1. Access the Situation
Make sure you know, if the banquet/ event is a sit in or buffet style dinner. This will make it easier to address how you should handle your food. If it is sit in you might need to talk to the catering company but if it’s buffet style you can just bring your food and eat it when people are eating it.
Also, if you won’t be eating and you are paying for the banquet you might want to negotiate your price since you will not be eating their food.
2. Eat before the banquet
If the situation doesn’t permit you to bring your own food. Then it would help if you ate before the banquet. So, you are very full, when you watch people eat because it is very hard to be happy and social when you are hungry.
3. Make friends with the catering company
So, if the banquet/event permits you to bring your food. Let the caterer bring your food with the other food. It is less awkward and more social appropriate than you just putting food on the table from your bag.
4. Don’t “be” the small talk
After, people see you aren’t eating the food everyone else is eating they might wander and sometimes you might be the small talk. This makes it extremely awkward and rude if your allergy is the topic of discussion.
Also, I have notice that people who know about your allergy are quick to tell others about it, when they ask. Please inform them that you need to explain yourself not them explaining it for you. So there is no confusion and also you want to stir the conversation to a positive direction. By telling people that they can talk about any restaurants they like to eat without offending you.
5. Enjoy yourself
Lastly, please enjoy yourself. It is only a couple hours and also be around people who understand.
Till next time,
Stay well fed and entertained