Your wedding experience is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life, hopefully as something that brings a smile to your face every time you think about it. For me, that’s exactly what happens. I feel so blessed to have had what I can only imagine was one of the most incredible wedding-planning years ever, and I have so many people to thank for that—my handsome husband, my family and, of course, my amazing friends that made up the bridal party.
Having a totally gluten-free wedding experience was really important to me so thankfully, my bridal party totally embraced my dreams for a Lilly Pulitzer-inspired gluten-free bridal shower! So how did they (Stefanie, Ellen, Julie, Aline, Stacey, Ilana, Jennifer, Alli, & Theresa) do it totally gluten-free?
Start Planning Early
The girls hosting my bridal shower started planning about six months in advance to ensure that they had plenty of time to book a location that could prevent cross contamination in the food as well as offer a gluten-free cake and treats. The gals looked at restaurants, country clubs and hotels, but ultimately decided on the home of one of the girls with a catered lunch and cake from a local gluten-free bakery.
Whether it’s a bridal shower or other social event you’re hosting there are some very important questions to ask a venue to ensure that you’ll have a safe gluten-free experience. If you visit a location and the chef is too busy to come out of the kitchen and talk to you, leave immediately. That is unless there is a really, really good reason for the chef not meeting with you. Do not listen to the catering manager as they tell you how great the chef is. If the chef won’t meet with you to talk about a menu, walk away and find a location where the chef can’t wait to jump into the world of gluten-free cooking. You’ll also want to make sure the location is aware of preventing cross-contamination and has allergen-handling practices in place.
My bridesmaids decided to use a local restaurant that prepares Mediterranean food that’s 100% naturally gluten-free. Plus I’m not really the tea sandwich type of girl, so this style fit my personality perfectly. For lunch, we enjoyed lamb, chicken and beef kabobs, falafel, fresh and crisp salads and rice pilaf.
No bridal shower is complete without some cheesy girly games! If you don’t want your shower to involve wrapping you up with toilet paper, that’s totally understandable (I didn’t), so here are some of the games my bridesmaids came up with:
- Recipes from the Heart: Prior to the shower ask all of the guests to pick their favorite recipe. Email out a template for them to type/write the recipe on. Then at the shower, create a scrapbook where each person decorates the page with their recipe on it. You’ll want to bring glitter, stickers, markers, etc. This book of recipes will become a keepsake for the bride forever. I have mine on my cookbook shelf and it’s one of my favorites to use because not only are there great recipes, but they come from people I love.
- Words of Wisdom: In each shower invitation include a notecard for guests to write advice on for the bride. Present these to the bride at the shower while she opens gifts.
- Missing Ingredients Game: Pick 10 super simple recipes (brownies, cake, cookies, etc) and type them out on cards, but leave out one important ingredient per recipe. At the shower, give each guest the recipes and have them guess which ingredient is missing in each recipe. Consider giving a prize to the winning guest such as a whisk, cooking spoon, apron or potholders!
There are so many options when it comes to gluten-free cakes and cupcakes for showers! There are hundreds of gluten-free bakeries now offering gluten-free options all across the world. To find a bakery near you, visit www.glutenfreeregistry.com. This site offers state-by-state listings as well as a global map with bakeries and restaurants.
If your friends are bakers, they may want to consider baking a gluten-free cake or cupcakes for you. This can be a really fun way for your gal pals to show some of their own creativity in the kitchen! Consider using gluten-free mixes from Betty Crocker, Pamela’s Products or 123 Gluten-Free. All are available on www.glutenfreely.com.