By Kirsty Harman
Congratulations on beginning the wedding planning process, you are in for a real treat! I’ve had the pleasure of being a Wedding Coordinator for five years now, and I’ve been vegan even longer. I absolutely love the buzz and excitement that surrounds wedding planning – it is your opportunity to express yourselves and your relationship, as well as celebrate your love for one another. One piece of advice that I would give to you as you go on this fun planning adventure, is to know how to manage your guests – both emotionally and logistically. This doesn’t come naturally to everybody, which is why I am here to help!
It is quite usual for you to feel a pressure to have to impress your guests and ensure that they enjoy the day. Don’t get me wrong, you want everyone to have a lovely day and remember your wedding for all the right reasons; but there is only so much that you can do to please others, and ultimately the day is about the two of you. I have found that this pressure can feel even greater for vegan couples who are planning a vegan wedding with non-vegan guests. As vegans, I’m sure we have all heard some of the classics such as ‘what do you eat then, grass?’ And there is a chance those comments have come from family members, and even friends, who are on your guest list. How do you manage the expectations and reactions of those guests?
My advice would be not to specifically say that your wedding catering is going to be vegan. The people that know you best will probably assume it will all be vegan anyway, but the more distant people may not – and what they don’t know won’t hurt them! Think of this as an opportunity to prove that vegan food does not mean missing out on delicious meals, that plant based catering can be full of flavor and not just a plate of ‘grass’. I suggest that you do not send the menu out to guests in advance and that you do not offer them a choice option to pre-order from. On the big day itself, simply have a stunning buffet spread to allow for choice, or a plated meal which will be served to everybody. (I tend to recommend this for all weddings to be honest, not just vegan weddings. You tend to find that if people are offered a choice in advance, people get very fussy and you end up with so many different requests for variations on the dishes. Keep it simple!) So rather than sending the menu out with your invitations, simply ask that people let you know of any dietary requirements when they RSVP. You can then ensure that you cater accordingly for any allergies with alternative dishes if required, but you aren’t opening up a discussion about the food.
You will generally find that once the food is put down in front of them on the day, your guests will eat and enjoy. Even if anyone does have an issue with the lack of meat in their meal, they are unlikely to actually say anything to you about it on your wedding day. It is more likely that any jokes or questioning will be done in advance, if they know vegan food will be served. One reaction I’ve heard is ‘we give you vegan food when you come to us for dinner, so you should provide us with meat at your wedding.’ To this I would explain that veganism isn’t just about what you personally eat, but what you fund as a consumer too, which is why you will not be putting your hard earned money towards meat.
I am sure that for the most part, your friends and family will be understanding of your choice to avoid animal products on your wedding day, but you do often get the odd one who isn’t. For example, I heard from one couple that a guest threatened to bring McDonalds meals to the wedding to dish out, if they did not serve meat. My simple and honest advice to dealing with guests who are just rude and disrespectful, is to uninvite them. It is your day, your celebration, and you do not have to tolerate negative attitudes towards your choices. At the end of the day, the people that love and respect you will be at your wedding no matter what, and you don’t need anyone else there. Surround yourself with people who love you, that is a key thing in life!
When it comes to managing the guest logistics there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is with regards to the table plan. If you have got any guests who you suspect may try to make comment on the catering, then I would try to sit them on a table of people who you know won’t chime in. You tend to find that if they are around people who don’t agree with them, they’ll keep their thoughts to themselves. There are some great resources online to guide you on how to create a clear table plan, or if you’re lucky enough to have booked a wedding planner liker me, then we will take care of that for you – one less thing for your to think about. The other thing is to ensure that you are taking on board other peoples dietary requirements and making sure that they are catered for to a high standard. How often do you go out for food as a vegan and end up with a salad, followed by fruit salad? It is a similar experience for other dietaries, such as being gluten free. Your guests will truly appreciate you catering for them with something exciting, so make sure that you keep track of your guests dietaries as they RSVP. Again, if you have a wedding planner then they will take care of this for you, or you can create your own spreadsheet where you can log all of the information.
I hope that I have today helped in offering you some guidance on how to navigate the vegan wedding planning journey. Remember to enjoy your day and celebrate in style!
‘I have worked in weddings since the age of 20 and always knew that this was the industry I wanted to work in. Helping to give couples the perfect wedding day in celebration of their genuine love for one another is something that just brings me so much joy. My expertise is very much in meticulous attention to detail, which is absolutely vital when it comes to wedding planning. My approach is to create a real relationship between myself and every couple that I work with. We will be going through the process together, so it is essential that we really get to know one another and trust that we are working on the same vision. My own personal beliefs and view of the world have also shaped the ethos which I take into my wedding planning. I am conscious of my impact on this planet in various ways, including following a vegan lifestyle, meaning that Coordinated by Kirsty is a certified Vegan Founded business.’