When we discussed plans ahead of time with them for their wedding we settled on not eating the catered food and bringing our own. The wine and bar tend not to be as much of a problem (with OUR list of allergies, might not be true for you). When we arrived at the wedding all the placecards said “chicken” or “fish” or “vegetarian” on the back for the caterers. Ours? Ours said “glass”!
    We were so happy I can’t even explain. We were included, the caterers knew the deal and, more importantly, knew which guests we were. It was an elegant way to keep us involved. We were also seated with understanding tablemates, and at the edge of the dining area so we could sneak away if the food smells ended up being a problem.
    Kudos to the happy couple, now expecting their second child, and to thoughtful friendships!

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