Etiquette Guide: How to Share Your Dietary Restrictions with Your RSVP

Mini Sliders at Wedding Reception. Howerton+Wooten Events.

If you are like me, you are probably living with a dietary restriction or two that affects your dining experiences.  So, what do you do when you receive an invitation to a party, a dinner or a reception?  Here are some quick do’s and don’ts.

DO —

  • Thank the host/hostess for the invitation and give him/her the heads up about your allergies.  At the very latest, you should let the host/hostess know about your dietary restrictions when you RSVP by the deadline.  This gives them ample time to plan for your meal needs.
  • Be specific in your explanation. Let the host/hostess know what you cannot eat, and consider sharing what they can provide you as an alternative. Your host/hostess will appreciate this information because they won’t have to make any assumptions about what to serve you.
  • Assess the situation.  If you have an allergy to peaches, and you are being invited to a peach festival, you may want to thank the host/hostess for the invitation and politely decline.  The chances for cross contamination are too high, and it could place you in danger.
  • Be available for questions. Answer any questions your host or hostess may have ahead of your visit to their home.
  • Express your appreciation afterward. They will be pleased to know how much their efforts meant to you.

Astro Doughnuts. Howerton+Wooten Events.


  • Don’t forget to share your dietary restrictions.  If you do forget, contact the host/hostess as soon as you remember.  No matter how late it is, it will be better than informing him/her when you arrive on-site.
  • Don’t eat the food without double-checking with the host or hostess.  S/he won’t want you feeling uncomfortable, and no one wants to take a guests to the emergency room during the middle of dinner.
  • Don’t make the host/hostess feel uncomfortable. Your host or hostess may do their best to accommodate you and still get it wrong.  Let them know how much you appreciate their effort and possibly recommend an alternative or grab a snack on your way home.  It’s an inconvenience to you, but the host or hostess will definitely try again if they don’t feel belittled or humiliated for trying.

For more details and helpful hints related to your reception menu, check out our Wedding Day Cuisine Guidebook.

Love and Soul Always, Kawania



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