The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Vegan Wedding
Published date: 28th January 2020 | Author: Kacey Bradley
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From the shoes on your feet to the food on your plates… here’s everything you need to consider to pull off the perfect vegan wedding.
If you’re a committed vegan in everyday life then it makes sense that your wedding will be a vegan-friendly celebration too. However, if you want your day to eschew your vegan ideals from start to finish, there’s a lot more to consider than just the food you’ll serve at your wedding breakfast. If you’re really keen to reflect your vegan lifestyle in all of your big day choices, you’ll want to make sure you have like-minded suppliers on hand and think ahead with all your planning choices so you have time to find something that’s vegan-friendly and, most importantly, that you love too. To help make planning a vegan wedding a breeze, we’ve rounded up the best suppliers in the business and covered all elements of the day that you’ll need to think about in order to create a wonderful and 100% vegan wedding day.
Vegan wedding food
When most people think about veganism, it’s all about the food. Of course, as you know, there’s a lot more to being vegan than swapping meat for tofu, but naturally vegan food is going to be one of the most important aspects of any vegan wedding. Thankfully these days, most wedding caterers will be more than happy to offer vegan options at a wedding, but not every caterer will have the expertise or the desire to cater for a fully vegan affair. To make sure you’re completely happy with your catering option, you’ll either want to choose a venue with an on-site caterer who has experience and the know-how to cook vegan wedding food, or choose a venue who are happy for you to bring in an outside specifically vegan wedding caterer.
When you’re discussing your meat-free menu with potential caterers, make sure you’re being offered just as much choice as a non-vegan couple would. Vegan fare doesn’t have to be boring or just made up of salad and vegetables. The best UK vegan wedding caterers can whip up amazingly tasty options from street food-style tacos and burgers, and vibrant sharing platters to delicious and elegant canapés and full-on and fabulous banquets.
One of the main aims with your vegan menu will be to wow your guests who may think that they’re going to go hungry all day without any meat options. Get your wedding caterers right and you can sit back and relax on your special day listening to your guests rave about the amazing vegan food you’ve served. So make sure to spend plenty of time researching vegan catering and getting this aspect of the wedding planning just right. While most of your guest list probably know you well enough to know that your wedding will feature a huge range of vegan options, it’s up to you whether you tell them ahead of time that you’re hosting a completely vegan feast or not. With excellent vegan catering, a lot of staunch meat-eaters might not even realise they’ve just devoured a fully vegan meal from canapés to desserts.
Just because the food you’re serving is vegan though, you’ll still want to ask your guests if they have any dietary requirements on your RSVP cards. Some guests may need food that’s gluten free, soy free, nut free or they may have intolerances to some other vegan food items too.
Vegan wine and beer
A lot of people don’t realise that the way many wines are manufactured actually makes them unsuitable for vegans. The same goes for beer, so you’ll want to have a conversation with your wedding venue early on to ensure you have plenty of vegan options that are suitable. Your wedding caterer or venue should be able to source good vegan wines and beers for you, or if you’re choosing a dry hire venue and bringing your own, you’ll have free rein to research and source your favourite vegan alcoholic drinks.
Vegan wedding cakes
Other vegan food you’ll need to consider is your wedding cake. There are plenty of cake makers who are able to whip up wonderful vegan wedding cakes these days thanks to a whole host of easily available dairy free products in the shops. You’ll be able to find some very niche vegan wedding cake makers online, but they make not be in your area so be sure to factor in the cost of delivery if you choose this option. Otherwise, for a more cost effective option, it’s best to choose a company or cake maker who have prior experience making vegan wedding cakes. When it comes to the decoration of your vegan cake, choosing a naked cake is a smart move as most fondant or royal icing will contain non-vegan products. Be sure to ask for a sample of a vegan wedding cake before you commit too. It can be more difficult to get a vegan cake to be as soft, and delicate as a cake with eggs in, so it’s only right that you check the taste and texture before the big day!
Vegan wedding venues
For many vegan couples, the easiest way to start the wedding planning is by choosing a wedding venue that is either fully vegan or has brilliant vegan credentials. Fortunately many wedding venues around the UK now have amazing vegan packages. By choosing a venue that promotes itself specifically for vegan couples will give you complete peace of mind that your day will be in line with your lifestyle. The following venues are fabulous choices if you’re planning a vegan wedding: Manor By The Lake, Woodhall Manor, The Green House Hotel, Cornish Tipi Weddings, The Wellbeing Farm, Ash Barton, Hayne Devon, VUK London, Buckland Hall, fforest, and Euridge House and Orangery.
When booking your venue, be sure to dig deeper into the whole business to ensure you’re not being hoodwinked by an impressive bit of vegan-friendly marketing. Does your rustic venue have a working farm attached perhaps the produces animal products you don’t agree with? And, are they committed to sustainability and being kind to animals in all aspects of their service? Imagine booking a country house hotel, only to turn up and realise there was a hunt going through the grounds on the day you’re getting married. And, be sure to check every room you’re hiring for the day carefully. You don’t want a nasty surprise of seeing a stag’s head nailed to the wall above your wedding reception table for example.
Vegan wedding dresses
This might come as a surprise, but not all wedding dresses are suitable for vegans! Some dresses may use materials like silk, pearls, leather or wool and even some materials like tulle or satin that sound vegan-friendly may be made up of non-vegan elements. Before you start looking at dresses it’s important to get to know the brands and designers who are completely vegan friendly or who have vegan-specific dresses. You’ll also want to make sure any bridal boutique that you’re visiting knows well in advance that you’re vegan so they can choose the right dresses to show you.
Designers that you’ll want to look up as part of your wedding dress shopping include: Sanyukta Shrestha, Grace Loves Lace, Stella McCartney, Reformation, Wear Your Love, Sabina Motasem, Miller White, Luna Bride, Minna, The Conscious Bride and Indiebride London.
If you’re hoping to be as sustainable as possible, there are many preloved wedding dress sites and shops, or you could go down the vintage route. And, if you’re still struggling to find your dream vegan wedding dress, another option (that isn’t as expensive as it sounds) is to have a bespoke dress made for you. Choosing this option means you can work with the designer to choose the right fabrics for your vegan wedding and still have a dress design of your dreams.
Vegan wedding shoes
As a fully signed-up vegan, you’ll know all too well how many shoes aren’t vegan friendly. While you’ll be used to getting your everyday shoes from vegan shoe shops, when it comes to bridal shoes you might not know where to start. Fortunately, there are plenty of websites that specialise in gorgeous vegan wedding shoes and even places like Etsy have plenty of skilled sellers who you can get in contact with the discuss the perfect design of shoe for your day.
Cruelty free make up
If you’re not having any animal products used at your wedding, then the last place you want to have them is on your face. Don’t forget that not all hair and make-up artists will share your beliefs on only using cruelty free make up products. It’s important to do your research well in advance of booking and find someone who not only understands your beliefs, but has all the right products to ensure your make up and hair products are completely free from being associated with animal testing. If you struggle to find a vegan make-up artist near your venue, don’t panic. Most skilled make-up artists and hairdressers will be more than happy to use your own products and may be able to advise on other vegan and cruelty-free products you might want to buy to elevate your everyday look into more of a bridal one. Lots of major make-up brands now do vegan ranges too. Look at Charlotte Tilbury, Glossier, Urban Decay, KVD Beauty, PYT, Hourglass Cosmetics, E.l.f, Bite Beauty, The Lip Bar, Milk Makeup and Cover FX.
Vegan suits and groom’s accessories
Vegan grooms will also have to be careful it comes to shopping for their wedding look. A lot of groomswear, such as suits, ties, top hats, waistcoats and shoes contain silk, wool and leather, so it might not be as simple as hiring a suit from a local company like a lot of men do on their wedding day. If you’re keen to hire, make sure to ring around different companies to see what they can offer. The simplest way to ensure your suit is 100% vegan is to buy one from a certified retailer like Brave Gentle Man, King & Allen, Hugo Boss, and Adam James Bespoke or you can scour the high street for a more budget-friendly polyester suit. A lot of your everyday clothes stores have suits for a reasonable price that don’t contain animal products. Remember all the accessories, you’ll need to source too, keeping clear of any little leather details and things like horn buttons.
While most wedding decor is vegan-friendly, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not using beeswax by opting for vegan candles, as well as checking the labels on any fabrics such as tablecloths in case they are made from silk.
Pick flowers carefully
Most vegans will want to steer completely clear of faux flowers on their wedding day as they are often made from silk or the petals are dipped in gelatine to stiffen them. The good news is that real flowers are of course vegan friendly. The downside though, is that cut flowers aren’t the most sustainable option and can be against your eco credentials. To lessen the impact, you could opt for Fairtrade real flowers, only use locally-grown blooms to reduce your carbon footprint or you could even grow or forage your own wild flowers. The best way to be both vegan and eco-friendly when it comes to flowers is to use living flowers and plants in your decorations. Succulents and plants in pots look incredible as table centres and can be taken home by guests and replanted, making them an excellent all-round option.
Vegan wedding stationary
Yes, even the paper and stationery you choose needs to be given extra consideration when you’re committed to planning a fully vegan wedding. Most paper is vegan friendly, but it pays to double check as some fancy invitations may use animal glues. When out comes to the ink you’ll need to check the stationer is using vegan-friendly soy-based inks too and to ensure any paints used are free from animal products.
The main issue with stationery for many vegan couples is that they end up in landfill and are single use. A fun idea to help reduce the environmental impact your wedding is having is to have your wedding information printed on biodegradable plantable seed paper that grows over time as a lovely reminder of your special day. And to avoid creating any waste at all, there’s always the option to go digital with e-vites.
Vegan wedding gifts
While you might have done your homework to ensure everything is vegan at your own wedding, your guests might not be so clued up. When it comes to gifts, your guests always mean well, but you may end up with something that doesn’t fit into your lifestyle choices. A lovely box of non-vegan wine for example or a leather keepsake box. The best way to avoid this awkward situation is to make sure everyone on your guest list knows they’re attending a fully vegan wedding and that if they wish to give you a wedding gift you’d be very grateful if it was vegan too. Alternatively, you could use a gift list company and choose your own gifts for guests to buy from a pre-approved list. A really lovely idea at a vegan wedding is to ask for cash contributions and donations towards a charity that is close to both your hearts – an animal charity for example or The Vegan Society.
Vegan wedding photography
If you thought you’d covered all the bases with your vegan wedding planning, think again, because even your wedding photography has to be considered if you’re attempting to have an entirely animal-product free day. There’s a growing trend for fine art photographers to use traditional film again as well as digital cameras to help achieve that romantic, soft quality of old images. However, traditional film is coated in gelatine, so you’ll want to steer clear. You’ll also need to speak to your photographer about the album that your photos will be presented in as many of these come with leather covers.
Vegan wedding rings
A lot of jewellers use products like beeswax and leather in the process of making rings, so it’s important to find a vegan jeweller when it comes to your wedding rings. Check that the ring box isn’t lined with silk or made from leather too. And finally, while veganism is predominantly concerned with animal welfare, most vegans are also very pro ethical treatment of their fellow humans too, so it’s important to check that the gemstones are Fair-trade and the rings are made using ethically-sourced metals that don’t have a negative impact on the people or environment around them.