Family Style for Vegetarians Etiquette
Hello! We've been planning our wedding on a short time frame. Because of that, we sent out invitations without a menu option selection because we figured we could do a family style service. (Plus, we really liked weddings where we have dined family style.) We want to serve a traditional beef and fish platter, and our caterer insists we need to do a vegetarian platter as well. He told us it would be in poor etiquette to only serve our vegetarian guests a plated meal and not the rest of the table. This makes sense to us, but it's putting us way over our budget.

Should we go over budget in the name of etiquette, or do you think it's okay to serve the vegetarians something different?

Many thanks in advance for your help and advice!

Married: 08/17/2013
Posted On: Jul 16, 2013 at 9:42 AM • Add to My WatchlistFlag As Inappropriate0 likes

20 Comments | Login or Signup to post a comment!

SA Bride!
Married: 11/01/2013
Jul 16, 2013 at 9:49 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
It makes sense- is there a way that you can maybe swap one of your beef or fish platters for a vegetarian platter to even out the costs?

Married: 08/17/2013
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Thanks for commenting, SA Bride to Be! Swapping one of the meats for a vegetarian platter is an option. We just worry that then the rest of our guests are being forced to eat veggie if they don't like the meat option we select. Your suggestion is a good one though for our budget. Definitely something to think about.

SA Bride!
Married: 11/01/2013
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I'm also doing platters (because it's muuuuuch cheaper than sit down meals) and we do have vegetarians and diabetics coming so I'm having a nice mix...

J&B
Married: 09/28/2013
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:43 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
If you sent out invitations without a menu option, how will you know how many vegetarian plates are needed?

As a vegetarian myself, we are always served something different. I really don't think anyone would care if I got a special plate.

Barbara
Wedding: 09/13/2014
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:44 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Can you just add a vegetarian platter to the tables where vegetarians will be sitting. I can't imagine every table will have a vegetarian. . . .

Married: 05/11/2013
Reviews: 6
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:53 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
We didn't do a vegetarian option. We had a couple appetizers that didn't include meat and also sides. Not having a main course at one meal isn't going to kill anyone.

TooManyMistys
Married: 06/21/2014
Reviews: 3
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
How about just finding out how many vegetarian platters you need? Maybe that will help? Not sure.

J&B
Married: 09/28/2013
Jul 16, 2013 at 11:02 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Gee, Samantha, thanks. I don't need to eat. :/

I've been to weddings where I only get the side dish. It's a sad & pathetic looking plate.

Married: 05/11/2013
Reviews: 6
Jul 16, 2013 at 4:09 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I'm not saying don't feed the vegetarians. I'm just saying don't break your budget to cater to a small number of people. I was a vegetarian for two years in college, and was always able to find something to eat wherever I went, it just wasn't always a main course. I would never expect someone to provide something special to me if it was outside of their budget. Now if the wedding was a week long event, then yes, I would need something more substantial than appetizers, sides & cake. For one meal I could deal.

Wedding: 08/31/2014
Jul 16, 2013 at 4:12 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I say let them eat their own meals...The caterer is using "etiquette" to squeeze more money out of you. Most vegetarians don't mind getting special plates. For the most part, they are used to it. And they can still indulge in the breads and sides and veggies that are passed around at the table.

MrsC
Married: Recently Married
Reviews: 2
Jul 16, 2013 at 4:22 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I don't know where your caterer is getting this. I am a vegetarian, often the only one attending. I always have a meal delivered to me no matter what style. How many vegetarians do you have?

Married: 08/17/2013
Jul 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Thank you everyone for your comments! It really helps to get advice and look at it from all angles.

We have about 10-15 vegetarian guests out of a total 90 - one pretty much at every table. Since we didn't have time to give our guests menu options, it feels funny to serve one guest at every table a yummy vegetarian dish that maybe even our meat-lover friends would have preferred (if given the option). That's why we feel this conundrum... but I think you're right, Riki, our caterer hasn't been very helpful in keeping us within our budget - only going over it!

Again, thanks to everyone for your help!

Ms. M
Married: 12/15/2012
Reviews: 5
Jul 16, 2013 at 5:20 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
We had a buffet dinner and the venue provided plated vegetarian or vegan meals at no extra cost. The three kids' meals were plated too. The venue chef brought out plated dinners (buffet items, not something different) for DH and me as well. I never even thought this would be considered rude, especially because the venue just does it that way. I think your caterer is overreacting.


If you don't want to serve plated vegetarian dinners, then I would add vegetarian platters to the tables with vegetarians only (assuming you don't have one at every table).

ETA: Sorry, just saw your update. I would just do plated vegetarian dinners. I seriously don't think anyone other than your cater will find it rude and it sounds like that way everyone will be happy.
Edited On: Jul 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Jennifer
Wedding: 10/04/2014
Jul 16, 2013 at 5:37 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
My FH and I are both vegetarians. Usually vegetarians have some very important reasons for not eating meat, even heath concerns, whereas meatatarians just, you know, like meat. Also after you have been a vegetarian for a while, your body will stop making a lot of enzymes you need to digest meat properly, so you get sick if you do eat it. Sort of like trying to eat or drink the water in a foreign country. I DREAD events where I know the best I'm going to get is to nibble on some appetizers. In fact, we'll tend to not even go. It's also kind of hurtful if I have friends who don't even consider this and think its ok to let us starve or get sick.
On the other hand, eating spaghetti with no meat in the sauce won't make a meat-eater sick and will fill their belly just as well as a dead animal.
I agree with the above poster who suggested replacing one of the meat dishes with a veggie option--especially if you think your caterer can come up with something so yummy!

MrsStobe
Married: 03/22/2014
Reviews: 2
Jul 16, 2013 at 5:37 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I say give them the plated option, no sense putting your self into debt. At least you are considerate enough to think of them.

Lirana
Married: 10/04/2013
Reviews: 2
Jul 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Nobody is going to think anything of vegetarians getting their own plate. It's "the norm" nowadays. However, there are omnivore-friendly vegetarian meals. Like Jennifer mentioned, a meatless pasta dish is a good option if you decide to go the swapping route. Omnivores eat vegetarian a lot without realizing it. Spaghetti, cheese pizza, grilled cheese, etc. But you mention the word "vegetarian" and they'll freak out. What do you currently have on the menu?


DesertBride
Married: 1+ year ago
Jul 16, 2013 at 6:02 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I would do plated vegetarian dinners. Your other guests already have two meat options and sides. I'm sure they'll be fine. I certainly wouldn't take offense to vegetarians getting their own meal.

Ms. M
Married: 12/15/2012
Reviews: 5
Jul 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I just noticed vendors can't comment on this thread. I would be very interested to hear what caterers and Celia (former caterer) had to say about this topic.

MrsC
Married: Recently Married
Reviews: 2
Jul 16, 2013 at 6:45 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I have to say that the reaction to having my plate delivered is usually jealousy. They always think what I am getting look so yummy. It's funny, because even at plated dinners, I let the waiter know I need the vegetarian meal and it always comes out last.

Married: 10/13/2013
Reviews: 10
Jul 17, 2013 at 1:27 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
In my opinion, it wouldn't be bad etiquette at ALL to serve plated to the vegetarian guests at your wedding. I just went to a wedding this past weekend where FH and I were the only two people there veggie/vegan and he was served a vegetarian dish and I was served a vegan dish. It made us feel TOTALLY special and well looked-after. In my experience, meat-eaters are only a little jealous of the fact that there's a plated dish, nothing to do with the dish being for special dietary needs. And again, we were the only TWO at the wedding of 172 people that ate veggie/vegan. I probably wouldn't switch out a platter for vegetarian because you might not get as much bang for your buck.
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