Wedding Woes

The 5 Vegetarian Meals You'll See at Weddings

Image Credit: Faith Durand

As a vegetarian, I'm fully ready to admit that my least favorite part of most every wedding I've been to is the food. While there have been a few memorable exceptions (and I freely acknowledge how ungrateful I sound), most of the vegetarian options I've had have been lackluster or obviously put together as an afterthought.

In the end, it doesn't matter that much because eating cake, dancing, and celebrating with friends and family are more important. But it does always make me a little sad to compare what's on my plate with the rest of my tablemates when the meal is served. The vegetarian option usually falls into one of these five categories.

Image Credit: Anjali Prasertong

1. Simply Salad & Sides

What's the easiest solution? Just serve the same meal but without the meat — just the salads and side dishes. While this generally makes for a pretty unsatisfying meal, it isn't the end of the world. Why? Because it's how I generally eat at home. Yes, it would have been nice to have some sort of protein, but I can go one meal on vegetables alone.

Image Credit: Kelli Foster

2. The Improvisation

This might be the most disappointing of the five options. I once attended a wedding where in place of the main course I was served a plate of over-sauteed vegetables, many of which had been in the salad course already, in a mystery brown sauce. It was completely uninspired and clear that the caterer didn't know what to serve the vegetarians.

Image Credit: Faith Durand

3. The Buffet

A serve-yourself situation can either be the best- or worse-case scenario for vegetarians. It's ideal because you can fill your plate with only the foods that you can eat and skip the rest, but unless everything is very clearly labeled, I end up skipping half of the table. It's amazing how many dishes have bacon or chicken broth lurking inside, so I follow the better-safe-than-sorry rule and eat only those things I know to be veggie-friendly. If there's a buffet, I've almost always snacked before attending the ceremony.

Image Credit: Coco Morante

4. Fish

Okay, this one isn't technically vegetarian, but because many people who identify as vegetarians are actually pescetarians, meaning they eat fish and/or seafood. If you are a pescetarian, you'll be safe at most weddings, but if you avoid both meat and fish, be sure to let your server know, or check with the wedding planner or catering manager to make sure they know what you can eat.

Image Credit: Emma Christensen

5. The Vegetarian Entrée

Sometimes you luck out. Maybe the bride and groom are vegetarians, or they have a caterer who appreciates the need for delicious vegetarian meals. You're likely to see something grain-based, maybe a polenta dish or a tofu steak prepared in the same manner as the rest of the entrées. Whatever it ends up being, count yourself lucky and send your compliments to the chef.

Vegetarians, what have been your best and worst meals at weddings you've attended?