By Daniela Degrassi
Time to share another real vegan wedding! This International couple celebrated their love in two different continents, one in the United States, and one in the romantic settings of an English garden which we are happy to share with you today. Before we dive in the planning details, let’s get to know Grace and Marc, our compassionate bride and groom.
Grace, how did you meet Marc?
In 2016 I quit my job in London to travel solo around the U.S. for 3 months. I spent 3 days in New Orleans and went to a local meetup at a vegan restaurant and that’s where I met Marc! It wasn’t really a love-at-first-sight situation, as I was actually just going around the table asking everyone if they wanted to go see some live jazz with me that night, and he was the first person I got to who said yes! However, after a long night of amazing conversation, I knew it was going to be hard to say goodbye. Many months, transatlantic trips, and long-distance heartaches later, I finally moved to New Orleans to live with him!
What made you become vegan?
I became vegan 4 years ago when I stayed up late one night browsing the internet and I learned where my food came from. I’ve never looked back! Marc went vegan 7 years ago when he signed up for the Peace Advocacy Network‘s 30-day Vegan Pledge program, and he decided to stay vegan once the 30 days ended. In fact, he loved the program so much that he and I set up the New Orleans chapter, and we have now run the program 3 years in a row together!
How did you decide to plan for a vegan wedding?
We wanted our wedding to reflect our values, so the most important thing for us was the vegan food! No one was surprised, and probably about 1/3 of our guests were other vegetarians/vegans who were excited to be able to eat all the food at a wedding. We enjoyed the challenge of also trying to be as low-waste and environmentally friendly as possible!
Were your family/friends supportive? If so, how? Did they help?
They were amazing! It was definitely a labour of love, with all family members pitching in: my mum Penny handmade my wedding dress, my auntie Sue and cousin Isabel designed and baked our wedding cake, my sister Kate made a vegan sweets table and a cards/gifts box, and my brother Oliver did the wine and food tastings and he was also our officiant! Although we were set on a vegan menu, we wanted our family members to feel excited about the food, so during our trip home to Bristol at Christmastime we got our family members to vote for their favorite menu options for our buffet and food truck. It was a surprisingly fun family activity; we ended up hysterically laughing as we tried to decipher what ‘muhamara’, ‘caponata’ and ‘romesco sauce’ are! This was a fun way to make sure there was (a vegan option) to satisfy even the meatiest meat lover in the family, and that everyone felt included (and that there were no grumbles on the day!)
At the same time as we were planning our U.K. wedding pictured here, Marc’s family was also helping us plan a similar vegan wedding in Philadelphia! We are so lucky that his parents, Larry and Susan, are also excessively generous and helped us to create a perfect vegan wedding in the U.S. as well!
Did you have a wedding planner help out?
Yes, I was hesitant at first to get a planner, but I’m so glad we did! As soon as we had our first skype call with our planner Carolyn Louise. I felt a lot more relaxed knowing someone else was keeping track of everything. She totally understood our vision and she suggested some interesting ideas, including renting trees for inside the venue from Wild Tree Services, which added to the atmosphere against the drapes we rented from Transform My Venue. She also suggested our amazing band, The Scarletons who kept the party lively with their amazing vocals and matching sequined jackets! On the day, Carolyn helped us keep things on track and focus on being present with our family and friends.
What did you wear?
My mum, Penny Thompson, made my wedding dress! I always knew I didn’t want a white dress, but I would have been completely lost without her input and sewing genius! I only visited the U.K. once before the wedding, so we went to John Lewis and picked out the fabric and lace, as well as measuring me so she could adjust her mannequin to be Grace-sized! We were able to do one dress fitting when she visited New Orleans in the spring, but we didn’t have a sewing machine so she just pinned it and brought it back home with her, meaning that I didn’t actually try on the finished dress until 3 days before the wedding! There was a BIG sigh of relief when it fit perfectly!
Did you have a vegan hairstylist/make up artist?
Naomi with Bombshell Makeup our makeup and Laura from South West Bridal Hair & Makeup was our hairstylist. They both did an amazing job on the day, particularly with a very natural makeup look as I rarely wear any makeup and wanted to still feel like myself!
What did your bridesmaids wear?
I just told them that the color scheme was blues and greens, and everyone wore whatever they liked
What did your groom wear?
Marc wore a 100% cotton Bar III suit from Macy’s that he already had. We usually buy most of our clothes from charity shops, so it seemed fitting that he wore a suit he already had and loved.
Where did you get married?
We had our ceremony and reception at Henbury Village Hall which has a beautiful garden for the ceremony and felt spacious for 45 people. It’s slightly outside of the city, so it was a peaceful and lovely location!
Who provided the food and drinks?
Two Trees Catering provided the canapés and buffet meal which we were delighted with. In the evening, we hired a small bus to take everyone to my mum’s house in Clifton, and Spotless Leopard served dinner out of their food truck at the front of my mum’s house from 9-11pm. This was a great choice as we didn’t have to set up or clean up any food inside the house, and people could choose when they wanted to eat. Everyone loved the burger and the BBQ Jackfruit wrap in particular! We bought all our own alcohol from Majestic Wines
Canapés (Two Trees)
- Crostini with broad bean, pea and mint
- Griddled courgette with cashew cheese and roast cherry tomato
- Creamy spinach tartlet
- Mushroom and tarragon vegan sausage rolls
- Aubergine and cannellini bean rolls
- pumpkin and walnut tarts
Buffet (Two Trees)
- Pea and broad bean risotto
- Roast cauliflower, chickpea and tahini salad,
- Puy lentil, roast onion and parsley salad
- Green olive and almond tapenade
- Pea and mint hummus
- Olives and pickles
Late night snack from Spotless Leopard Food truck
– lentil, bean and mixed seed burger in a bun with salad and sauces
– chili non carne with brown rice, avocado and corn chips
– BBQ pulled jackfruit in a wrap with chili jam, coleslaw and sauerkraut (or we could do the jackfruit in tacos with coleslaw and guacamole)
Who made your wedding cake/desserts?
My auntie and cousin Isabel made our gorgeous cake, and Marc’s mum Susan found the adorable knitted wedding cake topper by Knitted Items.
What did you use as wedding favors?
Instead of giving out favors, we wrote a little note for each guest. We put them in tiny envelopes (made from recycled security envelopes) and used them as place settings. We loved writing the little messages beforehand, and there were a few tears as people sat down and opened them!
Were your guests pleased/surprised by the food quality?
People LOVED the canapes and lasagna from Two Trees, and they also particularly enjoyed the jackfruit wrap from Spotless Leopard’s food truck. The truck was there for several hours, so it was fun to see my non-vegan friends spreading the word to other guests about how good the jackfruit wrap was, and explaining what jackfruit is!
Was your wedding all you wanted it to be? Please share what it meant to have a vegan wedding.
Absolutely! Neither of us particularly grew up dreaming about our future wedding, partly because some of the traditional choices aren’t really things we’re into, so we didn’t really think it was for us. Once we realized how we could adapt some of the traditions and make them our own, we felt way more comfortable and started really enjoying the planning! Sitting at the table eating delicious vegan food, surrounded by all our close friends who were doing the same, was such a meaningful way to start our married life. I also loved the homemade touches like wearing the beautiful dress my mum made and getting to eat the delicious cake that my aunt and cousin worked so hard on!
Anything I missed you’d like to share?
We also tried to find low-waste, environmentally friendly (and budget-friendly) table decorations as an alternative to cut flowers and came up with a mixture of bowls, vases, teacups, and teapots. We filled them with potted herbs, tea-lights and little oranges. Most of the teacups and teapots were ones that my mum and auntie already had, and the others we bought from local charity shops and gave them back afterwards! We were also able to give away or eat the fruit and herbs after the wedding, which was a nice touch. We felt comfortable knowing that we had a beautiful room to celebrate in, and that we didn’t need to throw much away at the end, and that we had barely purchased anything new to use on the day.
Photos by Tom Harper Weddings
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.