This is the final post of our vegan wedding series sponsored by WeddingWire! We used WeddingWire to help us plan our magical wedding, and to discover and keep track of our favorite vendors. Now that the wedding is over, I’m excited to share more of our planning journey with you. Wedding photos by Hailley Howard.
It really has never been easier to plan and execute the perfect vegan wedding! Around the country there are plenty of vegan and vegan-friendly caterers, tons of options for bride and groom fashion, and growing awareness and respect for this way of living. It’s a beautiful time to have a compassionate wedding full of L.O.V.E for all beings!
Planning our vegan wedding was super time-consuming, but (most of the time..) we were able to see it as a fun challenge. Like many couples we were on a tight budget so we needed to get creative and find affordable ways to pull off the celebration. Hopefully this guide will make it easier and even more fun for you to plan your dream vegan wedding!
We found our beautiful venue, The 1909 Topanga Canyon, on WeddingWire. I used the site to look at tons of venues in the Los Angeles area. It’s super easy to search for nearby vendors using your zip code.
The mostly outdoor venue, located just north of LA, is everything we dreamed of. It’s surrounded by lush green trees, and has a beautiful interior space for getting ready and a large terraced banquet room for the party. We were shocked to discover that it was in our price range, and we even got an off-season discount.
One major thing that made this venue work for us was that they allow you to bring in any caterer to do the food and cake. This allowance is crucial when planning the perfect vegan wedding. So many venues require you to use their “preferred” vendors for everything from the flowers to the food. You’ll be hard pressed to find an amazing vegan caterer on these lists of “preferred” vendors, so look for venues that allow you to bring who you want.
If you remember my blog post & video about vegan wedding catering, you know I wanted your vote for which caterer we should choose. The fan favorite (and our favorite) was vegan celebrity-chef Lauren Von der Pool, and oh my did she swerve that food! Our guests, only a handful of whom were vegan, got up for seconds and thirds. No leftovers to take home!
On the all-vegan menu was:
- Superfood Shitake Kale Salad
- Southern Fried Crispy Chicken served with Mumbo Sauce
- Caribbean Red Bean Stew
- Crispy Potato Salad topped with micro greens
- African Street Corn – Eritrean berbere spiced corn coated in a buttery garlic aioli
- Coconut Braised Greens – tender greens stewed in a buttery coconut milk miso broth
- Sweet Potato Purée – organic white sweet potatoes married to cardamom
- Chicken & Waffles
Everything was so delicious!
Serving dinner buffet-style was a money saver for us. Our venue required us to use their servers, so Lauren didn’t have to hire her own. The guests loved the buffet because it gave them an easy way to help themselves to more of Lauren’s incredible vegan soul food. During your caterer search be sure you understand pricing based on how the meal will be served. You should also keep in mind any serving requirements the venue may have.
In Los Angeles there are plenty of vegan caterers, but in some cities you may have to hire a non-vegan company to prepare a vegan meal for your guests. Make sure to schedule a tasting with each potential caterer you interview. Find out if they’ve done vegan weddings in the past, and ask for a referral from previous vegan clients. If you’re set on having a vegan company cater your wedding, but can’t find one near you, consider asking a vegan restaurant or food truck to cater.
A wedding isn’t complete without the perfect romantic dessert! My husband Maxx and I wanted a beautiful classic wedding cake, and hired Krysten Littles of Baby Love Sweetery to make it. You met Krysten in our vegan catering & wedding video! She’s the sweetest, and so are her creations! For the wedding she made us a 2 tier chocolate salted caramel cake with pleated buttercream icing. Isn’t it gorgeous! My only regret is not saving myself a slice for the next day. Our wedding was nearly 3 months ago, and I still think about that cake almost daily.
If you cannot find a vegan cake maker for your wedding, you may have to ask a non-vegan bakery to make your vegan cake. Be sure to have a taste test, and get referrals from their previous vegan clients. Don’t forget to look at surrounding towns. Cake makers will often travel to deliver your cake, as long as it’s not too far away.
Though most alcoholic beverages are vegan, the process of making them may not be. This is especially true for wine. For example, though it doesn’t end up in the finished product, many wines are filtered with fish bladder. We wanted to make sure that all of our beverages were vegan too, so we relied on the website Barnivore to point us the right direction. Barnivore is a site that compiles a list of alcoholic beverages and whether or not they’re vegan. I admit, I cannot remember which white wine and rosé we ended up picking up. For red wine we went with Cocobon, a red blend from California. For champagne we chose Moët. We also served kombucha from Suja, and an alcoholic kombucha from Booch Craft (my drink of choice the whole evening because it never gives me a hangover).
Bringing your own alcohol will save you hundreds or thousands on your big day. Our venue allowed us to bring our own alcohol, but it had to be served by a licensed bartender. We hired a bartender through the website Tend, and they brought the ice. My dad picked up the booze, cups, and napkins a couple days before the wedding. The venue already had a bar area, but bartenders will bring their own if need be.
We hired Michelle Newson of Onederland Events to be our wedding planner, and she was one of a kind wonderful! (She was another WeddingWire discovery.) Since Maxx and I both work full time we really appreciated someone else keeping our planning timeline and agenda in order. She helped us make sure we had everything we needed for the wedding (including things like table linens that we certainly would have overlooked), and was there to coordinate on the day of. On our wedding day all I had to do was get ready with my family and walk down the aisle. I wasn’t stressed at all thanks to Michelle. I did a blog post to help you decide if you should hire a wedding planner for your vegan wedding. Read it here.
Finding the perfect wedding dress and clothing-plus-accessories for Maxx was probably the most time consuming activity on our planning list. It was important to us that our clothing be vegan, but also affordable, yet still stylish and good quality. We also didn’t want to support the many unsavory practices that are prevalent in the apparel industry, from unethical labor practices to disregard for the environment.
Our solution? Second hand. I found my wedding dress on Poshmark (an online used clothing marketplace) for $230. It was in perfect condition, but was too long. My alterations cost $170.
For the vegan groom you should also consider buying second hand. Not only is it less expensive, but it’s the more sustainable, earth-friendly option. Maxx also bought his suit on Poshmark and then had it tailored to fit like a charm. All in all he spent less than $200. Men’s suits are often made with wool, so keep that in mind, vegan groom. Look for a suit that is made out of an animal-friendly fabric like cotton, linen, or something synthetic.
Read more about finding the perfect vegan wedding dress, plus clothing and accessories for the groom in my previous blog post.
Our lovely florist was Susan of Eventive Moments. We found her on WeddingWire. What we loved so much about the venue was its natural beauty. Susan understood that and agreed we didn’t need too much extra brought in. She worked with our budget, and gave us great tips to save money on this very important decor.
Tip #1: Choose local seasonal flowers. Just like produce, local and seasonal is always more affordable. Plus it looks fresher and more alive! Rather than having specific flowers you must use, have ideal colors. Your florist can suggest flowers that are in season, and that fit your color scheme. Keep an open mind, you may discover your new favorite flower!
Tip #2: Rework your arrangements. During the cocktail hour our wedding planner and her assistant transferred the flowers from the arch and the aisles to the dinner tables and cocktail area. You can pay the florist to stay until after the ceremony to rearrange the flowers, or ask your coordinator to do it.
Tip #3: Rent your flower arrangement vases and vessels. You will probably save money, and you’ll also eliminate waste. Who needs 25 vases after the wedding? If you choose not to rent your vases, consider choosing ones you can give to guests as party favors when they leave. Choose eco-friendly containers that can be reused. I love the idea of using simple canning jars for this!
One thing I didn’t do a good job with was distributing our goodie bags. I was just so consumed with everything else that I forgot to arrange a spot where guests could grab them as they left the venue. Still, I managed to find some great goodies to share. Maybe I’ll save them for another event in the future.
Goodie bags are just so nice to give to your guests as they leave the wedding, or at a pre-wedding event. I gave out most of our goodie bags after the group hike we did the day before the wedding.
What was inside?
- Moisturizing lip balm by Shea Yeleen, a skincare company that makes fair trade and cruelty-free shea butter products in women-owned cooperatives in Ghana
- Bath salts by Peau Veoutee
- Suja kombucha and green juice
- Alter Eco coconut clusters
On our wedding day, it felt so good to see all of our planning come together, and I’m very happy to be able to say it was a 100% vegan event. Watch the video for more about our planning efforts, and if you’re planning a wedding yourself (or have in the past), let me know in the comments!