As a long-term vegetarian, and someone who truly enjoys creating good-tasting food, the idea of a vegetarian wedding really appeals to me.
My own wedding was: in lieu of presents, please bring a home-made vegetarian meal to share. It was fantastic, and really brought the guests together in their shared commitment to honour our wedding day in this way. For twenty years I’ve held this memory with deep gratitude and joy.
Unless you absolutely know that a wedding venue can meet your needs, brace yourself for disappointment or another choice of venue. If the venue you’ve chosen isn’t capable of providing you with a first-class vegetarian reception, ask to bring in your own caterers.
I recently attended a local wedding venue that was featuring a new room. As a marriage celebrant, I was most excited to see this space. Well, it sure did look beautiful! However, I paid £15 for the honour of trying their gourmet canapés. Well in advance I put in my request for gluten-free vegetarian. Imagine my disappointment (and, to be honest, some seething ‘wtf?’) when I was pointed to olives (which I could have bought at the supermarket) and nuts. Seriously? I can hand on heart say I felt duped.
Vegetarian meals at most weddings may fall under the following categories: improvised, salads, sides, buffets that feature a couple of plant-based options. Check that your venue is skilled at vegetarian-only menus and that they treat it with the respect and care it deserves rather than as a last-minute thought or attachment.
Buckland Hall is the only all-vegetarian wedding venue in Britain.
See their mouthwatering menu here: http://www.bucklandhall.co.uk/wedding_content.php?art_id=73
If that doesn’t inspire you to choose a vegetarian menu, nothing will.
Some venues can be downright rude and unfriendly when you say you want a wedding sans dead animals.
No matter if your choice for a vegetarian wedding is based on a desire for a low eco footprint, animal ethics, or a wish to keep things simple, this is YOUR wedding day, and you have the right to create it in the way that is comfortable for you. Don’t be scared to shop around and make other plans if you feel you’re not being heard.
Some brides feel pressured by guests into having meat options at their wedding. Your guests are there to honour your commitment to love another person. The wedding is a template of who you are, and your values. If you feel strongly about having a cruelty-free menu, then stand your ground. If a guest feels that they can’t go one meal without meat, then perhaps they could eat a burger before arriving at the wedding?
Contrary to the argument that meat eaters offer vegetarian meals (ha! barely) at their weddings, so it should be the same for veggies to offer a meat option, it isn’t as simple as that. Choosing to not be part of the loss of an animal’s life speaks to the heart of a person. It defines an aspect of who they are. Why would any guest expect someone with such heart-felt beliefs not to be true to themselves on what is considered by many to be the most important day of their lives?
If the chef in question needs inspiring, send him samples of vegetarian wedding meals such as those of Buckland Hall. Why not choose a wedding away from a hotel, and ask your guests to bring a home-made vegetarian meal? Or you could hire a vegetarian food van (such as a falafel truck), and keep it really casual.
Food is such an important element and ritual of ceremonies. It is natural that your food ethics would be reflected in your wedding day.
Planning a wedding is a good test for married life. Every step of the way is about compromise: season, style, venue, catered or not catered, colours, themes, guests, music, flowers and so on. Compromise, however, is about what feels good for the soul, and shouldn’t be about sacrifice. If you walk gently on this Earth by not eating animals, and want your wedding to be an example of that, then be true to your core values.
Vegetarian food, when made with love, care and flair, is deeply nourishing, tasty and fulfilling. Don’t be fobbed off with anything less than the best.
My motto is: Your Day, Your Way.
Veronika Robinson has been officiating weddings since 1995. She trained at Unity Church in Auckland, New Zealand, and was authorised to conduct legal weddings under the New Thought Ministries umbrella. She has a deep love of the sacred, and derives great joy from creating, writing and officiating personalised ceremonies for people. She specialises in handfastings, but is equally at home conducting more formal weddings, as well as namings, blessingways, vow renewals and funerals. Veronika officiates inspirational ceremonies throughout Cumbria, northern Lancashire and Southern Scotland, and is particularly fond of outdoor ceremonies. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant