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Vegan Weddings 2008

Meet eight modern couples who blended their ethics with their nuptials.

From the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains to the sun-dappled City by the Bay, vegan weddings are becoming the new standard for progressive would-be marrieds. Meet eight couples who blended their ethics with their nuptials, with lovely—and delicious—results.

A California Dream Come True

Dawnielle Patino & Thomas Gerard Selden
August 11, 2007
Laguna Beach, Calif.
Guests: 180
Honeymoon: France, Seychelles, Kenya, and England

Following an afternoon church ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated at a dreamy estate, the home of the bride's close family friends, in the hills of southern California. After a poolside, lounge-style cocktail hour with passed hors d'oeuvres, guests enjoyed a candlelit dinner under a billowy tent. Most of Tommy's large family (he's one of 10 siblings) had never heard of vegan food, so what better way to introduce them to this new concept than to have their wedding catered by their favorite restaurant, Madeleine Bistro? Tommy's brother Joey, who describes his family as "big meat eaters," says he didn't see too many plates go by that weren't empty. He also noted how well the garlic mashed potatoes went over with the family. "We're part Irish," he says, "so the potatoes are very important to us." After dinner, they returned to the pool area to dance the night away beneath a canopy of stars.

Hors d'oeuvres
Faux farmer's cheese and caramelized onions in puff pastry
Tofu-cheese-filled dates wrapped in crispy smoked portobello bacon
Chilled corn-lemongrass soup shots
Tomato risotto cakes
Seitan fingers with tamarind dipping sauce
Appetizers
Caesar salad
Red beet tartare atop a warm tofu-cheese crouton
Dinner
Classic Wellington with bordelaise sauce
Grilled lemon-rosemary mock chicken
Garlic mashed potatoes
Sautèed vegetable ragout
Seitan fingers with tamarind dipping sauce
Kids' meals: Truffled mac 'n' cheese
Wedding cake
Chocolate and lemon cakes with buttercream frosting

A (Green) Family Affair

Doh Driver & Dennis Buffaloe
June 23, 2007
Seattle, Wash.
Guests: 50
Honeymoon: Italy, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic

In the middle of a verdant Seattle park, cocooned in an intimate circle of friends and family and surrounded by the joyful music of a children's Marimba band, Doh and Dennis made their vows not only to each other, but also to Doh's eight-year-old son. The ceremony was made even more special in that it was presided by Doh's father, a former radio DJ. Keeping with the green theme, the entire bridal party wore low-impact, high-style attire from head to toe: the bride's dress was 100-percent bamboo, the groom and his best man wore high-tech hemp clothing and shoes, plus vegan belts, and the matron of honor wore a gorgeous dress procured from her local Goodwill. The tables were also dressed with earth-friendly accessories: The mother of-the-bride created bud vases that doubled as guest favors, and table decor was crafted from cast-off wood decorated with findings and buttons from Doh's grandmother's estate. The recycling was carried to the kids' table too, where the centerpiece was cleverly constructed using thrift-store toys, and Doh's stepfather, a woodworker, made a beautiful marled-wood bowl that served as the head-table centerpiece.

Hors d'oeuvres
Cruditès with canellini, black bean, and spicy artichoke dips
Twice-baked mini red and white potatoes
First course
Fresh fruit soup simmered in red and white wine
Dinner
Caesar salad
Tofu-squash ravioli in a cashew-cream sauce
Macaroni and "cheese"
Seitan and veggie skewers with plum sauce
Forbidden rice with slivered almonds and snap peas
Wedding cake
Vanilla and chocolate cakes with chocolate-cream filling and lavender icing

Soul Mates, Soul Food, Sole Stomping

Amanda Moeckel & Jon Christopher Callender
August 4, 2007
Worcester, Mass.
Guests: 200
Honeymoon: Mexico

Wedding highlights: Since the couple spends every weekend on the dance floor, they really wanted their wedding to rock. To that end, they booked a symphony hall as their venue, played a pipe-organ version of Aerosmith's "Dream On" in place of the bridal march, hired a famous rock groupie and author as their officiant, and used classic rock tunes throughout the ceremony. ("Pour Some Sugar on Me" played during the cake-cutting ritual.) To fuel the killer dance party, they flew in San Francisco DJ Richie Panic and served plenty of southern-inspired soul food. In addition to the three-hour, non-stop groove fest on the dance floor, Amanda and her mother performed a mother-daughter number, and the women from Amanda's hometown danced a modern piece that symbolizes the coming of age for women. Rock on!

Hors d'oeuvres
Sweet potato spread and plum tomato crostini with balsamic drizzle
Endive and apple haroseth salad
Fresh fruit skewers
Veggie brochettes with mushrooms, zucchini, and red bell pepper romesco
Dinner
Southern-inspired fried "chicken" with barbecue sauce
Seitan meatloaf with mushroom gravy
Collard greens and garlic mashed potatoes
Wedding cake
Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache frosting

DIY (Dream It Yourself) Wedding

Sharon Troy & Tim Moore
August 11, 2007
San Francisco, Calif.
Guests: 70
Honeymoon: Mendocino, Calif.

Wedding highlights: Sharon and Tim dreamed up a perfect DIY wedding full of creative and ethical projects. On a sandy stretch of the Presidio National Park, with the Golden Gate bridge behind them, Sharon and Tim planted a little redwood tree as part of their marriage ceremony, symbolizing their commitment to nurturing their joined lives in the state of California and to the environment. The bride wore her mother's wedding dress, while the groom wore second-hand attire, and the flowers were organic and locally grown. The DIY theme extended to the nuptial decorations, handmade by the bride and groom from reused art supplies. The music playlist was designed by the groom, and guests received wedding-mix CDs in exchange for donations to rebuild The Warming Hut, a cafè in the Presidio destroyed by fire that has since reopened.

Hors d'oeuvres
Heirloom tomato bruschetta
Yukon Gold croquettes with chive crème
Grilled summer-vegetable brochettes with herbs and lemon-basil oil
Dinner
Baby greens with candied walnuts, stone fruit, and balsamic vinegar
Exotic-mushroom phyllo roulade with smoked-paprika crème
Penne primavera with seasonal vegetables, shallots, and sage oil
Herb-roasted root vegetables
Artisan bread and dipping oil
Wedding cake
Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and buttercream

A Bite out of the Big, Organic Apple

Marisa Miller & David Wolfson
May 5, 2007
New York City, NY
Guests: 160
Honeymoon: Hong Kong, Cambodia, England, and Italy

Wedding highlights: When Marisa found out that the bridal shop where she fell in love with a flower-adorned wedding dress (reflecting her love of nature) was about to open a fur gallery, her inner activist was awoken. She penned an anti-fur manifesto and sent it to the store's CEO, bought the gown directly from the designer, and requested it be lined with cotton instead of silk. The couple's passion for compassion shined throughout the ceremony (conducted by both a rabbi and a vegetarian Unitarian Universalist minister), which incorporated a reading from the children's book The Velveteen Rabbit and a statement on the injustice of gays not being allowed to marry. Reception highlights included a Cinco De Mayo-themed cocktail hour, a full-blown dance party, and fair-trade chocolate favors.

Hors d'oeuvres
Fresh Middle-Eastern falafel with rich tahini sauce
Crisp vegetable samosas
Spring rolls with soy-ginger dipping sauce
Avocado and cucumber sushi with pickled ginger and wasabi
Toasted bruschetta with vine-ripened tomatoes and olive oil
Dinner
Refried black beans and tomato rice with guacamole
Sweet plantains and corn tortillas with pico de gallo
Grilled vegetables
Country salad of field greens with sliced pears
Spiced walnuts and haricot verts with Dijon vinaigrette
Couscous, chickpea, and sun-dried fruit salad
Vegetable Thai curry with steamed quinoa
Peppers stuffed with rice and vegetables
Pasta served with roasted-tomato sauce
Wedding cake
Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate, lemon, and vanilla icing

Intertwined Roots

Rebecca Collura & Ali Aslam
August 5, 2007
Lincoln, Mass.
Guests: 90
Honeymoon: US Virgin Islands

Wedding highlights: On an absolutely gorgeous day in the middle of a midsummer heat wave, Rebecca and Ali were married at an elegant Georgian mansion surrounded by woodlands and rolling lawns as far as the eye could see. The ceremony was a unique blend of cultures with special touches including a version of the Jewish Seven Blessings and the Hindu Saptapadi around a large tree. What meant the most to the bride was that so many of her close friends pitched in to make her special day even more amazing; the cruelty-free wedding ring designer, wedding singer, guitarist, and photographer were all close friends. Ali's father and brother even surprised the couple with an unexpected photo presentation, and the bride did her bit by putting together her own bouquet and flower arrangements.

Hors d'oeuvres
Crostini with eggplant caponata, white bean purè e, and kalamata olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade
Lemon-potato pancakes with gingered avocado crème
Stuffed grape leaves
Dinner
Mesclun greens with sliced nectarines, julienned jicama, and spicedpistachios with maplesherry vinaigrette
Roasted bell peppers stuffed with bulgar, fresh herbs, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and toasted pine-nut stuffing
Roasted-vegetable lasagna with vegan ricotta Broccoli rabe with white beans, sundried tomatoes, chili flakes, and garlic
Wedding cake
Fudgy chocolate cake with raspberry mousse and vanilla frosting

A Summit Celebration

Kimberly Nevitt & James Pizzirusso
June 2, 2007
Wintergreen, Va.
Guests: 135
Honeymoon: Kauai and Maui

Wedding highlights: At the outdoor ceremony overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, a friendly squirrel strolled down the aisle after Kimberly and watched the entire ceremony. Perhaps he came for the food, having heard how tirelessly the resort had worked to create the menu for the amazing vegan wedding meal. Even James' vegan-skeptical parents-Italians who actually snuck Parmesan cheese into the rehearsal dinner-were "blown away" by the menu, says Joseph, father of the groom. About the avocado tempura, Lyn, the mother of the groom, said, "I've never tasted anything like that in my life!" At one point in the evening, James and fellow school-spirited UT-Knoxville alumni shared the stage with the live band for a rousing rendition of "Rocky Top." In lieu of traditional favors, guests received giftwrapped, pink bracelets that represented the couple's donation to a breast cancer foundation in honor of the breast-cancer survivors, and in loving memory of those who have passed from both families.

Hors d'oeuvres Lemon risotto balls
Avocado tempura with tomato dipping sauce
Potato cakes with apple chutney
First course
Potato-leek soup
Green salad with avocado-lime vinaigrette
Dinner
Couscous-stuffed portabella mushrooms
Pistachio-crusted tofu over horseradish
Potatoes and wilted spinach
Wedding cake
Chocolate, vanilla-orange, and almond cakes with vanilla icing

Out of This World

Antonia Glenn & Scott Horstein
September 2, 2007
Crockett, Calif.
Guests: 135
Honeymoon: The California Coast

Wedding highlights: Lucky guests of the Glenn-Horstein wedding enjoyed a whole weekend of feasting that included an all-vegan barbeque at the bride's parents' house, a vegan rehearsal dinner at New World in Oakland, Japanese hors d'oeuvres and Indian cuisine at the wedding, and a vegan brunch at a Buddhist temple the morning after. In addition to the many meat-free menus, the couple strove for green details such as Scott's cotton suit and recycled tie, Antonia's dress sewn from vegan fibers, and her hair and make-up, which were styled using cruelty-free Aveda products. The intercultural wedding blended Jewish, Buddhist, and Scottish traditions. "While most of our extended families had never met, they bonded while dancing the Hora," said Antonia. "I was particularly delighted to see so many of my Japanese relatives joining the dance circle."

Hors d'oeuvres
Vegetable maki and tempura rolls
Dinner
Crispy Indian naan
Golden fried samosas and pakoras
Creamy spiced eggplant
Aromatic chickpea curry
Spiced spinach and potatoes
Fresh curried vegetables
Crisp green salad
Sweet and tangy mango chutney
Wedding cake
Carrot cake with "cream cheese" frosting, vanilla cake with raspberry frosting, coconut cake with coconut frosting, chocolate cake with raspberry frosting, and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

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