Hello, new friends! I’m Rebecca: photographer, adventurer, vegan, and now (drum roll please), regular contributor to The Kind Bride!

As a photography professional, I spend most of my time during the summer at weddings. That means I’ve been lucky enough to see countless great ideas thanks to the endless creativity of couples, their families and their vendors. I’ve experienced all kinds of timelines and traditions, seating arrangements and serving styles, decorations and first dances. I hope Kind Brides will ask me any questions they have about weddings—don’t limit yourselves to photography-related queries!

I’ve been a wedding photographer since 2015, but only committed to my compassionate, vegan practice in October 2017. There was no dramatic shift that caused me to go vegan. Actually, a few months before, I had just made chicken for dinner and thought, “I don’t think I want to eat meat anymore after this.”

Things just sort of moved naturally from there. After a little research on going vegan, I discovered the enormous environmental impact of using animal products—not to mention the cruelty that industrial-scale farming inflicts on animals, people, and our planet. I cut out dairy, then eggs, then animal products altogether.

For me, going vegan required a huge amount of research. What kind of candy can I eat now? What kind of pasta? I was already experienced at reading food labels, but suddenly I had to recognize new ingredients and double-check things I never had before. And of course, once I realized it was more than just a diet, I started to research my clothing choices more carefully, too. I’m sure many of you have been practicing vegans longer than I have, so I’m excited to learn from your experiences!

I love that The Kind Bride, this wonderful space Daniela has created, will take the time- and labor-intensive research out of wedding planning. I can’t wait to watch this grow as a place to learn, connect with others, and simply meet with people who don’t need to be convinced that a vegan lifestyle is worth pursuing.

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Rebecca Gatto is a photographer, world traveler, and ethical vegan living in Upstate New York. She adores weddings and believes they are even better when they include compassion, environmental stewardship, and vegan cupcakes.