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20-40-60 Etiquette: Who gets to say 'I do' to wedding menu?

[Metro Creative Connection]
[Metro Creative Connection]

QUESTION: My friend and her fiancee are committed vegans (for moral reasons and not just dietary ones) and want to serve only vegan dishes at her wedding. Many of the 200 guests are not vegans.

Her family happily accommodates their diet choice at family gatherings by offering vegan dishes, along with their regular meat dishes. They think she should do the same for the wedding guests. She is struggling with this idea of going against her beliefs at her own wedding, but her family says she is forcing her morals on people.

What you think? Also, if she does serve only vegan dishes, should the invitation specify that? (Note: This question is adapted from a discussion on Facebook.)

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Tricky, but, be accommodating to all diets and not just one. If she is having a sit-down dinner, she could offer on her invitation meat, fish, vegan or vegetarian options for people to choose. If she is having a buffet, she also can offer a variety. Now for the cake, she could do a vegan cake. That way, she can have her cake and eat it, too. Happy wedding planning!

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I understand both arguments here. Whoever’s paying for the wedding should have a say in the menu, along with the couple, but it’s the couple’s day. To be a gracious host, the menu should accommodate all kinds of tastes to make it inviting for guests. But it’s the couple’s wedding, and if they offer delicious and varied food, then everyone should be able find something they like among a wide range of vegan dishes. You can make some of them familiar to guests who eat a more a traditional diet. I might think a little bit about this the same way I think about couples who don’t want alcohol at their wedding. No one questions those choices. So hire a good chef, offer good food and enjoy your wedding. Those that are still hungry can go eat elsewhere later. I don’t think you need to add the wording to the invitation.

HELEN’S ANSWER: A vegan wedding might be great fun and it gives the couple a chance to show off really good vegan dishes. However, at a wedding, guests might like some familiar choices, so regular foods should also be offered.

The wedding invitation should not indicate what is being served.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Judy Lehmbeck, bridal and party planner: The reception should be guest-friendly. That being said there are some delicious vegan dishes that I would be happy to eat, such as a portobella mushroom or a cauliflower steak.

If the bride is paying for her wedding, she should do what she wants. If her parents are paying, they should have a say in what is served. As far as specifying on the invitation, the answer is no. Guests should accept the bride’s wishes.

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is 40-plus, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email

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