Wedding Wednesday – The High Maintenance Wedding Guest

by admin on January 18, 2017

We have a very high maintenance, not to mention rude, relative I’ll call Susie. She says she has all sorts of “ailments” , none have been proven and they always seem to crop up when another relative is in the hospital. She’s had several for years with no symptoms.   And says she is allergic to tomatoes. Sshe may be, I don’t know. But she is a compulsive liar, so who really knows.

We were at a cousin’s wedding and no choices were given for the meal, like at some weddings. The wedding was lovely, but Susie tried to snag a front row seat, so “she could see”. I was under the impression the front row is reserved for the immediate family, parents and siblings, not cousins. Susie knows this and was not happy to be relegated to the 3rd row where she couldn’t see as well.

When the meal was served to Susie, the dish had tomatoes in it. Susie and her daughter were highly offended that her dish had tomatoes in it as did everyone else’s. It’s not like she was singled out. Her daughter made a stink to the wait staff and even went to the bride’s father to complain! The bride should not have to keep track of her 150 guests dietary restrictions and needs. Especially on her wedding day! That is the responsibility of the guest. The wait staff was very accommodating and replaced the dish with one sans tomatoes. But, her daughter was still fuming over it the rest of the night! I do understand people have allergies and I am very sympathetic to that. But, Susie has lied so many times over the years and likes to have all the attention on herself, it’s hard to know if she really is allergic or just wanting attention. 1203-16

{ 173 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn January 18, 2017 at 5:28 am

Surely diety information should be passed on to the caterers prior to the wedding. I knew there were 2 vegos and a vegan at my wedding. I passed on a seating plan with them marked to the caterers and they were accommodated.

When it comes to people habitually lying about things in order to get attention, I give minimal reaction. “Allergic to tomatoes? OK. So what about that sporting event, huh?” A woman I know was allergic to several obscure things that I just accommodated for when appropriate. Honestly, they were so weird that it was fairly easy to avoid lavender oil when cooking. Several years later she claimed to be healed from her allergies. OK, whatever. I’ve got my opinion on that, but what’s the point in voicing it and starting a fight or unnecessarily offending her? If she’s lying about it, that’s her problem. If she’s telling the truth, that’s actually still her problem to go through life with several obscure allergies. No need for me to make a huge fuss.

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Calli Arcale January 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm

FWIW, it is possible to “lose” an allergy. It can happen spontaneously (I lost my childhood tree nut allergy) or it can happen as a result of allergy desensitization treatment. Not all allergies are suitable for this treatment, but allergists can offer recommendations and design a desensitization program. It involves regular shots and has some risk associated with it, but it is a real thing.

Not saying your associate was telling the truth; I certainly have known a few malingerers in my time, and I know how frustrating they can be. Just saying it is actually possible to lose an allergy. I definitely approve of your pragmatic approach to the situation!

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Anonymous January 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm

You’re right, it is possible to develop and lose allergies suddenly. I was mildly allergic to almonds for just one summer–like, they’d make me itchy if I ate them–but then it disappeared as quickly as it came on.

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Heather G January 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Yes, losing an allergy IS possible! I’ve had a severe allergy to wheat for a very long time. We’re talking medical alert bracelet and epi-pen. I had a baby about 5 months ago and they re-tested my allergies and, thanks to the baby, that allergy is now 100% gone! My doctor was shocked and said he’d heard of it but never seen it himself!

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Kathryn January 20, 2017 at 6:46 pm

This happened to a friend of mine after her second baby was born. For some reason, it cuts her off her gluten and lactose intolerances. Yay for her!!

I know other people who’ve lost allergies by miraculous and normal means. I doubt this particular acquaintance’s claim due to my long standing history with her and knowledge of her issues. But even if she is telling the truth, my opinion is actually of no relevance.

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Ergala January 23, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Happened to me with shellfish and peanuts. I have been allergic to shellfish for as long as I can remember (But man did I LOVE to eat it!). Got pregnant, while I was pregnant I could eat it just fine. Had my son, I could still eat it. With my youngest I couldn’t eat peanuts while I was pregnant. It made my throat itchy and thick. Had him….the reaction never went away. I now avoid peanuts like the plague. Mind you I absolutely loved peanut butter. Now chocolate it doing it to me as well.

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koolchicken January 20, 2017 at 4:25 pm

I had a life threatening banana allergy, then I got pregnant. Oddly, I’m still allergic but they won’t kill me anymore. Apparently there are two specific allergy types with this particular food. I’m told it’s odd to maintain an allergy, but have it change form, yet it clearly happens. My tomato allergy is gone completely however. We assume I’m still allergic to the other things in that family as I reacted to latex in the hospital. Besides, how often do you come across a kiwi? It’s not excatly a hardship to stay away.

My child had a raspberry allergy. We discovered it at 10 months. My husband is an MD and decided to “double check” and yep, he was genuinely allergic. A few years on and someone gave him one despite my saying it’s his one and only allergy so please don’t. And what do you know? He grew out of his allergy. What’s to say though, it happens.

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm

I have some weird and proven FOOD allergies. Some have cropped up randomly over the years and unfortunately are still there. The latest is now lactose intolerance but I’ve been expecting that one considering a few earlier ones for maybe 40 years, it has now finally settled and roosted. However, I still have the major one (celiac) that I live with now, and if I have food issues, I have also learned how to deal with them myself. I don’t even expect a caterer to be able to handle the range and scope of what I can’t have, and I deal with it myself. (bring my own is very common or plan and eat before or after of my own provided rations). The stinkola should not have been that drastic. If Sarah has such issues she should NOT be expecting the world to cater to her–she should be adapting to the world as is. Now it may have been an oversight that the caterer wasn’t told about the tomato issue but. Uncalled for. Losing an allergy, I wish.

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Lomita Momcat January 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Lactose intolerance is not, technically, a food ALLERGY. Allergies are defined as a response of the immune system to something.

Lactose intolerance is when you don’t produce adequate quantities of the enzyme lactase in your small intestine to break the glucose-galactose bond in the lactose molecule. If you don’t produce enough lactase, you can’t absorb lactose, which means that the bacteria in your gut get to go wild on it, producing large quantities of gas and lactic acid, which leads to intestinal cramps, flatulence and diarrhea.

Most people lose at least some of their ability to produce lactase as they age. But it can creep up on you gradually.

As my doctor put it when informing me that my tummy problems were caused by lactose intolerance, “lactose intolerance is what puts the fart into ‘old fart’!”

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Ang January 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

I am a celiac, as is my son. While that is not an allergy, it is a very serious auto immune disease. I just either eat before a function or eat afterwards. I always politely don’t eat, and the people hosting the events know why. If you really have an issue, like NostalgiaGirl says, you should just deal with it on your own. I would never even think to raise an issue with someone for not taking my dietary needs in concern, especially since with celiac and allergies cross contamination can be an issue.

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Well I do count it as allergy because of the reaction I got the last time I ingested some real dairy cheese. It wasn’t pretty. I don’t want to repeat it.

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Lanes January 19, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Ooh, I learned something recently that may grant that ‘losing an allergy’ wish;

Lactose intolerance associated with Celiacs is generally temporary, as it’s caused by your flattened villi causing a decrease in brush board enzymes (including lactase, needed for digesting lactose). Long story short, revive the villi, and you revive your ability to digest lactose 🙂

Easier said than done, of course though…

koolchicken January 20, 2017 at 4:29 pm

I’d like to second Lanes. I used to be “lactose intolerant”, then I started treating my Celiac disease. I was young, so I bounced back quickly. I went off gluten in January of 2006, by the following May I could digest dairy with no issues.

NostalgicGal January 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm

The lactose kicked in fully a year AFTER the celiac started. So figure? I was being pretty good on vegan and decided to splurge and eat a piece of gluten free crust pizza and the reaction definitely wasn’t celiac, wasn’t pretty. I was n a trip but recovered that night and after I got home tried some more dairy. Nope. So I just behave. Oh, that cheese actually tasted kind of horrible as my taste buds have drifted with being on the diet. Memory-of-taste is very real and it just didn’t taste like it used to. Another sad thing…

Kirsten January 18, 2017 at 6:22 am

Actually, I think it is up to the couple (not the bride) to ensure that what they serve isn’t hazardous to the health of their guests, and I think asking guests in advance if they have any allergies is sensible and considerate.

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Harry January 18, 2017 at 11:15 am

I have to politely disagree with you on this. It is not up to the couple to cater to everyone’s dietary issues, that could become an endless endeavor. As a guest you are there to celebrate the couple’s marriage, and if you get a free meal with it, splendid. If you have specific dietary needs and are unsure that what is being served will align with that, then eat beforehand or bring food with you.

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Still as a hostess I would ask and try to be reasonable on accommodation. No shellfish, no peanuts/tree nuts, celiac, or veggie…. those are not unreasonable. “I’m on xxxxx fad diet” um, no.

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Kirsten January 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm

There’s a difference between accommodating preferences and ensuring food isn’t hazardous to health, which allergens definitely are. It’s been said on this site many times that marrying couples have an obligation to offer refreshment, and to not check about health issues is inconsiderate. Eating beforehand is impractical if it’s a long event, and very few venues would allow guests to bring their own food and eat it in the dining room with everyone else.

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mark January 18, 2017 at 3:12 pm

I tend to agree. I think some small accommodations are reasonable. But beyond basic accommodations, I think the guest is on their own. And in the case of severe food allergies (celiac disease comes to mind), why would you want to trust some random caterer with your health?

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Cleo January 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm

I can’t agree with your comment about catering to everyone’s diet. If you’re a guest you do have to just suck it up sometimes and accept what your given. If they serve you something you dont like just quietly take a few mouthfuls and leave the rest etc (though I do think exceptions should be made for vegans/vegetarians)

But allergies are serious. They can kill people. There should have been some way for the guests to easily relay info about allergies before the event. It’s the duty of the host not to serve food that will kill their guests. Even if you think the guest is faking it you should take allergy claims seriously.

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KellyK January 24, 2017 at 9:52 am

I’m going to have to agree here. “Don’t make your guests sick,” is pretty basic. There are probably weddings where the same meal for everyone makes sense, depending on your budget, schedule, and caterers. In that case, I think that the absolute bare minimum is to get a full ingredients list from the caterers and make it available to anybody who needs it, in advance of the event. Whether people can eat beforehand or bring their own food is something to consider too. It does strike me as inconsiderate to have one meal for everyone at a venue that doesn’t allow outside food, particularly if it’s a long event and there aren’t other food options nearby.

Yes, guests should be proactively coming to you to ask about allergens, but a host should also be proactive about not making the guests sick.

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livvy17 January 25, 2017 at 12:14 pm

She’s not serving mustard gas, or anything that will make her guests sick involuntarily. Guests with severe allergies (can’t be in the room with a peanut, etc.) should’ve / could’ve reached out when they RSVP’d. Given that the invitation did not specify meal choice, they would’ve also been tipped off that selection might be minimal.

As mentioned in the OP’s post, once the guests made their needs known to the caterers, they were given food without the allergen.

I’ve never heard of a venue that wouldn’t outside food in allergy situations, just not the main body of the group avoiding paying for service by providing their own.

KellyK January 27, 2017 at 10:46 am

Sure, they should have contacted her. But if you invite 200 people to an event, odds are that some of them have allergies. Proactively asking them to get in touch if they have food restrictions would’ve been a good idea.

As far as outside food in allergy situations, every venue is different. I’m sure most of them are going to be reasonable, but I’ve done event planning and have run into sites with some wacky restrictions. I had one site that not only required us to use their caterer if we wanted to serve lunch, but also to restrict attendees from bringing their own food or beverages at all. This was for an all-day event with classes, so it’s a little different than a wedding. I wasn’t about to tell people that they couldn’t bring their Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, so I went with another site and never found out how they would have handled allergies, but some places are really picky.

I think that’s another reason for the couple to be proactive about allergies. Don’t just wait for people to come to you, but ask the venue how flexible they can be, and if they’re okay with outside food if someone can’t eat what they’re providing.

rindlrad January 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm

I agree with you, Harry. I think hosts should make reasonable accommodations to guests, but, honestly, there are so many dietary restrictions – vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, food allergies, etc. – it would be very difficult to cater to everybody’s wants / needs at a large event like a wedding. Those with dietary restrictions, regardless if due to life-style choice or medical issues, need to be prepared to feed themselves just in case there isn’t anything served that they can eat.

At the last wedding my husband and I attended, the bride and groom provided a meatless entree option for dinner. There were also little signs at the buffet stating if a dish contained eggs, nuts, dairy, or was gluten-free. I know this doesn’t cover all food restrictions, but I would consider this “reasonable accommodation.”

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JeanLouiseFinch January 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

You just said the word that shows that you picked the most considerate option, which is “buffet.” I really think that having a buffet rather than a set meal is the most sensible option since that way, people can choose what to eat. If your guest has a food requirement that cannot be accommodated by the venue (for example, a few of my guests keep Kosher), then the venue will allow them to bring their own food. Believe me, if your food allergies are extensive or you follow the rules for Glatt Kosher (very strict Kosher), you are very used to bringing your own food. However, because there was no indication that the cousin and/or her daughter made any effort to contact the caterer and/or the host, then they need to accept the fact that they are not at the center of everyone’s world, particularly at a wedding.

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Only thing that can bite back about a buffet is cross contamination (something dropped into something else OR a spoon transferred between dishes, etc) OR the infamous where the first people through load up so much the last groups get nothing. If you do buffet have servers to help dispense the food, then reasonable portions on first pass PLUS hopefully minimizing the issue of cross contamination. (I am celiac, this is now a real concern. The amount of gluten that will nail me can’t be seen or tasted). Also make sure if doing dispensed buffet the caterer does the ‘this much only, you can only take or refuse what’s there, and the extra just plain goes back to the kitchen’ type stuff. That one has also been mentioned about you got so much, that was it, no subs, and there was a lot of food taken back into the kitchen, where those out front sort of got stiffed on what went on the plate.

NostalgicGal January 23, 2017 at 10:16 pm

Oops, edit… “Also make sure if doing dispensed buffet the caterer does NOT do the ‘this much only….”

One on Weddinghell had reported one where the caterer brought out the food pans, had servers, and the choices were take or don’t take, no subs, and the servings kind of were on the stingy side, and there was food taken back to the kitchen. No seconds. And apparently plenty of food was taken back. So the opposite. Too much of a food Nazi setup….

Green123 January 18, 2017 at 7:06 am

If Susie really *is* allergic to tomatoes, she could have quietly mentioned this to one of the waiting staff, without making any fuss.

It’s absolutely not the bride’s responsibility *on the day* to keep track of 150 guests’ food needs, but that said it’s unusual for there to be NO choice of meal, and it’s also normal these days when planning any event (whether a work conference or a wedding) to ask people about any ‘requirements’ such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, allergies etc. I have a severe food allergy and I also attend a lot of conferences with my work, and I always mention it up-front when RSVP-ing to events where food will be served. That way the caterers are aware and there’s no hassle for them as they can prepare something without my allergen upfront.

On this occasion, though, I suspect OP is right and it was an attention-grab. As someone with a life-threatening allergy, this makes me extremely angry as the ‘allergy snowflake’ brigade detract from the very real threats many people with allergies cope with day in day out.

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LadyV January 18, 2017 at 11:02 am

THIS. I fortunately do not have any food allergies, but know a couple of people who are severely allergic. It makes me crazy when people claim allergies because they don’t like a particular food, or it might not agree with their digestive system. As Green123 said, this detracts from the hazards faced by people that actually ARE allergic.

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SianMcClay January 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Often allergies are the cause of things not agreeing with the digestive system. So, doesn’t that count? If you’re allergic, you’re allergic. It sound’s like you are discussing levels of reactions rather than reality of allergies.

If someone has an allergy and then acts like an “allergy snowflake” to quote Green123, than it’s not the allergy that is the issue, it’s the snowflake.

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livvy17 January 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Allergy is supposed to denote a specific, strongly negative chemical reaction, not just any reaction. If we use “allergy” to describe how cabbage makes us gassy, how garlic makes us smelly, or how chocolate makes us fat, it dilutes the real, serious message.

I have a relative who claims he’s allergic to onions. It’s only in his head, I’ve seen him eat many onion-containing items with obvious relish, and no adverse effects. He just doesn’t like to see them, and it annoys me, as many hosts will go out of their way to make special accommodations for him, for which he has no medical reason. It’s deceptive and manipulative. Imagine calling up your host and saying, “I really don’t like pepper, could you please make sure you don’t add any to anything I’m eating?” Those who don’t like it, or who don’t enjoy the routine, non-serious ways their bodies react to certain foods should just not eat them, not manipulate people into going through a lot of extra work to make sure they get exactly what they like to eat, and nothing they don’t.

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R January 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm

I dislike it when people claim allergies, but I have had to sometimes do it myself. Some people don’t realize that some intolerances are so bad they should be treated like an allergy, or don’t try very hard you say you are merely intolerant or know what an intolerance is. I myself, if I eat certain things, even a small amount, will have intense stomach cramps and you will not want to use your bathroom anytime soon. Life threatening? No. Extremely unpleasant for all parties? Yes.

Allergies aren’t usually a digestive issue, that is usually an intolerance. Allergies will usually cause skin rashes or swelling of the throat, blocking breathing, which are both symptoms of the immune system. You also can’t treat them the same way, as benadryl won’t do anything about an intolerance, but certain enzyme supplements (think lactaid) will and vice versa.

On the issue, I think the bride should try to get caterers that can accommodate their guests. Some intolerances are near impossible, but at least inform such guests beforehand so they can make arrangements. Also, I think it is fair to say that if you think or know your guests are allergic, equip a bridesmaid or another attendant with some benadryl in case of an accident.

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NostalgicGal January 20, 2017 at 9:23 pm

You describe what happens to me with sorbitol, mannitol, etc. I consider that an allergy because it causes a distinct and very unpleasant reaction. An intolerance to something is a reaction is the same as an allergy. Different levels of bodily response, but yes. Not every allergy involves ‘going to kill you’ and ‘carry an epipen’ but still is no fun. Breaking out in hives, developing a rash…

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm

I agree, THIS. If you have to carry an epi or otherwise are at that level of allergy–to the rest of the world: we tend to be quiet not aggressive about it. We cope. Susie Snowflakes are NOT real a lot of times or at the outside JUST started and are still mad the world dumped on them like this. Getting mad at the world doesn’t help…

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Rod January 24, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Yes.

I don’t eat dairy. I ask the wait staff. No luck with no dairy dishes? Tough luck, eat the bread and go get food later (or come prepared by having a reasonable meal beforehand). I made my best friend very happy by passing him almost all my plates at a wedding in our youth.

I see little point in inconveniencing the bride, groom, or their families. You take it with the wait staff, try to solve it, hope for the best. My dad and mom raised me to fix problems, not create them and that has stuck to me. Sometimes that involves making a fuss, but in weddings you do need to remember why you ‘re there – hint: it’s not a free meal. There was one time they really went over to get me a meal. They got a good tip.

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Lex January 18, 2017 at 7:15 am

As a host, it is very poor manners (IMO) to provide a set meal to guests without taking allergies or dietary requirements into consideration. Plonking a plate of food down in front of someone and saying ‘it’s this or nothing’ is dreadful hosting.

Having recently married I can attest to the challenges facing brides when choosing their meals, and yes, you DO have a set menu, BUT usually you select a main and a ‘Vegetarian main’ and most venues will accommodate allergies.

When I married, I selected the Leek and Potato soup to start, A lovely roast rump of lamb with potato dauphinoise and a Chocolate torte for dessert. I made a point of asking for food allergies and dietary requirements and had a combination of ‘Gluten’, ‘Lactose’, Nut Allergy, Cheese allergy etc. Gluten frees got a different roll and a different dessert. Nut allergy wasn’t a problem during the meal, Cheese allergy was only applicable to the dauphinoise which they prepared separately.

It was poor hosting not to ask guests if they had allergies etc. Even if ‘Susie’ IS lying or attention seeking, by taking her ‘allergy’ into consideration and providing her an alternative option (only within a limited subset, she can’t have something unique) you are nipping any attention seeking in the bud.

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Dee January 18, 2017 at 11:04 am

Susie and her daughter are bad guests and I don’t have a problem believing there are people who make up illnesses and such for attention, like Susie, since I have more than one relative like this. It’s a mental illness and really difficult to get along with these people. Having said that, I cannot fathom a reason to not allow guests to choose what’s on their plate, either from a buffet or from a menu.

Lex, I don’t eat lamb. It was not a popular or well-liked thing when I was growing up and there are many others like me. Not crazy about cheese, either, and can only handle small amounts. Your menu had two potato dishes in it, which is an impossible diet for those who have to watch their carbs. Either the soup or the main potatoes would have to go uneaten. Half the plate (at least) should be low carb vegetables. And, while I love chocolate, your dessert is another high carb choice, which means if guests are forced to either eat a high carb meal or starve then they may not be able to “budget” to have any of the torte, which, honestly, sounds as if it’s the best part of your menu. If I was at your wedding, and I’d have already eaten the soup, I would not have been able to eat anything from the dinner or dessert plate. I’d be very grumpy and feeling more than a little ill.

What a waste of food and guests’ goodwill for no reason.

I’ve never been to an event where I didn’t get to choose what to put on my plate and what to leave off. I would not think highly of those who would treat me like a child they can direct to eat what THEY like. That’s really bizarre behaviour. I wouldn’t have made a fuss at the wedding but I certainly would have thought the hosts had a screw loose and I don’t think I’d accept another dinner invitation again, unless, of course, I wanted to starve again.

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mark January 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm

“I’ve never been to an event where I didn’t get to choose what to put on my plate and what to leave off. ”

I’ve ran into this many times, in particular in a banquet (vs buffet) format. The food is plated in the kitchen and served as plated. It’s not being treated like a child it is just for efficiency. You eat what you want, and leave the rest

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Huh January 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Well, I think a wedding tends to run more like a dinner party than a restaurant, at least the ones I’ve been to. When you’re having a dinner party, you generally come up with your menu of main, side and dessert. You’re not making a lamb main for those that eat lamb, and then a chicken main for those that don’t, and a fish main for those that only eat fish, and a vegan main, etc. The caterer might have one option, like say vegetarian, but they don’t have the ingredients/staff to make up a variety of dishes for guests to choose from.

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Jazzgirl205 January 18, 2017 at 4:43 pm

But those aren’t allergies. It’s just not your choice of food. The menu sounds to me like it was carefully selected to bring pleasure to the guests. One can’t please everyone and a person not liking a particular type of food happens all the time. It’s no big deal. Deciding not to accept a dinner invitation from these people ever again is a bit high handed.

At my reception, I opted for a large amount of heavy hors d’oeuvres. It lent itself well with the evening wedding, people could choose what they wanted, and they could mingle and come back as often as they wished. It also gave the evening a cocktail party feel. The reception was at my Mother’s house which had a courtyard in the front and a large patio in the back. We didn’t have to make room for dinner tables for 100 people.

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Dee January 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

If the host (in this case the bridal couple?) invites me for a meal (the reception) and then plunks a plate down in front of me and says “that’s what you’re eating” then I’m forewarned that a dinner invitation at their house will mean the same thing. So, no, I would not accept another invitation from them. I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t allow guests to choose their food from a buffet and I have never been to a person’s home where I wasn’t allowed to choose from the offerings on the table. What kind of person thinks they should decide what another adult will and will not eat? Sounds very controlling to me.

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mark January 19, 2017 at 11:35 am

Based on your posts in this thread you sound like a pain to invite to any event involving food.

The hospitality the host owes to a guest isn’t limitless. If the format of the meal offered with the event isn’t to the guests liking, it is up to the guest to behave graciously. I’ve eaten many a meal I didn’t care for, in fact I’ll often get an extra serving. There was nothing wrong with the food or any allergies on my part. I just didn’t like it. I just piled it on the plate and ate it, and some of it I actually learned to like. Someone made me dinner and I was grateful.

Wanda888 January 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm

I find it exceedingly strange that you’ve never been to a non-buffet wedding. I haven’t been to all that many weddings, but while there have been ones that have been buffets or choose-off-the-menu like at a restaurant, a good portion of the receptions have had plated meals, perhaps with two or three choices. But the weddings I’ve been to have been all over the US (actually, technically, all over the world), so I don’t doubt that there are regional variations.

For my wedding, because my mother is Chinese we did a Chinese meal. All the dishes were served family-style. If you didn’t want a particular dish (out of like the 12 that got served), no one would notice if you didn’t eat it. I put vegetarians and non-shellfish people at a different table that got a different selection of 12 courses, mostly vegetarian except for a plain roast chicken for the non-shellfish person. No one complained about being hungry.

Also, Dec, weddings are supposed to be festive occasions, and in basically all cultures, festive occasions are associated with rich foods. (In the past, the common person would *only* get to eat such foods at such festive occasions.) If you’re going to go by rules like “half the plate should be low-carb vegetables,” rules that basically no cultures follow for their festive meals, you’re going to be complaining at a lot of weddings.

NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm

It’s called Plated Cater, and you decide what goes on the plate when you contract with the caterer. You are charged for your choices and by the head count. So everyone sits, and the already prepared soup, salad, entrée with sides, and dessert are presented as each course is finished. I have attended a lot of these for group functions, weddings and more. I have contracted a number of these, in fact, making the arrangements now for a group as it’s my turn to provide the meal. I have lots of choices of what goes on the plate from the caterer but I will be deciding what fills the salad bowl, if there’s soup, if there’s appetizers and if so, what; and the main course or courses with the sides, and the dessert. I do know the allergies of my group and my own, and will take that into consideration (one person I will have to order a plain baked chicken breast for their main and I will do so, no matter what else I choose) along with how much per person I wish to spend. The guests eat of what’s offered and if you don’t want it, you don’t eat it.

Wendy January 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Wow are you married because what you are suggesting (every guest gets to choose a meal) is actually very expensive. Even buffets have a selection that might not be to everyone’s taste for example a recent wedding I went too had a choice between beef and fish with standard veggies (potato carrot and peas) most could find something they liked but I did see a few with just a bread roll and a few veg. As for my own wedding our guests had a choice but it was between 2 already picked by us options, we did ask for allergies or vegetarians and they were catered for at no cost but someone on a low carb diet would have been disappointed this is not an allergy it’s a diet choice make
Do for one night or eat after. Most event food is made fancy and very rich those who were on diets at my wedding like a low carb actually looked forward to it as a treat night and planned to be extra good the rest of the week I would hope that anyone on a diet of choice not medical need could do the same. And just to be clear low carb is a diet choice coeliac (which you did not say) is an allergy and would be catered for in most events, I understand home cooked meals to be different from
What I understand of the condition the food prep area needs to be completely free of the allergen like
For nuts and most prefer to cook their own for that reason as if you don’t live with it it’s impossible for there not to be cross contamination

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Lex January 19, 2017 at 7:26 am

Exactly. Weddings are crazy-expensive and the package included a ‘set menu’. The venue was really flexible where the allergies and stuff were concerned.

Our Vegetarian choice was the most incredibly delicious Mushroom Risotto. But I did have a Mushroom allergic Vegetarian guest so I think she ended up with the Goats Cheese tart.

Instead of the Chocolate Torte, the Gluten Free’s got a lovely Eton Mess and any lactose intolerant guests were offered a fruit salad (in the end the only Lactose intolerant guest wasn’t able to make the day after all). The lamb dish wasn’t just a chunk of meat and a lump of potatoes. There were vegetable options, so even without the potato, there were plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables and this fabulous braised red cabbage. So people not eating potato would have been well catered for.

My point is that you cannot host a meal without checking guest allergies. It’s a really terrible idea. Yes, food might go to waste for faddy eaters or people who don’t like a certain thing, but there will always be some aspect of a meal that will be enjoyed.

As for the Tomato allergy, I cannot eat raw, uncooked tomatoes. There is an enzyme in the skin that I react strongly to. When Tomatoes are cooked, this enzyme is denatured and I’m fine with them. So I can eat Tomato pasta sauces, ketchup, even sun dried (as long as they are not too ‘juicy’) but cannot place a slice of raw tomato in my mouth without my throat closing up. People think it’s me being faddy, but it’s really not. I like Tomatoes. I just have to have them in cooked form.

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Dee January 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Lex – then you actually had a lot more to offer your guests than your first post stated. It sounds as if you gave a reasonable choice for meals and there were plenty of vegetables with the main meal. That would make it a feasible dinner for most people.

But that Eton Mess … I know quite a bit about food but that? what in the world is it? I am going to have to go to Google …

lafred January 19, 2017 at 9:25 am

Low or no carb is not necessarily a choice. I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and carbs are as dangerous as sugar for me. I can have a very small amount of complex carbs, but to say this is a choice for me is just wrong.

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm

I was type II for four years. Carbs were an enemy. In the post era, I am medically forced to keep the carb count very low (I am fighting a metabolic disorder that insists on putting LOTS of fat on my midsection and causing lots of issues…) so I would say that carb can be a real medical issue.

Dee January 19, 2017 at 9:59 am

Yes, I’m married. Served a buffet because that’s the cheapest, same as every other wedding I’ve been to. A buffet offers a lot of greens and vegetables for filler, so if the guest can’t eat the main dishes they can eat enough to be able to stay at the reception, rather than have to leave to eat and then find it too much of a bother to return.

Low carb is NOT a choice if you are diabetic, which is quite a common disease now. The meal, as described by Lex, cannot be eaten by a diabetic without raising blood glucose levels too high. It is very important to eat every three to four hours. One cannot eat before the reception and/or wait until after the reception to eat again, it’s just too big a gap in between. More importantly, forcing a guest to watch others eat their meals while their own stomach is growling, because the guest was not allowed to choose to fill their plate with healthier options, is rude. I have lots of fun things I can do with my time. Sitting through a reception like that? Nope.

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Hence in this modern age if one is throwing a wedding, I believe the RSVP card should have allergies to be ticked off/filled in. Fad diets, no. True issues, yes. I have a plated cater coming up and knowing who is what can choose foods to fill the plates and make sure everyone gets to eat something. Without contamination (I’m the celiac, I will be bringing mine. My ‘plate’ purchased from the caterer will not be plated but ‘to go’ and my spouse will get to eat it. The caterer will allow me to bring my own sealed meal and step back to plate it myself to eat with the others because a) they are kind and b) I am paying for my share of the overhead to put on the event)

Rebecca January 18, 2017 at 8:30 pm

‘I cannot fathom a reason to not allow guests to choose what’s on their plate, either from a buffet or from a menu.’

Every venue my fiancee and I have looked at for our wedding, including the one we have chosen, has offered a set menu and no choice for guests. They cater for dietary requirements (and I will definitely be asking for this information on invites that I send out), but not every venue can offer guests choice. I agree entirely with LadyV. It’s hardly ‘bizarre behaviour’ – it’s not always feasible and it’s not at all uncommon.

Also, it’s free food being generously offered by the bride and groom. Having taken into account allergies and essential dietary restrictions, any ungrateful person having a sulk about my menu would not be welcome at any social events in the future!

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lakey January 19, 2017 at 12:26 am

“Having said that, I cannot fathom a reason to not allow guests to choose what’s on their plate, either from a buffet or from a menu.”
So now people can expect wedding hosts to provide either a buffet or a menu with multiple choices?
I’ve been to wedding receptions where there are two entree choices for a plated meal that included salad, a potato side dish, bread, and a dessert. Most of the time the guests pick which of the two entrees they want with the RSVP.
If people have a serious allergy, religious food restrictions, or are vegetarians they can notify the hosts before hand to see if the venue can accommodate them. I’ve known people with serious peanut allergies and they know how to deal with this without making a scene on the day of the wedding.

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Dippy January 19, 2017 at 9:42 am

Most weddings are plated affairs in my part of the world. Eat it, or hit the drive thru on your way home. No big deal.

Nothing you stated Dee was an allergy, just a dietary preference.

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Dee January 19, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Dippy – I’ve never known a diabetic who doesn’t hate the diet; they do not choose the diet and would very happily NOT choose the diet, if they could. So how do you figure it’s “just a dietary preference”?

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LadyV January 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

While I appreciate your consideration for your guests, I think it’s asking a lot of the bride, with all the other things she needs to do, to check with every single one of her guests to see if they have special food needs – especially if it’s a large (300-400) person wedding. Even if it’s a smaller wedding, it might not be in the couple’s budget to have a wide variety of meals. I also think that only serious food issues should be taken into account. If someone actually cannot eat gluten – for example, if the person has celiac disease – that’s one thing; but quite another if someone just doesn’t want to eat gluten. I do agree that it would be good to have a vegetarian entree, if at all possible.

What I would like to see is a line added to the response cards of “Dietary Restrictions” with a space for people to list same. That way, the bride wouldn’t need to be checking with everyone, and it would make it easier for guests to make the bride aware of any issues. That being said – if I had a severe dietary restriction, and I knew that I couldn’t eat any of the food being offered at the wedding, I would just eat ahead of time and save the bride the trouble of ordering a special meal for me.

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Or at least the card lists major level allergies/somewhat common allergies to tick off if needed or the one main dietary issue, veggie. Then finalize your menu choices based on the cards.

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mark January 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm

While I see where you are going with the line for dietary restrictions on the RSVP card. That could lead to “madness”. You could end up with a full restaurant menu of options to satisfy everyone’s real and imagined dietary restrictions/preferences. Or when cousin Julie shows up and asks where was her steak dinner she asked for on the dietary restrictions line.

It could be useful if people only put down stuff like celiac disease, or peanut allergies. But if people go full snowflake on you ….

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Wanda888 January 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Asking for something doesn’t mean accommodating it. I just had a line asking for Dietary Restrictions on my card. One person put “I need hamburger.” I ignored that. He ate the food that was there, which did not include hamburgers, and was still friends with me afterwards.

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mark January 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Oh, I agree, just some people really would expect a hamburger, and actually be offended you didn’t have it. As long as you are dealing with reasonable people this is a good idea.

(I might of had a hamburger from a happy meal to serve to him just for the laughs, along with the rest of the meal).

NostalgicGal January 20, 2017 at 9:27 pm

@mark… if they were a good enough sort, I would have put the whole happy meal by their plate in the box/bag… but probably others would have complained they DIDN’T get a happy meal too!

Dee January 18, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Why not just have a buffet and let guests choose their own food – you know, like adults? There are buffets for every budget but lamb and fancy side dishes are not cheap, so it’s more a case of controlling what the guests eat than it is about money. The host/couple can choose their day to be a certain way but they can’t force guests to eat what they don’t like or can’t eat.

I’ve never received a wedding invitation that says, upfront, what will be served. In fact, I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t allow guests to choose their own food. The latter is done because it’s the only thing that really works, since adults don’t usually like having their food chosen for them.

Depending on the medical issue, a guest may not be able to eat before the event and then not eat during, or to wait until after the event to eat. In that case, the guest would see the unacceptable meal and then have to leave. But if that’s what the couple wants …

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Lerah99 January 19, 2017 at 8:35 am

If a person has a medical issue like diabetes or a pill that MUST be taken with food and MUST be taken at a precise time – in general those people act like adults and they have a granola bar or something similar with them at all times.

So if they show up to a wedding and the plated meal isn’t to their satisfaction, or they are allergic, or their father was murdered by a giant salmon so they’ve sworn never to eat fish until they have tracked down that giant salmon and had their vengeance, etc… they are still covered.

That’s part of being an adult and managing your own stuff. If you HAVE to eat at a certain time then you always make sure you have something you can eat in your pocket or purse.

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Dee January 19, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Granola bars are a dessert and not freely allowed on a diabetic diet, especially on an empty stomach. A diabetic needs to eat regular meals or snacks of protein and low carb foods. But a snack is not a meal and the diabetic will need to eat again soon, only now they can’t eat the meal they may have previously chosen because they have to account for the snack they’ve already eaten. That’s why they have to be able to choose their food at the time or to know what they are going to be eating and when, to plan ahead for it.

A sweet/granola bar/juice can be given to a person in the throes of hypoglycemia. A hypoglycemic guest is NOT something you want at your event. It may turn out alright in the end or the guest’s reaction and the ambulance visit may ruin the ambience. Just saying.

NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Exactly. If you have special needs, you plan accordingly and have your own field rations in case you’re stuck. I have a few things I would normally not eat but CAN in a pinch–that are also easily portable and make great emergency rations. You learn to cope. I flew across country a few months go and had some long unplanned layovers (weather) and managed to floss some calories here and there when I really needed to just to survive ‘in the field’. You can do it.

Lerah99 January 19, 2017 at 5:32 pm

@Dee, I said a granola bar or the like.

Meaning, if you’re a diabetic and can’t have a granola bar – then have a bag of almond or pistachios.
Carry a little zip lock baggie with a hard boiled egg in your purse.
Have a specially formulated diabetic friendly protein bar.
Carry a little baggie of protein power that you can mix into your water bottle.
Toss a couple things of string cheese in your purse.

What ever you need to do to ensure you don’t drop dead at someone’s party simply because they’re a big fan of potatoes and you can’t have that many carbs.

I have know some seriously brittle diabetics. Type 1 diabetics with insulin pumps, a wreaked endocrine system, and a shot pancreas. And all of them took responsibility for managing their own health. One of the guys I worked with carried all his food for the day around with him in a cooler with cold packs so he was always prepared with food he could eat when he needed to eat.

If you’re that kind of diabetic, then I expect you to take it on yourself to reach out to the host of any event you’re considering attending and explain why you need the detailed menu as soon as they know. And if they aren’t willing to provide it – decline the invitation.

And if the unexpected happens (you were told the meal was baked chicken and broccoli but what’s put in front of you is ribs slathered in sweet bbq sauce and a baked potato) you eat the string cheese out of your purse and then make your way to the bride and groom thanking them for inviting you and apologizing for dashing out so soon. Then go get the full meal you need.

It’s part of adulting. You find ways to take responsibility for yourself rather than making your issues everyone else’s problem.

NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 6:53 pm

@ Dee, there are plenty of foods that are not ‘granola bars’ or ‘sweets’ that are durable and a diabetic can carry in case they need emergency rations. I was on vegan medically ordered but I could still carry nuts which were a good pinch hit. You can also buy low glycemic snacks that will fit into a diabetic diet. I did this for four years, and it may happen again. It’s possible. You can cope. And you can plan ahead. I can tell you there are many other things a type II can do. Even if it is say a SMALL candy bar, drink 16 ounces of water and go for a 20 min walk will help ramp off the spike. You can cope. If you’re being good other wise with your numbers the rare and occasional spike into the upper 200’s can be handled. And you CAN juggle a tide-over snack with your meal. Maybe skip the bread (carbs) and trim a little on what you eat. Just make sure to go for a good walk, or DANCE at the reception. (type II veteran)

Anonymous January 23, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Actually, the “father murdered by giant salmon” thing doesn’t sound like a good reason not to eat fish–I mean, for all you know, the fish you get served at the wedding might be that fish, so that meal could very well BE your vengeance. This is all academic to me, because I don’t eat fish, but I don’t see the logic there.

Dippy January 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

When you have your wedding, you can have it how you like. Just like these lovely people did.

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Dee January 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Our primary wedding considerations were for what our guests needed, not what we wanted. That’s how a good host runs a successful event.

o_gal January 18, 2017 at 7:17 am

First off, and most important, Susie and her daughter were rude, full stop. But when someone tells you they are allergic to something, it does not matter how often they have lied to you about other stuff. You do not get to play doctor and decide whether someone else is or is not allergic. Again, they were rude – all they had to do was simply point to the wait staff the issue. And as you said, they were very accommodating. But that should be handled privately and quietly, and is none of your business.

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Marie January 18, 2017 at 11:30 am

Exactly my thoughts. I wonder though if the bride and groom asked about allergies beforehand. I mentioned to the guests with a known allergy that I was aware and they would be accomodated, and didn’t have any further requests (nor did my MoC). I have dinner guests over this weekend, and I also send them a mail asking if they have dietary restrictions or simple don’t like a certain food so I can accomodate. I won’t be buying very expensive stuff if they start to make requests (such as biodynamic food), but if they for example mention they don’t like mushrooms it’s very easy for me to accomodate, and we’ll all have a better time for it.

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Anon January 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Yep exactly. And it may allergies may depend on how the food is cooked too.

I’m slightly allergic to raw carrots for example. But boil them/do something to make them not raw? I can eat them perfectly fine. Same thing can happen with tomatoes. Some people can’t eat the raw ones but they can have sauce or cooked, etc.

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Exactly. Some don’t believe a few of my weird allergies (I have two that will make me barf within 60 seconds of swallowing, foods that most of the rest of the world loves and eats) but. You have to take them at face value. Same as I said elsewhere though, if you have an allergy you learn to quietly cope with it. Militants usually are not. Even if you pointed out the allergy ahead of time and asked nicely to be accommodated, being offered your allegen is NOT an excuse to flip a widget. Just deal with it quietly. Especially at a wedding!!!!!

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Kali January 18, 2017 at 7:23 am

I don’t really understand why you’d invite people to a wedding and not serve them an edible meal, when you’re serving one to everyone else. :/ Are people inviting people they don’t like or barely know to their weddings? That seems strange, to me.

Even if Susie’s allergy isn’t real, you say it’s been established for many years. I just don’t understand why you think it’s not the bride or the groom’s responsibility to feed their guests. Did she also leave poor vegetarian aunty or coeliac grandma to go hungry? The venue was clearly capable of making a dish without tomatoes, so why not just ask about allergies earlier, if you are inviting people you don’t know very well?

Even if you and the bride are offended by Susie’s other behaviour, I just don’t understand why she’d be invited to a wedding and snubbed by being served an inedible meal.

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myfamily January 18, 2017 at 10:53 am

You are assuming that the people who planned the menu knew about the allergy. It is very possible the bride did not know about this or really simply forgot. There is no reason to think that the bride specifically chose a menu with tomatoes just to get back at Sally.

In addition, Susie wasn’t snubbed since the caterer was able to provide her with a safe meal. Susie completely and totally overreacted. One of my children used to have food allergies (he has since outgrown them), and I never expected people to remember exactly what allergies he had (I was just grateful if they remembered one member of my family had food allergies and they asked about that). I also always had a back-up option for my son when we went out to people’s homes.

And it is very possible the HC did ask the caterer about how they would accommodate special requests. I work on an annual catered fundraiser banquet. While we do ask about special dietary needs, many people do not include that information. Our caterer is prepared (to a certain extent) to provide for people with special dietary needs without prior notice. Perhaps that is what this caterer told the HC – don’t worry about asking, when people let us know, we’ll take care of them. Too bad Susie and her daughter had to be drama-queens about the whole thing and cause stress for those around them.

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Pat January 18, 2017 at 11:12 am

Susie wasn’t snubbed – there were probably plenty things served that she could eat. I think Susie is going to be crossed off the guest list on quite a few future weddings.

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LadyV January 18, 2017 at 11:15 am

Since Susie must have known ahead of time what was being served at the wedding, she either would have known it contained tomatoes or could have asked. Again, this shouldn’t all be on the bride. (I will note that having dealt with people that claim “allergies” that they don’t actually have, my sympathy is with the bride on this one!)

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Lola January 18, 2017 at 11:43 am

The couple could very well have made a request that no tomatoes were to be served to the “cousin p at table 4” and they simply forgot or delivered it to the wrong table. It was a simple enough fix without it being necessary to storm over the FoB

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Annon January 18, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Couldn’t Susie just say to the waiter “I have a tomato allergy, please make my meal without if the meal comes with them?” Do you think the Bride is thinking about a food allergy that wasn’t brought to her attention in the RSVP?? Any logical and/or sane person would have just said to the waiter, not go and bother the father of the bride during the wedding of his child?
This person was grabbing for attention, as was said is always the case when attention is on someone else.
I know plenty of people with life threatening allergies, if this was a true case of the allergy, Susie would have spoken up prior to the meal being served. And also – weddings are expensive, maybe they were on a fixed budget. I see no reason for them to choose a bunch of different options if it wasn’t in their budget.

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Kali January 18, 2017 at 5:35 pm

I assumed none of the guests were asked about dietary needs, as the letter writer says no one had a choice. That’s the part that confuses me; that the bride and groom didn’t bother to ask.

I’ve seen stories before where the admin points out that, when you plan an event to last over a mealtime, you need to feed your guests. If it’s not in the budget to at least feed every guest a meal that won’t injure them, then it seems like the kind and polite decision would be to plan a shorter event or invite fewer people. I don’t see why the fact that it’s a wedding makes any difference.

Ladyv, I don’t understand the assumption that Susie ‘must have known ahead of time’ what was being served. How and why must she have known? Are you from an area where it’s traditional to provide that information? It’s not something I’ve heard of before.

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Lerah99 January 19, 2017 at 8:43 am

Two of my friends got married recently.
On the wedding invitation it stated that the reception would be BBQ.

They didn’t provide a special vegetarian main because they assumed that the vegetarians could enjoy the coleslaw, mac-n-cheese, corn bread, corn on the cob, and salad that were all laid out as sides.

Now if a person was vegan, they would have been out of luck. The eggs in the mayo in the coleslaw, the cheese in the mac-n-cheese, the butter in the corn bread and on the corn on the cob. They could have enjoyed the lettuce and carrot shavings in the salad but no dressing because it the Italian dressing had Parmesan in it and the other dressing was ranch.

So if one of their friends was vegan, they would have to make a choice decline to invitation because their wasn’t much to eat at the reception or eat beforehand and still come to celebrate the wedding of their friends.

The couple isn’t rude for their choice of catering. They chose food they enjoyed that they thought most of their friends would enjoy that was also in their budget.

Nothing says when you are throwing a big party you have to accommodate every possible food issue your guests may have.

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Wanda888 January 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm

If you know one of your friends is vegan and don’t provide something for them to eat at your wedding beyond a non-dressed salad (many dressings are vegan!), you’re not a very good friend of theirs.

NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Or if you’re vegan, you bring something. Smile politely and break into your own rations and enjoy the gathering. (I am medical not moral, so the sight and smell of meat is not a problem. I would actually happily give a hand in manning the grill and flipping stuff, just I can’t eat it).

The last sentence “Nothing says when you are throwing a big party you have to accommodate every possible food issue your guests may have.” Indeed. It’s kind if you remember specific stuff for specific people you invited and try a reasonable amount to accommodate them, but. You are also not a free feed full choice restaurant or food bar.

Lerah99 January 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm

@Wanda88
Absolutely, if you know your friend is vegan you should make an effort for there to be vegan friendly food.

But often the happy couple may not know all the chosen diets of their guest’s plus one.

So if the new girlfriend of the groom’s college roommate happens to be vegan – it’s not rude that the couple didn’t anticipate that and didn’t plan for it.

Same if the new boyfriend of the groom’s BFF happens to be allergic to corn and really dares not eat anything due to the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup in things and cross contamination concerns.

Those plus ones get tricky. As do the extended family invitations.

You haven’t seen cousin Brenda in 7 years but she’s responded yes and is flying to Florida for the wedding? Great!

But if Brenda doesn’t say anything about her strict keto diet, then happy couple can’t really be held up as “rude” for not having made sure the menu would be to her satisfaction.

LadyV January 19, 2017 at 9:51 am

Kali, I’ve never been to a wedding where I didn’t have a pretty good idea in advance what I would be having to eat. And if I had an actual food allergy, I would be ASKING specifically what was being served.

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Jinx January 18, 2017 at 8:26 am

I think, if it’s not a deathly allergy (like peanut dust in the air), the gracious thing to do would have been for her to do nothing…. or at least politely ask for a dish of plain something.

A wedding isn’t a restaurant. I have been vegetarian in the past, which is a choice, I admit. I’ve felt very special when attending weddings; people have had a special dish prepared for me. But I never expect it. Other times, I ate what I could find that aligned with my diet (apps, dessert), then find food else where after the wedding if I was hungry.

I mean, I can see how easy it would be to overlook allergies in 150 guests. Though usually weddings offer a choice (chicken or beef); it’s odd Susie wouldn’t have asked someone beforehand which one didn’t contain tomatoes?

Friends of mine with serious food reactions (gluten, nuts) always check beforehand and even then, still bring snacks “just in case”.

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Cleosia January 18, 2017 at 8:34 am

If Susie is so allergic to everything maybe she should just stay home in her plastic bubble.

It’s all an attention grab but I’m sensing some deep psychological dysfunction that needs professional help which I’m willing to bet she won’t seek. Short of not inviting her to events, there’s not much you can do about her.

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Susan. Haverland January 18, 2017 at 8:44 am

How sad to be fuming the rest of the night . It seems she did not enjoy the wedding reception at all
. No excuse to go to the brides father. Let him enjoy the celebration. The wait staff fixed it . Let it go . Does she still want attention? I would not want to se her if I did not have too. Once a liar people remember that and just can’t believe you anymore.

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stacey January 18, 2017 at 8:56 am

It’s a tempest in a teapot. Obviously, this guest is over the top. People with allergies don’t make an issue out of one meal. They do what is necessary to make certain their health is protected and move on. The seat snagging, multi-generational fussing and history of ailments suggest someone troubled and unpleasant. In all such interactions, consider the source.

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Lerah99 January 18, 2017 at 9:01 am

I have a friend who is vegan.
She often will end up at weddings or work functions where there’s nothing she can eat.
Usually because the salad and pasta already have cheese on them and the rolls have all been brushed with butter.

Because she knows this is an issue, she usually eats a small meal before hand so she’s not starving at the event. Then she’ll grab a small plate of some food. And she’ll spend her time socializing and getting to know people. If they notice she never takes a bite of the food, no one has said anything to her about it.

Then when she leaves, so goes and gets food she can eat.

No muss, no fuss, no drama. She feels that since she chooses to be vegan, it’s her responsibility to navigate shared meals like this.

And if there is vegan friendly food on the buffet line or being served, she’s pleasantly surprised and makes sure to send the event organizers a thank you note.

People have food issues.
I have friends who are:
– vegetarian
– vegan
– paleo
– keto
– South Beach
– allergic to nightshades
– allergic to tree nuts
– allergic to shell fish
– allergic to corn (this one is really hard to navigate because even prepackaged meat in the supermarket isn’t safe – he has to go to a butcher and insist everything be wrapped in paper rather than the Styrofoam and plastic)
– allergic to garlic
– kosher
– halal
– allergic to cucumbers
– Celiac
– Macrobiotic
– Whole Foods
– “Clean”

And the ones that get invited to events are the ones who take the responsibility for their food choices on themselves.

My vegan friend that I mentioned above? The only reason I know she’s vegan is I invited her over for dinner at my house and she replied “I’d love that. But I’m vegan which I know can be difficult for people who aren’t used to it. So I’d be happy to bring the main dish if that would make things easier.”

I’m sorry Susie and her daughter made such a fuss at the wedding.
That is no way to endear themselves to your family.

On the other hand, OP, your letter seems mean spirited.
Maybe dial back the self righteous indignation just a smidge.
If Susie has an allergy or doesn’t have an allergy, her behavior was still inappropriate.

Going online to call her a liar and paint her and her daughter as attention whores to a bunch of strangers doesn’t paint you in the best light.

You may be 100% correct. But it seems awfully high up on that horse of yours.

We would have absolutely been behind you if you had kept to just the facts:

“My relative Susie attended a mutual cousin’s wedding recently.
Susie can be a bit self centered. For example, she tried to claim a spot in the front row in spite of the row being reserved for the immediate family of the happy couple. But after a bit of prompting, Susie did move to the 3rd row.

The faux-pas came at dinner. It was a set menu and everyone was served the same dish.
Unfortunately there were tomatoes in the dish which really distressed Susie and her daughter. Susie is allergic to tomatoes. I can understand it being uncomfortable to be served a main course you can’t eat. But Susie and her daughter made a huge fuss about it. They even cornered the Father of the Bride to complain.

The caterers were wonderful and made a new plate for Susie without the tomatoes. But that didn’t stop Susie or her daughter from bringing it up to anyone who would listen the entire reception.

It seems like they forgot a wedding reception is about the happy couple and the uniting of two families rather than the cousin of the bride who happens to be allergic to something. How do you guys deal with relatives like Susie who tend to make themselves the center of any gathering?”

See, you can tell the story and make your point clear without having to assassinate Susie’s character through the entire piece. Without calling her a liar and insisting her medical issues are all fabricated.

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Devin January 18, 2017 at 11:59 am

This response is spot on. I cant imagine trying to plan a wedding that accommodates so many food preferences/allergies, and many of the ones you’ve listed are optional food preferences not life threatening allergies. Weddings i have attended recently have either been 2 entree choices on the RSVP, but no full menu included, or buffet with a meat or veggie option.
If you know you will not eat the food because of a preference, or have an allergy to a common ingredient, it is up to you to make accommodations for food. The people I know who have true health concerns with food are the ones who are always prepared to not be able to eat catered food, and they dont make a scene out of it.
And thank you for pointing out that this story, like many others, could have been written more factually and left out many judgmental pieces. This is an etiquette site, not a rant on family site.

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Kate January 18, 2017 at 12:43 pm

I have a relative who is a lot like Susie, as far as lying about her medical issues go. OP calls Susie a liar because she is a liar and all of her medical issues are fabricated. OP knows Susie, we don’t, so accusing OP of lying about Susie lying doesn’t make any sense.

If you know someone for years, it is perfectly possible to find out that they are a compulsive liar or a hypochondriac without being required to haul them to a mental professional to prove it.

When you see someone with a constantly rotating bunch of ailments, which mysteriously disappear when they want to do something fun or eat something that for months they have had a “deadly allergy” to, and don’t suffer a single symptom as a result you absolutely can conclude that they are liars.

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Lerah99 January 18, 2017 at 3:02 pm

I think I made it clear that the OP could be entirely correct about Susie’s character, but that the way she presented the story seems mean spirited.

Yes, people who lie to be the center of attention can be exhausting. We all know them.

But this letter seems to be a hatchet job inviting us to all pile on Susie for daring to be a flawed and broken person rather than an example of a wedding guest being over the line in this situation.

I’m not saying the OP is lying about who Susie is, I’m saying that by portraying Susie in such an unforgiving light and with such harsh language it also reflects back on the OP. Her judgemental nature is showing.

There is no need to vilify Susie like this. Simply stating how she acted at the wedding would be enough. OP doesn’t need to portray her tying maidens to train tracks and twirling her mustache to make the point.

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padua January 19, 2017 at 12:31 pm

i completely agree

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DancerDiva January 18, 2017 at 5:19 pm

That’s true…OP has a lot more history about Susie’s behavior over the years than we do. I had a friend who said she was allergic to many things, like tomatoes or chocolate, but seemed to eat them when she felt like it. She ate spaghetti, pizza and chocolate chip cookies with zeal. I’m allergic to milk, but it’s milder now, and I manage my allergy these days so that I don’t consume more than a small amount of dairy products at any one time, and I feel okay. But I don’t feel the need to tell anyone else about it. It’s my responsibility.

Now, I think it would’ve been good for the bridge & groom to at least offer a vegetarian option and the food to be nut free, but going beyond that, unless you know you have folks with gluten intolerance/other allergies, you just can’t cater to everyone’s personal preferences.

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JJ January 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm

“Because she knows this is an issue, she usually eats a small meal before hand so she’s not starving at the event”

“Then when she leaves, so goes and gets food she can eat.”

Thank you. Common sense I love it. That’s how I feel and I’m not even allergic but I’m a picky eater. I’ve gotten over it some as an adult but I still am fussy with pre-set meals that are covered in certain foods, veggies (like onions or peppers or hot spice) etc. But that’s on me it’s my lifestyle and my reality. I can either go complain about it like a Susie and bug people on their kids weddings day or I can just look for something else to eat till I leave in a few hours and get food at home.

When did it become an entitle thing to just expect all our individual tastes to be catered to at a big fancy event with tons of other people no less? I mean it’s one thing if it’s small backyard get together with just close family that someone might grab veggie burgers or make a plain salad for those allergic to certain things but a wedding? The couple isn’t here to cater to each person who goes each individual taste or allergy. I learned fast even as a kid hey you are fussy or have allergies etc and they don’t have what you like so you are just going to have to be patient and wait till you get home to have a snack. Drink some juice or something you can have to tide you over or like you said eat a little meal before you go to the party so your held over till you get home.

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Rod January 24, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I come from a place where everything has dairy which I’ve never handled well (that sullen 5 y.o. with no ice cream? that was me). Butter in the vegetables, cream in the soup, au gratin main. Oh, and cheesecake for dessert. Often it was just the dinner rolls I ate.

I have been fortunate to have been a guest in many weddings. My parents never gave me the special snowflake treatment other than passing me their bread when there was nothing else available – you eat what you can, say thanks, move on, get a snack on the way home. You’re there to celebrate a wedding, not to make a scene. And eventually you learn – on my adolescence I learned to bring a granola bar or something if the situation warranted it. Or you can get creative: if the venue is a hotel or similar you can frequently source a different meal. I always budgeted accordingly and took pride in being prepared.

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm

I know two people with the corn allergy. Just think gluten/celiac except it’s to corn. Which is in EVERYTHING. I had to seriously cut my diet because of allergies and I don’t use stuff with corn, the only thing that may be ‘contaminated’ is my gluten free sourced soybeans (their rotation crop is corn) so they appreciate that I can make them food they can eat, out of my pantry.

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InTheEther January 18, 2017 at 8:12 pm

On why the OP mentioned her doubts about the allergie’s existence:

Because that info just adds that little bit more to the annoyance. Yes, this allergy might be real. It’s certainly an allergy that exists. But people aren’t stupid and we all have basic pattern recognition.

So, first instance “oh, relative x is in the hospital and getting attention. And now Susie’s complaining she’s sick. Not seeing a doctor or getting treated, just complaining.” Second instance, “Oh, 2nd verse same as the 1st.” By the 3rd instance almost everyone is at least silently calling BS and doubting anytime cousin Susie claims to be ill or have a medical issue. That’s just what happens, hence the boy who cried wolf fable.

The fact that Susie whips out a medical issue whenever someone else starts getting attention is relevant to the story.

This whole site is about casting aspersions on people’s character. Otherwise the admins would ban words like bridezilla or speschul snowflake. It just seems a weird hipster thing that’s started up for people to nitpic the OPs. Like their the true etiquette mavens for not going after the obvious target.

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AS January 18, 2017 at 9:01 am

We had a champagne toast at our wedding, but had a wedding guest who was a teetotaler. So, he politely went and asked the wedding staff if they could replace the champagne with water. The (wonderful) staff did give him fruit juice or something, and let him have the champagne glass too. He raised the glass for the toasts, and another friend of our in the table was glad to finish the champagne, while he drank the fruit juice. My husband and I knew that he was a teetotaler, but probably forgot to mention to the caterers to have accommodate them; or probably mentioned, but they forgot about it.

The polite thing to do in OP’s guest’s case was to go and ask the wait staff, and not bring it up with the wedding party / parents / etc., who already have a lot on their minds. It is one thing to have absolutely no options without an allergen. But in OP’s case, that was not the case. So, there is no reason to keep fuming over it after the fact!

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Aleko January 18, 2017 at 9:07 am

It really and truly doesn’t matter whether she is genuinely allergic or not. All she had to do, and all she was entitled to do, was quietly ask the wait staff if there was any alternative they could give her, or at least if they could produce her a plate with the tomato-containing item missing and a bit more of everything else to compensate. Any half-way professional catering outfit can do this without breaking stride (and in fact they did). Even if a person is so allergic to tomatoes they could drop dead from eating one, they have no business to make any more fuss than that.

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J January 18, 2017 at 9:20 am

I AM allergic to tomatoes and people NEVER believe me…this is why!

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SianMcClay January 18, 2017 at 12:07 pm

J, I missed your post before I posted mine before. I am also allergic to tomatoes and people never believe me.
It’s so frustrating! I mean what kind of a character do you think I have that I would make up being allergic to a common fruit? What is to come of that? Shock? Despair? A rush of comforting arms around me? Do people really think we make this up for attention?

The only reason I tell anyone is because, “hey, I’ll get my own pizza because I need to get an olive oil and garlic base instead of tomato sauce.” sort of thing. Now everyone can just get over it. Sheesh.

I just came up with a plan, lets find out the name of the chemical ingredients in tomatoes, pick one and tell them we’re allergic to that, which is unfortunately found in tomatoes. Maybe then they will believe us.

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SianMcClay January 18, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I meant to say “posted mine below”, not before.

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Amongst mine are bananas, lettuce and anything related to a grape. I can totally commensurate. If you tell me tomatoes, I’ll make sure to leave them off the menu if I invite you to sit at my table and pull up a fork.

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AS January 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Lycopene. Say that you are allergic to Lycopene. May sound like a huge thing to non-science folks! 😉

It is indeed sad though when people don’t believe you. I do not like meat, and bananas. It is so difficult to get people off of my backs, because there is always someone who says that I haven’t had meat cooked perfectly, or the right type of banana. Just saying that I feel sick keeps them at bay though.

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Commensurate on bananas. I had a friend decide that ‘allergy’ meant ‘I hadn’t tried them if I would just TRY them I’d like them’ and tried hard to get some in me disguised. She managed at a party of hers. I swallowed, got the oh-crap look, bent over and unloaded half a plate of appetizers and my drink ON HER FEET (I’d told her they made me toss it…). I came up, handed her the half a plate I still had and said ‘that had bananas in it, didn’t it’ and left. Ended her party. She got the point.

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Lisa Hughes January 18, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Tell them you’re allergic to some members of the nightshade family. That includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers. My sister avoids nightshades in general, although she has a stronger response to some than to others, and my daughter (and I) are about to go on an elimination diet that will cut the nightshades out. They’re not a major allergen, but are enough of a problem to eliminate if you’re trying to remove common allergens.

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LadyV January 18, 2017 at 10:01 am

Sadly, we all seem to have at least one relative or friend like that. If Susie really IS allergic to tomatoes, the appropriate thing to do would have been to go to the bride well before the wedding and say something to the effect of, “Bride, I’m sure the food at your wedding will be lovely. However, I have an allergy to tomatoes. Would it be possible to have them omitted from my meal?” I’ve found that most brides are happy to at least attempt to comply with serious food issues IF they are given decent notice.

By the way – it looks like the OP has TWO high-maintenance relatives, considering how big a deal the daughter made of this. That tomato didn’t fall far from the vine!

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Pat January 18, 2017 at 10:02 am

If there is something in the dish that you can’t eat or don’t like, don’t eat it. If you need to know what’s in a dish, quietly ask a service person without making a huge public deal out of it. But please don’t make a public fuss about it or bore everyone to death about your food allergies or how you don’t like whatever. Just quietly don’t eat it and fill up as much as you can on the stuff you can eat. You won’t starve to death if one meal turns out to be rather skimpy.

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Rattus January 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm

My husband is a vegetarian and I’m allergic to crustaceans (rarely a problem really). Because of this I always carry a granola bar in my bag, just in case. I don’t understand why an adult can’t foresee potential issues with dining at a large event and act accordingly.

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Michelle January 18, 2017 at 10:02 am

I tend to not invite people like Susie and her daughter to any events where I control the guest lists. Susie may be “faaamily” but that does not mean I have to suffer her and her drama at every event.

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Lomita Momcat January 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm

There are relatives, and there is family. The two are not the same.

Family is the people you hold close, the people who care for you, and who you care for.

Relatives are people you share DNA with.

Family can include people you do not share DNA with. Family does not necessarily include everyone you share DNA with. My family includes my best friend, who was my roommate in college, who has been a part of my life for 45 years. My family included my maternal grandmother’s best friend, a very sweet woman who wrote me letters, sent me cards for every occasion, attended my graduations, spent time listening to me, and who treated me in all ways like I was her granddaughter too.

Being a relative doesn’t automatically confer family status on someone. My paternal grandparents, who decided that because my mom was not of their religion, they didn’t want anything to do with her or us, were relatives but not family.

Susie is a relative of OP. She is, very clearly, not a member of OP’s family.

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Anon January 18, 2017 at 10:43 am

My niece is getting married this weekend, on on the invitation response card she had space for “dietary restrictions.” I thought that was an excellent, open way of asking people about restrictions of any sort, whether medical, allergies, religious, a lifestyle choice, etc.

For my own wedding, we had a duet of salmon and beef, so we didn’t give people a choice. Some people did write on their response cards if they were vegetarian, etc, and that was welcome.

I do think that if you have a restriction and you’re going to a catered event, it is perfectly polite to mention your restrictions to the host. Caterers know how to deal with this stuff, and it is generally not any more expensive to provide a vegetarian, dairy-free, vegan, or what have you meal. It’s not a problem, it’s just a matter of communication, and personally I do not find it rude to mention it to the hosts who merely have an obligation to communicate it to the caterer. It’s no more work than that.

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DancerDiva January 18, 2017 at 5:27 pm

While it’s lovely for your niece to include a space to mention dietary restrictions, a lifestyle choice doesn’t really count. If you’re on a Paleo, South Beach, Zone, Clean, Atkins, etc. diet, it’s really not reasonable to expect the bride & groom to accommodate all of that at a wedding. As someone said above, it’s a reception, not a restaurant.

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Celestia January 19, 2017 at 9:06 am

Sure, but if the couple WANTS to accommodate choice diets, isn’t that their right?

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Huh January 18, 2017 at 10:43 am

I have a lot of allergies, and I was taught at an early age that it’s my responsibility to deal with it, no one else’s. I have to know what I can and cannot eat, and if I’m being served something I cannot eat, then I don’t eat it and eat what I can. My parents both have to eat specific diets (health reasons) and have for all of my life, so I’ve followed their example. Sometimes that means when at an event like that, you eat the bread only, or just a salad, or sometimes nothing at all and wait until the event is over and go get something you can eat. If it’s something like the tomato issue, asking politely to the server if you can have one without tomatoes is fine, so long as its polite and you realize the answer may be no. (Sometimes the offending item comes already mixed in with everything else.)

As for remembering guests’ allergies/dietary restrictions. I have two friends that have food allergies. I don’t always remember that, the things they are allergic to are not something you commonly think about being allergic to. My parents I’ve had a lifetime to memorize their food restrictions, other people not so much. Heck, I can’t always remember all of my immediate family’s food preferences and I cook for them daily! “Now is it Huh Jr. who likes broccoli but not green beans or Huh Jr. Jr.?” My point is there is a lot of information swirling around in everyone’s heads, and remembering every person’s dietary restrictions, allergy or not, is probably a low priority in all that noise.

Oddly enough, the tomato thing reminded me – my grandma, when she was of the age to be my grandma, suddenly developed an allergy/intolerance to tomatoes. Was perfectly fine with them for that many years, then suddenly NOPE. My former SIL had a similar thing with another vegetable.

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CW January 18, 2017 at 11:55 am

My wedding was more buffet style where everyone could pick and choose from the servers along the table. The only thing I did request ahead of time was to make sure my best friend’s dad and sister were served first as they have Celiac and it was the best way to avoid cross contamination. My caterer knew this from day one and had no problem helping make sure no one got sick.

Most people with food allergies or preferences have no problem QUIETLY resolving the issue. The ones that make a huge deal about it are the ones that give everyone else a bad rep.

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SianMcClay January 18, 2017 at 11:58 am

I don’t know why a tomato allergy is in question here. And also, it seems like Sally’s daughter is the head of the attention getting here. So a couple of people, went to a wedding and were really rude and inappropriate. That’s what the story really is. And yes they were rude.

I’m allergic to tomatoes. I’m not a compulsive liar and I dislike attention, but I’m just allergic to tomato’s. Usually if I say so, I get eye rolls and statements of disbelief. But let me tell you this, if I was looking for attention, I would come up with a story so much freaking better than an allergy to a common fruit that the insinuation that I would use this as an attention getting scheme is the height of insults.

Sally is a know compulsive liar, an attention demander and her daughter has apparently surpassed her in this. So call out her behaviour, (although it won’t help) and don’t believe anything she says (that will help). Don’t invite her to events, and if she is at one you attend, ignore her, it’s what she hates the most.

As for the hosts. If I was served a plate of tomato covered food, I would eat my bun and get on with the dinner chat. I’m allergic to tomatoes, but I’ve never really found plated wedding food I like anyway, so I wouldn’t bother asking for something else. It’s not a restaurant. I don’t thing the hosts should have to ask for guests lists of allergies. When one has allergies, it’s their responsibility to eat before or carry a snack.

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JD January 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm

The bride and groom, and their parents, perhaps, hosted a nice party and meal after the wedding. They could have just had punch and cookies, which is fine, but they went all out and provided a meal, too. This was a private meal, not a commercial transaction, and a range of options are not required at private meals. Hosts are not required to cater to everyone’s food issues, although, naturally, many do try to offer choices, to a degree. The guests, however, have a responsibility to mention if they have a food issue to the hosts, always in a polite way. Did Susie tell the hosts that she needed to know if tomatoes would be served, as she was allergic? If not, she should have quietly asked for a different plate, and then eaten it without the drama. I’m not sure why her daughter even needed to get involved.
My daughter was allergic to a long list of foods until she was an adult, and tomatoes (fresh, sauce, ketchup, all forms) were one of the foods on that list. We either mentioned her allergies beforehand to her hosts and provided or suggested easy alternatives, or she ate and drank what she could from what was served. She started handling this pretty much herself, beginning when she was four, and she indulged in zero drama or self-pity. I find myself very unsympathetic with Susie.

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Huh January 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm

I’ve lived life like your daughter, and I agree, I’m very unsympathetic to people like Suzy who flip when they can’t eat something being served. It’s just one meal. You will live. Go eat something on the way home! I’ve seen my mom only able to eat a roll at a wedding (very restricted health-related diet) and she didn’t complain, she just got something to eat later.

My ex and I used to fight about this actually. Huh Jr. and Huh Jr. Jr. shook out like their mom with a range of differing allergies/food intolerances. The food intolerance they both got was one I had, but luckily grew out of eventually – chocolate. He would yell at me for eating chocolate in front of them because they couldn’t eat it and how mean that was, etc. I told him the world wasn’t going to stop eating chocolate because they were allergic to it and the sooner they learned that, the better. They grew up knowing they couldn’t have it, giving their pieces to friends, saving it for Mommy, etc. They never cared, and were happy with their non-chocolate treats. And they both grew out of it and can eat it now.

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Calli Arcale January 18, 2017 at 12:37 pm

I had a large guest list for my wedding, and we took pains to inquire of our guests who had allergies. We got five responses back, communicated with the venue, marked their places accordingly (I made little hand-painted flags to clearly indicate that place was no insert-allergen-here), and everybody was happy. I got some overjoyed thanks from those accommodated; they were not expecting it to be handled so smoothly and clearly. (If memory serves, we had one with celiac disease, one with a chocolate allergy, one with a life-threatening peanut allergy, one with a fish allergy, and one who could not handle alcohol because it triggered migraines. We posted the peanut and fish allergies even though they did not require special dishes — better safe than sorry.) Bottom line is that it’s really not complicated, even with a very large guest list, and professional venues are accustomed to handling food allergies and so forth and can take a lot of the burden of that away from you.

But the bottom line is that it is the person on the restricted diet who has the obligation to ensure it. It is very good form for the host to consider the guests needs, but due to the sheer variety of restrictions that may exist, it is not an obligation, and the ultimate responsibility rests with the diner (or the diner’s guardian if we’re talking about a child). There are more delicate ways of handling this situation, and a graceful person finds a way to keep something like the presence of an allergen in the main dish from ruining their enjoyment of the entire evening.

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Mags January 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Why are people slagging the bride and groom for the meal? You don’t know based on this letter whether Susie had ever informed them about her allergy. You can’t assume that because they are cousins, the bride knew. Maybe they are not that close. Or maybe there was an error and they had intended for Susie to get a tomato free dish.

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Kali January 19, 2017 at 5:09 am

I’m confused as to why they wouldn’t have asked their guests. You can’t expect to know everything about everyone, but why would you not ask about allergies?

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Shannon January 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

I have a food allergy, and it can make life pretty challenging. If I consume aspartame (an artificial sweetener), which is found in diet sodas, some baked goods, processed foods, and even medicines, my throat closes up, I get a splitting migraine, and I’m down for at least a day.

In theory, it should be pretty easy to avoid my allergen, well, except for the dippy waiters who serve me diet soda by mistake, or the coworker who gave me sugar-free candy while insisting it was “natural,” or the nurse who gave me medicine flavored with aspartame, and on and on.

In theory, people should take me seriously, but since it’s not a well-known allergy, and the world is full of special snowflakes who frame their aversions as allergies, I sometimes feel like I’m screaming into a void. I’ve also had the joy of someone “testing” me to see if my allergy was real by slipping me Diet Coke. (Yeah, it’s real.)

So when I read the OP’s story, I don’t see some annoying aunt, I see a bride and groom who didn’t bother to find out about family member’s dietary needs, and an OP who pretends to care about it when really, they just don’t. (“I do understand people have allergies and I am very sympathetic to that.”….right. No, you don’t understand, and no you aren’t sympathetic.)

I mean, if I were the aunt, I likely would assume there would be a buffet or more than one option at dinner, and I’d be able to select something that didn’t have tomatoes. I’ve been to plenty of weddings, and I’ve never heard of only one meal option. While the story makes it sound like Susie and her daughter behaved out of turn, we’re only getting the OP’s version, and the OP doesn’t strike me as the most even-handed or sympathetic person.

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Pat January 18, 2017 at 4:53 pm

So in your view, Susie and her daughter were justified in making a scene at a wedding and complaining to the father of the bride because Susie initially got a plate with tomatoes on it that the wait staff readily exchanged for a plate without tomatoes?

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DancerDiva January 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Unless OP is flat-out lying about Susie and the daughter getting loud when requesting a tomato-free meal, and approaching FOB about it, then going on and on after the situation was resolved, they were rude and completely out of turn. Yes, B & G should have asked. But c’mon…we’re grown-ups. Handle the situation and then shut up about it.

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Lomita Momcat January 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm

This submission reinforces my feeling that there’s a lot to be said in favor of elopement.

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bern821 January 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm

^^This! Too funny. 🙂

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Devin January 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Haha, i agree completely!!

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LadyV January 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

But then you’d have someone who insisted on throwing a big reception for the happy couple, and you’d be right back at square one!

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Pat January 23, 2017 at 11:41 am

You have a point. Wedding expectations seem to be getting out of hand. On the one hand we have Bridezillas. On the other hand, we seem to have Guestzillas too.

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ColoradoCloudy January 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I wonder if the LW and I are somehow related?

This story sounds uncomfortably close to some relatives of mine. One of them has recently developed “allergies” to literally dozens of foods. Things she has eaten all her life are now verboten. The reason we all (except her daughter) have a hard time taking it seriously is that at various times through the years, she has claimed to be unable to eat this or that food due to one reason or another, and it always seems to happen in public, when it will cause consternation for the host, and garner a lot of attention for her. The thing that makes it even harder to bear is that an item that was forbidden a month ago will now be perfectly fine.

An example was Thanksgiving a few years ago. There were 20 or so people to table, and having been aware of the most recent “allergies”, the hostess had prepared foods without strawberries, grapes, raisins or ginger. After the stricken relative got to the table, she announced that she wasn’t able to eat BUTTER. Since pretty much every item had been prepared with butter, this left her with plain turkey (“But I can’t eat meat, dear”), cranberries (“Cranberries give me the worst heartburn, honey”) and salad. So, she ate her salad, looking despondent and martyred. Her daughter loudly offered to go buy her fast food, and there were a lot of significant looks and a few eye-rolls around the table. Amazingly, she was able to try many of the desserts, and even after having been told the tart crust had been made with butter, reassured us all that such a small amount wouldn’t cause her any “tummy troubles”.

Some of the family think it’s hilarious and try to guess what she won’t be able to eat at the next gathering, but for those of us who are doing the cooking, having to make the call to see what she can’t eat now, for the last 30 years – only to be told about something new the day of the event – has become annoying in the extreme.

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LadyV January 19, 2017 at 9:57 am

That’s about where I would either: a) stop inviting this person to any occasion that involves food; b)say to her, in my very sweetest voice, “Gee, Hildegarde, since I can never tell what foods might bother you, maybe you should bring your own food, so you won’t go hungry.”

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm

THIS

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JJ January 18, 2017 at 3:08 pm

See call me crazy but I don’t think anyone is owed anything by the couple for attending the wedding. I get it sucks if Susie actually is allergic and I could get it if maybe a ton of other people at the wedding also had serious food issues to then maybe it wouldn’t have hurt to make a safe side option. But in this case the food sounds relatively safe for the majority of guests. Plus I highly doubt that was the only food that night at a wedding. Most weddings also have rolls available, dessert,drinks including juice which can fill you up etc. To me that is just life especially with a food allergy you take the risk that you might have to wait for the second course or the snacks to start rolling out to enjoy the food.

I don’t even have allergies but I’ll sneak a little snack in my purse when I leave to go to big events like that in case we have to wait around for a while to eat food if delays happen etc. I don’t eat it directly at the table of course in front of the wedding party but I’ll munch on a light snack on the car ride between church and reception. Or go out in the hallway for a bite if supper is going to be late. Heck I’m a picky eater and I openly admit it. I only like certain veggies and most meals served at dinners with a pre-set meal are usually covered in the veggies I can’t eat like onion pieces, peppers, crunchy celery pieces etc. I just accept that I can’t or won’t eat those foods so I skip that part of the meal or eat around it while still trying to look polite. I would never dream of running up to the wedding party to complain out loud and demand a meal for myself. I have food at home and I’m sure Susie did to she can either wait to eat the later courses of the meal and snacks or she can hold off till she gets home and order some take out.

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Anonymous January 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Susie may be high-maintenance, but if she says she’s allergic to tomatoes, I think it’d be best to believe her, and accommodate that. After all, she may be telling the truth, and if she is, then her having an allergic reaction in the middle of the wedding (if the tomatoes are “hidden,” like, say, a meal of Chinese food with ketchup in the plum sauce), would surely ruin the event. Even if she’s not telling the truth, I wouldn’t give her fodder for a tantrum if I could avoid it. Tomato allergies are a real thing; my best guy friend from university has one. Also, I can kind of understand dietary restrictions, because I’m vegan myself. I once attended a formal dinner where it was a set meal (alternate drop, so you had the chance of getting either Meal A or Meal B, but no choice), and the waitperson gave me a lamb chop. I didn’t throw a fit, but I told him I was vegan, and he took it away and gave me something else, which might have been high-maintenance, and others at my table might have judged me (since it was also assigned seating). But, without knowing Susie’s side of the story, I can’t really say who’s right or wrong.

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LadyV January 19, 2017 at 9:59 am

Absolutely NOT high maintenance – you handled the situation politely and quietly.

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Anonymous January 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I actually wanted to handle the situation in advance, by telling the venue ahead of time, and asking to be seated at a table with the other person in our group (actually a good friend of mine) who was also vegan (so the kitchen could prepare both vegan meals at the same time, and bring them to the same table), but there was no chance for me to do that–long story, but I wasn’t the one registering people to attend, and therefore, I didn’t have direct contact with the venue. So, I thought the “high-maintenance” thing came into play because I told the server that I was a vegan *during* the dinner, when the powers-that-be might not have been able to do anything about it. If that had been the case, I would have gone without, and eaten at home later, but it still would have looked odd; like I was being rude for refusing to eat at a communal meal.

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NostalgicGal January 20, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Most of my friends and acquaintances know that I am in seriously restricted diet and, most of the time at an event I can’t eat what’s offered. I am there for companionship and GO RIGHT AHEAD AND EAT IT. I do NOT mind. I either ate before the event, or plans on after, and I will be fine. After several years of varying restrictions and eventually narrowed down a long ways, that’s what has happened. It is NOT an affront to me to eat whatever. I’ve also learned Memory-of-Taste has drifted. Some things taste different now, just because. So go ahead, eat the amaraetto-peach cheesecake. Enjoy it for me.

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Anonymous January 24, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Umm, no. If I was at an event with only non-vegan food, I wouldn’t “eat it anyway” just to be polite, but I also wouldn’t make a scene. I’d stay and make conversation about things that aren’t food, participate in the non-food festivities, and then leave when I’m hungry, or when I’ve had enough for whatever reason.

NostalgicGal February 6, 2017 at 7:14 am

Anonymous, the ‘go ahead and eat it’ is for the others around me. If I can’t eat it I don’t eat it. If you can’t have it, don’t eat it. The comment was meant, I tell the others around me to go right ahead. Eat, enjoy. Don’t mind me (watching the ice melt in my glass of water). I can and do cope.

bern821 January 18, 2017 at 3:39 pm

I’m surprised how many people think it’s the bride & groom’s responsibility to ask all attendees if they have dietary restrictions. No – it’s a wedding reception, you’re not going to a restaurant! If you have an issue, be prepared in case there is nothing you can eat. Perhaps they chose to serve one dish (no choices) for budgetary reasons. If they have a crowd of special snowflakes, they could have had to deal with 20 different dietary issues!! **PLEASE NOTE: I know food allergies are very real, that’s not who I’m talking about! I mean I don’t think my caterer needs to prepare you a special meal because you’re on the South Beach diet this week.
I think the most annoying part about the story is that it was Susie’s DAUGHTER who accosted the bride’s father (did they think HE cooked the meal??) and fumed for the rest of the night. Oh, the joys of someone who gets so offended – on behalf of someone else!

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NostalgicGal January 18, 2017 at 3:58 pm

There seems to be a lot of people with true allergies and the number seems to be rising. I have numerous allergies and more have cropped up through the years, usually suddenly. The breadth and scope of what I react to is amazing and some of them past strange and into bizaare. However, I learned from an early age to cope. With the last few, they have been pretty serious and very pervasive (the allergen is EVERYWHERE) . I also have drug allergies, and some things have unexpected side effects. And sweeteners, I’m about out of options. This is my life. This is my world. I don’t expect the world to cater to me, I have to adapt and survive in it. A serious allergy sufferer is usually a quiet and able to cope person. Maybe at the very start, especially if you’re not used to it, you might be a bit of a pain as you settle in and learn. However, if it gets you EVERY time and it’s really bad, you quit trying to eat it and learn to avoid it. AND DEAL.

Susie and daughter were totally out of line here. The stated allergy has to be at face value, no matter what sort Susie is normally. Whether or not the hosts of the wedding (whoever did the cater hiring and management) took the allergy seriously or not, it’s not certain if it was clearly known to them and also if it was communicated to the caterers or not. At that, Susie and daughter were totally out of line on how they acted, reacted, and handled it.

It could not be construed to be premeditated unless their plates were heaped with tomatoes when nobody else’s was…. all plates had tomatoes and it didn’t seem their serving was an excessive amount. SO. Despite anything else said by OP it comes down to, Susie has an allergy that she states. If it is real or not nobody really knows. The fact she persists about it means it should be a fairly commonly known thing. She should not have been served tomatoes. She was. What she did (and her daughter also) after being served the tomatoes, is where things went wrong. Drama llama and attention, yes. In the end it seems though the caterer was able to accommodate, and could have done so even without the drama. In the end it is Susie and daughter that are at fault here (with maybe a small amount to the hosts for not informing the caterers). Not that at least one has an allergy, but how they reacted and handled it.

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Lomita Momcat January 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

I don’t think allergies are increasing, I just think people are talking about them more, and in more detail, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Hearing someone talk about “weapons-grade flatulence and explosive diarrhea” from eating dairy, to be one-upped by someone else who experienced “projectile vomiting and suppurating sores all down the throat” from a different food, isn’t exactly pleasant dinner conversation (!).

People used to consider it bad manners to talk about details of their internal workings, but now it almost seems the fashion to talk about what foods upset you in which way, and people sometimes seem to be trying to one-up each other with allergies and intolerances. I’m not saying people should be ashamed of diet-related health problems, but I wish that discussion of them was on a “need to know” basis.

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 7:07 pm

I do think they are, from our commercially sourced food. Read your labels sometimes. 50 years ago diabetes was rare. Now it’s all over. And rising. I managed to pull back from it after four years of living with it (doctor says I’m cured, I say just better managed–no meds and no testing right now). Some others may be better diagnosis, I agree. Still. We are what we eat, and we need to eat better. Still with the original poster here and Susie Snowflake, that’s NOT how to act or deal with an allergy ‘in the field’. That was drama mongering. WRONG. Mreep.

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Morgana January 18, 2017 at 5:24 pm

I’m part of a living history group and as such, we prepare themed banquets regularly. Anyone care to guess how often people tell us in advance that they have dietary restrictions?
Our events are announced months in advance, with full contact info for the staff, especially the head cook. We try to announce our menus as early as possible too. We always say to contact the head cook with food issues at least 2 weeks before the event.
Yet, the day of and frequently as late as while we are plating the first course, someone will appear at the kitchen door with a laundry list of issues.
Too late chuckles.

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Linda January 18, 2017 at 6:04 pm

My ex claimed to be allergic to many foods one of which were mushrooms which over the years I knew he had eaten them and they never made them sick. Our last Thanksgiving together we were out friends and I mentioned to the hostess this. She was so apologetic because just about everything had mushrooms in them. I said not to worry and not to say anything. Until I left him he kept saying it was one of the best meals he had ever eaten. And anytime I tried to cook something that included something that he was “allergic” to he claimed that I was trying to kill him. H wasn’t worth that.

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Ashley January 18, 2017 at 6:56 pm

While I do think that Susie and her daughter obviously overreacted to the whole situation (she could have just quietly spoken to the waiter, or skipped the salad), I feel like if Susie has made people aware of this allergy in the past, it should have been accommodated ahead of time.

I have an aunt that’s allergic to tomatoes. Because we know about it, every catered event we throw as a family, we make sure that there are accommodations made for her. Same thing with my brother who has dairy issues. People know about it, we plan for it. It’s not hard.

This is especially true for me now since I’ve recently found out (doctor diagnosed and everything) that gluten is the major source of many health issues I’ve had recently. It’s not going to kill me, but the more I eat, the worse I feel. So now I know to avoid it, and since my aunts have become aware of it, I noticed slight changes to the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas menus.

You find out. You accommodate. Yes, some of the responsibility does fall on the person with the allergies, to find out what is in things and avoid foods that have their allergien in them, but how hard would it really have been for someone to say “Oh, Susie is allergic to tomatoes, could we maybe let the wait staff know where she’s sitting so we can make sure she gets a salad without tomatoes?”

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Jays January 18, 2017 at 8:54 pm

I’m surprised at the people who say they’really never heard of only one option at a wedding. We were considered unusual in our location for having a choice of two entries plus a vegetarian option. I’m baffled by the expectation of more.
This isn’t at all on the bride and groom. They can’t be expected to know everyone’should eating habits and allergies! Susie could have handled this with no fuss whatsoever, but she chose not to. My sympathy ends there.

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crebj January 18, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Unless you were the bride or groom or caterer, I’m not sure how this was your problem. Are you just venting? I have an idea: avoid Susie. Need to vent averted.

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Lara January 19, 2017 at 12:23 am

I once had some friends over for lunch, and between them, they were allergic to beef, poultry, gluten, yeast, dairy, rice and probably some other things I can’t remember. I had to plan the menu very carefully to make sure everyone could eat it. In a wedding setting, with so many guests, I think it would form an unreasonable burden to accommodate every individual diet present. Having a secondary dish, perhaps something that’s vegan and gluten free, available, would be really nice and take care of a lot of the problems, but even something like that might include an ingredient like tomatoes. For people on a budget, unlimited food options just aren’t affordable. That being said, if I had a close relative or friend that I knew was allergic to a particular food, I would try to make he or she was accommodated.

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Marozia January 19, 2017 at 1:58 am

Relative ‘Susie’ should be wiped off the wedding guest lists just for being rude and vulgar alone.
Because DH is on a low protein diet (he has phenylketonuria) we are never invited to weddings to friends from our Church. Not once did they ask us ‘What can DH eat and we’ll organise something for him’, NO, NO, NO. They just didn’t bother inviting us because DH is ‘too hard because of the diet’.

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Just4Kicks January 19, 2017 at 3:20 am

This reminds me of a story my mom tells about my dad’s sister’s wedding shower.
No one liked the man she was marrying, we STILL don’t, he’s a real piece of work.
He was 45 minutes late to his OWN wedding to my aunt because his mother INSISTED he take her out to breakfast….Yes, on his own wedding day. My grandfather almost killed him when he finally showed up.
Anyway, my mom was matron of honor and threw the wedding shower.
The grooms mom was supposedly diabetic, so my mom made sure there was plenty of sugar free goodies for her to enjoy.
My mom steps out to check on the dessert table, and put flowers on the table, where guess who is scarfing down half a tray of strudel and cookies?
My mom had enough of this broad by this point, and asked her what she doing, and said I THOUGHT you were diabetic?!?
With a mouthful of strudel she says, “THESE have SUGAR in them?!?”
My mom says, “Um, yes…there is sugar in the dough, in the filling and oh, yeah, they are COVERED in POWDERED SUGAR!!!”
“Oh, my!!!”
Diabetic, my foot.

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NostalgicGal January 19, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Diabetic my patoot. Indeed. My condolences Just4Kicks.

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Just4Kicks January 20, 2017 at 9:22 am

Yeah, she was a real winner, not hard to see where her darling son got it from.

My grandfather, God rest his soul, never once raised his voice to me, and spoiled all five of his granddaughters rotten.
I always got a giggle out of the story of him pacing the church steps waiting for the groom to show on my Aunt’s (only girl, with three brothers) wedding day.
Story has it my dad and his two brothers had to physically restrain my grandpop when the groom and his mom came sauntering up the sidewalk with a very “What’s the big deal?” attitude.

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Just4Kicks January 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

May I add that my mom “had enough of this broad” for rude and obnoxious demeanor, not because she was diabetic.

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nora January 19, 2017 at 7:15 am

I’m getting married in October. We’re having a very small ceremony and restaurant dinner after – we’re expecting 40 guests at most. My parents keep kosher (no pork or shellfish, and no mixing milk and meat), one of my bridesmaids has a number of food allergies (including tomatoes!), my MIL can’t eat gluten or dairy, and another dear friend can’t eat gluten, dairy, or onions. We will certainly do our best to accommodate our parents and bridal party. As for everyone else, we’re just going to try to choose a variety of options and hope for the best. I do think it’s up to the guests to let us know of any allergies or cultural restrictions ahead of time, and we’ll work with the restaurant as much as we can, but ultimately? It’s one meal. If they don’t like it, they can go out afterward.

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Lady Phoenix January 19, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Usually the guests are responsible for informing the wedding party about their allergies/restrictions prior to the wedding. In the rvsp, the card usually asks these things.

And even if that isn’t possible, I would still think the guest is still responsible for informing the party about their allergies on their card, through the phone, email, whatever. ESPECIALLY if the allergies are deadly (like the smell of nuts and cause allergic shock).

Yelling at the party the day of is stupid, idioitic, and the fault of the guest. Their poor planning is not the party’s emergency.

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Lady phoenix January 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm

And additionally, while I believe the wedding party should accomadate their guests as best as possible (including removing foods that set of guests’ DEADLY allergies), they are not responsible to limit items based on the guests latest fad diet that “everyone is doing”. The guests should come prepared with either food of their own, or an excuse to temprarily leave, eat, and return to the festivities.

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Kariachi January 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Honestly I hesitate to put any blame on the HC in this one. We don’t know how much they knew about the allergy or how severe it is (there’s a big difference between “eating something tomatoes have touched will kill your cousin” and “eating tomatoes upsets your cousin’s stomach), we don’t know what the involvement of the tomatoes in the dish was (big difference between chicken parmesan (covered in tomato sauce) and roast chicken with a salad that includes tomatoes), and we don’t know whether or not it *was* supposed to be accounted for and this was just a glitch on the caterer’s part. Too many variables.

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Elle January 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

I have scanned through all the responses to OP, and I haven’t seen anyone say this: Does OP have a dog in this fight? “We were at a cousin’s wedding …” It wasn’t the OP’s wedding. I say hurray for Susie and her daughter for giving everyone a “crazy relative at a wedding” story! Haha!

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Pat January 24, 2017 at 9:51 am

Perhaps OP was assigned to cousin and Susie’s table and had to endure the scene with the waitstaff and the continuous complaining after the situation was promptly resolved. It certainly would put a damper on my enjoyment of the evening.

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Anonymous January 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Another thing–for all the sensible work-arounds that exist for people with restricted diets (eating before and/or afterwards, bringing safe food or snacks, or stepping out to get food, and then returning to the event), sometimes, that doesn’t work. It doesn’t work if it’s a prolonged event (that takes most of the day, or longer), if it’s a formal event where a “missing” guest would be noticed, if it’s the kind of event where it’d look odd or rude to be munching on a Clif bar while dressed in formal attire, while everyone else is eating the provided meal, and/or if there’s no way to opt out of the food part of the event, for whatever reason–maybe there’s significant travel involved, maybe it’s a ticketed event where you can’t get a ticket to just the activity and not the meal, whatever. When these things happen, I simply opt out, because I know that there’s not going to be any polite way for me to accommodate my needs as a vegan. However, Susie might have gone along, or been guilted into going along, in the interests of “family harmony.” Now, she absolutely shouldn’t have thrown a fit–not only is that really counterproductive as far as “family harmony” goes, but all that aside, there are times when dietary restrictions absolutely can prevent people from participating in events that involve meals.

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KellyK January 24, 2017 at 10:20 am

Very true. Like you said, this doesn’t excuse Susie for making a scene. The harder you make it for people to avoid things that won’t make them sick, and also not be really hungry, the more likely it is that they won’t attend. It’s your event, you get to do that if you want, but it’s poor form to host a long event with only one meal choice and then complain about people not coming. And the family harmony guilt trip is certainly common!

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Klara Voyant January 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

So many impolite, entitled people, evidenced by their comments. The world doesn’t revolve around you or your allergies and most people don’t want to hear about them. I have allergies but have never found it necessary to bring it up at an event. If I’m allergic to something, I don’t eat it. Period. I can look forward to a meal at home. I won’t starve. If “Susie” and her daughter took their negative energy and turned it into appreciation of a beautiful wedding and the loveliness of new beginnings, everyone would have benefitted.

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sunnydi84 January 24, 2017 at 1:04 am

OP here. Just wanted to add some things based on the comments. I normally avoid Susie & her daughter at these functions. We were seated together at the table, via the seating chart, so that is how I got to witness this first hand. It was a single entree meal consisting of a salad, rolls, chicken with tomato & sauce, rice, asparagus and wedding cake. This was served to everyone. There were no options on the RSVP. She is not close with the bride, they are distant relatives, so I’m sure the bride is unaware of this allergy. She could have quietly gone to the wait staff and asked for a new entree without the tomatoes. She could have eaten the salad, rice & asparagus. But, she and her daughter decided to make a stink. They involved the rest of us at the table and could not understand why she had been served this dish as ‘everyone knows I’m allergic to tomatoes’. And, daughter continued the stink throughout the night, which I also got to witness first hand due to sitting at their table.
Yes, the bride and groom could have asked all 150 guests if they had allergies. They could have paid more for multiple dishes or a buffet. But, this is what they decided to do. There are certain things I can’t eat or just don’t like. I eat what I can and leave the rest and don’t make a stink. Allergy or no allergy, the main issue was how they chose to involve all of us at the table and discuss it with the father of the bride instead of handling it quietly with the wait staff.

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KellyK January 24, 2017 at 10:23 am

Thanks for providing more info! I think everybody agrees that making a stink and expecting a wedding meal of 150 to cater to your allergies because “everyone knows” is really rude.

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Pat January 25, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Yes, and it’s not just rude to the hosts it’s also rude to the other guests.

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penguin tummy January 30, 2017 at 12:46 am

It’s very entitled to think that *everyone* remembers you and your specific allergy.

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penguin tummy January 30, 2017 at 12:45 am

My friend and I attended a wedding with a similar set menu arrangement. My friend is Jewish and one of the appetiser plates was just a pile of various pork products! He politely put it aside and carried on. There is no need for carry on if you don’t like/want/are allergic to the meal.

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Helen CYMBALA February 12, 2017 at 11:29 am

My husband has a lot of allergies, so I’m very conscious of who can eat what in my social circle. We had about 100 guests at our wedding, gave a choice of 3 entrees, and gave detailed info to the caterer. That said, many people who don’t deal with allergies every day have a mistaken idea about how difficult it is to simply “just don’t eat (whatever it is)” because many ingredients are not detectable in the food presentation. Others simply don’t believe that allergies exist and try to “trick” people into making themselves sick. In this case, the LW doesn’t like the guest and the guest was rude – so all bets are off 😉 But in real life, it’s easy to politely and matter-of-factly ask the waitstaff, “Excuse me, but we’re allergic to xyz. Is it possible to get some without it?” Sometimes the answer is no, sometimes we’re offered something else, and only once or twice over many years has the waitstaff been rude or snarky about it. (no tip!) The biggest issue is when they say they’re going to bring a clean serving, but actually just pick out some of the more visible allergens. It is still contaminated and will still make someone sick.

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