By Daniela Degrassi
I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this week than by spreading love vibes through a real vegan wedding! Isabel and Brian describe themselves as ‘reducetarians’ or as plant-forward as possible. “Being animal lovers and understanding the current state of the planet, eating as many plant-based meals as possible is our way of decreasing animal suffering and helping make the planet more sustainable” says Isabel.
Their Fall East Coast wedding was an incredibly magical day. Isabel remembers: “We really lucked out with the weather. It rained the entire week leading up to the wedding and then there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for our day! We could not have picked a better week with the fall foliage, the colors were out of this world!”
As a bi-costal wedding planner at Isabel Kate (California and New England based), Isabel designed and planned her own wedding but brought in Emily Monus Events as the coordinator, so she could fully enjoy her day and not worry about every detail to make the wedding perfect. But before diving in all the planning specifics, let’s hear how love-struck today’s protagonists.
Isabel, how did you meet Brian?
Brian and I met on OkCupid just as online dating was starting to be cool. He reached out to me and we met up in Bryant Park in NYC. It was about 90 degrees that day and he had a piping hot coffee waiting for me, which I thought was a very strange choice for a hot, humid day. Being a young girl in a big city, I also assumed it might be poisoned, so I pretended to drink it throughout our date and threw it away after we parted ways. While the coffee wasn’t the best opening, things obviously worked out =)
How did you decide to plan for a vegan wedding?
We knew from the beginning that we wanted a vegan wedding. As a wedding planner, I see so much of the waste that comes with weddings and try as hard as possible to educate my clients about sustainable options for their food and décor. Given how many people would be partaking in multiple meals throughout the weekend, we knew we wanted to lessen our impact as much as possible. Plus, a lot of our family and friends don’t know much about vegan food so we liked the challenge of illustrating to them how good vegan food can be. We also tried to keep décor to a minimum to minimize waste in those areas as well. For example, we opted for reusable flowers and renting signage so those items didn’t go to waste after the wedding was over.
Were your family/friends supportive?
Our friends were pretty supportive while our families were a little nervous about what they could eat. But we convinced them it would be delicious!
What were the major obstacles in planning your wedding?
We really wanted to wow guests with the food and the venue, The Inn at Mystic, hadn’t done a vegan wedding before. They had done vegetarian menus before, but vegan was a whole new ballgame. However, they were extremely accommodating and did a fantastic job. With the menu, we really wanted to ensure the food was accessible and as natural as possible. Where we could get away with inherently vegan items that were familiar to people, like chips, salsa and guacamole as a cocktail hour appetizer, we went that route.
What did you, Brian and your wedding party wear?
Both Brian and I wanted a really casual and comfortable vibe. Similar to the clients I like to work with in my business, I really wanted to focus on the experience and ensuring guests had a great time. For that reason, I wanted a really easygoing and comfortable wedding dress. I wanted something that would move and flow easily but still elegant. I chose David’s Bridal – Galina Signature. Being an absolutely not a heels person I was really excited when I found Keds + Kate Spade sneakers.
Brian wore a cobalt blue slim fit suits by Friar Tux, his groomsmen picked the same style in light grey
My bridesmaids dressed David’s Bridal (varying styles in Marine)
Tell us more about your wedding venue…
Brian surprised me with a proposal while we were vacationing in Mystic, CT for the weekend. I absolutely love being on the water (walking next to it, swimming in it, on a boat, etc.). We were up there in March of 2018 and it was freezing! Brian pulled me out onto a dock right on the Mystic River and started professing his love for me. I was convinced he didn’t have the ring with him for the weekend and being extremely cold, I kept trying to get him to move this unexpected speech into a coffee shop. Little did I know, his speech was leading up to the proposal. So when it came time for us to decide on a venue, we both knew Mystic would make for an amazing setting. We wanted to spend more time with our guests than just a single evening. Having so many friends and family on the east coast, Mystic made for a perfect weekend getaway for many of our guests. The venue worked out perfect as it provided a comfortable and casual vibe for our wedding and the venue even overlooks the river where Brian proposed.
The Inn at Mystic also provided the food and drinks with their in-house catering. Cocktail hour included a table with chips, guacamole, salsa, hummus, veggies, and pita and another table with veggie sushi.
The veggie sushi was gobbled up so quickly Brian and I never got to try it! Passed appetizers included buffalo cauliflower, Beyond Meat burger sliders, and veggie flatbread.
Dinner included a starter spinach, walnut, apple, beet, and dried cranberry salad with a raspberry vinaigrette and main dishes were a choice of eggplant parmesan or gnocchi with tomato sauce.
For our cocktails, we named them after our two dogs who we unfortunately couldn’t bring to the wedding. We had The Tobey, a spicy watermelon margarita, and The Cooper, a Moscow mule.
Who made your wedding cake/desserts?
We found this incredible bakery, A Little Imagination Cakes that made incredible vegan cupcakes for us. Hope was so incredible, she actually mailed us cupcakes so we could taste them.
For the cake, initially we were just going to do a small cutting cake. Neither of us are huge on cake and we both feel like the wedding cake doesn’t get eaten much at weddings. However, I always knew Brian’s dream was to have a full out red and black Corpse Bride/Sweeney Todd themed wedding. While I love him, I wasn’t totally down for a red and black wedding. But, I wanted to ensure that he felt like he had a part in planning the wedding. So I let him think that he could find Corpse Bride cake toppers for the cutting cake. Meanwhile, Hope and I were working on a custom Corpse Bride cake to surprise Brian with. Before the ceremony, I took him by the dessert table to surprise him and he bawled. It was amazing!
Were your guests pleased/surprised by the food quality?
Yes! So we had a welcome reception Friday night with a vegan lasagna and a veggie taco station. Many of the guests didn’t even realize the meal on Friday was vegan! For the wedding itself, the cocktail hour food flew off the platters so quickly, Brian and I missed half of it. Brian’s parents were most nervous about the food not being familiar with vegan cuisine and they loved it! His mom thought the eggplant parmesan was amazing.
Was your wedding all you wanted it to be?
Our wedding was absolutely incredible. The most important thing to us about the wedding was spending time with loved ones who wanted to share in our celebration.
Photography: Amma Rhea Photo
Wedding rings: Brilliant Earth
DJ/Lighting: Dawson Entertainment
Florals: Something Borrowed Blooms
Signage: TS Calligraphy
Hair and Make Up: Five Zero Mane
An incurable enthusiast and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California. Currently splitting her time between SF Bay Area and her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.