It might be best to leave these four ingredients off the menu entirely.

By Jillian Kramer
August 26, 2019

When it comes to choosing your wedding menu, you likely know to ask your guests about their diets—for example, if they need a vegetarian option—and plan for gluten sensitivity. But there are other surprisingly common allergens you need to consider as well, dietitians say. "Considering food allergies will help to keep your guests comfortable and avoid any last-minute food issues," says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, nutrition therapist and founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness. She suggests adding a survey to your wedding website, where guests can list any allergens they might have; this makes it easy for you to plan accordingly.

Here are four common allergies your guests might have that your caterer may need to accommodate.

Related: Tips for Accommodating Guests with Food Allergies

Shellfish

If shrimp cocktail is one of your hors d'oeuvres options or you're planning a raw bar, steel yourself: People with a shellfish allergy can't eat shrimp, crab, oysters, or lobster, Rumsey says. What's worse, "most shellfish allergies are severe," warns Brigitte Zeitlin, registered dietitian and owner of BZ Nutrition, who adds that "if you're offering [shellfish], please make it clear what's in the dishes during the cocktail hour and dinner."

Dairy

Planning for a dairy allergy can be trickier than you think; after all, dairy—milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter—are often used in wedding dishes. "If you know you have a guest with a dairy allergy, work with your caterer to provide alternatives, whether that is using a dairy-free milk like oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk, or having an option for a non-cream-based sauce," suggests Rumsey. (Note: A dairy allergy is different than lactose intolerance, says Zeitlin, so make sure you're clear on what your guests' needs really are.)

Eggs

An egg allergy? Yes, it's a real thing. "Eggs are a tricky one," admits Rumsey, "because they are found in most baked goods, as well as pasta and certain sauces or main dishes." However, Zeitlin says that most adults grow out of egg allergies; instead it's typically children that have them. (And as many as two percent do!) So, when you survey your guests on their allergies, ask about their kids, too, so you can prevent problems with your tiniest guests.

Soy

You don't have to serve soy sauce to accidentally serve soy to guests. Soy is commonly used in baked goods, dressings, and sauces, says Rumsey, "and it's usually present in pre-packaged foods or sauces." What's more, soy beans, soy milk, tofu, and soy nuts also trigger soy allergies, says Zeitlin. Luckily, "you can easily avoid these items when menu planning," she says, by using lentils, chickpeas, hummus, beans, and peas instead.

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