Weddings don’t require any significant planning or expense—if you elope to Las Vegas. For everyone else, a decent wedding can seemingly require a master’s degree in project management. Fortunately, a vegan wedding need not be any harder to plan than any other wedding. There are a few added details to attend to, but nothing of real difficulty. It’s best to think of the vegan provisions in your wedding as the fun stuff, since there’s nothing about this part of your planning that will add measurably to your workload.
You can have a vegan wedding on the down low with none of your guests being any the wiser, or you can frame things in a way that animal protection and your mutual commitment to compassionate living is front and center. If you choose the latter approach, consider holding your wedding at a farm animal sanctuary. Nearly all of these places are well-equipped to host your wedding, and many have substantial experience with these events. The venue costs associated with a sanctuary wedding will significantly benefit the shelter’s rescued animals, while gently exposing your guests to the issues surrounding food politics and farmed animal rescue.
Wherever you decide to host your wedding, there are four topics that require attention for vegans: the invitations, the catering, the dresses and menswear, and the photography. Let’s look at each:
This is certainly the easiest task of the bunch, since the invitations themselves are invariably vegan. The question is whether to introduce a vegan theme to your wedding, or to mention that the event will include vegan food and beverages. Many wedding invitations ask guests to disclose food allergies along with their response. That’s not a bad idea, and you’ll thereby be able to pass along this crucial information to your caterer.
Invitations give you the chance to hire a vegan artist to custom-draw an image that aligns with your wedding’s theme. You can find all sorts of wonderful talent with an Internet or Etsy.com search.
Catering and Alcohol
By all means, choose a caterer who specializes in vegan foods if one is available. You’ll not only likely have a much better range of hors d’oeuvre and dinner possibilities, but you’ll support a business whose values align with your own. The bigger and more progressive the city you’re in, the more likely you are to easily find such a caterer. A few tips:
- If an animal sanctuary will host your wedding, the staff will probably know of an excellent vegan caterer.
- Your recently-married friends may also know someone suitable.
- If all else fails, try Google searches for vegan caterers in your city. Be sure to check the ads that come up as well as the organic search results. A competent vegan caterer will have a website that’s easy to find through an appropriate web search—it shows they are serious about the business.
Couples shopping for wedding caterers often schedule a preliminary tasting so they can choose the foods served at the wedding. Consider selecting entrees that are a little heavier than the meals you typically eat, especially if you’re someone who generally shuns vegan meats. You may have guests accustomed to eating meat-based meals that are more filling than the foods you typically consume, and you don’t want any guests making cracks about rabbit food.
Vegan Wedding Cakes
As to your wedding cake, we no longer live in the bad old days when every baked good contained eggs. Every competent bakery should know how to bake a cake without animal products, and vegan cake and icing recipes abound. Once again: Google is your friend. Do a search for vegan bakeries and vegan wedding cakes in your area. The vast majority of vegan bakeries have experience baking wedding cakes.
If you decide to serve alcohol, check the vegan status of the drinks you’ll serve. Most wines and many beers are processed with non-vegan ingredients. But you can find excellent brands of booze through the definitive vegan alcohol website, Barnivore.com.
Wedding and Bridesmaids’ Dresses
Custom-sewn wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses can include your choice of fabrics. That offers you a tremendous range of vegan possibilities. These dresses are traditionally made largely of silk, but rayon and nylon-based fabrics are high-quality fabrics often indistinguishable from silk.
You may also consider purchasing a used wedding gown. If you buy a used gown, regardless of its vegan status, and then donate the you’ve saved to animal protection nonprofits, you can save a great many animals from harm.
Men’s Formal Wear
The clothing for the groom and groomsmen can be trickier to arrange than that of the bride and bridesmaids. A custom-made suit or tuxedo can consist of whichever materials you specify. But things will be harder for the groomsmen if you take the traditional route of renting tuxedos. Wool or silk are the two most common fabrics that appear in men’s suits.
You may decide that worrying about something that’s only rented and worn once isn’t a meaningful concern. Where groomsmen’s apparel is concerned, you might take a route akin to religious dispensation, knowing that $50 thrown to a great animal protection organization can protect far more animals than thousands of dollars spent in the name of achieving Level 5 vegan status for your groomsmen. Or you might just eat the expense and find a creative way to jump through the requisite hoops—it’s up to you.
Dressy vegan footwear for both men and women is easy enough to find. Zappos.com has an entirely vegan section of its store that offers a variety of formal footwear for men and women.
Before digital cameras, vegan wedding photography posed immense challenges. That’s because traditional camera film usually contains a gelatin coating. But now you can just hire a photographer who shoots purely digitally. Remember that because the wedding industry is inherently conservative, many wedding photographers still shoot with film. So don’t take it for granted that your wedding will be shot digitally unless that’s specified in your photography contract.
One reason many weddings are still shot with film is that the photographer’s business model hinges on owning the negatives. Under this scheme, you can only get first-generation prints of your favorite shots by paying whatever exorbitant costs your photographer charges. This arrangement is outrageous. Professional wedding photography doesn’t come cheap under any circumstances. Photographers who try to assert perpetual ownership of your photos ought to be run out of town by a pack of wolves.
You will likely to encounter a photographer who’ll try to keep rights to your wedding photos. Consider this demand a deal-breaker. Don’t argue or negotiate—just move on to the next photographer. You’ll find certainly someone fantastic who’s able to shoot terrific photos to beautifully capture your special day. When you sign the contract, make absolutely sure it assigns no ownership or any rights photographer, apart from perhaps granting rights to have your photos appear on the photographer’s professional website as a sample of their work. These are your photos, and you should receive every last image on a USB drive, ideally in the RAW file format, and explicitly own all rights to them.
Including Vegan Themes in Your Wedding
If you and your beloved have made a lifelong commitment to compassionate living, your wedding and reception offers the chance to celebrate your shared values. In a low-key yet memorable way, your marriage ceremony can expose your guests to the very best food and experiences a vegan lifestyle has to offer.
Weddings offer a perfect moment to celebrate compassionate living. You might, for instance, want to have photos of rescued farm animals at each table. Or you might announce after everyone enjoyed their food that there wasn’t a speck of meat, milk, or eggs served. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts can also vegan. Vegan purses might be ideal for bridesmaids, while SlimFold wallets are a great choice for groomsmen.
You have limitless ways to elegantly work vegan foods and compassionate values into your wedding. With a little thinking, you’ll come up with a way forward that works perfectly for you.