How To Navigate Wedding Season As A Gluten Free Guest

Weddings. They’re joyous events filled with lots of love, laughter, singing, dancing, great company, and all sorts of goodies. I love weddings, as do most people, however, as a celiac, they can be quite tricky to navigate.

This past weekend, one of my dear friends and sorority sisters got married to her high school sweetheart. To say it was a production, is an understatement. These two know how to throw a party. It was incredible! Kaylin and Sam knocked it out of the park.

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celiac-disease bite-sized-celiac gluten free chicago gluten free celiac blog

However, as a celiac, I was nervous. The last wedding I went to — my sister’s — I ate the meal and I got sick (and I helped plan the event).

After this experience, I was most certainly paranoid, as I’m sure most of you all are thanks to the wonders of cross-contamination. The reality is, these days, it’s hard to avoid.

It’s also important to point out that there aren’t many 100% gluten free caterers out there.

That said, the times are improving, and more options are becoming readily available. Thank heavens!

Make a Plan. Come Prepared.

As with any other event you’d attend as a gluten free guest, it’s important to come prepared. Talk to the bride and groom beforehand. I told Kaylin, I’d bring my own meal and snacks just in case, and she was completely receptive. She even talked to the cater and they also prepared a meal for me to munch on just in case.

To be safe, however, I went ahead and cooked up a batch of chicken, roasted squash, and some veggies before I hit the road, and brought it in my tupperware to the reception.

Luckily, it wasn’t an awkward situation at all, because I was at a table with a number of my sorority sisters who know me as a gluten freek. So naturally, I whipped out my dinner and ate it with the rest of the guests as they were served. It was painless.

Likewise, I also learned from my sister’s the importance of bringing a treat, because my sister only had cake and I was craving something sweet, especially as everyone else was scarfing down dessert.

I never actually told her this, but her favor was jordan almonds, and since those were gluten free, I actually started taking those from the tables because I was so hungry after dinner. hahahaha (not my finest hour – what can I say I was hangry)

So this time around, I made sure I was prepared.

Instead of cake, I brought my own dessert. Thanks to Super Yummys ,who gifted me with their Dulce De Leche Coconut Bites (which are divine and guilt free — at 60 calories a cookie — #winning), I packed a couple cookies to satisfy my sweet tooth and cake envy.

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Coco Yummys
Gluten Free Cookies

I also over indulged in the wide array of halloween candy and chocolates Kaylin and Sam had as well. Thank goodness for Pinterest – because more and more people are making dessert bars not just serving cake.

Don’t Sweat It. Have Fun.

When all is said and done, it’s a celebration — so lighten up and have some fun. I know it can feel awkward at times, but what I’ve learned over the years is that people are very understanding and supportive to our needs so long as you speak up.

If you don’t address it, you will only continue to feel uncomfortable about the situation, and in turn, hold yourself back from really truly enjoying yourself at the wedding or any other event you attend.

The best advice I can give to any of my gluten free friends and celiac confidants, is to be open. If you’re open about the situation, you not only will get the weight off your chest, but you’ll create an awareness to our needs that not everyone is aware of.

So pack a snack or two, your dancing shoes, and attend that wedding. You won’t regret it.

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