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Author Topic: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?  (Read 26976 times)

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kudeebee

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #90 on: June 19, 2013, 12:24:13 AM »
I have to agree with posters who say that since you and df aren't vegan/vegetarian, that your guests will not be expecting such a menu.  I also agree that while you two like this menu and want to perhaps have a  unique, different wedding menu, is this the best choice for your guests?  What is more important, to be good hosts or have a different menu?

If you do go with this caterer, I would disclose the type of menu either by noting it as vegetarian or giving a description of the dishes on the buffet.  I would not just list the caterer's name as many will not look it up.  That would then allow those of your guests who can't eat/don't like the items you are offering the opportunity to eat ahead of time before the ceremony/stop on the way to reception for fast food/pack snacks. 

If you offer a variety of "normal" salads, cheese and crackers, veggies and fruits with dips, breads that should also help give people other options for eating besides your main courses.

White Lotus

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #91 on: June 19, 2013, 01:24:32 AM »
Went to a wedding recently.  It was a buffet.  We have seen buffets where there was literally nothing we could eat (vegetarians) because of American cuisine's current fascination with putting chicken stock in dishes where it is emphatically not traditional or usual and putting bacon or gelatin in everything, and pretending these are all vegetarian and won't make us sick to our stomachs as well as other ways.  This buffet was lovely.  There really was something for everyone and there were also little signs warning of allergens (meat, fish, shellfish, fowl, soy, gluten, dairy, and a couple of other things) by each dish, with a master list showing which little picture meant what.  It was unobtrusive and didn't make for an inordinately long line, nor a particularly huge buffet, though it was sumptuous.  We do not eat cheese made with animal rennet and even that was noted.  Posting the menu in the wedding web site with allergens noted is a great idea, and we found the little signs a super idea.  We also went to a raw vegan wedding not long ago and the food, while unfamiliar to us then, was food we knew we could eat and it was superb; they didn't mention it in advance, but since they are raw vegans, we kind if guessed.  We have now adopted some of those dishes and methods.  Try something like this: menu with allergens in the website, and allergy signs by the specific dishes.  People can get really nasty of you tell them a menu is vegetarian or vegan, IME, so I wouldn't specifically mention it.  If the food is good, they will never notice unless you tell them..

saki

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #92 on: June 19, 2013, 05:10:23 AM »
I have to agree with posters who say that since you and df aren't vegan/vegetarian, that your guests will not be expecting such a menu.  I also agree that while you two like this menu and want to perhaps have a  unique, different wedding menu, is this the best choice for your guests?  What is more important, to be good hosts or have a different menu?

That's making the assumption that there won't be guests who enjoy something different.  It is obviously social circle dependent but there are plenty of people who are not picky eaters, don't have soy allergies and enjoy trying new and different food.  The people who like plain, predictable food at weddings get what they want a lot of the time, why shouldn't more adventurous eaters get something they want once in a while? 

I don't think that you have to cater to the pickiest common denominator when you host - part of accepting hospitality rather than going out to a restaurant or cooking for yourself is that you don't have full control over what you're served.  And for many of us, that's part of the fun - I actively enjoy the anticipation of thinking about what the food might be like and trying something that I perhaps wouldn't have done otherwise. 

Or, in short, you can't please everyone - if you go for plain food, some people will find it bland, if you go for spicy food, some people will find it too spicy - so, while you should of course not go out of your way to pick food that you know the majority of your guests will hate, you are never going to pick food that every single person there loves and would have ordered given a free choice so there is no point in trying to do that.

Hillia

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #93 on: June 19, 2013, 08:56:56 AM »
Agree with the PPs who said that the HC should have whatever menu they like, and many people will enjoy delicious food, even if it is outside their normal eating pattern.  But I am not an adventurous eater, and would prefer to know ahead of time so I could make my own plans to eat ahead of time, or have a snack afterwards.  This isn't to control what the HC is doing, or determine if I will attend the event, but rather to enable me to take responsibility for my own eating preferences.

Fleur

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #94 on: June 19, 2013, 09:16:01 AM »


I honestly think that your proposed plan is enough. I would imagine that a lot of guests will be very happy with your meal, and those who would not like it can eat beforehand.  Personally, I would rather eat a meal rich in veg, nuts and complex carbs than the normal wedding fare of white carbs and meat.

lowspark

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #95 on: June 19, 2013, 09:22:06 AM »
I may be off base here, but it seems to me that LadyL and LordL must have some inkling of how their guests will react to this menu and at least generally if any of their guests have severe allergies which need to be taken into account. I mean, this is their wedding so presumably they are inviting people they are close to and know fairly well.

My point is that if there were really going to be a lot of people who would object to this menu, for whatever reason, L&L would probably already kinda know that. If there are going to be one or two grumblers, well, there are always one or two grumblers no matter what you do.

I think that posting the menu & caterer on the wedding website is not only considerate, it's really generous. Like PPs, aside from being asked to pick an entrée from a choice of two or three in advance on the rsvp card, I've never ever been told the menu for a wedding reception in advance.
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rashea

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #96 on: June 19, 2013, 09:24:28 AM »
My point is that if there were really going to be a lot of people who would object to this menu, for whatever reason, L&L would probably already kinda know that. If there are going to be one or two grumblers, well, there are always one or two grumblers no matter what you do.


I think many of us took the fact that they considered labeling it "basil pesto entrée with cashews" to indicate that people might have an issue.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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lowspark

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #97 on: June 19, 2013, 09:29:24 AM »
Rereading the OP, it seems like she felt that the guests would have a problem with the word "vegan" being attached to the food as opposed to objecting to the food itself. And I think that's the whole point of the post.

She's going to serve a vegan menu including a large variety of dishes that she feels will be delicious and satisfying for her guests as long as they will eat them without preconceived notions. Does she have to tag the menu as "vegan"?

My answer is no.
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CuriousParty

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #98 on: June 19, 2013, 09:39:08 AM »


I honestly think that your proposed plan is enough. I would imagine that a lot of guests will be very happy with your meal, and those who would not like it can eat beforehand.  Personally, I would rather eat a meal rich in veg, nuts and complex carbs than the normal wedding fare of white carbs and meat.

Re: the bolded, those who would not like it cannot eat beforehand if they have no information to guide them. Which is one reason I advocate telling guests in advance.  Also, in my opinion, a vegan menu is farther off the mainstream than, say, vegetarian, and so there are likely to be more people who would have difficulty figuring out what they like/don't like can/can't eat on the fly (soy/seitan/gluten/preferences aside).  With that in mind, I think it would be appropriate to let guests know ahead of time, so they can plan for themselves.

LadyL, do you think your guests would have reason to anticipate an unusual meal/menu? Are you and DF known to be adventurous eaters, or to prefer vegan/vegetarian options?  If you feel most of your guest list has reason to anticipate your food choices, then I think this is less of an issue than if they do not.

saki

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #99 on: June 19, 2013, 10:15:09 AM »

Ithose who would not like it cannot eat beforehand if they have no information to guide them. Which is one reason I advocate telling guests in advance.  Also, in my opinion, a vegan menu is farther off the mainstream than, say, vegetarian, and so there are likely to be more people who would have difficulty figuring out what they like/don't like can/can't eat on the fly (soy/seitan/gluten/preferences aside).  With that in mind, I think it would be appropriate to let guests know ahead of time, so they can plan for themselves.


I'm vegetarian - I sometimes find that I'm really well catered for at weddings, sometimes less well catered for.  I have never been told what the food would be in advance.  It's really not that big a deal.  Sometimes I get a smaller meal than I would like and I am a little hungry but it doesn't kill me to have one non-ideal meal on one day.   It's not really that different from being invited to join people at any other kind of meal - sometimes, a friend will invite you over for dinner and the meal won't be your thing.  I guess I sort of feel that this "I deserve full info about the meal in advance" attitude sucks a lot of the joy out of hosting and being a guest.  I also just generally feel like the attitude I see on here a lot - that anything that isn't completely plain needs to be flagged in advance - is a bit strange and doesn't fit my experience. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 10:23:14 AM by saki »

camlan

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #100 on: June 19, 2013, 10:28:59 AM »


I'm vegetarian - I sometimes find that I'm really well catered for at weddings, sometimes less well catered for.  I have never been told what the food would be in advance.  It's really not that big a deal.  Sometimes I get a smaller meal than I would like and I am a little hungry but it doesn't kill me to have one non-ideal meal on one day.   It's not really that different from being invited to join people at any other kind of meal - sometimes, a friend will invite you over for dinner and the meal won't be your thing.  I guess I sort of feel that this "I deserve full info about the meal in advance" attitude sucks a lot of the joy out of hosting and being a guest.

I very much agree with this.

Anytime you accept someone's hospitality, you run the risk of being served food that you either don't like or can't eat due to allergies, intolerance or you just plain don't like it.

The larger the number of people attending, the more difficult it is for hosts to accommodate special diets. Having 4 people over for dinner? Sure, I can accommodate the need for a vegetarian meal that has no peanuts or strawberries or gluten for the people who have adapted a special diet and/or have allergies, and I can avoid chocolate for the person who hates chocolate. Having 150 people for dinner? It becomes much, much more difficult to accommodate every single allergy, intolerance and dislike.

I don't think hosts have to disclose the menu or the type of food ahead of time. I think it is up to the guest, when attending a large function, to make the accommodations. The hosts should make sure that certain well-known allergens are not present in every dish, so there is something most people can eat, but beyond that, it is up to the guest with the special requirements to make arrangements in case they can't eat most of the food provided.

Even if the OP were serving a fairly standard choice of prime rib, roast chicken and vegetarian pasta with cheese, there'd be someone who couldn't eat any of the main courses. If you have stringent dietary needs, the onus is on you to make sure you bring along suitable snacks so that you eat something. Better to have the snacks available and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

It's one meal of the day. Most people eat three meals and some snacks daily. There should be a way to cope with one meal having a less than optimal selection of food.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


NyaChan

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #101 on: June 19, 2013, 10:33:11 AM »


I'm vegetarian - I sometimes find that I'm really well catered for at weddings, sometimes less well catered for.  I have never been told what the food would be in advance.  It's really not that big a deal.  Sometimes I get a smaller meal than I would like and I am a little hungry but it doesn't kill me to have one non-ideal meal on one day.   It's not really that different from being invited to join people at any other kind of meal - sometimes, a friend will invite you over for dinner and the meal won't be your thing.  I guess I sort of feel that this "I deserve full info about the meal in advance" attitude sucks a lot of the joy out of hosting and being a guest.

I very much agree with this.

Anytime you accept someone's hospitality, you run the risk of being served food that you either don't like or can't eat due to allergies, intolerance or you just plain don't like it.

The larger the number of people attending, the more difficult it is for hosts to accommodate special diets. Having 4 people over for dinner? Sure, I can accommodate the need for a vegetarian meal that has no peanuts or strawberries or gluten for the people who have adapted a special diet and/or have allergies, and I can avoid chocolate for the person who hates chocolate. Having 150 people for dinner? It becomes much, much more difficult to accommodate every single allergy, intolerance and dislike.

I don't think hosts have to disclose the menu or the type of food ahead of time. I think it is up to the guest, when attending a large function, to make the accommodations. The hosts should make sure that certain well-known allergens are not present in every dish, so there is something most people can eat, but beyond that, it is up to the guest with the special requirements to make arrangements in case they can't eat most of the food provided.

Even if the OP were serving a fairly standard choice of prime rib, roast chicken and vegetarian pasta with cheese, there'd be someone who couldn't eat any of the main courses. If you have stringent dietary needs, the onus is on you to make sure you bring along suitable snacks so that you eat something. Better to have the snacks available and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

It's one meal of the day. Most people eat three meals and some snacks daily. There should be a way to cope with one meal having a less than optimal selection of food.

I very much agree with these.  I think LadyL's current plan is a great one which allows people to make good choices and if it isn't specific enough, they can either ask or err on the side of caution, just like they would at any other meal.

WillyNilly

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #102 on: June 19, 2013, 10:51:54 AM »
I have a couple of thoughts in response to some of the ideas put forth here.

As to disclosing the menu in advance so people can eat before hand or bring snacks - what on earth would be LadyL's motivation for that? I can't imagine an award winning caterer is cheap - why would she want to create a situation where people avoided the food she paid for? Especially since there would no doubt be some people who ate in advance out of fear or ignorance but who if they had held out and tried the vegan fare would have found it acceptable if not down right good and eaten the catered food. So I can see why she wouldn't want to do that - there is nothing positive in that for her.

As to providing food people aren't expecting (because its not typical, and the hosts are not vegans or even vegetarians)... that one I think can be an issue. As has been mentioned already there are plenty of "normal" foods that are by default vegan, so I think if there are plenty of those kinds of foods available, its fine. If the foods are all new and exotic and whatnot? Not cool. Now people have posted why should adventurous eaters not be accommodated, why should wedding meals be boring and predicable? (Although I would counter "predicable" can also be delicious.) The reason is the same as the reason all allergies can't be accommodated - when you are dealing with a huge group, you should make an effort to please the crowd not caterer to a few individuals. Tried and true menu items are such because, well because they've been tried a billion times before and each time its proven true they are popular. I would (and have) recommend the same for music - a wedding is not the time to show off your eclectic and obscure awesome taste in music, a wedding is the time to play hit songs people will know and recognize.



It's one meal of the day. Most people eat three meals and some snacks daily. There should be a way to cope with one meal having a less than optimal selection of food.

This I don't think is accurate in terms of a wedding day guest behavior, not among anyone I know anyway. Every time I'm at a wedding some of the chitchat is "wow this food is [insert adjective]. I'm so hungry, I barely ate today!" Most people I know eat a late breakfast and skip lunch and snacks before attending a wedding. This happens for a variety of reasons. Late breakfast because its often a weekend evening. Skip lunch and snacks because they are getting ready to go out to a wedding - where there is usually an over abundance of food, and also because they are getting ready and getting dressed up and don't have the time to eat, nor do they want to risk spills or even the hassle of having to brush their teeth again. maybe they have a long drive and don't want to stop (they know there will be food once they arrive). Etc.

I also think at a wedding people are exerting more energy then normal (dancing) and drinking alcohol, so their need for food increases.

whatsanenigma

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #103 on: June 19, 2013, 11:17:26 AM »
As to disclosing the menu in advance so people can eat before hand or bring snacks - what on earth would be LadyL's motivation for that? I can't imagine an award winning caterer is cheap - why would she want to create a situation where people avoided the food she paid for? Especially since there would no doubt be some people who ate in advance out of fear or ignorance but who if they had held out and tried the vegan fare would have found it acceptable if not down right good and eaten the catered food. So I can see why she wouldn't want to do that - there is nothing positive in that for her.

This is true, but I think actually if done correctly, it might have the opposite effect.  I still say there is no need to use the specific word "vegan" (except maybe with some specific people who the OP knows are vegan, so they will know the food will be edible for them) but I think some good "restaurant menu" style descriptions might actually tempt people to try what they might not have been willing to try before.

I'm having trouble coming up with a specific example, but maybe you all know what I'm talking about.  In menus, that little blurb about each offering, that's really short but also makes it sound really good.  (And then you end up not knowing what to order because everything sounds wonderful!  :D )  And all the pertinent information is there, about "topped with cheese, onions, and bacon" or whatever.

Wording like this might make people willing to try something with, for example tofu, when otherwise they might not have.  And if "tofu" is included just as casually in the description as "chicken" or "beef" or whatever would be, so much the better-and you get the bonus side effect of the people who are allergic to tofu (or whatever) learning what they should avoid.

So, I actually think there might be something for the HC to gain here by disclosing a full detailed menu-they might gain pleasurable anticipation from their guests-to-be, who might end up really looking forward to this unfamiliar but really delicious sounding meal.  :)

citadelle

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #104 on: June 19, 2013, 11:25:24 AM »
There are always breads and/or crackers if someone is truly hungry. I am a notoriously picky eater, and can always find something to eat, if even just green salad with dressing. Hopefully, guests are there to celebrate the wedding, and not extraordinarily focused on the food. It is great when the food is good and plentiful for all, but there will always be issues for someone. Trying to alleviate all potential issues could suck the fun right out of it for the couple.