Sophisticated Culinary Options for Guests with Dietary Restrictions

Discover chic cuisine that will delight your vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free attendees.

Sophisticated Culinary Options for Guests with Dietary Restrictions

Photo: Ryan Phillips Photography

When coordinating your wedding reception, your guests’ comfort and happiness will surely play a major role in your decision-making. From the various activities you choose to offer, to the song selection throughout the night – the preferences of your friends and family will be on your mind. Arguably the most important aspect of your celebration in which to include the input of attendees is the cuisine. 

Whether by choice or circumstance, you’ll likely invite guests with specific dietary restrictions that they must keep to, and as you don’t want any of your nearest and dearest to go hungry, you should design your menu with these people in mind. If you’re having trouble balancing approved foods with the sophistication of your fête, we’ve complied a list of tasty, decadent dishes that honor three common diets to consider talking with your caterer about. Get inspired! Note: meals are seasonal. 


A vegetarian does not eat any kind of meat – if the only meat they consume is fish, they are pescetarian – whether due to allergies, medical reasons, or preference. Of the dietary restrictions, vegetarianism will likely be the most common, so it’s important to note culinary options you can provide.

Hors d’Oeuvres  –  Fresh fruit platter; Crispy artichoke hearts with horseradish aioli; Ricotta gnocchi bites with brown sage butter; Goat cheese, honey, and fruit crostini; Miniature quiches; French onion soup pot stickers.

Main Courses  –  Cheese-and-spinach alfredo lasagna; Mushroom ragoût with fresh herbs; Peach salad with mint and pistachios; Orzo with mushrooms, scallions, and parmesan; Black bean burgers/sliders; Fava bean and chickpea falafel with roasted root vegetables.

Desserts  –  Most traditional wedding desserts, including cake and other sweet treats, are great options for vegetarians.


In addition to a diet of no meat – including fish – vegans do not consume anything with animal products or by-products, including eggs, dairy, honey, etc. For the most part, foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts, and seeds are preferred options.

Hors d’Oeuvres  –  Smoky little devils (miniature stuffed potatoes); Roasted butternut squash skewers; Polenta ball bites with marinara; Green gazpacho shooters; Cajun-seared portobello fillet bites; Refried black bean tostadas (make sure beans contain no lard).

Main Courses  –  Avocado macadamia pear salad; Salt-and-pepper tofu with cilantro pesto and red pepper coulis; Vegan shepherd’s pie with mashed cauliflower; Lentil walnut burgers/sliders; Vegan mushroom bourguignonne; Eggplant involtini. 

Desserts  –  Many traditional desserts can be made with vegan products and maintain their delicious taste, including cakes, cookies, donuts, tarts, etc. 


As the name suggests, this diet excludes any food product that contains the protein gluten, which can be found in wheat, barley, and rye. Foods such as bread, cakes, and pastas must be excluded. 

Hors d’Oeuvres  –  Cucumber rolls with creamy avocado; Pears with blue cheese and prosciutto; Smoked salmon on forks with olive paste and micro greens; Bacon-wrapped grilled peaches with balsamic glaze; Corn-and-crab salad tortilla cups; Garlic basil parmesan crisps.

Main Courses  –  Eggplant cannelloni; Philly cheesesteak-stuffed peppers; Salmon burgers/sliders with avocado garlic sauce; Maple-glazed chicken with sweet potatoes; Rosemary chicken and sautéed onion wine sauce; Watermelon, strawberry, and tomatillo salad.

Desserts  –  Similar to the above, many desserts can be made with gluten-free ingredients, including treats such as gluten-free cake, cookies, brownies, rolls, and more.

Learn seven tips for creating an unforgettable menu and discover additional gluten-free options. To see delicious dishes served at some of our real weddings, view food and drink inspiration in our photo gallery, and be sure to follow Inside Weddings on Pinterest!

Opening photo by Robert Evans Studios