Gluten-Free Tips for Wedding Guests

By Cheryl McEvoy, Director of Communications and New Media, NFCA

Wedding season is upon us, and chances are, those cakes won’t be gluten-free. If you’re headed to a reception, brush up on these gluten-free survival tips to ensure you stay safe while enjoying the fun.

When you get the invite:

The bride and groom may know that you’re gluten-free, but it’s probably not front of mind. Give them a gentle reminder of your dietary needs and offer to speak to the caterer so you can make sure there’s something safe to eat.

When you’re not sure what to expect:

No matter how much you prepare, there’s always the off chance that your gluten-free meal won’t make it to the table. Eat something light before you leave and bring a gluten-free snack bar or some nuts to keep you going through the night, just in case.

When you’re a plus 1:

You probably didn’t get a chance to call ahead, so speak to your server right away. Explain your dietary needs and ask if you can talk to the chef. Chances are, they’ll be able to whip up something gluten-free. If the best they can do is a salad, work with it. Remember, the key is to enjoy the celebration, not stress over a lackluster dinner.

When there’s a buffet:

If the dinner is buffet-style, be cautious of possible gluten risks. Serving spoons can become contaminated if they touch gluten-containing food, and an innocent-looking cream sauce could actually contain flour. If the risks seem too high, ask a server if they can make you a plate using a fresh tray of food from the back, using a clean spoon to dish it out. Be specific about which dishes are safe to include.

When you belly up to the bar:

That specialty cocktail sounds tempting, but it may not be gluten-free. Ask the bartender about the ingredients before you order. When in doubt, opt for a glass of wine instead.

When the party’s over:

If the couple went above and beyond to ensure you had a gluten-free meal, send a brief note to thank them. They’ll be thrilled to know that you enjoyed their reception, and it will be a great plug for the caterer who prepared that delicious meal!

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offers website visitors weekly recipes and blogs about living the gluten-free lifestyle. For more information about celiac disease and gluten-free living, visit

About National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offers website visitors weekly recipes and blogs about living the gluten-free lifestyle. For more updates from NFCA about celiac disease and gluten-free living, go to

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2 comments on «Gluten-Free Tips for Wedding Guests»

  1. Erin says:

    I almost always pack a full dinner and eat it before I go into the recption. Then I pack a snack for after. Almost always the caterer gets it wrong or I do not feel they fully understand. I have had success at 2 out of 20 weddings in the past 4 years. So, I always come prepared. There is always alcohol we can drink but you do not want to go hungry. Otherwise, you will have a bad time. So my advice is to pack a cooler if you are in the country or pick up a carry out order (e.g. PF Changs) between the ceremony and the reception. Then you know it is right. And if it so happens, your friends gets it right then eat another meal:) The only way I eat it even from 5 star hotels is if they steam everything plain. Because it is not like they have a GF menu. And I have had many horrible experiences with people not fully understanding just how much gluten is in everything.

  2. AvA says:

    That is the most rude and ridiculous advice I’ve EVER heard! If anyone coming to a wedding or any other event has special dietary needs, they need to tend to their own needs privately, and not draw attention to themselves or expect the bride and groom to cater to their personal food sensitivities. Everyone has a dietary special “need” in some way or other. Does any guest at the party NEED the sugar in the cake, or the alcohol in the drinks? That’s equivalent to every Dairy-Free or Vegan person demanding “no milk or eggs in the cake please”. If you can’t have particular ingredients in the food prepared and served to its guests at an event you are going to, do the appropriate, common sense, right thing: say nothing of your health issues and simply have some self control and don’t eat it. After all…THEIR day is NOT about YOU.

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