By Daniela Degrassi
Mackenzie and Matt met while working at Whole Foods in Denver, Colorado in 2012 (she’s from Massachusetts, he’s from Iowa). They moved to Charlottesville 3 years later, so Kenzie could start a career as a veterinary technician. Last Spring they celebrated their love with an intimate ceremony and reception in their new home town, surrounded by their loved ones. While consolidating their relationship throughout the years, they embarked through a lifestyle shift towards veganism, and Kenzie was more than happy to share all their vegan wedding planning details in today’s feature.
Kenzie, what made you become vegan?
While Matt went to culinary school and I worked with cheese for over ten years, we are both passionate about food and enjoyed cooking and trying new things. Then, I watched Vegucated in January 2014 and have not eaten meat since. In January 2017 I was reminded of the unnecessary cruelties of the dairy and egg industries (via @boochaces, thank you) and have been vegan since then. It made no sense to me to be working to save animals lives every day and contributing to other animals suffering. Matt has been vegetarian since July 2017 and eats a large amount of vegan food.
Was planning a vegan wedding an easy decision?
There was no question about having a vegan wedding or not. I was not going to support animal cruelty on my special day or ever. Most of the wedding details were kept a surprise from guests. Even my mother had no idea what I would be wearing.
We did not have a wedding planner. I planned all of it myself. This was made manageable by having a micro wedding. We had a total of 19 people including us. This was for both budget and stress purposes. We just wanted to get married. The few things that were very important to us were: delicious food, nice pictures to have forever, having close family with us and of course or dogs. I highly recommend this! We were able to spend time with everyone.
We also opted not to have a wedding party. It made things much simpler. Everyone could just enjoy themselves. Our Invitations were from Paperless Post and it made everything simple. It was all in one spot. Ended up costing us nothing because they give you a certain amount free for signing up and I only needed 10 invites!
Did you encounter any major obstacles while planning the wedding?
The most frustrating obstacle was getting restaurants/caterers to answer my emails. I’m not sure if it was the vegan menu request or the small number of guests we were hosting, but many never answered. I had one restaurant reply that said they would be open doing a vegan menu and asked what I wanted. I gave them a list of ideas based on their everyday menu (ex: BBQ jackfruit sliders in lieu of BBQ pork sliders) but I never heard back from them. Another did offer vegan options but there were generic and limited. Luckily, after some more searching, we found our match.
Let’s talk fashion! What did you wear?
I found my dress while searching for something different at Altar’d State (an online shop that’s committed to give back to a number of causes and programs). It was a blush pink lace and chiffon backless dress and only costed $149. I wore faux leather boots from DSW and a faux leather jacket from Belk. I got my make up done by Amreen at Charlottesville Skin and Lash
Matt got his Calvin Klein suit from Amazon and his tie from Kohl’s. His boutonniere and my bouquet were from Hedge Fine Blooms
Also, my engagement ring was custom designed by us from Staghead Designs They have beautiful unique rings at reasonable prices. Ring is white gold with Onyx and tiny diamond. Band is white gold. I also wore earrings from Kendra Scott.
What location did you choose for your celebrations?
We really wanted to have our dogs as part of our special day but we obviously couldn’t have them in the restaurant. We decided to do a First Look at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park with them. I made them some flower collars with faux flowers and ribbon. I think this was one of our favorite parts of the day. It was freezing and windy but the lighting was perfect. Our photographer suggested we got one more spot on our way out of the park with a valley overlook. That became the best picture of the day! I found our photographer, Esther Kirilyuk through Instagram. Loved her style. She was perfect, did exactly what we asked, had great ideas and vision, had amazing energy despite being 8 months pregnant! I highly recommend her. She works out of Harrisonburg, Virginia but will travel.
The Ceremony was held in front of City Hall in Charlottesville Va. With Captain William Marshall as the officiant. He was perfect, everyone loved him. The Ceremony was short and sweet just how we wanted.
We had the reception at C&O Restaurant. Their normal menu was meat heavy but they did offer catering and had amazing reviews. I sent an email and heard from Dean almost immediately. He wrote up a unique and delicious sounding menu at $40 a person for family style. After visiting with Dean and getting a view of the space we booked it!
The guests are surprised and amazed by all the food. We were too. I trusted Dean that the food would be good but it was amazing. I hadn’t had vegan food that good in Virginia. People were trying the rank which was the best dish and kept going back for 2nds and 3rds to decide. The day afterward people kept telling us how much they loved food, and the entire day, but especially the food. Our menu included:
Manakintowe Farms Mesclun Salad
spiced pecans, albemarle apples, sherry-maple vinaigrette
Family Style Dinner:
Celery Root Tagliatelle
tomato confit, olive tapenade, artichokes, basil pesto
Russet Potato Crusted Avocado tamarind ginger relish
Maple Glazed Baby Root Vegetables
carrot, parsnips, pearl onion, butternut squash, thyme
Grilled Tofu and Wild Mushrooms in Crisp Pastry
Supremes of Citrus Fruit, Ripe Berries, lime zest, local honey
Who made your wedding cake?
We knew we would have Moon Maiden’s Delights make our cake. We have been going to see Sidney at the Charlottesville city market for a couple years. Everything she makes is vegan and gluten free and DELICIOUS. We chose a Carob cake with coffee frosting as our main cake and offered chocolate hazelnut cupcakes with chocolate ganache and almond poppyseed cupcakes with citrus frosting as alternatives and favors. All of Sidney’s creations are decorated with edible flowers and look as amazing as they taste. We highly recommend her!
Did you give out any wedding favors?
We made welcome bags for guests as everyone was traveling from out of state to join us. We put together a few things that were special to us:
– Virginia dish towel as the “bag” – I wanted something that was reusable from The Va Shop
– Cans of Crosé wine from King Family Vineyards our favorite wine from one of our favorite vineyards. Plus the cans are pink which is adorable.
– Tiny ponies, just for fun since I work with horses
– “Virginia is for Lovers” pens also from The Va Shop… We had to have it in there somewhere, LOL!
– A jar of homemade pickles by Matt from our garden
– A postcard from Rock Paper Scissors with a cute map of Charlottesville on it.
Kenzie, was your wedding all you wanted to be?
Our wedding was perfect. It was exactly what we wanted. Great people, delicious food, perfect weather, pictures to cherish forever. Would not have changed a thing. We’re so grateful to our photographer.
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.