The “V” word at a wedding

Potatoes, bell pepper, yellow squash and broccoli make up this vegetarian friendly wedding side. Nancy Horn with DISH Café and Catering said it is extremely popular among both vegetarians and meat lovers.

Potatoes, bell pepper, yellow squash and broccoli make up this vegetarian friendly wedding side. Nancy Horn with DISH Café and Catering said it is extremely popular among both vegetarians and meat lovers.

The now more expected (and maybe dreaded) vegetarian option

Wedding planning can be grueling, delightful and mind-boggling. Leafing though the plethora of options and pages of The Knot may open your eyes to new possibilities. Every detail matters.

You’ve gotten down to the nitty-gritty, the menu. Should be easy, right? You love food, people love food. Done. But … is there a vegetarian option? What about a vegan option? You search your mind for a friend whose New Year’s resolution may have been to ditch the beef and benefit from broccoli. Don’t let possible diet restrictions ruffle your wedding feathers. Be prepared when someone mentions the “v” word during wedding planning … unless you yourself are the tofu-loving, vegetable broth replacement, type of bride or groom. Then you’ve probably got the vegetarians covered already.

Dish Café, voted Best Catering Company in Northern Nevada by Reno News & Review readers for six years in a row, claims to serve “local food made with love.” Dish has catered many weddings, some entirely vegetarian. With nearly 1,000 catering transactions last year and about 20 weddings, Dish has the options covered.

From stylistically formal to more upscale picnic/backyard weddings, Dish offers full service catering, including rentals, flowers, staffing, drinks, cupcakes, everything with a homemade taste and vibe.

Because it can be a whirlwind planning a wedding and most people want to make sure everyone enjoys their wedding and heads for home with an experience to remember, the bases to cover can seem endless.

“We try to make sure that we have everybody covered, always,” said Dish co-owner Nancy Horn.

Horn suggests discussing vegetarian options during the catering interview process. Let’s be honest, the bride and groom desperately search for right answers and brilliant food suggestions, while the caterer checks his or her list for food sensitivities and restrictions, budget and taste and tries to assemble those pieces into a dream theme and picturesque ideal.

Horn says Dish always tries to include a vegetarian option in any wedding because there is no sure way to know if anything has changed in guests’ eating patterns. The planner should come prepared to at least consider a vegetarian friendly dish and within the crazy planning process, caterers should ask whether the couple wants this option.

Buffet or traditional predetermined plate

Joannie Stosic, a DISH Café employee and full time vegetarian, presents an array of rustic vegetables she made.

The buffet style is becoming increasingly popular at weddings with mixed guest lists of those who eat meat and those who don’t, according to Horn. This format allows people to pick and choose what goes on their plate. Potentially, everyone can be happy with the selections they make as opposed to having a predestined plate of food given to them.

“My preference is to give people options,” Horn said. “I prefer to do buffet service because it’s easier for people to custom make their plate.”

Jennifer Jeffery, the Team Coordinator for Custom Ink, orders Dish Café catering for a team of over 350 people twice a week. Thirty of whom are vegetarian, eight are vegan and eight are gluten intolerant.

Jeffery said she can’t provide for every diet restriction but with the help of Dish, she does her best.

With a buffet set up, the possibilities are endless. Eating light? Try an upscale salad bar with rich and delicate greens, different types of cheeses, fruit, and meat options like savory steak or lemon and cracked pepper chicken. Dish’s winter specialty is a baked potato and chili bar.

Dish uses Field Roast, a brand specific to providing vegan meat options including chipotle sausage and soy, gluten crumbles as a meat replacement. The Field Roast and others relatively similar can be found at Whole Foods.

“When Dish makes chili, we always have to get extra of the veggie option,” Jeffery said. “We usually get a little extra of whatever vegetarian option we have … sometimes the veggie option is better!”

Buffets offer options for an even further customized menu to include anything guests could crave. Take fajitas to the next level or offer a taco bar. Let people dress their own salmon burger or veggie, black bean patty.

“Even though it’s a vegetarian option, it [should feel] like a meal,” Horn said.

Vegetarians notice. There is a difference between eating bread and a Caesar salad where vegetarians have to pick chicken bits off and eating a hearty, filling meal.

Buffets also may help you avoid wasting food. Because people are choosing what ends up on their plate, they’re more likely to eat its contents.

Requesting a vegetarian meal at a wedding

Because wedding etiquette is constantly changing, it’s difficult to navigate how suggestions are received. If you’re spending a hearty amount of money to attend a wedding, you probably want an adequate meal that serves your dietary restrictions when you arrive.

If the mailed RSVP card asks the guest to select a dinner option, it is OK to write in veggie if the only options are meat. This way, the planners are aware that there are people attending the wedding with certain preferences.

The point of planning is to be at ease. Although some turn into “bridezillas” and are primarily concerned with a particular vision of the day, it is important to make sure this end goal, the desired ease, surrounds everyone attending your wedding.

Be aware: meat eaters get curious

Horn described experiences where the non-vegetarians’ curiosity leads them to help themselves to the vegetarian set up.

Perhaps the most embarrassing catering faux pas is to run out of food.

If you do provide a vegetarian option at your wedding, especially in a buffet format, make sure those specific vegetarians receive their food first before meat eaters dine and dash with the entirety of the vegetables and meat alternatives.

Appetizers can include your favorites. Like pizza smothered in sausage and bell pepper? Serve one with mushroom and bell pepper. Cheese is also an alternative. You can always include an incredible smoked cheese for those who like that meaty taste.

Although Dish Café does rustic and homey, maybe more casual and local when possible. Anything can be made vegetarian. Weddings are typically meant to be and should be a version of who you are and what you want.

Overall, providing a vegetarian option is the perfect way to round out your menu. Even if you’re not sure you will host vegetarians at your wedding, there may be guests who simply want to eat lighter that day.

Regardless of any specific details, good food is good food. The theme and overall feeling of the wedding is the couple’s concern. However, it is crucial to consider others when it comes down to planning the menu.

“I’m doing a vegetarian option because everyone I’m inviting means something to me and if by chance they have become vegetarians without me knowing I would hate to put them in an uncomfortable situation,” said Krissy Hall, a Reno local planning her wedding for January 2015.