After successfully arresting the digestive nightmare we discovered six years ago when she was diagnosed with celiac disease, I’m happy to say that our beautiful daughter, Chelsea, found her Mr. Gluten-Tolerant.
The dating scene is primarily rife with food and eating out as central forms of socializing. Chelsea was pretty frustrated with the amount of unwanted attention and discomfort thrust upon her as she maintained a strict gluten-free diet. The benefit of feeling great for the first time in her life definitely outweighed the discomfort of being a “picky” eater, especially at restaurants. But, it was still a huge pain to have to go through the dating dance and maintain her health.
Two years ago she met a wonderful man who adored her AND thought she was an incredible cook. She completely had run of the kitchen and the food choices. This summer they tied the knot with two loving families over-the-moon grateful for the mate they each found.
The planning of weddings takes a highly organized, detail-oriented, striving-to-remain-calm type of person. Now, throw in the gluten-free factor into all of the celebrations and it becomes a “Herculean” task, to say the least. With the popularization of eating GF, many caterers, restaurants and family members have become adept at accommodating the gluten-free community. What still takes a lot of work is making sure that “cross-contamination” does not take place for a celiac bride on her oh so special day.
We just experienced an incredibly beautiful, delicious and dream-like gluten-free wedding celebration and I’d like to pass on some tips that really helped us.
Pre-wedding prep snacks during hair, make-up and photo sessions:
Don’t forget the long day that leads up to an evening wedding and make sure to have lots of healthy, gluten-free foods available for the bride (she sometimes forgets to eat with all of the excitement, or stops eating so that the dress zipper or buttons co-operate when most needed). Water bottles, flavored mineral water, nuts, protein bars, fresh vegetables, turkey slices, GF crackers and hummus were some of the staples we had available for the bride and her bridal party. We had nothing that would drip onto a dress (no mustard, ketchup, guacamole dip were allowed). Stay alert, energized and hydrated (it’s a long emotional day).
Months before the wedding work directly with the chef/caterer and emphasize the importance of the prep area not having gluten in or around it when preparing the wedding meal: apps, salads, main course. So much is available now that’s gluten-free. The dinner menu is fairly easy to choose – just be certain the prep area is within the GF guidelines as well as the seasonings used. All the utensils, bowls, serving plates and patters are thoroughly washed in commercial kitchens, the problem seems to arise when they are preparing gluten-filled foods for another function in the same kitchen at the same time.
We opted for a small 7” GF wedding cake for the bride and groom. It was not plated for the rest of the guests. Instead we had a “Sweet Table” that was completely gluten-free. Chocolate kisses (in the appropriate color that matched the wedding colors), Salt Water Taffy, GF Carmel Covered Popcorn, GF Chocolate or Yogurt Covered Pretzels, Chocolate Ganache Covered Coconut Macaroons, Lemon French Macaroons, Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispy Bars (fancy).
Most alcohol is GF and excellent GF beers are often available. What put my celiac bride at ease was having her own Signature Drink. Hers happened to be a Champagne Mojito (gold was one of her wedding colors) – totally gluten-free and that was her drink of choice for the night. Not sure she actually had time to taste one, but it was there for the asking.
The one night, Chelsea never had to ask, “what ingredients were used in this, how was it prepared, and are you sure it didn’t touch any gluten laden items like a crouton?” was pure nirvana for my celiac baby. She focused entirely on herself and her wonderful Prince Charming.
Jan Phillips, M.Ed.