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Response Card Food Options and RSVP due

Is 3 weeks before the wedding too early to have RSVPs due?
We're bumping up against the 4th of July weekend, thought it might be easier to reach any invitees that hasn't responded before the holiday.

This might be a little weird.
We're serving dinner buffet style and we have two caterers, primarily because one will be dedicated to vegetarian food.
We'd like to have an idea of how many people are vegetarians so we know how much to order from each side.
Vegetarians won't eat the other food (with meat in it), but non-vegetarians can certainly eat vegetarian food.
People will be able to pick what they want to eat at the buffet, so there's no food obligations.  
We just need a good estimate so we don't run out of food from either caterer.

How would you do the response card so that it's not confusing but so we get a count of how many vegetarians there are?
I was thinking of a check box that just says 

Vegetarian  _______
Food Allergies__________________

Re: Response Card Food Options and RSVP due

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    Your RSVP date should be about 5-7 days from when you need to give final numbers to your caterer.

    As for the food, I would have enough food for everyone regardless of their food choices.  So have enough vegetarian food for everyone and have enough non-vegetarian food for everyone.  With buffets people tend to take a bit more since they are serving themselves and tend to take a bit of everything rather then when something is plated.

    I would just include a line that says "Please note any dietary restrictions."

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    Maggie, trying to figure out how to have enough food for everyone is the hard part.

    We have 2 caterers. So if we have 200 guests, I won't tell each caterers to be prepared to serve 200 meals each.  Both sides will provide an overage, but I still need to figure out what # to give them.  I think the vegetarians are about 25-40% of the guest list (but that's really a guess). 

    I was thinking that if I have an idea of how many people are truly vegetarians, then at least I can buffer a little bit on both side.  I might be over thinking, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to ask on the response card and run into issues when we do final numbers.
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    I think you are over thinking it.  Also, like you said, just because some guests eat meat doesn't mean that they may not just choose to eat the vegetarian options.  This is why you should just have enough food for everyone coming regardless if they eat meat or not.  So tell your caterers that you need enough food to feed 200 people.  The caterers know what they are doing and they will plan accordingly.  And many times with weddings that I have been to that have been buffet they have vegetarian options but they never polled their guests to see who and who is not a vegetarian.  They just had the option and they had enough of that option for every guest to eat it if they so chose to.

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    I'd be concerned that the vegetarian guests would stay seated waiting for their special meal to be served to them.  Also, you could have 100% of the non-vegetarian guests may choose to eat something from the vegetarian line.
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    You're right, I just need to have some faith in the vendors. They're professional, they should be able to come together fine.

    @mysticl, good golly, if we run out of vegetarian food.....
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    If you put a line asking for dietary restrictions, people will probably put that they are vegetarians. I don't understand why you have 2 caterers, could the regular caterer not supply plenty of vegetarian options?
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    laurynm84 said:
    If you put a line asking for dietary restrictions, people will probably put that they are vegetarians. I don't understand why you have 2 caterers, could the regular caterer not supply plenty of vegetarian options?
    I like your line about dietary restrictions, don't know why I didn't think of that.

    For the caterers, we didn't like the vegetarians options that were offered, they are pretty bland for Asian folks. And we wanted to have more than one entree option available, but most offered pasta and more pasta for a vegetarian options. 

    The folks who are vegetarian for religious reasons also prefer to not have their food cooked in the same space, so this is an extra perk for them-they wouldn't demand it, but I know they'll appreciate that we thought about it.
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