Author Topic: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards  (Read 1158 times)

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menley

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2014, 04:45:08 PM »
The vast majority of weddings I've been to have been buffet-style, but for the 3 weddings I've attended with plated dinners, the RSVP card has included the vegetarian option so that you can mark it. I would not ever expect a vegetarian option to be offered if it wasn't stated on the card. I think that if hosts are willing to provide any amount of vegetarian meal, it should be clearly offered alongside the other choices.

gellchom

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2014, 07:46:38 PM »
I agree with all the previous post except this:

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I think it would be reasonable, for the same basic reasons, to ask about the meal options if you can't stand fish or beef or broccoli and see what accommodations can be made easily.

It's true that when I am a host, I want all my guests to be happy with everything, including the food.  If I am inviting a few people over for dinner, I specifically ask if there is something they dislike as well as what they can't eat.

But for a wedding reception?  I'd find it pretty strange if a guest called and asked what the "options" were, or said "Are you serving broccoli?  Because I don't like it, so if you are, what other vegetable can you provide for me?"  And if lots of them did, I'd just plain give up.   There aren't any "options" if you don't see them on the invitation; I ordered what I ordered.  This isn't a restaurant.  It's a hosted meal, and it's anyway it's just one meal -- surely every meal of your life doesn't need to be composed of your favorite foods.  Eat it or don't eat it.  Surely if people are that picky, they must be used to eating around things they don't like.

Dindrane

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2014, 09:48:30 PM »
Gellchom, what you pulled out from my post doesn't really make sense without some context. I didn't say and don't mean that guests should feel free to ask about preferences willy-nilly. The full statement, with context, is this:

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I think it would be reasonable, for the same basic reasons, to ask about the meal options if you can't stand fish or beef or broccoli and see what accommodations can be made easily. Most hosts want their guests to be able to eat enough to not go hungry, so the guest just needs to keep in mind that any requested accommodations should either be very easy to make, or should be so necessary that they would have to decline to eat entirely (or even decline the invitation) without them.

I brought up the broccoli only because the specific food doesn't actually matter. For a regular dinner party, swapping out a side dish would potentially be an easy accommodation, but I wouldn't call that easy for a catered dinner (since you usually have to choose a limited number of sides and then give the same to everyone). Possible, yes, but not easy.

So my point is that if the guest basically has the choice of not eating/not attending or asking for an accommodation, I can't imagine any host saying they shouldn't see what accommodations are possible. There might be no accommodation the host can reasonably make, but I think most people would be disappointed to have a guest not eat or decline to attend when, if they had just said something, they could have had a meal that worked for them.

There's also a difference between a preference that leads to a person not eating part of a meal, and a preference that leads to someone basically having no meal at all to eat. If a person strongly prefers to not eat meat, they won't have much of a dinner if their choices for entrees are chicken or beef. That is a very different scenario than someone who strongly prefers to not eat broccoli eating around a broccoli side dish, but similar to a situation where someone who strongly prefers to not eat broccoli is confronted with meal choices that have little bits of chopped up broccoli in all the components. One is missing a non-essential part of the meal, and the others are missing a major component of it. It really doesn't matter what the preference is or why the guest has it...what matters is how severely it would impact their ability to eat a meal at a reception for which the meal is a major activity.


kareng57

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #18 on: Yesterday at 12:01:24 AM »
I too would find this to be kind of annoying - to find out, after the fact, that my preferred option was actually available but that I wasn't given the chance to indicate it.

Why not, on the RSVP cards, indicate the beef/chicken options with a check mark, and then also indicate "vegetarian option available".  If the hosts are anticipating that only a small number of guests will want vegetarian, at least that will indicate to them that they can be accommodated.

If the hosts anticipate that a large number of guests will want the vegetarian option, then they had better include it in the choices, even if means a larger overall cost.

My son's recent wedding consisted of a large buffet, and there were many options for vegetarians.

Alicia

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #19 on: Yesterday at 11:03:49 AM »
I think it is very special snowflake to ask for an menu item not on offer .

LtPowers

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 11:06:49 AM »
Nope. Quoting from the OP:
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The server told me that people are supposed to request vegetarian meals on their response cards and then they get a special meal (pasta) and she brought one out to me.

Indeed.  Why it would ever occur to someone to take a response card with clearly labeled options and explicitly request a different one not on the list is beyond me.  Even farther beyond me is a host assuming that a guest would think to do that in the first place.


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gellchom

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 02:24:52 PM »
You know,  nothing says more clearly that we don't care to make our vegetarian guests comfortable, than just offering them sides. No protein, no carbs - just plain vegetables.  Watch everyone else chow down on carefully selected main dishes while you chomp on a carrot and a potato. If you're lucky, there may be sauce of some kind. If you're unlucky, enjoy those steamed veg! Yummy.

Yes, of course for one meal the lack of protein won't hurt me.  The lack of basic consideration, however, is a different matter.  It wouldn't make me feel welcome or valued.

I can understand that you would feel that way.  I also understand that people -- including us -- who won't eat non-kosher or non-halal meat; are allergic to fish, nuts, strawberries, or olives; can't eat sugar, salt, seeds, soy, dairy, or gluten; or are on doctor-ordered low-carb or low-fat diets also have to have to do the same thing, sometimes avoiding the main course.

Are the hosts who serve those things telling them they are unwelcome?  Can you think of a menu that would avoid all that stuff?  It would be like trying to serve Jack Sprat and his wife. 

Nor are hosts are required to offer options that would cover all those issues.  That's not asking for "basic consideration."  Their invitation would look like a hospital intake form.  Vegetarians aren't more special such that hosts are rude not to offer them, unlike all those others, a separate choice of entree.

Hosts can serve one entree or more, and they can offer choices on the response card, but they don't have to.  A guest who has a true limitation on what they can eat may politely request an accommodation -- and in our experience, that's what they do.  We usually don't, and we just eat the things we can, and we don't feel second-class.  As guests, we do not have the right to expect to be offered choices, and hosts aren't rude not to do so.

It is smart for hosts and caterers to plan ahead for any true dietary limits they know of and to have a few just-in-case things on hand.  But they aren't rude not to offer choices in the first place, and a guest who calls and asks for something they prefer (as opposed to asking the hosts if a real cannot-eat problem can be avoided) is going too far and IMHO being presumptuous and rude.

I knew we had a few vegetarians at our daughter's wedding (and likely there were one or two more we didn't know about), and as I said, our caterer had a few veggie mains on hand.  But I also knew that Adam can't eat olives and Bill loathes green peppers and Cathy is grossed out by eggs and Delia doesn't eat bread and Ellie dislikes chocolate and Francis hates mayonnaise and Ginger won't eat sage and Hattie avoids dairy and Ira won't touch lamb, and so on through a list of 160 people.  I didn't plan the menu around any of that or offer choices that would avoid any of those things.  There were plenty of different things to eat for everyone.  And they all said they loved the food!

Zizi-K

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 03:11:30 PM »
If we are talking about wedding meals that are catered at a hall or by a restaurant, I think the onus on the person with the dietary restriction to speak up, whether via email, a message on the response card, or through a phone call. One can't account for every dietary preference on the response card, and the pricing/structure of sit-down meals usually means choosing 3 plates for your guests to choose from, but there's always an unsaid vegetarian option for people who don't eat meat. I would not, as a host, choose one of my 3 options to be vegetarian, thereby limiting the vast majority of my guests who do eat meat, when the caterer/restaurant will do a fourth option as a matter of course. Caterers have a lot of experience dealing with dietary restrictions, and it's absolutely no skin off the hosts' back to pass along a dietary restriction like vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, etc to the caterer who can easily accommodate it. (There's no additional cost, etc. It's all a matter of communication.) I think the story is different when someone is cooking for a dinner party.

For my wedding, I didn't give guests a choice in advance of plates. Rather, we did a "duet" for everyone (a meat and a fish on one plate). Guests who did have dietary restrictions simply just wrote it on the response card, in the form of "vegetarian meal" or "gluten-free" or "alcohol free," and it was no problem just to pass that along to the venue.  There are so many different dietary restrictions, simply putting a vegetarian meal on the list wouldn't account for all of them, so again, I think it is the responsibility of the person with the restricted diet to simply communicate that. It isn't rude to do so, because it doesn't create any work for the hosts. (It does for the caterer, but that's what they're paid for.)

gellchom

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #23 on: Yesterday at 03:58:13 PM »
It strikes me as extremely odd to offer multiple entree options, including a vegetarian entree, but omit one of them from the response card.


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But a vegetarian option isn't being offered.  There are a few available "just in case" -- same as band-aids, safety pins, tampons, aspirins, etc. might be at the venue, or the same as I have peanut butter and bread at my house that is available if someone doesn't want what is being served.  That I am prepared to provide that if someone needs it doesn't mean I am "offering" it as a menu choice.  There is a difference between "available" and "offered."

Nope. Quoting from the OP:
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The server told me that people are supposed to request vegetarian meals on their response cards and then they get a special meal (pasta) and she brought one out to me.

I don't think this really proves anything.  I highly doubt that the server had seen the response cards or was in on the arrangements between the caterer and the hosts.  My guess is that she was thinking of other parties where in fact there had been a vegetarian choice listed on the response card (especially if that's common in the area) and assumed that this was the case for this party, too.

Either that, or she was saying basically what I am saying: "If you have a special need, you should let the hosts know about that when you accept the invitation and ask on your response card if there can be an accommodation." 

I don't think she was saying, in essence, "Everyone knows that there is always a vegetarian option offered by the hosts, and vegetarians are supposed to write this on their response cards even though it isn't stated."

Lynn2000

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Re: Vegetarian Options not on RSVP cards
« Reply #24 on: Today at 11:30:49 AM »
Yes, never having used a caterer for anything, I wasn't aware it was standard practice to always have a few non-meat meals in reserve. Nor would I be aware of how easy or difficult/expensive it would be for a caterer to accommodate individual dietary restrictions, like gluten-free or kosher. I imagine there is at least some variation in that among caterers. Coming from a small town it's hard for me to picture local caterers being able to make complex accommodations, but maybe I'm underestimating them.

So I think a guest has to consider several factors before deciding if they should say something. How severe their restriction is, how well they know the host/GOH, how important the event is, etc.. If I was just invited as a +1 to the wedding of someone I'd never met, and my restrictions were severe, I'd likely just decline to attend, rather than asking about accommodation. For someone I was closer to, maybe I would ask if an accommodation was possible, even if my restriction was fairly mild/more in the preference category. It's hard to say exactly where the line is.
~Lynn2000