Planning and organising a wedding can take up a lot of your attention and energy but given that you are reading this blog I will presume that one element of your day is already chosen. If you are still undecided on whether to have a vegan wedding, I’m hoping that by looking through this site you will realise that choosing to veganise your day makes things easier without needing to miss out on anything that’s important to you.
So, you’ve just got engaged, now what do you do? Given there is so many things to think about it’s hard to know where to begin. First off, if you can, give yourself time to enjoy just being engaged and sharing the excitement with friends and family before diving in to all the planning. When you are ready to get the ball rolling, here are a few key things to start thinking about and get arranging.
Sit down together (over vegan snacks) and think about the day as a whole, rather than all the smaller elements. Keep an open mind to begin with and throw out all the ideas you have before settling on one. Write them down if it helps. Think about what you both love, what’s important to you, what you both like to do for fun, what you enjoyed doing growing up as kids, what time of year you love most, your favourite food, your values. It may just be a list of words to begin with but then you can start to focus in on the type of wedding that reflects you both, your personalities and all that you care about.
Perhaps you both love to travel and want your wedding abroad on the beach, or maybe you want as many people to attend as you can so fancy something closer to home. Is it a city vibe you are after or more of a rustic outdoors feel? Something simple or grand? If you are still unsure, talk to your most favourite people and they may be able to give you an idea of how they imagine your day to feel like. Or spend some time scrolling through wedding images online and see what you naturally gravitate towards.
Although you are unlikely to be able to choose the exact date until you have found your venue, you might want to start thinking about the time of year that fits with the general vibe of the day. Classic summer sunshine, spring for new beginnings, colourful autumn or cosy and cool winter. Consider what other important dates are happening. You may not want to take the limelight away from Great Aunt Agatha’s 100th birthday celebrations by choosing your wedding on the same day. Equally if you or your fiancée is a massive football fan then arranging the day to coincide with the World Cup final probably isn’t a smart move.
Do get a budget agreed before you go any further. Figure out how much you can afford as well as what you feel comfortable spending. You may have some priorities for the day that you are willing to spend more on. Perhaps some things, like decorations, can be made yourself or planting your own flowers to use on the day, to help with the costs. Or maybe you know people would love to help you out on your day, perhaps a hairdresser or a photographer friend, or maybe someone who would be willing to bake the cake for you? Make sure you also factor in unknown costs, at least an additional 10% for contingencies.
If you can afford to, you may want to consider a wedding planner, especially useful if you are having a larger wedding, a wedding abroad, a dry hire option (only paying for the space and having to source equipment, staff and everything else yourself) or you have very little time to plan. Some will help you plan your entire wedding, but more affordable options might include helping you to search for a venue or helping you out on the day itself. They may also be able to help save you money by finding cheaper supplier and decoration options.
If you don’t already have a venue in mind, this part of the planning can take a long time and can be a little nerve wracking. But it can also be a lot of fun going to view different venues and finding the right fit. The venue is probably going to take the biggest hit on your budget, so make sure you have figured that out before you get excited and then very quickly disappointed. Take in to account the workload involved for dry hire options too. These can sound great in theory as you can choose all the suppliers yourself, making the whole day unique to you, but they do require a lot of organising and can be substantially greater in cost than if you find a venue that is used to holding weddings and events. You also need to factor in all the details you may not have realised you need to think about, such as electricity, kitchen facilities and toilets! Finally, it’s worth considering the catering options at your chosen venue. Many venues will only allow you to use their catering services, which may be disappointing if you had hoped to source a vegan supplier.
Your choice in venue may determine the number of guests you can have on your day but you may want to begin writing down your guest list. To help with the costs, a popular option is to have your very closest family and friends attend the ceremony and meal, and other important people join the reception/evening party. Eloping and having a party for everyone to enjoy when you return can be a less stressful, more intimate and cost efficient option. Although there might be close family that have opinions that you want to factor in, ultimately it’s your wedding day and there’s no rules on what you can or can’t do, or who you should or shouldn’t invite. It’s best to go with what feels right for you both as a couple. Consider whether you feel comfortable with inviting plus ones, young children and babies, or perhaps your parent’s friends? The size of your guest list will also impact on the feel of the day. You may imagine it would be lovely to invite everyone you have ever known, but the more people the less time you can dedicate to everyone.
You may also want to consider who will be in your wedding party. Bridesmaids, best men, ushers, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, readers, page boy and whether you want someone to give you away? There might also be certain religious or spiritual traditions that require certain roles, such as the Chuppah carriers in Jewish weddings. Again, there are no rules on this one and you can even get creative with giving unique titles for each of the roles such as; best woman, henchmen or have an entire entourage that can support you on your day. Finally, consider the loved ones who can’t be with you and how you can bring them in to your day.
It’s worth considering that there are a number of ways to inject your vegan values in to your day, not only helping the day feel more you but also helping to support vegan companies whilst saving animals lives. Consider ways you can veganise your day:
Food – there are so many incredible vegan catering options now and even non vegan caterers are often happy to go vegan for your day. Consider how long your day will be as the longer the day the more you will need to feed people. Wedding food can be served in so many creative ways now, whether its food trucks, food stations, buffets, afternoon tea and picnics, vegan bbq, table snacks and don’t forget to veganise the cake!
Drinks – check if your venue can serve only vegan alcohol and offer dairy free alternatives with tea and coffee.
Dress, outfits and accessories – avoid silk, which can also be found on the underlay of dresses as well as veils. Look for cotton, chiffon, lace, organza, tulle, linen and taffeta as alternatives. Some fabrics labelled satin, chiffon and tulle can also be made of silk, so check with the seller to be sure. Avoid leather shoes and consider vegan leather alternatives. Also avoid fur, wool, cashmere and angora (rabbit wool) and consider cruelty free materials such as cotton, linen and polyester.
Cosmetics and hair – consider finding a makeup artist and hairdresser that uses vegan products, or consider doing your own. Companies that don’t test on animals, can still sell non vegan cosmetics as they can include ingredients such as honey, beeswax, carmine (crushed up bugs), lanolin (derived from sheep wool) and silk powder.
Decorations –silk can be found in decorations such as silk flowers and tablecloths. Also avoid candles containing beeswax.
Jewellery – you may want to consider jewellery that is ethically sourced. Look out for companies that use the Fairtrade, World Fair Trade Organisation or the British Association of Fair Trade Shops marks in UK.
Favours/gifts – How about incorporating your values in to your favours and gifts. Homemade vegan candles or chocolates, or maybe a donation to an ethical charity.
Other suppliers – how about choosing a vegan photographer or vegan florist to fit with the rest of your day!
Hen do/Stag do and Honeymoon – consider vegan friendly destinations. Keep your eye out here at VOW for inspiration.
Hopefully you have started to reflect on how you can personalise your day to fit with your personality and values, but don’t worry if it all doesn’t seem clear yet. It’s a process and things will change along the way, not everything needs to be set in stone from day one. Even on the day some plans will go out the window, perhaps because they can’t be helped or maybe you just change your mind. Starting out with some flexibility in your ideas will make the whole journey much smoother and less stressful.
Just Love, Emily x