So, you are thinking of having a vegan wedding? Whether you have recently become engaged or are dreaming of your future wedding whilst waiting patiently for your proposal, you may be wondering just how easy it is to plan a vegan wedding in a non-vegan world. The answer? Very easy! Veganism is on the rise; not only are restaurants boasting about their new vegan options, but high street shops are launching vegan shoe collections. VOGUE named vegan weddings one of the top wedding trends of 2017, and Pinterest selected vegan weddings as one of their top trends of 2018.
From the food to the dress, our Wellness Editor Jessica tells us how she made sure her wedding was a cruelty-free celebration.
Gone are the days when a wedding dress meant a pure silk gown. With so many different materials to choose from it is now really easy to find a vegan wedding dress. Sustainable fashion is on the rise, meaning you can probably find a beautiful handmade organic wedding dress from small and independent designers. Second-hand gowns are also a great idea, especially for something you are only likely to wear once.
I must admit I didn’t look into eco-friendly options too much as I’d already found (what I hoped would be) my dream dress. The Allen by Sottero & Midgley wowed me with its glittering Swarovski-beaded bodice and fairytale-esque tulle skirt. I wanted a glamorous ballgown for my sparkly Christmas wedding and when I came across the Allen on Pinterest, I fell in love.
I found a stockist near me and quickly booked an appointment. However, as I couldn’t find any information on the materials used in the dress, I emailed the company to ask whether the dress contained any animal materials such as silk or real pearls. I was so relieved when they got back to me confirming that it didn’t! If you find a dress you love but aren’t sure whether it’s vegan-friendly, I’d highly recommend reaching out to the designer to find out. I also told the bridal boutique that I was vegan so didn’t want to try on any silk dresses, and they picked out some others for me to try on in lace, chiffon and satin. Just let the dress shop know your requirements as it’s their job to help you find your dream dress.
Boutiques and designers who have knowledge of eco-friendly and vegan dressmaking and specialise in bridalwear include Atelier Tammam and Indie Bride.
I still have my dress as I can’t bear to part with it yet. If I ever do decide to let it go there are a few options to consider, such as selling it, donating it to a charity that gifts weddings to terminally ill people or having it made into gowns for stillborn babies.
With so many vegan-friendly shoes around, from those made of ‘accidentally vegan’ synthetics to eco-friendly, plant-based leathers, it really isn’t hard to find cruelty-free yet stylish footwear these days. I did a lot of searching for my dream wedding shoes as I wanted a pair that felt special enough for my big day, yet not too traditionally bridal so that I could wear them again and again. In the end I settled on a gold-tone sparkly pair that will definitely be brought out again. If you are considering vegan eco-friendly footwear for your wedding, Beyond Skin has a beautiful bridal range.
I also wore a long veil with scatter crystals, a diamante hair comb, chandelier earrings and a silver bracelet. Again, I chose jewellery that can be worn again, and the veil and hair comb can be donated or kept as keepsakes.
Finding a vegan makeup artist was actually fairly simple. A Google search told me there were a few in my area to choose from and I decided to go with Julie Wiz as I liked her ethos of using products that were mainly natural as well as cruelty-free. Julie also has her own vegan mineral makeup company, Angel Face, and she uses these products on her clients as well. I was really pleased with my glam bridal look, and my mum and bridesmaids all looked beautiful.
Vegan makeup is so easy to find, and it’s highly likely that most makeup artists have a few vegan products in their kit. If you can’t find a vegan makeup artist, ask another artist for a list of brands they use and speak to them about the possibility of only using the vegan products. Another option is for you to provide your own products and have a makeup artist apply them for you if you want the skill of a professional for your big day.
When it came to food, we knew from the start that we wanted it to be totally vegan. When searching for venues it was a bit of a worry when looking at the wedding breakfast sample menus for hotels. None of them listed even one vegan option, so how likely would it be that they would be able to provide a fully vegan dining experience? We had always fancied a marquee venue as opposed to a hotel reception anyway, which gave us the option to decorate a blank canvas and hire our own caterers.
I emailed several caterers in my chosen area to see what they could offer and Miss Tea was the clear winner by miles. I had met Sarah previously and remembered her saying how, despite not being an exclusively veggie business, she enjoyed creating exciting meat-free fare. Sarah gave us a questionnaire which included things like our favourite foods and ingredients as well as things we didn’t like. Once this had been done, she was able to create a completely bespoke menu for us which allowed for as many changes as we liked. We wanted a buffet-style menu consisting of dishes that would show that vegan food is ‘normal’ and delicious. We were so excited with the food choices, and all our friends and family said they loved the sound of everything which took the worry out of feeding vegan food to non-vegans! The food was easily some of the best we’ve ever tasted, and we had some great feedback from our guests.
Our Wedding Menu
Sweet potato and spinach massaman curry
Chickpea and sweetcorn falafel pattie sliders with rocket and sweet chilli jam
Sausage cassoulet with rosemary focaccia
Moroccan butternut pastilla with sweet and savoury spices.
SIDES & SALADS
Homemade onion bhajis
Mint and coriander raita
Pilau rice with spicy fried onions
Roasted new potatoes with rosemary and seasalt
Hummus with toasted spices
Roast chickpea and quinoa salad with cranberries, sumac and parsley
Paprika baked winter roots with couscous and apricots
Rocket salad, maple baked seeds, pomegranate molasses.
Apple crumble flapjacks
Brownies with salted caramel sauce
Orange polenta cake.
The cake was made by the owner of our favourite tearoom, the Twisted Currant. Susan makes the best vegan cakes, and has previously made birthday cakes for us, so we knew we wanted her to provide our wedding cake. We chose a naked chocolate cake with vanilla icing, decorated with cinnamon sticks, pine cones and spruce. Again, we had great feedback on how good it looked and tasted.
For the evening food we had vegan pasties, made by local bakery Philps. We also had a sweet table with ‘accidentally vegan’ goodies such as Love Hearts, Skittles, bon bons, American hard gums, dark chocolate mint crisps, strawberry cremes and vegan marshmallows.
When I started planning the wedding I was amazed at how many unnecessary things you are led to believe you need. Not only is this an extra expense, it is wasteful as well. Robes boasting the word ‘bridesmaid’; socks printed with ‘groomsman’; glittered wine glasses…these may be thoughtful gifts for your bridal party, but how many times are they likely to use them again? I tried to be as eco-friendly as I could by only buying things that I could reuse or sell after the wedding. As we had a Christmas wedding, I bought decorations that we could bring out each Christmas to be reminded of our special day. We had real Christmas trees from a local supplier; one of these went to my brother’s house afterwards and the other went to one of my bridesmaids.
I didn’t have any plastic table confetti or scatter crystals that would just get swept in the bin afterwards. Instead of personalised favours we gave guests a packet of eco-friendly wildflower seeds to plant at home. Instead of wasting money on specially-made signs and table plans that would be thrown away after the wedding, I printed my own and put them in frames that could be reused to hold our wedding photos.
Another important thing to keep in mind: releasing doves and butterflies during your wedding is a cruel and unsustainable practice. Butterflies are bred in captivity and prior to an event, they are commonly sent in envelopes, which means that they arrive dead or dying at their destination. Birds released into an area different from their own can seriously disrupt the ecosystems – plus they are usually kept in cages prior to the release.
Vegan weddings might be on-trend, but what really makes them magical is that there is no better way to celebrate your union than doing it in the name of love and compassion for all. My wedding and countless other vegan weddings held around the globe every year prove that it’s possible to have a beautiful cruelty-free celebration.
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Photos by Suzanne Johnson Photography.