Tips for Planning the 'Big Day' – Vegan-Style
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi did it. So did Chelsea Clinton, Alicia Silverstone, Casey Affleck and Emily Deschanel. Not only did these celebrities show their love for their spouses when they tied the knot, they also showed their love for animals by leaving meat, eggs and dairy products off the reception menu. With more and more people making a commitment to a healthier eco- and animal-friendly lifestyle, many brides and grooms are following suit and tying the knot vegan-style.
Below are some pointers to help ensure that this most special of occasions is memorable for all the right reasons.
What to Eat
Many fine caterers are happy to offer event catering entirely free of animal products, and the results usually impress everybody. Guests at the weddings of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi were treated to vegetable spring rolls and faux-beef mini-burgers, while Alicia Silverstone's guests enjoyed grilled tempeh with black rice, vegetables in a saffron-sage sauce with vegan aioli and individual chocolate-almond midnight cakes topped with raspberries and maple-almond pecan pralines.
Approach several caterers for prices and sample menus to help ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. Most caterers are open to suggestions, so go armed with ideas and even some recipes from great vegan cookbooks such as The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen – who has cooked for Oprah Winfrey – or The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.
For the cake, a specialty bakery such as Ms Cupcake is a safe bet, but more bakeries are branching out and offering vegan options. Vegan cakes are sure to be adorning wedding tables all across the country this spring and summer.
Some of your guests will love the food so much that they'll want to try the dishes at home, so consider printing out the menu and its accompanying recipes. What could be a better wedding present than introducing more people to the delights of vegan cuisine?
Of course, keep the glasses topped off with quality cruelty-free wines, liquors and spirits. Most wine merchants offer a vast selection of vegan and vegetarian nectars. Vegan Wines Online provides loads of information on vegan wines, liquors and beers that are available nationwide.
What to Wear
If you're going for a bespoke gown, most designers have a wide array of satin, linen, taffeta and other non-silk fabrics to choose from. Tammam is a label with design and style at its core that offers gowns that have been made by expert craftspeople treated ethically, using sustainable materials including vegan alternatives to silk. Moreover, they often recycle vintage laces and fabrics and upcycle some modern materials.
For those on a budget, high street bridal shops carry a large selection of vegan dresses in a wide range of prices. Monsoon and Coast even have a few fabulous cruelty-free wedding dresses this season, so it'll be a snap to find beautiful non-silk or faux-silk dresses for the bridal party, the flower girls and the mother of the bride. Top designers such as Stella McCartney offer several non-leather shoe styles, and there's no fancy footwork involved in finding a pair through Beyond Skin, an online retailer of vegan footwear that delivers throughout Ireland and the UK. For the bridegroom, most outfitters carry several styles of formal wear made from lightweight synthetic materials instead of silk, wool, leather and shearling.
Makeup artist to the stars Justine Jenkins can make brides look as glamorous as ever on the big day, without using any products that have been tested on or contain any ingredients derived from animals. Many hairdressers are happy to use your products from home. A complete list of companies that do not conduct or commission animal testing for their cosmetics and/or household products is available here.
Couples can consider the delectable and dairy-free vegan truffles from British chocolatier Booja-Booja. Shropshire Petals grows biodegradable natural petal confetti, wheat sheaves and dried flowers, all handpicked from its farm in the rolling fields of Shropshire. What a romantic way to protect birds, as other confetti can often be damaging. PETA US also has a range of beautifully designed place-setting cards that will "wow" guests as they sit down to dine, with the added benefit of making changes to animals' lives through a donation per card.
In addition to an all-vegan gift registry at a department store, you can set up an alternative registry online that focuses on vegan and environmentally friendly gifts or gifts of time or services. You can also ask your guests to donate a gift to a local animal shelter or to the animal rights organisation of your choice in lieu of buying a gift.
If you need any additional help or advice, we're only an e-mail away! Best wishes from all of us at PETA – we hope that your special day is everything you've dreamed of.