Since my two main hobbies are being vegan and being a wedding guest, I’m really starting to get this thing down. Weddings are a little harder than just eating out at restaurants because the situation is always different and you want to be a gracious guest. My first piece of advice would be, do NOT contact the bride about this issue! The bride and groom have enough to worry about so there are much better ways to navigate this situation. If you are really worried, just eat a big hearty meal before and bring a protein bar (click this link for some great protein bar options http://himaintenancehippie.com/my-favorite-vegan-gluten-free-bars/). Here are the ways I typically handle being a vegan guest:
1. Often, response cards will have a vegetarian meal option. This is the best case scenario because you can just check the vegetarian option and write under it (“Vegan if possible”). In this case, they will make minor adaptions to the vegetarian meal and you should be all set.
2. Another easy scenario is when a wedding serves a buffet style meal. Then you just eat what you can eat and there are usually people working around the food if you need to ask questions about what’s in something. In the rare case everything is drenched in cream, go to plan B (‘B’ as in that Bar in your purse).
3. Often response cards will have a chicken, Fish, or red meat option. In this scenario, I usually write underneath “Vegan meal, if possible (always insert smiley face to soften the request 😉).
4. The hardest scenario is when the response card says nothing about the meal. In this case, you can assume they will be serving an assortment of things usually involving meat, dairy and seafood. Don’t panic! To be safe, eat a something before the event begins. Weddings can be long; so if you are still hungry when dinner time comes, NICELY ask one of the people serving you if they can make you a vegan option even if it just means leaving the cheese off your salad and serving you whatever sides can be made vegan. I’m yet to encounter a situation where they could not accommodate me in some way or another. Remember that you are a guest (not a customer) so you shouldn’t demand anything. Just be polite and gracious and chances are you will be taken care of. In fact, the last wedding I was at, I told the woman serving our table that I was vegan and asked her if she could help me out in any way. I ended up with one of the best meals ever! A delicious quinoa and mushroom dish with fresh chimichurri sauce. The rest of the table was actually a little jealous of how yummy and colorful my special meal was compared to their steak and potatoes.
*Note: I actually have a few friends who request vegetarian meals at wedding even though they aren’t vegetarian or vegan. They’ve told me they do this because meat at most weddings (especially big ones) it isn’t always the best. Think about how hard it is for a chef to prepare and serve meat to over 100 people at the same time and at the correct temperature. A veggie option is much more likely to be fresh.