Planning an Allergen-Free Wedding

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Getting married is certainly one of the most joyous times in life!

When my preschool sweetheart proposed, we celebrated with a bottle of prosecco. We then decided, in a state of elation enhanced by bubbly, to elope for a simple, quiet, and allergen-free ceremony just the two of us.

Understanding that our parents would never forgive us, we quickly changed gears and started planning a wedding. Doing so with allergies can be daunting as an event brings so many new things (foods, textiles, florals, etc.) into my world that may be allergy triggers. It can be difficult to plan a picnic … much less a wedding.

Despite the potential challenges, I created my dream wedding and almost ten years later, am so happy that I did.

My planning process started with finding a reception venue and ultimately selecting the place I felt most comfortable. I discussed my allergies and concerns at the initial site visit and ensured that the event manager listened, acknowledged, and confirmed what I shared. More importantly, she instilled in me a sense of trust that allergens would not be an issue. My wedding day was certainly not the time for someone to accidentally expose me, the blushing bride, to an allergen because they “thought” it would be fine. [And a vintage white convertible – not an ambulance – was the wedding getaway car of my dreams.]

After selecting our reception venue, I spoke directly with the Chef. Sure, I trusted the event manager but I wanted the person overseeing my food to hear directly from me. I provided a list of my food allergies both verbally and in writing and requested a detailed menu (down to the sauce, and in writing) that avoided everything on that list. Conducting a tasting of all food to be served provided an opportunity for the Chef to present allergen-free foods to my groom and me before the wedding day.

I then decided on our dessert. Cakes and such can be tricky, especially with cross-contamination, so I went with cupcakes from an established bakery who posted ingredients and ensured safe food handling. This way, I knew there would be no surprises on the big day. My mom found beautiful vintage cupcake stands, which underscored that I had made the right decision! I then picked up the cupcakes myself in between my bridesmaids luncheon and rehearsal dinner the day before the wedding, and set them up myself on the stands before heading to the church on the wedding day. It was a couple of extra steps, but ensured safe handling (and allowed several sneak peeks of the wedding venue)!

When wedding dress shopping, I notified the bridal salon of my textile allergies. While it took longer for the sales staff to run interference, I wanted to be sure that I was not brought dresses to try that included any of my triggers. Wedding dress shopping is simply bliss and I didn’t want to ruin the experience by falling in love with a gown that I ultimately couldn’t wear.

I also asked my florist to create an arrangement for me several weeks before the wedding that included the flowers I planned to carry in my bouquet. I kept it in a space I frequented and made sure I was not allergic to any of the blooms. That way, I knew on my wedding day that my bouquet would cause no lip swelling or hives as I headed down the aisle to my sweetheart.

As a final step, I booked a feather-free, latex-free, allergen-free hotel room for our honeymoon. Upon arrival, we spent as much time as possible recapping the wedding and drinking fruity cocktails and as little time as possible worrying about what the pillows were made of or what lined the back of the bath mat.

Allergen-free wedded bliss!