Wedding planning is inherently stressful, so planning a vegan wedding may seem completely overwhelming, since nearly every element of the wedding requires extra consideration—dress, cake, caterer, wedding favors and so forth. But don’t despair, it’s easier than you think! In this guide we’ve broken down everything to show that veganizing your special day is not only possible but easier than you may imagine.
The Bride’s Dress
Most wedding dresses are vegan, but you need to watch out for silk, which can make its way into some wedding dress fabrics. Luckily for silkworms (and vegan brides), silk-free dresses are widely available and are made from fabrics like chiffon, taffeta, sateen and lace. Our advice is to check the label before you try on each dress, so you won’t risk falling madly in love with a gown that contradicts your values.
And don’t forget to also watch out for silk in bridesmaid dresses!
The Groom’s Suit
Perhaps the most challenging part of the entire wedding is finding a vegan men’s suit. But it sure is possible, it just takes a little extra effort. Most suits are made from wool. Silk and cashmere are two other animal-based fibers to watch out for. To find a vegan suit, choose linen, cotton, polyester, or rayon-based fabrics that are not blended with wool.
You can search for suits made from these animal-friendly fabrics at any suit retailer or department store. If you have the funds, consider working directly with a designer or tailor to craft the perfect suit to fit your needs. ProperSuit has vegan material options and does custom fittings, and Brave Gentleman is a high-end vegan-owned suit retailer.
While the challenge of finding the perfect vegan suit may seem daunting, the good news is that a well-made suit should last 15 years, so it will be well worth the effort.
Also take note that most ties are made from silk, but vegan ties are very easy to find (and are typically less expensive). Both rayon and polyester can be processed in ways that make these materials indistinguishable from silk. Jaan J. is a wonderful vegan tie company, or if you’re looking for something a little more spunky, check out High Cotton ties and bow ties.
Perhaps the most exciting part of planning a vegan wedding is finding a vegan-friendly caterer who can prepare delicious food to serve to your guests. Remember that for many guests, this may their first exposure to food that’s been specifically designated as vegan, so it’s important to choose food that is both filling and delicious—while shooting for flavors that won’t be entirely unfamiliar to someone raised on meat and potatoes.
Almost any catering company can accommodate a vegan wedding, but the ability of caterers to produce a terrific vegan meal will vary wildly. Be sure to discuss the vegan menu options each caterer has available and request a tasting early in the caterer selection process. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific vegan dishes that you love, and you can also ask if they are familiar with using popular vegan ingredients like Gardein meat or Daiya cheese.
Also consider to what extent you’ll publicly emphasize the vegan status of your wedding. It’s OK to not call attention to the fact if you think it’ll just result in grief from certain family members. If, however, you decide to make veganism a prominent theme at your wedding, there are many upbeat and imaginative ways to share this information with your guests. You can highlight it on your invitations, place vegan labels by the reception food, or even include an elegant animal figurine on each place setting with a tag that says “saved by this vegan meal.” How you choose to present the vegan aspects of your wedding is completely up to you, and there is certainly no single approach that everyone should use.
Finding your vegan wedding cake can be the most fun challenge of all. You can look at your cake as your final chance to impress your friends and family so much that they’ll say, “I can’t believe it’s vegan!”
Many bakeries and cake shops have experience accommodating vegans. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a vegan bakery, definitely contact them first. From Vegan Treats in Pennsylvania to Sticky Fingers in Washington D.C., the vegan bakery scene is growing rapidly so options will continue to expand. Also consider the growing trend for dessert bars which can be even more fun and flexible than a wedding cake. Vegan cupcakes and cookies are also far easier to source than cakes, and can easily be purchased online.
If your baker has never before made a vegan wedding cake, there is a first time for everything, right? You’ll be paving the way for the vegan brides of the future. To guard against disaster, be sure to request a preliminary cake tasting to ensure the vegan cake will be perfect on your wedding day. This is usually complimentary—plus, who doesn’t love a chance to taste vegan cake? NOM.
Many florists wrap bouquets with silk ribbons, so be sure to ask them to use another material. Though uncommon, some brides choose artificial flowers that are often made from silk. Avoid silk flowers and you’re good to go!
Anyone who has been vegan for a while is already experienced in this department. Finding a pair of vegan wedding shoes will not be much different from buying any other pair of vegan shoes. Avoid leather, suede and silk, and look for an “all man-made materials” label. If you’re on a tight budget, you can shop at stores like Target and Payless which both sell many synthetic shoes. If your budget is more flexible, you can look into some higher-end all-vegan shoe retailers such as Beyond Skin and Moo Shoes.
This part of wedding planning can be among the most challenging projects. If you plan to hire a makeup artist for your wedding day, try to find someone experienced with vegan and cruelty-free beauty products. If the makeup artist you select isn’t familiar with vegan brands, see if she or he is willing to work with the vegan makeup that you provide. If you go this route, you’ll have the opportunity to educate your makeup artist about how sad it is that many beauty products are reliant on animal cruelty.
It is well worth seeking out vegan makeup artists in your area, as they are becoming easier to find.
If your hair stylist isn’t familiar with vegan and cruelty-free brands, you can take the initiative to educate them, or provide them with your own cruelty-free styling products (like hair spray).
If you can fit this into your budget, schedule a test-run at least a month before your big day so you can be sure your stylist can accomplish what you’re hoping for and to ensure that your hair will be comfortable all day.
When selecting jewelry, avoid authentic pearls. Pearls are formed when an irritant or parasite gets inside an oyster. Most commercial pearls are cultured, and the culturing process involves exploiting the oysters by forcing the shells open and inserting an irritant. If you have your heart set on pearls, synthetic pearls are easy to find and good ones are practically impossible to differentiate from the real thing.
Also consider seeking ethically sourced, conflict-free diamonds. Brilliant Earth sells engagement rings that are set exclusively with conflict-free diamonds.
Choose digital! Photographic film is made with gelatin, which is rendered from animal skin and bones. Fortunately, most wedding photographers now shoot solely with digital cameras—but be sure to confirm with your photographer that nothing will be shot using film.
Charity Donation Registry
Many conscientious couples, especially those who have already outfitted their homes and kitchens, choose to create a charity registry for their weddings. You can choose a non-profit organization like a farm animal sanctuary and ask guests to make a donation in lieu of a conventional wedding gift.
Many vegan and animal protection nonprofits have their own fundraising platforms or wedding gift options, so contact them to find out the giving method that they support. It is also easy to create a custom wedding fundraising page at Crowdrise.com.
Alternately, if you’re already exhausting more funds than expected by planning a vegan wedding, you can create a”Honeyfund” and ask guests to contribute to your honeymoon in lieu of tangible gifts.
Wedding favors can express your gratitude to the friends and family who’ve come to celebrate your special day. There are countless ways to memorably convey the compassionate spirit of your wedding and the appreciation you feel toward all your guests. From homemade vegan recipe books to nonprofit donation cards to little jars of your favorite vegan candy, it’s fun and easy to choose a wedding favor with heart.
Photos are by Fawn Christiansen Photography. Many thanks to Kalista and Kyle for sharing these photos from their special day! For more vegan wedding information, stories, and inspiration, check out veganweddingshq.com.