Weddings are the perfect opportunity to share your special relationship and lifestyle with your guests. For a growing number of couples, that means hosting a vegan wedding for families and friends. Veganism goes beyond not eating meat or dairy, and your wedding can reflect your values in many ways.
Planning a wedding may seem overwhelming, but it’s totally worth it when you get to incorporate pieces of yourself and things you believe in as a couple. If you’re concerned about how guests will feel about a vegan wedding, just remember that if it’s meaningful to you, your loved ones should understand. Some guests may even be pleasantly surprised to learn how delicious vegan menu options can be. From drinks to décor, we’ve included 15 ways to have a fully successful vegan wedding that all guests will enjoy.
Read our planning tips below or skip to our infographic of vegan wedding ideas.
Vegan weddings are celebrations typically held by couples who abstain from meat and animal product consumption and use. In order to throw an authentic vegan wedding, the celebration must be cruelty-free and not feature any animal products.
While your vegan wedding menu will likely get the most buzz, you’ll also need to steer clear of incorporating materials such as silk, leather, and wool into your big day. Some organizations even advise that you steer clear of incorporating live animals of any kind into your big day—even a butterfly release goes against vegan philosophy.
A vegan lifestyle also goes hand-in-hand with making mindful choices when it comes to more than just animals. Eco-friendly alternatives and fair-trade ingredients are other great options to consider when planning your vegan wedding.
While the biggest concern about throwing a vegan wedding tends to be around whether non-vegan guests will be disappointed, you can throw a great plant-filled day that is meaningful to you and your partner using the tips below.
If you and your partner are committed to throwing a vegan wedding, remember that most of the focus (and judgment) will be on your wedding menu! Here are some tips to craft the perfect vegan food for guests.
While this one might seem obvious, finding a caterer that specializes in plant-based meals is the best way to satisfy guests of all diets at your vegan wedding. Rather than hiring a caterer who will tweak classic meals to be dairy and meat-free, find a caterer with a deep knowledge of plant-based ingredients so you can have an array of delicious choices that were crafted to be vegan. Caterers in NYC and other big cities are likely very familiar with creating delicious, plant-based menus.
Many couples opt for Mediterranean food since it has lots of vegetable options. Consider dishes with pasta, couscous, and curry that are delicious and filling for everyone—vegan or not.
Once you’ve found some plant-based caterers to try out, consider bringing a non-vegan friend to taste test the food for another perspective. This helps guarantee delicious food for the majority of guests attending your wedding. These decisions are ultimately up to you and your partner, but having an outside opinion may help ease any concerns you have about non-vegan guests enjoying themselves.
With the influx of dairy, egg, and butter substitutes on the market, a vegan wedding cake is an option that a lot of bakers are doing. Bananas, vegan milk, and applesauce are all options that can be used to replace the dairy typically found in a cake.
You can also substitute your wedding cake with vegan dessert alternatives. Check out these vegan dessert recipes from Minimalist Baker for some unique ideas.
Set up a variety of bars and stations so that people can come and go throughout the wedding. Food and dessert bars serve as entertainment with a delicious twist. One example would be an olive oil bar, where guests can pick and choose olive oils from around the world that pair well with loaves of vegan bread or breadsticks. This is completely vegan and adds an interactive aspect to your wedding day!
It might surprise you and your guests that some alcoholic drinks aren’t vegan, whether due to the ingredients or the filtration process. The easiest route is to choose hard liquor, which is typically vegan, and provide vegan-friendly mixers. If your wedding is more laid back, you can stick to vegan beer options. If you’re more of a wine drinker, consider renting a sangria truck that serves vegan wine.
When it comes to wedding fashion and makeup, you can get yourself into trouble if you’re not careful with the fabrics and products you use, as many are made from animal products or involve animal testing somewhere in the manufacturing. Check out these tips for finding cruelty-free clothes, jewelry, and makeup.
A vegan lifestyle seeks out cruelty-free options, so finding an ethical jeweler is one way to ensure no person or animal was harmed for your wedding day. Vegan-friendly and eco-friendly jewelry is becoming more common, with over 80% of consumers caring about the ethics of a retailer. If you haven’t decided on your rings yet, there are places that provide vegan options without leather, pearls, or shells that you can wear either on your wedding day and throughout your engagement.
Whether you are doing your own makeup or hiring a professional, make sure to steer clear of cosmetics that have been tested on animals or that feature animal byproducts. Common non-vegan cosmetic ingredients include carmine, which is a red dye made from crushed bugs, and shellac, which is a secretion from beetles. Beeswax is also commonly found in lip products.
When it’s time to choose your clothing for your wedding, there are a lot of options that can appeal to the vegan lifestyle. If you want to wear a dress or suit, look for materials such as brocade, chiffon, and georgette.
Silk is another common material found in dresses, and wool is extremely prevalent in suits, so be sure to pay attention when shopping. When it comes to accessories, avoid leather belts and shoes or go with a vegan leather option.
If you’re debating between fresh or artificial flowers for your wedding, keep in mind that some faux-florals are made from silk. However, both fresh flowers or wooden flowers are vegan-friendly options. Using seasonal blooms also is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. To take it a step further, consider drying the flowers after your wedding to maximize their use. To take it a step further, consider drying the flowers after your wedding to maximize their use.
Once you’ve decided on your wedding color palette, it’s time to start decorating! When choosing fabrics and centerpieces, make sure you are using animal-friendly items in order to have a completely vegan wedding day.
Here are some of our favorite suggestions:
Focus on your plant-based wedding theme and make the most out of your centerpieces by displaying fresh fruits or seasonal vegetables. These tasty arrangements will add tasteful and sustainable pops of color to your reception, and they’re also free of plastics and other materials that have animal products in them.
Show guests how committed you and your partner are to eliminating animal cruelty by gifting charitable donations as wedding favors. Rather than spending money on favors that will likely end up forgotten or in the trash, use this opportunity to help an animal in need.
Candles bring a romantic feel to your wedding, but a lot of the standard candles are made with animal-derived products like beeswax and animal fat. As a vegan alternative, soy candles use soybean oil and actually burn longer than traditional candles.
Like your wedding bouquets, you’ll want the decorative garland you display during your ceremony and reception to be made of real greenery or florals. Garlands can commonly be made with fake silk flowers and plastic attachments.
Talk to your florist or search on sites like Etsy to find hand-crafted options in order to know exactly how it was manufactured and what materials were used. Some interesting ways to display your eco-friendly garland are to put it as a trail down the aisle, on an arch above you during the ceremony, or wrapped around columns.
Here are a few more ways to approach your vegan wedding with your guests.
It’s a good idea to clue your guests in on the vegan wedding theme. You and your partner can choose the best way to do this. Consider putting it on your wedding invitations or wedding website if you decide to let them know in advance. If you decide to wait until the day-of, simply place labels next to the food items that say “vegan” so guests know what they are dining on.
Give your guests the option of buying a vegan gift from your registry or donating to a vegan-friendly cause you care about. The truth is, some people associate veganism with food- consumption, although it has to do with items vegans choose to purchase or receive as well.
If you’re still hesitant about throwing a vegan wedding, just remember that the focus is on celebrating you and your partner, and whatever lifestyle you choose to carry into your marriage. Weddings are all about merging families, cultures, religions, and lifestyles. Not all guests may be vegan, but they do have one thing in common: being there for you on your wedding day.
Now that you have some tips and tricks to navigate your wedding planning, you can host a completely vegan wedding day for you, your partner, and your guests.
Below are nine of the vegan wedding ideas mentioned above with some images for design and color inspiration.