By Daniela Degrassi
When I connected with Clare, she was very enthusiastic to share her love story with Cheryl on The Kind Bride. Although their vegan wedding had been already published on Veg News, she was thrilled to provide a few more wedding details; and give praise to her wedding suppliers. I was just really happy to hear how she loved working with some of the wedding professionals we have listed in our Washington DC vegan wedding directory. This DIY ‘Pride Themed’ wedding was filled with joy, colors and great energy!
Clare, how did you meet Cheryl?
We worked together at the same hospital but never met until I went out with our friend, Amy to the local LGBTQ+ bar. Amy also invited her housemate, Cheryl. We dance the night away and continued to spend time together after. We had a strong connection from the beginning, which continued to grow. A few months later, Cheryl had to leave for residency in Miami, FL. We continued our relationship long distance for 9 months, until Pumpkin (our vegan dog) and I drove across the country to be a family.
What made you become vegan?
Almost 6 years ago, I started protesting for the release of Lolita, at the Miami Seaquarium. She was captured over 50 years ago, and has been kept in the smallest tank in North America since. During my time protesting, I met other vegans. I was also working with a doctor who was vegan. I began learning more about the atrocities of the animal agriculture industry, and cut out everything but fish. I went to the Vegan Outreach table set up on South Beach, there was a video playing, which showed how each animal is slaughtered. There was a horrific scene of a fish having their skin ripped off, while it was alive. It was at that moment I made the connection between Lolita, the orca I was protesting for, and the fish I was consuming. I did the Compassion Over Killing week challenge, felt amazing, and have not looked back.
How did you decide to plan for a vegan wedding?
Compassion is a moral foundation we strive to maintain in all aspects of our lives. There was no question we would have a vegan wedding. We are lucky to live near Washington, DC, which has many vegan food options. It was very easy for us to find vegan businesses. Sticky Fingers Bakery has a great reputation, after winning Cupcake Wars, and they were so lovely to work with. When we learned about DC Vegan Catering, we set up a tasting at their shared kitchen. We had such a wonderful experience with Leah and Michael, and are so happy that their delicious vegan food could be such a big part of our day. I’ve used DC Vegan Catering several times for work events since!
Were your family and friends supportive?
Our local friends in the area helped with logistics on the day of the ceremony. Starting the music when we walked down the aisle, helped out of town guests find their way to the reception, and cleaned up!
Did you hire a wedding planner?
We planned it all ourselves. We sent the invites out via Facebook, and provided updates, travel tips and info electronically. No paper, stamps or cost needed. Also, couldn’t have done it without Excel spreadsheets to organize!
Where did you get married?
The ceremony was on a friends beautiful property in Maryland. We rented tables, chairs and a tent. Our mutual friend officiated the ceremony. Our parents walked us down the aisle. And our dog Pumpkin was the ring bearer. After the ceremony, we went to the DC Capital Pride parade. We had rented bleacher seating along the pride route, so all 100 of our family and friends could sit together.
Tell us more about DC Vegan Catering menu…
Their Beet Burger Sliders were an absolute hit! Their Cauliflower wings were delicious and their Green Curry was such a fun, flavorful and filling dish. Their Mai Thai Salad had the best dressing ever!
What did Sticky Fingers Bakery prepared for dessert?
We ordered a variety of cupcakes: Mint – everything you can want in a mint and chocolate cupcake. Light, fluffy and minty! Almond Fudge – a perfect flavor combo. Peanut Butter – can’t go wrong with peanut butter. Chocolate Vanilla Latte – as coffee lovers, this was a perfect! Light Strawberry Margarita – perfect summer cupcake!
Did you hand out wedding favors?
Cheryl’s sister in law, Mara owns a business called ILY By Mara She made us rainbow ILY (I Love You) temporary tattoos that everyone wore for the ceremony and the reception at the DC pride parade. We had 10 kids at the wedding, all of our nieces and nephews. They had favors of: Matching shirts that said “Love Wins”, crayons and a coloring book from the vegetarian resource group, and ILY tattoos.
Were your guests pleased, surprised by the food quality?
The majority of our guests were non-vegans. They were so impressed by the food, especially the beat burgers from DC Vegan Catering. They still talk about them, almost 3 years later!
Was your wedding all you wanted it to be?
Our wedding day was perfect in every aspect. We were surrounded by our friends and family, shared compassionate vegan food, and celebrated equality and love at Pride. Having a sustainable vegan wedding was very important to us. We had vegan food, deserts, and used compostable bamboo plates, compostable corn based utensils, recyclable cups and drinks.
Photos by Shawnee Custalow
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.