The food you serve on your wedding day may very well be the first-time guests have experienced a vegan meal. Some might be sceptical and perhaps assume food will be bland and boring, others might be curious and open to trying something new. Your wedding can provide an opportunity to showcase how wonderful, flavourful and colourful vegan food can be and encourage others to eat more of the same. Given this opportunity, and the simple fact that food can take up a huge chunk of your wedding budget, it’s worth spending time coming up with some answers to the following questions.
Does your venue already include catering?
If you haven’t already chosen your venue, this could be a big sticking point as many venues do not allow you the option of bringing in your own catering option. You will therefore need to check they will serve vegan food and if you are happy with their options before putting down your deposit for the venue.
What are your favourite foods, cuisine and restaurants?
Brainstorm the kind of foods you usually enjoy cooking and eating. What would you choose if it was your last ever meal? Are there foods from your cultural background that you want to include? Do you like traditional, obscure, simple or gourmet? Do you even like cake, or prefer desserts or ice cream?
What time of year are you getting married?
A summer wedding might call for lighter food options than a winter wedding where you might want to serve something warm and hearty. You may also want to think about what fruit and vegetables are in season at that time.
What time of the day?
Traditionally in the UK, wedding ceremonies are held in the early afternoon with the wedding breakfast served in the late afternoon, or early evening. But don’t feel you have to stick to tradition. You may prefer an early wedding and go for a brunch, picnic lunch or an afternoon tea instead. Whatever you decide, bear in mind how often you need to feed guests as you don’t want them going hungry. Guests who eat at 4pm are likely to get peckish again in the evening, so you may want to consider also serving up lighter, quick food options, such as a vegan cheese board, pizza slices, tacos and sliders or sweet treats like a candy bar, doughnuts or an ice cream truck.
What is the style of your wedding?
If you are opting for a more classic, traditional wedding then you may feel that a formal sit down three course meal works best. Or maybe you are looking to create a more relaxed and informal atmosphere, where having a buffet or food stations might be more appropriate. You may want to consider how much time you want guests to be sitting an eating, as more courses will mean longer at the tables, giving people an opportunity to dine slowly and talk to those seated around them whereas having a buffet will lead people to mingle more easily. You may also want to think about whether you want to serve canapés which are passed around by staff, or a cheaper option where canapés are arranged on a table for guests to help themselves.
How healthy do you want to go?
If there was ever a day it was OK to eat what you want and forget the calorie counting, it would be your wedding day. But although eating greasy, fried, chocolate covered food all day long sounds like a good idea right now, you will regret it when you start feeling sick on the dance floor! So, if you do want unhealthy vegan options, maybe think about balancing it with some slightly healthier options too, your guests will thank you for it too!
How do you want your food to be displayed?
Do you want the food to be served festival style, in disposable, biodegradable, plates and bowls or prefer a more refined look with fine crockery? If you are having a cake, think about where your cake will stand and what decoration you want around it. You may also consider with your caterer the option of creating a grazing table, beautifully displaying food for people to graze on.
What does your caterer need?
Check whether your caterer needs to hire or buy in cutlery, crockery, table linen and serving dishes as this will all incur an extra cost. Check what they need in the kitchen and whether your venue can provide this. For a more dry hire style wedding you may need to consider things like access to electricity, gas, water and a fridge and who is responsible for clearing and disposing of waste!
Consider dietary requirements?
Make sure you ask guests for any dietary requirements such as nut allergies, gluten or soya free. And if little ones are attending, is there something suitable for them to eat?
Do you want to serve 100% vegan food?
This is a question many vegan brides and grooms deliberate over, conscious not to offend non-vegan guests, be considered ‘selfish’ or create awkward conversations with family and friends. Given how wonderful vegan food can be, there is no reason why guests can’t enjoy going without animal products for a day. It is your day, a reflection of your love as a couple and what you value and it is about your guests celebrating all of this with you. It’s not selfish to choose to go 100% vegan. Selfish means a lack of consideration for others, it does not mean giving in to the demands of others and stepping out of line of your own values for the sake of someone else. Chances are the fact that person is invited, the fact you are paying for their food and enjoyment on the day, the fact that you are reading and thinking about these questions means you are absolutely considering others AND considering the plight of animals too! Don’t feel you need to let people know in advance that you will be serving vegan food, that way you don’t have to waste your time and energy entering in to these kinds of conversations. For those who directly ask you can either tell them to find out on the day or be honest and ask them that you need them to respect your decision.
This question will be more of an issue when one of the bride or groom is not vegan. In this case have a discussion early on and ensure both of you have the opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings before coming to a mutual agreement.
After thinking through the above questions, you will start to develop your culinary vision for your day. Now it’s time to find a caterer who you can work with together with to develop a menu. Check out the catering options here and watch out for future blog posts that give some wedding menu suggestions!