While I was planning my wedding, I prioritized a few things: my dress (of course!), my hair & makeup, and the food we were planning to serve. While there were several details to worry about beyond these three things (flowers! invites! music!), I couldn’t help but give extra attention to these elements. I’m a foodie and a beauty junkie—what can say?
Fortunately, when it came to planning the food, we caught a lucky break and heard about H & M Catering of Mount Holly, NC through the vendor who was coordinating our furniture rentals. One of the members of the catering team had been a vegan for about seven years, so he knew what he was doing. This fact combined with the company’s classy aesthetic and made them an easy and perfect fit for us.
Tips for Planning a Vegan Wedding Menu
Finding the perfect caterer:
Although this tip may be an obvious one, if you’re planning a vegan event and having it catered, it’s important to ask your caterer about vegan events/dishes they’ve prepared before. Even if the company isn’t strictly vegan (as ours wasn’t), there’s a chance that they’ve worked with special diets before.
Just as importantly, you want to ensure that your caterer knows how to make vegan food both interesting and palatable to a general audience. A friend told me a horror story about attending a vegan wedding: apparently, the caterer wasn’t very experienced with vegan food and referred to seitan as “that satan stuff.” The meal was barely edible. If possible, arrange a tasting to make sure you don’t find yourself in a similar situation.
Like I mentioned, we were quite fortunate when it came to catering. I sent H & M a list of food options and photos of food plating that inspired me. I also noted that I preferred whole foods with some raw elements.
From this, the caterers suggested a menu that we loved. Although we may have made a few tweaks, we left the original menu suggestions pretty much intact since they matched what were looking for in terms of the style of food we wanted to serve our guests.
Because we were expecting guests from different regions of the country with different food cultures and preferences, we didn’t want anything that may appear too exotic. Essentially, we wanted everyone to eat without trepidation. I think H & M struck the right balance by including several recognizable ingredient in each option. Each option had a little twist, though, which kept the menu interesting. The thoughtfulness put into the cooking and plating made the menu gourmet. (In my opinion, at least!)
What about the cake, tho!?
Some catering companies may handle wedding cakes as part of their package while others may not. We turned to omni/vegan baker Cloud 9 Confections in Charlotte, NC. We found the company after copious online research. The principal baker, Erica, had already perfected four vegan cake options (carrot cake, red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla). She also had at least two different options for frosting, depending on the texture you wanted.
My mom and I met with her for a tasting and decided on the chocolate option for the first two layers of the cake and carrot cake (my husband’s favorite) for the top layer. Erica suggested we add fresh raspberries to the chocolate section, and we didn’t protest.
I was beyond impressed with Erica’s creations. All four options were delicious. Like H & M Catering, Cloud 9 Confections had a lot of experience making vegan and special diet foods. It was such a comfort to know that she’d already developed and tested the recipes and wouldn’t have to come up with something completely new for us.
Because the style of the cake was just as important as the taste, we brought a few photos of pretty cakes to show Erica. We decided on a white-pink ombre frosting, roughly applied like spackle, and cascading fresh, edible flowers. We also made sure to coordinate the size of the cake based on our guest count. Finally, Erica offered to arrange the flowers on the cake herself, which, I’m sure, was our best option since neither my mom nor I have experience doing that!
A note on eating during the wedding:
It’s not uncommon to hear that if you’re a bride, you won’t have time to eat during your wedding. This is a very real possibility since photos and socializing can take priority over sitting down and enjoying your food. I had a chance to eat a little. One of our groomsmen snuck me a few appetizers while we were waiting for the bridal party to be introduced, and post dancing, I got to try a few things from the menu, but minutes later I was up and chatting with folks.
Ask your caterer to prepare you and your husband a to-go box for after the wedding—just in case this happens to you! Eventually, you will be hungry. Very hungry.
P.S. These tips can also be applied to the rehearsal dinner!
My in-laws planned a super fun, Louisiana/Cajun-themed rehearsal dinner. The menu was omni with some nice vegan options—like vegan jambalaya! The spicy spread was created by Chef Jack of The Round Bistro in Gastonia, NC. Chef Jack specializes in regional food from around the country and was eager to share his Cajun-inspired creations.
Your turn–share your vegan wedding menu / cake flavors on comments below!
More in vegan weddings: Planning Your Bridal Makeup
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Photos: Elizabeth Scott Photography of Huntersville, NC, Mary Hood Luttrell, Glenn Luttrell