Yes, it’s entirely possible with the right vendors, location, and awareness to have an entirely gluten free wedding, or one in which your gluten-free bride, groom, bridal party, or guests can be easily accommodated. We even managed vegan for two people! Hopefully as awareness and understanding regarding the gluten free lifestyle evolves, gluten free weddings will become easier and easier. No one wants to miss out on their own reception and wedding cake, but who wants to be sick on their big day? No one that I know!
Once T and I figured out where we wanted to get married, the next challenge was the menu, which ended up being a many, many, many months-project, so don’t worry if yours takes just as long or longer. We had our wedding at the beautiful and luxurious Red Coach Inn in Niagara Falls, NY.
The staff at the Inn were completely ready and willing to work with us on all aspects of our wedding and our reception menu.
The manager of the Inn, Ann Hendrick, along with Chef Mark Janiszewski, and Sales Coordinator Lisa Orth, sat down with me, T, and my Mom, in May 2013, to make sure everything would be exactly the way we wanted it. I also exchanged numerous helpful emails with Chef Joshua Jackson. When we returned in June for our wedding, Lisa sat down with me in the (green) banquet room we would be using, so that we could finalize the last minute arrangements, table settings, and so forth. Her help was invaluable.
So many places we considered made using their food or caterers a requirement, yet were not capable of handling special diets. One of the chefs (Jackson) working on our wedding was even willing to make my dishes separately, on another floor, away from the kitchen, with brand new pots and pans, for which I was incredibly grateful. Ann had no problems with us bringing in outside food (meals and wedding cake), which was great, as, ultimately, we decided to go with an outside caterer for the gluten free and vegan menu items. This let the Inn fully concentrate on their wonderful dishes for everyone else!
Our wedding menu for our non-special-diet guests consisted of Black Angus Prime Rib with Cabernet Au Jus, One Half Virginia Duckling with Apricot Glaze, or Block Island Swordfish with Lemon Butter Sauce. Each came with a selected side and vegetable dish. We had heard great things about the talented chefs at the Red Coach Inn, and our guests were not disappointed.
T and our guests who ate one of these dishes had nothing but good things to say about the food.
Additionally, we paid only a $25.00 deposit fee to hold the banquet room for our wedding date, and when we had to move our wedding from 2012 to 2013, it wasn’t a problem for the Inn at all. When I asked about other costs, they told me the only other costs would be if they catered any of the wedding menu and if we were actually staying there (which we did, thanks to my parents).
There was just one thing after another that made us incredibly grateful to have found and selected the Red Coach Inn for our wedding. If you look at their Facebook page, you will find an unending supply of comments praising the Inn for one thing or another!
My meal at the reception was gluten-free chicken pot pie. My Mom and younger brother enjoyed gluten-free, vegan lasagna and vegan lentil soup. We also enjoyed a beautiful two-layer chocolate wedding cake decorated with flowers in our wedding colors (plum and clover) with soft white cream-cheese icing, 6 gluten-free and vegan cupcakes (half chocolate, half vanilla), and 36 gluten-free cupcakes (half chocolate, half vanilla), all with vanilla icing. Additionally, the vegan cupcakes came with plum coloring swirled into their vanilla icing so that it was clear which were which.
And where did we acquire such wonderful meals and cake? De Healthy Baker in Niagara Falls, Canada. Estelle (the baker) is marvelous. You really must stop by her bakery if you’re in the area, sample her treats and talk with her if you have time. She is a really, really nice woman, and we are glad to know her. If we’re able to go back to Niagara Falls for our anniversary, I know where we’ll be getting an anniversary cake from!
When we met Estelle to try a sample of her cupcakes, we told her what we were thinking about doing with the Inn for GF meals and a pricey but tasty Buffalo-area bakery, and she mentioned catering. WOW! That changed everything! We could get amazingly delicious wedding cake and have it catered? Long story short, we re-evaluated our plans and went with De Healthy Baker for our specialty meals and dessert.
You can’t go wrong if you go with Estelle (De Healthy Baker). She is kind, capable, and really understands cross contamination. Her bakery is 100% gluten free, and as her website says, “We also serve those who need lactose free, egg free and sugar free foods as well as any others who live with food allergies.” Although her bakery is not 100% vegan, my younger brother, who cannot have dairy, did not report any issues with his meal or the vegan cupcakes. He and my Mom both really liked their dishes, and my Mom said, “The vegan lasagna was delicious — couldn’t tell it was vegan or gluten free; it was just good food. I thoroughly enjoyed it!”
My chicken pot pies (the order is two small dishes), were amazing. The crust was flaky on the outside, soft on the inside, the filling just right. Chicken pot pie was a favorite of mine before I went gluten free. I didn’t really think I’d have a good one again, but I was wrong. These were amazing, and left me wishing we’d ordered more!
And unlike so many gluten free bakeries, De Healthy Baker provides not only delicious gluten-free fare, but that which is affordable too!
Now that we had the location and menu taken care of, we had one more problem to solve: make-up. We’re not the make-up type, but for this, we gave in, and I started researching gluten-free make-up. If you’re new to the gluten-free life, you may wonder why this would even be a concern, but think a moment: anything that is on your face has an incredibly good chance of winding up in your mouth, particularly lipstick, or even blush or eye make-up (you tear up, wipe your face, don’t wash your hands, touch your food . . .). On top of which, gluten also causes many people to breakout in a rash, both from eating gluten and some from simply touching it.
I was able to find gluten free lipstick right away through Red Apple Lipstick, but they didn’t carry everything we needed, and I felt it would be easiest, if possible, to secure all the make-up from the same place. I liked the concept of Bare Minerals, but I had contacted them a few years ago and learned that they didn’t run safe lines, so that was out. With only a few months left to go, I discovered a wonderful company called After Glow Cosmetics. Their products are not cheap, but they are certified gluten free! So if any health & beauty company (HBC) tells you they can’t test for gluten, sorry, tell them about After Glow Cosmetics, because clearly they can test for it in non-foods.
With my parents helping out financially, we went with lipstick, blush, foundation for both of us, plus eye shadow, mascara, and eye liner for Teresa. Although we didn’t end up using everything, we were glad to have all the options on hand. Although I’ve only used traditional make-up in the past, the mineral make-up was very easy to use, and the colors were lovely! It was a little difficult to choose colors on-line, but we were very happy with our choices. If you need gluten-free, paraben free, fragrance free make-up, I don’t see how you could go wrong with After Glow!
Update 8 October 2020: After Glow Cosmetics has gone out of business. I was widowed January 23, 2019.