Planning Your Allergy-Free Wedding
Wedding Cake Worries
Nicole's Wedding Diary
Many young girls dream of wedding dresses, pearls, the color their bridesmaids will wear, and what flowers they will hold in their hands. However, when the time really comes, years later, women are generally nervous about the planning. Of course, no young girl ever dreams about the hours of searching for a dress, or that she will have to haggle with the bridesmaids over the style of their dresses. To top it off, women who have food allergies (or a future spouse who has food allergies) are given another challenge: getting through the planning, wedding, reception, and honeymoon without experiencing an allergic reaction.
This guide is meant as a starting-point to offer you advice and information. Hopefully it will help give you peace-of-mind, as well as the knowledge that it's possible to have a big function without being sick.
All of us at FAST wish you a happy and safe time, and congratulations!
Wedding Cake Worries
In order to get an allergy free wedding cake, you have three opions:
* A completely allergen-free tiered cake. If you have very few allergies and know of a competent, trustworthy bakery that can make allergy-free cakes, this might be an option. Note that it's best to only use this if you are positive that they are competent, either through being a past customer or through word-of-mouth from friends who also have limited diets. Be extra careful since you do not want to have an allergic reaction on one of the most important days of your life!
* A normal cake with a top tier. If you have a lot of allergies or want your guests to have a normal cake, you may want to opt for a normal cake, with a top tier that is allergy-free. If the bakery doesn't know how to make it, you can supply the top tier yourself. Speak to the bakery about how this would work, and find out what dimensions the top tier would need to be if you make it yourself.
* Home-made cake. If you have a lot of allergies, are afraid of cross-contamination or simply don't trust a bakery to make a cake that is free of your allergens, you may want to make a simple cake. Check your local library for food allergy cookbooks with recipes that fit in with your allergen-free diet. Be sure to test run a few.
If none of these options work, think of something else to be the center of the wedding reception, such as video-taping guests with memories they have of you or your fiance. Provide other safe foods such as a veggie platter.
In the invitations, add a slip of paper that says something such as the following (change it to fit your own condition):
"Due to ________________'s medical condition,
Although this may sound like a breach of etiquette, it's really not in this day and age. A lot of people include special supplemental instructions in their wedding invitations, including requests to "just give us money and put it on our money tree," or wedding registry cards, where they dictate what presents they receive by registering with a store. Your medical condition will probably not be considered any more out-of-place than other such requests.
we humbly request
that you do not bring gifts
that are food or drink related, such
as coffee-pots and waffle-makers. Thank you
so much, and we look forward to seeing you!
________________ and ________________
Don't be too embarassed to mention your food allergies. You will be less likely to receive unuseable presents or get sick if you are upfront with others about them.
You may want to differentiate between what you do want and don't. A waffle-maker and coffee-maker might be totally unuseable, but something like plates and glasses might be high on your list. To help differentiate, you and your fiancee might like to do a gift registry at a national chain.
Bridesmaids and groomsmen can be told kindly face-to-face about your special needs, and they are already probably familiar with your allergies. Still, it's a good idea to remind them.
If you have allergies to any flowers, you may also want to ask women to refrain from wearing corsages of certain flowers. Don't give your guests information overload in the message, though! The more you tell them, the less they will remember.
Plan ahead! A bed and breakfast may sound like a good idea, but will your hosts really know anything about food allergies? Ask the bed and breakfast owners if they have ever handled special diets and whether or not they might let you use their kitchen. Some bed and breakfast owners are probably used to visitors with special diets (diabetes, Crohn's disease allergies, lactose intolerance); others are not, and most will likely not know alternative names for igredients. It's very hard to trust someone else with your cooking, especially when someone may sound totally competent over the phone, and turn out to be incompetent in person.
Many FAST members going on trips have instead stayed in hotel rooms with attached kitchenettes, and consider them a more practical idea. You can pack foods that are fine for your diet, and use the kitchen to prepare them. You can even take along pre-made TV dinners
(http://www.angelfire.com/mi/FAST/tvdinner.html), store them in the provided freezer, and heat them up in the microwave. Call hotels ahead of time to find one with a kitchenette that offers a microwave and normal-sized freezer. Reserve the room.
Another idea is to freeze foods, and take along foods you can have, and rent an RV camper for a road-trip.
The most important tip for your honeymoon is to take medical supplies with you. Don't think of your epinephrine and medical bracelet as an annoyance to be left at home.
Nicole's Wedding Diary
I am getting married in October and on Saturday my bridesmaids and mom were nice enough to throw me a bridal shower. Since I have quite a few food allergies, they all have been planning the food for months. It did spoil the surprise of the shower, but it was nice for once to go to a large party and actually be able to eat something and not have to watch everyone else enjoy the food. There was quite a bit of food that I could not eat including ziti, coleslaw and bread, but I was able to enjoy the steamed chicken, vegetables, rice, sausage and peppers, and Jell-O. My mom ordered a "normal" cake for everyone else, but she made me a tray of wheat free, milk free, soy free brownies, that hit the spot after a fun afternoon of unwrapping gifts. We added a bit of Rice Dream ice cream and made the perfect allergy-free brownie-a la mode. Now that the bridal shower food problem has been solved, we move on to the reception hall. Stay tuned for that story come October!
September 13, 2000
I had my last meeting with the reception
hall. They are making me a special plate up for the cocktail hour of
vegetables, fruits and shrimp. For the dinner, I will be getting grilled
chicken/filet mignon (same as everyone else, just minus the gravy), a baked
potato (the guests will have oven roasted potatoes) and steamed vegetables.
As for the cake, the reception hall and I agreed, it would probably be
easier for me to bring my own. This way I will know exactly what was in
it, and also I am more experienced with the allergy baking (I'm sure
you know, not everything bakes like it should with substitutions). So I am
going to make a teeny-tiny 3 tier cake.
We opted to get fake flower rings for the table, so I and my
maid of honor wouldn't have any problems with the smells. We also are
getting potted mums as decorations since they don't produce a strong smell
and are also pretty cheap in October.
October update: Nicole's wedding went well. She ended up making frosting out of sugar, corn syrup and egg whites (it hardened a bit too quickly!). As you can see in the photo, flowers were used to hide any imperfections. Nicole and her husband are cutting into the allergy-free cake (the "normal" cake is the large one on the table).
Contributors to this article, through antecdotes and advice:
Melissa, Nicole, Ygg