Summer is wedding season. Every year, thousands of couples tie the knot during one of three coveted months hoping for the perfect wedding. My husband and I were no exception. We married on a Friday night in August in an outside ceremony, followed by an outside reception. While there are a few things about our wedding I would change if given the power, the majority of it was perfect.
One of the cornerstones of our perfect wedding was making it as animal friendly as possible. And although our wedding wasn’t completely vegan, the parts that were and the vegetarian menu we decided on were spectacular.
And you know what? It wasn’t that hard to pull off.
In fact, the hardest thing I found was convincing my parents that we didn’t owe our guests a meat dish. It was my (and my fiance’s) wedding, after all. And if the only reason our guests were coming was to get a slab of meat on their plate, we’d rather not have them there.
So, what do you need to keep in mind to pull off a vegan wedding?
Food. This is the biggie here. Options to consider include appetizers, the main course, drinks, and the cake. If you plan on having your wedding catered, this shouldn’t be a problem. Most caterers have veg-friendly options. And those who don’t are sure to “invent” some for you. They’d be losing money if they didn’t. As a bonus, you’ll probably find that vegan/vegetarian dishes cost less than their non-vegetarian counterparts, which is music to the ears of anyone paying for a wedding.
The exception to this is the cake. Traditional cake ingredients are ubiquitous, making them cheaper. Vegan cakes, however, use great ingredients, but they’re not always common. If your baker advertises vegan cakes, you might be able to get the cake cheaper than a baker who doesn’t. This is because the vegan baker will already have the necessary ingredients on hand, probably buys in bulk, and won’t need to experiment to get it right. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your cake from a baker who has never make a vegan cake. As with the catering, the baker doesn’t want to lose business, and will usually opt to do some experimentation so they can provide you with what you need.
If you plan on making the food yourself, or having a friend or relative take charge of this, you have endless options. Noodle dishes are always popular, and you won’t hear anyone complaining about them the way you might if you serve tofu burgers. Not that tofu should be underestimated as an option. In the right hands, tofu is amazing. So are portabellas, beans, soy products, cabbage (yes, cabbage), cauliflower, and the list goes on and on. There are a million and one options out there. You’ll certainly find something that suits you. The hard thing might be narrowing it down!
And what are you going to wash all this down with? Probably wine or champagne, right? Well, you might be surprised to know that not all of these are vegan. Some aren’t even vegetarian. In order to make the liquid appear clear, wine and champagne makers use fining agents. These can include egg whites, fish bladder, and gelatin. The good news is that because veganism is growing substantially across the planet, many spirit makers label their products as such. If one does not claim vegan status, you can always call the manufacturer to be sure. This is true for beer, as well.
Once you have the menu planned, the rest of the wedding is pretty easy to veganize.
Clothes. You’ll want to be sure your threads don’t contain any leather, suede, fur, feathers, silk, or pearls. Wedding dresses contain an array of vegan fabrics today. And there are thousands to choose from. The same is true of bridesmaids gowns. I let my maids choose their own dresses and accessories on the condition that they not contain any of the above no-nos. If you wish to have more control over the attire, there is no shortage of options for you. You’ll certainly be able to find ravishing apparel and accessories to suit your taste anywhere you go.
Make-up. Whether you’re applying make-up to your face or you’re paying a professional, make sure it is cruelty-free. Let the make-up artist know this when you make the appointment. If they can’t accommodate you, they’ll tell you.
Hair. The same goes for hair. Book a salon that uses cruelty-free hair products. This is becoming the norm, so one shouldn’t be hard to find. Even in the tiny town I live in, we have an abundance of shops that carry cruelty-free products.
Decor. Most decor is generally pretty cruelty-free, but keep the aforementioned items in mind just in case. I’ve participated in weddings where we spray-painted a lot of styrofoam (horrible for the environment, I know), and it always bothered me because I know that most paint companies test their products on animals. If you’re using something along these lines, try researching products that don’t torture animals in a ridiculous effort to warn us that inhaling toxic fumes is bad for our health. Because, I mean, really, who needs to be told not to inhale paint fumes? Even if there were no studies to tell us paint is toxic, our noses would alert us of the problem.
Gimmicks. You’ll also want to stay away from gimmicks like releasing doves or butterflies. What could be wrong with freeing these lovely creatures, you ask? While the butterflies will, in fact, fly free, not all birds will. A lot of them are trained to come back to their owner so they can be “released” all over again at another wedding. In the meantime, they live in cages. And let’s not forget the breeding facilities where these animals are born. If you want to release something as a symbol of your love, try bubbles or fireworks.
The bottom line is this: there are plenty of options available for throwing a vegan wedding. Vendors will go the extra mile to keep brides and grooms happy because there is a lot of money in weddings. All you have to do is ask them for what you want. Chances are you’ll get it.
Are you planning or have you recently thrown or attended a vegan wedding? Let me know your experience in the comments below.