By Daniela Degrassi
This is the first Italian Vegan Wedding we feature on The Kind Bride, and I am particularly excited because I have personally stayed at the venue that Elisa and Matteo chose to celebrate their intimate celebration. But first things first.
Elisa and Matteo met in high school, got engaged but after 2 years together, they took different paths. After 10 years they reconnected and started dating again, although long distance. Matteo lived in Berlin and Elisa in Italy.
“We were not sure at the beginning of how the story would go between us, given the distance and our past together. After months of flying almost every weekend, we have decided to start a living together and Matteo moved back to Italy.” remembers Elisa. “Matteo is not vegan and when we met, neither was I. Indeed, I remember with sympathy that on our first date we ate hamburgers! In 2 years I went from a vegetarian to vegan diet and my husband has always supported me in my choice, and is as proud of the vegan choice for our wedding as I am.”
Furthermore, Elisa shares an important insight if you’re dating and considering marrying a non-vegan. “If in a couple one of the two decides to undertake this path it does not mean that there will be greater difficulties, absolutely not. The important thing is to find a life partner who always supports you, whatever choice you make, who makes you feel free and important. It is not essential to take the path together to make the relationship work. Matteo gladly agreed to have only vegan food at home and is very proud that I made this choice.”
“Our wedding was held at the Locanda degli Aromi. The first time we visited the place was two years ago. Even if the idea of marriage was still far away, as soon as dinner was over and we met the owner and chef Cinzia Re we had already decided that this would be the ideal place for us. What struck us about the location, in addition to Cinzia’s kindness, her cooking and the spectacular view of Florence was the atmosphere of the place. At Cinzia’s you immediately feel at ease, calm, serene.”
The ceremony was held in the front garden of the Locanda degli Aromi. If offers a spectacular view of Florence since the B&B is located in the hilly outskirts of the city. Elisa and Matteo’s florist, Il Fioraio di Stefania, set up a wooden frame decorated with flowers.
“I totally trusted them with their arrangements, I only asked them to respect the typical autumn flowers. The smartest and most economical choice is to choose from seasonal flowers, so that they are available locally and have a wide choice. Francesco did an incredible job, everyone paid us lots of compliments for the flowers and at the end of the evening everyone took them home.”
THE FOOD (and non-vegan guests reactions)
“Together with Cinzia we created the menu and she proved super available to satisfy our every request. Of all the people present at the wedding, only my brother and I were vegans. We wanted to find dishes that everyone would like without “scaring” those who have never eaten vegan before. With Cinzia’s precious help, we opted for traditional dishes and ingredients that everyone was familiar with. For appetisers she served finger food such as vegetable canapés. The first course was a delicious pumpkin lasagna with saffron and walnuts. For second course we enjoyed lentil fillet with vegetables. And no one forgets the fruit cream tart as dessert!”
“Our guests were all very curious about the food, I didn’t said much about what we were going to eat. The guests were very impressed by the dessert, not knowing vegan cuisine they probably expected a fruit salad as dessert! When Cinzia arrived with her cream tart everyone was amazed! Some of them went to Cinzia to ask for more information, like: How did she make the shortcrust pastry? But how is it possible that the shortcrust pastry goes together without the egg? So aren’t egg and butter essential ingredients for making a dessert?
They also asked many questions about the lasagna, since lactose intolerance is increasingly widespread and it was useful for some of them to see how there are vegan alternatives that can also be useful in their everyday life.
For many of our guests, I am the only vegan person they know. When we go to a restaurant together, since there are no vegan restaurants in my area, they often see me always choosing the same things from the menu, like pasta with tomato sauce, marinara pizza with vegetables, beans as an appetizer and if that’s available, fruit for dessert. Probably this contributed in their head to the thought that beingvegan equals to give up on food pleasures! I am very happy that for once they could see that a vegan choice absolutely doesn’t mean that.
I was very afraid of choosing a completely vegan menu, I understand the concerns that may be behind this choice. But I try to live my life making choices, as ethical as possible, and I absolutely could not have an omnivorous marriage, I would have felt too bad. My choices must respect my values.”
Elisa and Matteo chose to gift their guests with the jams of Le Ghiottonerie di Casa Lorena, a laboratory that creates catering and jams to support the autonomy and employment of women living in conditions of particular difficulty who have freed themselves from violence.
“The cause of Casa Lorena is very important to me. We wanted to gift our guests with solidarity favors so we could make a donation for a good cause while handing out a souvenir of our special day.
While the people at Casa Lorena are not vegan, they quickly found a perfect option for us. The favors consisted of jams mixing different flavors, according to the season. I chose: annurca apple and cinnamon, peaches and amaretti, oranges and ginger, apricots and almonds, strawberries and balsamic vinegar. With Fernanda, the lady who helped me, we designed everything down to the smallest detail. I was able to choose between different formats of boxes, ribbons, decorative flowers etc. Their service was excellent and they met my every need.”
THE BRIDE LOOK
“As I mentioned, the make-up artist was a friend of mine. A month before the wedding we bought the necessary make-up, taking great care to avoid waste and also taking advantage of the things we already had. I always try to be as careful as possible to zero waste, certainly weddings are the occasions in which a lot of things are wasted. We took advantage of what we already had and bought other products that I was sure to reuse in the future.
For my wedding, I first purchase a repurposed dress at a local shop, then bought a pair of powder-colored pumps online. For me it is important to be sure that everything I buy, in addition to being vegan, is also wearable several times, so I opted for this color. The Vegan Shoes brand I have been buying from for some time recently created a bridal line. They also offer a personalized service via whatsapp so you can ask all the questions you want and make it much easier to buy online.
A DREAM WEDDING
“I didn’t want a traditional wedding, I wanted only my dearest people with me and my friends to participate to make that day special with their talents. All of them thanked us for the trust placed in them and were happy to be part of our happiness.One of the reasons why we decided to plan an intimate wedding (we only had 30 guests), was that we really wanted our guests to actively participate in our wedding. My idea was to get them involved to make that day perfect for us. The celebrant was a friend of Matteo’s University days. My makeup artist was a dear friend of mine, making the pre-wedding preparations so meaningful and creating beautiful memories. Matteo’s best friend played the guitar as I walked down the aisle. The photographer is a friend of Matteo’s from school who saw us in our first moments together.”
“For me it was important that my wedding reflected as much as possible the choices I make every day, vegan but also zero waste. Another choice we made was not to have the rice tossed but to replace them with rose petals. I specifically asked if they were slightly old flowers that would be thrown away anyway and we used them for the launch. We didn’t want to waste rice as it is food and also very unpleasant to take out of the garden. What made the wedding unique was that our friends actively participated to make it special, it will be a very precious memory for them and for Matteo and I.”
And as for my experience at Locanda Degli Aromi, I wrote about my stay at Cinzia’s in Vegan Honeymoons: Destination Florence. Although I wasn’t on a honeymoon but on a girlfriends getaway, it did feel just dreamy!
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.