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We have been living with FPIES in our family for 3 years now. Parenting a 3-year-old isn’t always easy, even without food allergies. When we were invited to a family wedding while we were very excited, to see my brother-in-law finally marry his long-term partner, it also filled us with dread. Attending a wedding with FPIES was something that I had never really thought about and now the wedding has passed I want to share some tips with you in the hope of helping someone else.
Attending a wedding with FPIES (or other food allergies)
Speak to the bride and groom
When you receive your wedding invitation you may be filled with dread, like I was. I wasn’t worried about my daughter’s behaviour, I was JUST worried about the food situation. Attending a wedding with FPIES made me feel really scared. There was no mention of dietary requirements on the invitation so we decided to speak to the Bride & Groom. It was clear that they were very happy to try and accommodate Daisy’s FPIES, but we asked them if they would mind if we brought our own food along for her. Right away this lifted the burden from the bride & groom and also made us feel happy and more in control.
Speak to the caterer
If the bride and groom are happy to cater to you, or your little one’s needs, then ask if they would be happy for you to speak to the caterer directly. This allows you to ask all the questions that you need to ask regarding allergen information, how they will prevent the risk of cross contamination etc. Also, it is one less job for the Bride & Groom too! Typically, as an allergy parent, you know how knowledgeable someone is about food allergies just by asking them a few questions. If the caterer is going to be providing safe food ask how it will be served, how they will avoid cross-contamination, and check that any other staff members will be informed about the situation too.
Remember: If you’re not feeling confident then you can speak to the bride & groom and explain you’d prefer to bring your own food, to help remove the risk of an FPIES reaction.
Eat before you attend
Even if you’re taking your own food, or know there will be a meal catered to the needs of you or your little one, eat some food before you attend the wedding. If the food situation doesn’t go to plan then at least you won’t be dealing with a hungry little one while you make alternative arrangements.
Pack for a buffet & make it special!
If there is going to be a hot meal served at the wedding breakfast then you can prepare soup, pasta, chilli or other similar types of hot foods and keep them hot in a food Thermos. Alternatively, pack for a buffet! For our daughter at the family wedding, we packed LOTS of food. Much more than we thought we’d need. I sourced sausage rolls, pork pies, biscuits, snacks, crisps and other goodies that she could have. Daisy was very excited to see her lunch boxes arrive at the party and even more so as I had packed her a cake, which brings me to my next tip…
Products I used to pack to attend a wedding with FPIES:
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Pack a cake!
I know it can be hard to find a cake if you’re dealing with multiple allergies like we are, but we packed Bakewell Tarts. This was a lovely treat for Daisy and meant when her special free-from cakes were left behind in my sister-in-law’s fridge that it didn’t ruin the day for her. Also, no-one else had to feel bad about the special cake being left behind.
Take your allergy kit with you
As an FPIES parent, there isn’t much of an allergy kit for Daisy. We were able to take a changing bag with us and we packed spare clothes, shoes & socks, antihistamine medication, Calpol and a few other items we might need if Daisy was having an FPIES episode. Fortunately, there were no problems on the day and we didn’t need this bag. It was reassuring to have everything close to hand if we needed it. As Daisy’s FPIES episodes are meant to be treated at hospital I felt more confident knowing we had spare clothes packed for her.
Speak to the people around you on the day
As we were attending a family wedding there were lots of people who were excited to meet Daisy. As we spent time with people I just quietly mentioned not to feed Daisy any food, and briefly mentioned that she has lots of allergies. This was all that was needed for people to listen and it was a great weight lifted on the day.
Talk to your child in advance
If it is your child who has FPIES, or other food allergies, then talk to them in advance. Daisy is 3 and beginning to understand that she has to check all foods with us before eating them. This is a good age, but she isn’t completely trustworthy either. I spoke to Daisy a few times before the wedding, explaining that there would be lots of food there and she must only eat food from Mummy or Daddy. There was a sweet wagon on the night and Daisy was very excited to see safely packaged sweets (Haribo), which was a lovely touch from my Brother-In-Law and Sister-In-Law.
Make sure you enjoy yourself!
While I WAS very anxious in advance a book I read recently, Living With Allergies, made me realise that now is the time to make changes and accept our normal. I love to be organised, and I felt very organised in advance which definitely helped. On the day I trusted those around me would also help take care of Daisy. Daisy herself showed how grown up she is by asking me or Thomas before she ate anything, even if it came from relatives.
The day went smoothly, it was beautiful, and we had the best time. I was overtired and emotional by the end of it and we sent Daisy off to Grandma’s house about 8 pm, to have a decent sleep, and it all went without a hitch. Attending a wedding with FPIES filled me with dread beforehand but on the day it all went well, our organisation paid off and Daisy had a wonderful day – which is the main thing!