From fruitarian to gluten-free, vegan to paleo, and pescatarian to halal, charting out the dietary requirements of your friends and family is a challenge at the best of times.

When you’re outlining a wedding menu, it can become extremely stressful. Pre-planning a series of fabulous dishes that won’t leave anyone needing an epi-pen or prolonged bathroom session is a complex business these days.

Here’s how to go about it, step by step, so that everyone can dig in with gusto on the big day.

Scope Out Dietary Requirements in RSVPs

First off, you need a solid basis of data to design your battle plan. That means compiling a list of the exact dietary requirements of all your guests – and their plus ones.

The easiest way to do so is by asking them to include this information in their RSVP. You can include a checklist of common allergies and dietary preferences.

Or you might want to leave a blank space so that your wedding guests can fill in their diet information themselves. That way, you’ll get more detailed information, but it can easily become overwhelming if you have a very large number of guests.

Coordinate With Your Caterer and Wedding Planner

Next, reach out to your wedding planner and wedding catering service.

These wedding professionals are used to coordinating issues like allergies.

Depending on how big your wedding party will be and how many different kinds of dietary requirements your guests have, you can either aim to provide several menus to meet everyone’s tastes, or you can try to come up with a single inclusive menu.

Many caterers are ingenious when it comes to creating festive dishes that everyone finds delicious but that still avoid the most common food allergens.

And by talking to your wedding planner, you’ll be able to make a few more key adjustments that ensure that things go smoothly. For instance, you could modify your seating chart to group guests with special dietary requirements together. That way, your servers will know where to pay particular attention.

Set Dietary Priorities

If your guests report back to you with a large variety of dietary requirements, there’s no other way – you have to set priorities.

Obviously, people with allergies, especially severe allergies, need to be treated more seriously than someone who recently decided to go paleo.

If necessary, check back with people who have intolerances to things like nuts, shellfish, and gluten to see how sensitive they are.

Some people are fine eating dishes that have been slightly modified to just leave out ingredients to which they’re allergic. Others, though, can’t even eat food that was prepared in the same kitchen because of the potential for cross-contamination.

Be Transparent and Provide In-depth Information

Next, make sure that you’re as transparent as possible on the big day. List all ingredients – especially allergens – that form part of the dishes on your wedding menu.

If you’re setting up a buffet or going with a mobile option like food stations, it’s a great idea to set up a poster on which people can check which food they can eat and which might be dangerous to them.

It’s also a great idea to designate one member of the catering staff to answer questions related to allergies and dietary preferences. That way, your guests will be able to talk to a professional if they have any doubts left.

Trust Your Guests and Breathe

Finally, try not to stress out too much about dietary restrictions.

People with serious allergies are used to being careful when eating in public. Someone with a gluten intolerance, for instance, won’t just dig into the first hors d’oeuvre that comes their way. They’ll be sure to let you know in advance.

As long as you are proactive and strive to accommodate people’s dietary needs, you’ll be able to minimize uncertainty and plan a fantastic wedding menu.

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