I got married last June. My husband is a wonderful man who shares many of my core values, a big one being veganism. Veganism for both of us is much more than a diet. We seek to live our lives in a way that optimizes our health and happiness, does minimal harm to other living beings, and allows us to tread lightly on the earth. We still have a lot to learn, but veganism is a key part of that equation. I don’t think it’s dissimilar to how some couples are strengthened by a shared faith. All the hours we’ve spent visiting animal sanctuaries, cooking vegan meals, and learning about how we can be better environmentalists have surely increased the respect, love, and admiration we feel towards each other. As this lifestyle is such a big part of who we are, we knew it would be sown into our wedding. While planning my vegan wedding, I found it difficult to find resources of information, so now I’d like to be one!
The obvious thing is the food. You can’t have a vegan wedding without vegan food. As soon as I began to think about it, my heart sank. I loved vegan food, and Patrick loved vegan food, but what about our guests? While I do largely believe that your wedding is the one day where it’s all about you and your partner, many of our guests traveled for hours and sent us very generous gifts. I wanted them to enjoy their meal, without compromising our morals. We did a few things to be considerate of our guests.
- We had an afternoon wedding. Our ceremony began at 1pm and reception ended at 6pm with an after party nearby. That way, if someone really wasn’t satisfied with a vegan meal, they could easily choose not to partake, or at least not make it a main meal of the day.
- We chose a themed menu. When most people think of vegan food, they picture twigs and berries. I married a southern, meat and potato raised boy, so we’ve never been ones to survive off salads and smoothies. Our wedding had a southern flair to it already by our choice in venue and rustic tastes, so we did southern comfort food. Baked bean casserole with cornbread, barbecue lentil sliders, chilled sweet pea soup, carrot cake and more. All vegan, with the help of our amazing venue/restaurant and a local vegan bakery.
- We were transparent. Vegan or not, nobody likes being lied to. That’s why I deliberately avoided dishes that tried to be “meaty” in any way. A lot of people aren’t so warm to tofu and other meat replacements, so we just focused on hearty plant foods. We served warm butternut squash pasta that was supposed to be similar to mac n cheese, but we didn’t call it that. Same with the “lentil sliders”, which were a lot like sloppy joes. One thing I’ve learned about veganism is that although there are some very good replacements out there for all kinds of omni foods, you should try to appreciate each dish for what it is and not compare it to something else. I think people enjoyed the food more because they weren’t expecting it to taste like something it wasn’t.
- We had plenty of booze and sweets. Give the people want they want. We had delicious red wine sangria, the carrot cake, grilled peaches, and fruit crisp at our reception. The after party was at a local park and we served two kegs of home brewed craft beer and a wide assortment of vegan chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers for s’mores around the fire. Our favors were little moonshines.
- We consulted our omni friends. We asked for honesty about our menu from people we trusted and incorporated their suggestions.
The fashion. This one is a little less obvious but pretty simple to incorporate with the right people to help you. There are four main departments for a bride to focus on.
- The clothing. Avoid silk and wool in dresses, veils, ties, and suits. Look for non leather shoes. I found mine on Etsy.
- The hair. I chose a salon that was able to accommodate my request for only cruelty free (not tested on animals) and vegan (containing no animal products) styling products.
- The makeup. I found a wonderful makeup artist who was happy to use only cruelty free and vegan beauty products.
- The jewelry. Pearls are my birth stone but I don’t wear them. I’d rather wear something else or a synthetic pearl than something that required a death.
Those are the two biggest areas to think about for a vegan wedding, but I’ll add some other things that we considered in our planning which were touched by our vegan values.
Paper products. For save the dates, invites, thank you cards, and the disposable plates and cutlery we used at our after party, we did our very best to choose recycled, compostable, and low impact. Even lower would’ve been going electronic, but we thought some of our guests might have a hard time with that.
Vendors. We tried to choose small, local businesses to help create our wedding. This is a point I honestly can’t explain very well. We married very close to where I grew up, and supporting the local dress shops, tailors, florists, etc just felt good and right. Community is very important to both of us.
Another great way to veganize a wedding is to register with an animal charity. We LOVED our many wonderful and heartfelt gifts which we will surely treasure for years to come, but I also think this would be a neat idea. It used to be very poor etiquette to ask for money at all, but personally I’d be thrilled to donate to a worthwhile charity in the name of a couple if that was their wish. Animal Equality, Mercy for Animals and The Humane League are some of the best. Additionally, purchasing items like decorations and clothing secondhand is always a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
The day that we committed, in front of all of our family and close friends, to be best friends, life partners, and adventure buddies forever was only enhanced by honoring a very important part of us which has helped form us into two people who are thrilled to be together. We hope to make an amazing team for the rest of our lives, and continue being animal advocates, healthy livers, and environmental activists.