(Updated 23 December 2019) It’s official, 2020 is nearly here, and it’s set to be the year of vegan weddings in the UK. Vegan, fairytale weddings, to be precise.
Fashion designer Phillipa Lepley says princess dresses will be seen on aisles everywhere at the beginning of the next decade. And for those brides who are feeling really extra, second wedding dresses — traditionally worn during the reception — will also be a 2020 trend.
The dress is arguably one of the most important parts of the day for many brides, but it’s closely followed by food.
According to Hamish Shepherd — the founder of Bridebook — vegan food will be commonplace at wedding celebrations in the new year. He told Heart, “the rapid growth in vegetarian and veganism, especially in the millennial generation, has led to an increase in such foods being served at weddings.”
He added. “Even couples who aren’t themselves vegans are more empathetic than ever before, and they are keen to cater for guests with all dietary requests.”
Food is a big part of a vegan wedding, but there are also other factors to consider, like decor and gifts. If you’re engaged, planning on getting engaged, or are simply a wedding enthusiast, here is the ultimate vegan guide to planning the perfect wedding.
The Ultimate Vegan Guide to Planning the Perfect Wedding
If you’re catering your wedding yourself, a buffet is arguably the best route to go down when it comes to feeding your guests. Opt for crowd-pleasers and simple yet elegant appetizers. Vegetable kebabs, risotto, pasta dishes, and vegan desserts like cupcakes and brownies are ideal when serving meat-eaters and vegans alike.
If you don’t want the hassle of cooking ahead of your wedding day (who can blame you?) then you could consider hiring a caterer.
Gourmet Vegan Catering will create a bespoke 3-4 course vegan menu for your guests. They can then supply this to your chosen venue, who will prepare and serve the carefully selected dishes. The company can also create and serve its own cold buffet selection for the day, as well as a full buffet service for the evening reception.
Cashew Catering is another vegan wedding caterer in the UK. The company offers a variety of options, including “Plated Posh Stuff,” sharing platters, and canapes. It even provides a barbeque option.
Arguably, the most important food at any wedding is the cake, and Cashew Catering can provide this too if necessary.
Some bakeries, like Tiny Sarah’s Cakes, specialize in vegan wedding cakes. The founder is based in Reading in the UK but has delivered wedding cakes as far as the south of France and Luxembourg.
She says on her website, “I make cakes that are different. Not only are they free from animal products, but they also taste heavenly. And as a professional French-trained pastry chef, I wouldn’t say so if I didn’t actually believe it.”
2. Clothes, Hair, and Makeup
As cruelty-free becomes an increasingly popular choice among consumers, ethical stores and designers are more plentiful than ever.
For wedding and bridesmaid dresses, chiffon, lace, linen, cotton, organza, satin, tulle and taffeta can all be made without animal products. Opt for something without silk (made from silkworm cocoons) and shoes that are not made from real leather.
Sites like the Natural Wedding Company can direct you to ethical and sustainable designers. Sister Organics in Devon, for example, use a variety of eco-friendly fabrics, including organic cotton and hemp.
Many people are unaware that hair and makeup items can include products from insects, fish, and mammals. Thankfully, you don’t have to use these products on your wedding day. More and more brands are going cruelty-free and vegan, and some makeup artists only use these kinds of products.
Tanya Westley, a makeup artist based in Oxfordshire, uses purely vegan products. She notes on her website, “I think there is a misconception that if a product is vegan, cruelty-free, green, or ethically-sourced then it is an inferior product. However, this simply is not the case and there are amazing brands out there leading change within the beauty industry.”
Animal products are still sneaking into many household items, unbeknownst to consumers. Candles — popular at weddings — are one culprit. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives available and easily found online (look for soy candles over beeswax or animal fat).
Instead of silk chair wraps, opt for satin, and when it comes to centerpieces, flowers are a popular choice. Pot plants — like cacti and succulents — also add a unique touch to any wedding table.
To ensure your wedding is completely cruelty-free, you could opt for a vegan wedding package. It’s still a niche market, but some hotels — like The Green House in Bournemouth — offer specific vegan and cruelty-free wedding packages.
Olivia O’Sullivan — the manager at The Green House — said in a statement when the package first launched, “we’d noticed such an increase in vegan weddings which had also become so well-known among our vegan suppliers that we decided to create this Vegan Wedding Package.”
4. Favors and Gifts
If you choose to hand out favors (gifts for guests), some creative ideas include succulents (they could take them from the table), tea leaves, and soap. You could also give vegan chocolate or sweets. You could also hand out seed paper thank you notes, which guests can plant to truly remember the day.
If guests would like to give you a wedding gift, you could consider asking for purely vegan items, like eco-friendly dinnerware or bamboo washcloths. You could also ask for gifts only bought from vintage stores or charity shops, to reduce your carbon footprint.
Another option is to ask for no gifts at all or a donation towards your honeymoon. You could even request that donations are made in your name to an animal charity of your choice.