Should Your Wedding Guests Eat What You Eat?

May 15, 2012

(Photo by Thomas)

If you and your significant other make different dietary choices, there are likely to be compromises when it comes to planning the wedding menu. But what if diet is yet another commonality between the two of you? And what if you’re both passionate about your chosen lifestyle? Should you impose your dietary preferences on your wedding guests?

This age-old question comes into play: Is the wedding about your or your guests? Some people feel strongly that the wedding is about the bride and groom, and that they please on their wedding day. Others firmly believe that the day is for the guests – for friends and family to celebrate the couple’s union.

Common courtesy dictates that you not only take your guests into consideration, but that you do what you can to ensure your guests enjoy themselves. However, these people are guests at your wedding. And your wedding is a reflection of you and your partner. And oftentimes, your dietary lifestyle is a major component of who you are.

Say you have been invited to your vegan friend’s house for dinner. Would you really expect him to grill you a steak? Why should a wedding be any different? If you’re invited to an Indian wedding, you’re not put off because they’re serving curry. If you go to a Jewish wedding, you accept that you won’t be chewing on bacon. So would it really be strange to not find any meat at a vegan wedding, or bread at a paleo one?

Having said that, I think that it is the bride and groom’s responsibility to ensure that there’s a food option for everyone attending. At conventional weddings, there will almost always be a vegetarian option. But at a paleo wedding, you wouldn’t need a “grain” option – there would be vegetables for the vegans/vegetarians and meat for everyone else. I’d be more concerned that  I wouldn’t be able to eat at a vegan wedding – I’d suffer through the seed oils, but I’d draw the line at grains and soy.

So, I think it’s key to know your guests’ dietary restrictions, more so than their preferences. Would I prefer steak at a vegan wedding? Of course. But I would be grateful if the bride and groom considered my restrictions and provided something grain and soy free.

There’s also the issue of not wanting to be an enabler of eating that you consider wrong or unhealthy. Vegans would not feel happy feeding their guests meat. I wouldn’t be thrilled about all my non-paleo friends and family consuming grains. But really, I‘m not that idealistic. They probably had grains at breakfast and lunch. So what will it matter if they have grains at dinner. However, I do  think that serving your dietary cuisine would be a great way of sharing your lifestyle with the people that you care about, and showing them that your way of eating is indeed feasible (and delicious). The emphasis is on sharing rather than preaching.

I agree that wedding aren’t solely about the bride and groom – they’re also about their community, their tribe. But as long as there’s a consensus that the food tastes great, and everyone is able to find something enjoyable to eat, then there really shouldn’t be much to complain about. The guests should respect the bride and groom’s choices, and embrace the opportunity to learn about them and their lifestyle. After all, it really is just  one meal. And at the very least, a paleo/vegan/other wedding is sure to stand out from all the other weddings the guests have attended, and be a unique and memorable experience for everyone involved.

What are your thoughts on weddings with a dietary theme? Have you had or attended a paleo/vegan/other wedding?

Shared with Fight Back Fridays, Real Food Wednesdays and Healthy Home Economist.

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