Every year, VegNews has the spectacular (and we mean that in more ways than one) privilege of sorting through the best and boldest vegan weddings. We know that pulling off the party of your dreams is not a task to be taken lightly—there are few opportunities in your adult life to express your ethos, tickle your taste buds, flaunt your fabulous fashion sense, and celebrate love, all under the watchful eyes of friends and family.
In our 10th annual vegan wedding spectacular, one word comes to mind, and that would be, “Wow.” These eight couples’ courageous commitment to cruelty-free living is evident in every detail of their celebrations. Besides planning some of the most mouthwatering meals imaginable, they’ve gone for vintage, green, or DIY options in everything from gowns and garters to place settings and party favors, carrying off the entire production with style and substance.
For more details on these inspiring celebrations, click on each couples’ names and check out their full story—cake included.
Danielle Distefano & Matthew Miller
Danielle and Matt splurged on a gorgeous location—The Boathouse in Central Park—and added their own DIY flair for a memorable, individualized celebration. “Handmade touches are always more awesome than stuff you can buy in a store. We loved the silkscreen marriage certificate that we had everyone at the wedding sign and our handmade, letter-pressed thank-you cards made by our good friend Ashley,” says the couple. As for memorializing the entire event, it didn’t hurt that Matt’s day job is as a photographer. Friends and co-workers at Our Labor of Love photography captured the celebration from beginning to end, including more than 1,200 photos in a custom-made “Smilebooth.”
Danielle skipped the wedding planner, working instead with her mother to finesse all the final details. “The wedding being vegan was a challenge for everyone involved. The Boathouse has a set menu for weddings that you choose from and they didn’t know where to start with us, but were so helpful and created some of the most amazing food,” says Danielle. “Stick to your morals and don’t let anyone try to talk you out of a non-ethical option.”
Sadaf Hussain & Brandon Juhl
Sadaf and Brandon celebrated their union with three amazing events, including an unforgettable trip to Tangier, Morocco, for their Nikkah (Muslim ceremony). While planning an international ceremony, be it an intimate few attending or a huge destination wedding, Sadaf recommends taking advice from the pros. Luxe Destination Weddings helped the happy bride find an officiant in Tangier and wade through the paperwork and planning. “She did make things easier, and was receptive to things being vegan,” says Brandon. As a bonus, finishing the celebration with a trip to Morocco made choosing the honeymoon destination a snap.
In addition to holding their three important ceremonies, the couple wanted to focus on being as environmentally responsible as possible. Invitations were sent out using Socializr instead of paper; corn-based dishes and cutlery helped cut down on waste; and organic flowers were used in all of the arrangements.
Traci Medeiros & Patrick Bagan
No-frills, casual, and creative describes Traci and Patrick’s wedding, set at a fun, vibrant taqueria, Tio’s Tacos. A nod to the couple’s college-aged bonding over burritos, it was the perfect backdrop for a relaxed and lively celebration. Married under a chapel made from recycled materials, constructed by Tio’s owner Martin Sanchez, Traci and Patrick also adorned tables with eco-friendly cacti and succulents, planted in reused aluminum cans. “Martin was amazing and even though we’re not sure if he knew what ‘vegan’ was before the wedding, made an entire menu just for us! He even set up a cooking station outside and made food fresh for the guests,” says Traci.
A nod to Patrick’s Irish heritage, they found the perfect Celtic wedding rings by Shanore while touring through the Emerald Isle—the same trip they were engaged. And their favorite wedding gift? Friends and family pitched in to send the newlyweds on a vegan tour of Oahu, not only for a gorgeous honeymoon, but also a much-appreciated trip to honor Traci’s roots.
Heidi Grosskamp & Dennis Crean
Three days of ceremonies and celebration may sound extravagant, but Heidi and Dennis pulled off an unforgettable trio without breaking the bank. The traditional ceremony took place at popular organic winery Frey Vineyards, set in scenic ancient redwood groves. While the professional catering was the most expensive investment, the couple did their part to cut costs. Heidi managed to bake 375 cupcakes for the reception, as well as design flower arrangements, bouquets, and boutonnieres with the help of her girlfriends. Dennis, a graphic designer, created the programs, maps, and party favors. He also designed the band’s CD cover, scoring the couple a huge discount. The photographer was also a friend, generously donating his services in exchange for cost of supplies. Last but not least, family and friends, providing the newlyweds with a truly stress-free getaway, sponsored the couple’s gorgeous three-week honeymoon in New Zealand.
Kathryn Fangsrud & Steven Carpenter
Since their families hadn’t met previous to the wedding, Kathryn and Steven decided to throw an intimate bash, allowing for ample get-to-know-each-other opportunities. The best way? A vegan destination wedding, of course! The couple planned their getaway in Guanajuato, Mexico, a city the couple had visited often and loved. While attesting that planning a celebration abroad can be a challenge, especially if you don’t speak the language, it’s doable. “You also have to be willing to ‘go with the flow’ a lot more; for instance, we had no photographer until the day of the wedding (we met him at the civil office and asked him to come to the wedding site that evening,” says Kathryn. She also saved time and stress by translating their marriage license herself instead of waiting the six weeks it would take the civil office.
As for the reception, the couple worked with the staff of Casa Estrella de la Valenciana to plan an unforgettable event, with delicious results. “The incomparable chef Javier Anaya created a vegan feast that rivals any of NYC’s most famed vegan eateries. He turned traditional Mexican dishes into sumptuous vegan masterpieces by substituting meat and cheese with creative local options, such as hibiscus flower and zucchini blossom,” says Kathryn.
Candy Tolentino & Josh Black
With a suddenly limited budget due to family friction over throwing a 100-percent vegan wedding, Candy and Josh realized they would have to get resourceful to throw the celebration of their live. For their LA-based event, the couple garnered support from local vegan vendors, many who donated their time and services for a discounted—or no—cost. “Toki Cavener donated her top-of-the-line package, and is a vegan, environmentalist tree-hugger, like ourselves! You can’t find a grade-A vegan wedding photographer on every corner,” says Candy. And in addition to Candy’s own company’s desserts, Earth Café raw cheesecakes, guests dined on mini cupcakes, graciously donated by Luscious Desserts.
As for the food, a major source of contention between the bride and her family, Michael C. Events nailed it perfectly. “His tastings turned us into ‘Michael C. food crackheads’ with the most interesting, the most colorful, innovative, kickin’ vegan food we’d ever had!” Even Candy’s father ate every bite, making for a “truly unforgettable” meal.
Leslie Ramos & Jason Carmona
The key to Leslie and Jason’s flawless Texas wedding is simple—hiring a day-of wedding planner to ensure every detail went just right on their big day. While the couple planned the majority of the wedding, hiring Buon Affare Events relieved unnecessary stress during the wedding. “Rachel [our wedding planner] was the key to our wedding being a success. She ensured that the day flowed perfectly and that all issues were handled without it interrupting our evening. If anything went wrong, we certainly didn’t notice!” says the couple.
To share their vegan ethics with guests, Leslie and Jason not only perfected their reception menu, featuring pear-walnut empanadas and green apple and jicama stew, but also handed out Farm Sanctuary glasses to guests as favors, igniting many powerful conversations about the sanctuary and veganism after the celebration.
As unforgettable as the ceremony was, Leslie and Jason say they’ll never forget their honeymoon, sponsored by family and friends, which included a music tour of the UK, as well as a food tour of Amsterdam. “To this day and forever, we still find ourselves daydreaming of our three-week European honeymoon,” say Leslie and Jason.
Emily Shapiro & Matt Pascarella
Before the big day, Matt had a more important issue at hand—where to find the perfect ring? Set on buying from a small, family-owned business, he was thrilled to discover Marisa Perry in SoHo, where he found the perfect piece for Emily. As for the wedding details, the couple hired friend and planner extraordinaire, Portia Fuentes. “It was a great experience to have someone who knows us very well to help us make decisions given the fact that the two of us are pretty laid back people,” says the couple.
Those decisions yielded a fabulous event space, the Galapagos Art Space, one of New York City’s first LEED-certified cultural venues. And if the unique, memorable space wasn’t enough, Candle Café catered the food. After a delicious cocktail hour, complete with hors d’oeuvres, guests dined from three food stations, serving exquisite Mexican, Italian, and Indian dishes. “Everybody loved the food at our wedding and we heard so many people say, ‘If we could eat like this all the time we would be vegan in a second!’” says the couple.
While the site and food were the most expensive investments, talented friends alleviated some financial costs. From the cake to the DJ to photography, Emily and Matt received five-star service with a friends-only discount.
Favors With Flavor
Party favors have gotten a bad rap for being wasteful, wacky, and, yes, sometimes tacky, but they needn’t be. Think of your favors as an opportunity to share your creativity as a couple with your guests in a lasting way. Why not borrow some of these couples’ clever creations? They won’t mind—we promise.
Wedding Resource Guide
Here, the couples share their wedding resources to help you get hitched without any hitches.