Happy old, frozen cake day to us (today is our first wedding anniversary)! Since our anniversary falls during Vegan MoFo, I thought I would take the opportunity to reflect on our (mostly) vegan wedding. I say mostly vegan because while the food was vegan, my dress might not have been. I picked it out very shortly after becoming vegan and before learning more about avoiding animal products in clothing.
I did have vegan shoes, though. Why spend $300 on fancy heels that'll hurt like hell after 5 minutes when you could get $15 lime green vegan flats from LuLu's
? I opted to be able to walk.
Wedding planning seems to make everyone a little...squirrelly, even otherwise rational, calm people. We were lucky. Our wedding was relatively drama-free. Really the only hurdle was the food. Dan and I were both raised on the typical American diet and most of our extended families still eat that way. Unsurprisingly, we experienced some moderate push-back on our proposed vegan menu.
Doing something because it was expected in a particular social situation has never been a big motivator for me. I needed a much better reason than "it's just what you do" or "it's what people expect" to have animal products served at our wedding. I don't think that our wedding day would've been any more special for our guests had we served them a slab of meat. It would have, however, put a damper on the day for me, knowing that our wedding contributed to animal suffering. Not financially contributing to the animal agriculture industry is at the heart of ethical veganism. Anyone who has planned or participated in a wedding can attest to the fact that most weddings are not cheap (although there are certainly ways to have a totally reasonable wedding without promising your first-born and a kidney in exchange for the perfect venue, caterer, etc.). Avoiding animal products in our personal lives while allowing them to be served as the centerpiece for a 100+ person event seemed like a serious gap in values.
We ended up making our case for vegan food. To be fair, it's not like we were proposing a wheatgrass bar (no offense to anyone who likes wheatgrass, but you could achieve the same taste by mowing the lawn with your mouth open). The staff at the resort where the reception was held near Detroit Lakes, MN was lovely. They let us pick the recipes and bring Daiya from Minneapolis so we could show that good, meltable vegan cheese existed. They even unexpectedly made us an awesome tofu quiche with the leftover Daiya the next morning!
I still don't believe that we somehow disrespected our guests by not serving them meat. As vegans, we don't have control over food options in a lot of social situations. Your own wedding shouldn't be one of them.
And guess what? As far as I know, everyone liked the food (gasp) or were at least polite enough to not complain to my face. For entrees, we served the Lasagna with Basil Cashew Cheeze from Oh She Glows
(one of my all-time favorite sites) and a simple butternut squash risotto. As a side, we served roasted carrots, parsnips, and shallots
. With these simple recipes, we were able to accommodate ourselves (obviously) and guests with gluten, nut, and MSG allergies. For dessert, we had vanilla and chocolate cupcakes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
. Our small wedding cake was made using the vanilla cupcake recipe.
I think the whole wedding process is best summed up by the many faces of my dad.
Every wedding is a reflection of the couple's values. Family dynamics and social expectations can make a vegan wedding a little tricky, but it's worth it in the end.