Congratulations! If you’ve recently gotten engaged, you’re in good company: Almost 70% of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Here is your guide to planning a vegan wedding.
1. Pick the date: the first step to planning any wedding–vegan or non vegan–is to pick the date. Choose a range of dates (a few weekends) around the time of year that appeals to you–and fits your budget. Here are some things to consider: The most popular month to get married is June, the month named after the Roman goddess of marriage and families, Juno. Balmy early summer weather will make you and your guests comfortable, and will work well for an outdoor wedding–but many venues will also charge far more for the high season.
Ever heard of “Get married in May / Rue the day”? Still, May offers beautiful and mild weather (similar to June) at a slight discount. April can provide a stunning–and free–background of flowers in bloom, and early October is the time for foliage-loving couples. You can also save thousands of dollars by choosing Thursday or Friday over Saturday or Sunday.
2. Pick the venue: The setting of your wedding will be the most important factor in its style, mood, and experience. Do you envision an outdoor ceremony in a sun-dappled grove? Do you and your groom love the beach or the mountains, or prefer the glamor of the city? Do you want the reception to take place near the ceremony, or don’t mind if they are separate?
Reception venue is by far the most expensive cost in your wedding budget. An average American wedding costs around $26,000 and you can budget about half of that for the venue. To save money, consider affordable or free options like your parish church or your family’s backyard.
3. Read up on what a vegan wedding entails before deciding what’s right for you and your fiance. Are you both vegan? How would your families and guests feel about a partial, or full vegan menu? It’s possible to be a gracious hostess while sticking to your vegan philosophy. After all, it is you and your groom’s day, and anyone who complains over abstaining from non vegan food for one meal is probably not worth inviting (or at the least, placating). A good place to get vegan/repurposed wedding ideas are sites like Pinterest, Vegan Weddings HQ, and of course, Etsy.
Having said that, your wedding is not the time to proselytize, either. Make the vegan dinner a natural part of your wedding, and not an opportunity to educate your guests on your lifestyle. Reception should feel like a celebration, not a seminar–so let the beautifully prepared food speak for themselves, and put the focus on the joy of the occasion.
4. You should plan on ordering your dress about 8-9 months before your big day. There are tons of great options for ethical vegan brides who would like to make a stylish–and vegan-friendly–statement with their wedding gown.
Click here for all of our picks for organic cotton dresses.
Another great option is dresses made from vintage and reclaimed fabrics. These are a great option for sustainability-minded brides who are looking for something truly unique. Click here for all of our picks.
5. Attend a local wedding show. These events are a great place to look for dresses, stationery, accessories, and caterers, especially if you are looking for something more unique or eco-friendly.
6. Finalize a guest list and send the Save the Dates 6 months before the wedding.
7. Book the officiant, rehearsal dinner venue, hotel (if destination), caterer, DJ, florist, hair and makeup artist. Besides local wedding shows, vegan fairs–like Brooklyn’s Vegan Shop-Up–are a great way to meet vegan caterers and bakers, who often might not have a storefront.
8. Choose your wedding party outfit at least 3 months before the wedding. Pick a style that complements your wedding dress, by echoing the neckline, silhouette, or fabric texture. If your bridesmaids have different body types, a great option is to let them pick slightly different styles in the same color family.
9. 10 weeks before the big day, send out your wedding invitations. Nowadays, people often email their RSVPs before the official invitation is sent out, but it’s still a nice way to formally announce your big day–and get the final count for your venue and caterer. Including a menu option in your RSVP card will send out a subtle message that you’re having a vegan wedding.
10. Take care of the final details: Decorations for the tables, wedding favors, rehearsal dinner dress, accessories, gifts for the officiant and the wedding party, alcoholic beverages (if not handled by the caterer), your parents’ outfits, final dress fitting, etc.
Get a hair trim at least a month before the wedding. At least 1 week before the wedding, get a hair and makeup trial.
The day before the wedding, get a mani and pedi with your wedding party. Now all you have left to do is enjoy your day!
Photo: Matthew Miller Photography; Hayley Anne Photography; Peaceful Dumpling; Minted.com; elizaboo photography; alixannloosle photography