Vegan Weddings 2016 (Malissa Schwartz & Chad Sarno)

Work brought Malissa Schwartz and Chad Sarno together, but it was their love of healthy living that makes them inseparable.

The big day: August 14, 2015
The place: Huntsville, UT
RSVPs: 80
Honeymoon: Spa-and-hiking excursion across the Southwest
The cake: Vanilla and chocolate with lemon curd and raspberry jam fillings, and vanilla buttercream frosting
Menu standouts: Fresh manicotti with Nana’s red sauce; hearts of palm crabcakes; stuffed zucchini blossoms
Guest swag: Organic tomato and basil seed packets with Nana’s marinara recipe, chocolates, and popcorn

Their story: East Coast Italian boy meets Mormon-raised Utah girl and love ensues—not the most obvious plotline for a contemporary love story, but with plant-based living as a binding force, romantic success is bound to follow. Austin-based Chad Sarno and Big Apple-living Malissa Schwartz crossed paths through work (he as a chef and healthy-eating consultant, she as a plant-based health and nutrition coach) and became “instant friends.” When their friendship blossomed into something more, Malissa’s mobile lifestyle and sense of adventure prompted a move to the Lone Star State. Together, she, Chad, and Amaya, Chad’s 10-year-old daughter, formed a tight trio.

The wedding: “We’re mountain and tree people,” Chad says. “Nature is our temple.” The duo lets these values guide their planning, choosing a wedding destination that was literally breathtaking. Atop a 9,000-foot peak in northern Utah, the couple and their guests were treated to views across a majestic valley dotted with lakes and wildflowers. The ceremony—held on the auspicious new moon—was infused with family heritage, including a Native American blessing and blanket-wrapping ceremony officiated by Malissa’s 90-year-old grandmother. “There was a lot of laughter and a lot of tears,” the bride says. When your plant-based posse includes acclaimed chefs such as Tal Ronnen and Derek Sarno (who moonlights as Chad’s brother), you know you’re in for a gustatory extravaganza. Chad’s close friends at Kite Hill Cheese, Field Roast, Follow Your Heart, Gardein, and Miyoko’s Kitchen were just a few who showed their support with generous edible gifts, which converged into an Italian-inspired menu (a nod to Chad’s Nana) to form a vegan epicure’s fantasy feast. At the reception, Malissa morphed into a glamorous bohemian rock star, belting out a rousing rendition of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” with her band The Molly Shannons. Amaya performed a song she wrote especially for the occasion, while papa beamed from the sidelines in his stylish suit with “wicked healthy” and “plant pusher” stitched into the pocket and lapel. The wedding party—nearly a dozen children strong—tore up the dance floor, and the big kids at heart joined them, dancing into the night.

We give you our 2016 Vegan Wedding Couples!
Alex Payne & Nicole Brodeur (Woodstock, NY)
Andrea Dermos & Kyle Domer (Laguna Beach, CA)
Malissa Schwartz & Chad Sarno (Huntsville, UT)
Jac Reasor & Jae Russell (Cleveland, OH)

More Buzz

7 Glittery, Fabulous, Thrilling, Uncompromising, Inclusive, Vegan Ways I Plan on Celebrating Gay Pride Month

As a seasoned vegan lesbian but a brand new Angeleno, this year, I'm going all-in.
Read More »

The Ultimate Vegan Road Trip PART ONE

The first in our two part-series begins in the Northeast and ends in Sweet Home Chicago.
Read More »

Sizzling Vegan Summer Beauty Brands and Tips

It’s too hot to contour, and who has time to paint a painstaking smoky eye when there are veggie burgers to grill and rosé to drink?
Read More »

9 Simple Steps to Making a Vegan Man Cave for Father's Day

This Father's Day, gift Dad with a perfect vegan addition to his sanctuary.
Read More »

8 Easy Ways to Have a Relaxing Father's Day

This June 17, you might be surprised by what Dad really wants …
Read More »

This Week on VegNews TV: The secret to these delightful sweet treats is white beans! Aylin Erman shows you how to make these simple blondies.

More Videos »