Wedding photos by Hailley Howard 🙂
When my husband and I started planning our wedding, we knew immediately that it would be a fully vegan affair. We obviously had to have the perfect vegan food and cake to satisfy every single guest. But we also had to have the perfect vegan and ethically sourced clothing, shoes, and accessories. Meaning we wouldn’t be wearing any silk, feathers, fur, leather, or bone.
Luckily it’s never been easier to host a vegan wedding. As the movement grows so do options for amazing vegan catering, earth- and animal-friendly venues, and fabulous vegan attire. No matter your style or budget you can have your dream vegan wedding. I’ll be doing a series of blog posts and videos to show you how you too can pull off the ultimate vegan fête.
I searched long and hard for the absolute perfect vegan wedding dress. I knew I wanted something vegan, sure, but I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money. According to Wedding Wire, the average cost for a wedding dress in the United States is $1,050. That’s in a country where the average cost of a wedding is $33,391 (including the ring, excluding the honeymoon), according to The Knot. With all of those costs adding up, it made sense to me to not spend a ton of money on a dress I’d literally only wear once in my life. Still, I wanted to look gorgeous, feel amazing, and be as in love with the dress as I was with all of the other aspects of the wedding.
The first place I looked was The Reformation, an LA-based ethically produced clothing line. They’re known for their timeless feminine clothing for everyday wear, as well as having a small and enticing line of minimalist yet beautiful wedding gowns. They use surplus fabric and eco-friendly materials. Prices for a dress from their wedding line start at $268 and peak at $428. The Reformation has been my favorite clothing company for years—however, I’ve recently started buying their clothing second-hand. Keep reading…
SECOND-HAND FOR THE WIN
I ended up finding my stunning Theia Couture dress on Poshmark. If you aren’t familiar with it, please acquaint yourself now. Poshmark is a website and app where you can buy and sell second-hand clothing, shoes, and accessories. It’s super easy to navigate (unlike Ebay), and keeping track of your favorites is a breeze. It is definitely my top recommendation for finding the perfect vegan wedding dress. Whether you’re looking for a dress from The Reformation, Theia Couture, or some other fabulous designer, you’ll be able to find something on Poshmark. Start your search early so you have plenty of time to spot the perfect dress when it shows up for sale.
You can use the advanced search function to hone in on what you want. Search by designer, color, length, size, cost, etc.
I purchased my dress from a photographer who sells the dresses she has used for photo shoots. How much did I spend? Just $236, plus an additional $170 for alterations from my local tailor!
Other great sites to find a sample or second-hand vegan wedding dress are: Ebay (if you have a little bit more patience) and Tradesy.
Note: If you have a very tight budget, consider buying a second hand dress on Poshmark from a brand like Lulus or Asos. My husband Maxx and I take efforts not to support unethical clothing manufacturing practices, so we do not purchase new clothing from fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, ASOS, Lulus, The Gap, etc… At the same time, we feel strongly about supporting second-hand fashion, and we sometimes buy used items that were originally made in an unethical way.
Why? Overconsumption of fashion leads to immense waste and environmental degradation (just like eating animals does). By buying second-hand clothing we remove ourselves from the cycle of produce, wear, waste—opting instead into a more sustainable model of reuse and rework. This approach also helps us save money. Maxx found his awesome second-hand Zara suit on Poshmark for $100. He spent an additional $50 on tailoring.
FAVORITE CRUELTY-FREE DESIGNER: RIME ARODAKY
During my long search for the perfect dress I discovered the French designer Rime Arodaky. I actually discovered her while looking for a non-silk, slip-style vegan wedding dress on Net-A-Porter.com. Arodaky produces all of her dresses in Paris with animal-free textiles, and only works with suppliers who also share her “vision of a cruelty-free business model”. Dresses from Rime Arodaky range from $615 to $5,500. You can purchase her gorgeous and flirty wedding dresses from her website, Net-A-Porter, Poshmark, Ebay, or other places around the web.
Plenty of mainstream designers do make vegan dresses. Dresses made with animal products like silk and feathers tend to cost more, while those made with vegan-friendly and synthetic materials are often much cheaper. So when you’re searching keep that in mind, and read labels before you make any assumptions.
ETSY CUSTOM DRESS
I bought my veil on Etsy, and realized what a great resource it is for finding the perfect vegan wedding dress too. On Etsy you can have a custom dress made at a very affordable price. Keep in mind, if you’re planning to get a custom dress made (or even purchase a dress on Etsy at all), you’ll need to start looking well in advance of the wedding and factor in any time for making alterations. Here’s a link to the dress pictured above.
THE DRESS MAKER: GRETCHEN DAWLEY
Early in my search for The Dress I visited a bridal designer and dressmaker in Los Angeles, Gretchen Dawley. I was drawn to her line of dresses inspired by 1950s Havana, Cuba, and to the fact that she could make any of the gowns using all vegan fabrics. I didn’t end up going with a custom gown because of the cost, but I highly recommend this option for brides with a larger budget. Custom gowns can range in price, so always check in with the dress maker for full cost before writing it off as being out of your budget.
Being vegan is about consuming in a compassionate way. Along with being vegan comes a responsibility to be aware of how all of our purchasing decisions affect others. The conditions under which diamonds are mined in parts of Africa are often some of the most dangerous and unethical in the world. Miners are underpaid––if, that is, they are paid at all. Child labor is rampant, miners often lack basic safety equipment, and the mining process causes environmental degradation. Obviously this isn’t a multi-billion dollar industry we wanted to support. Instead, for my engagement ring Maxx opted for a gorgeous vintage piece from Brilliant Earth. We went back to Brilliant Earth for Maxx’s beautiful rose gold wedding band, which is made from recycled precious metal. For my wedding band we up-cycled a lovely ring that Maxx had given me as a gift a few years ago. It matches my wedding ring perfectly!
SHOES & ACCESSORIES
For my shoes I wore an old pair of gold shoes I bought from Revolve. They’re vegan, but probably not ethically made. I actually planned to wear a perfect pair from Susi Studio, an LA-based vegan shoe line, but loaned them to my mom for the day since they were 100x more comfortable than the shoes she planned to wear (She’s wearing the Susi shoes in the photo below—my mom is to the left of me in the white dress). Check out Susi Studio for your dream wedding shoes!
Maxx wore some awesome shoes from Will’s Vegan Shoes, a London-based vegan shoe company. Will’s has a wide range of shoes for men and women, but they really excel in dress shoes for men. The shoes in the men’s high end shoe line start at $257, and are apparently very comfortable. And did I mention they have free shipping for all orders?!
VEGAN TIE FOR THE GROOM
Maxx is from Colorado so he wanted to wear something that represented his western roots. His dad gave him a stunning turquoise and sterling silver bolo tie for the occasion. However the bolo tie had a genuine leather rope, so Maxx replaced it with a turquoise cork rope he found on Etsy.
Still there is hope for the vegan groom who wants to wear a more “traditional” tie. Jaan J. makes high quality yet affordable vegan ties using cotton and other microfibers. Also check out the lovely ties from Brave Gentlemen.
Speaking of Brave Gentlemen, Maxx’s belt is from them. He purchased it at Moo Shoes in Los Angeles, but you can also find it on their website.
Good luck with your vegan wedding! If you have any other recommendations for having the perfect vegan wedding, please share with us in the comments.
Check out the other blog posts from my vegan wedding planning series:
• Do I Need a Wedding Planner
• How to Plan a Vegan Wedding: Cake & Catering Options