An Intro to Vegan Wedding Guide

Anna Delores Photography_Rachel _ David 06.09.18-413

Hi there – I’m Rachel, and I created this blog to help vegan brides & grooms (and everyone in between) navigate the wedding planning process. Organizing an entire wedding is overwhelming as it is, but the added element of veganizing the whole event can be even more stressful. I should know – my husband and I held a completely vegan wedding just a few weeks ago!

I plan to share with you the ins and outs of wedding planning, how to find the best vegan vendors, and give you tips and ideas to make your dream wedding a reality.

Before I get started, here’s some photos from our June 9th wedding held at Casa Romantica in San Clemente, CA. Amazing, right?! Big shout out to Rhianna and Gillian from Anna Delores Photography for these dreamy shots.

 

 

 

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Selecting a Caterer for Your Veg Wedding

For the vegan bride that loves food, selecting the right caterer can take a big chunk of time from your already hectic wedding planning schedule.

It was really important for me to find a caterer who could make plant-based food that would appeal to meat-eaters. We were looking for modern, gourmet food that was presented beautifully so that no one noticed any animal products were missing. But where do you even begin when it comes to finding a veg-friendly caterer for your big day? Start with this list:

  • Pick your venue first! You can save yourself a lot of time by figuring out where you’re getting married before who‘s going to cater it. Why? Many venues work exclusively with a handful of vendors, especially caterers. They typically don’t let outside vendors in because they have good working relationships with a few tried and true companies. This was the case with our venue.  I had my heart set on a company that had a lengthy list of amazing vegan wedding menus crafted by vegan celebrity chefs, but alas, we weren’t able to bring in any outside catering companies. Thankfully, there was a great caterer on our venue’s list that was able to craft a completely vegan menu.
  • Go with a vegan caterer, if possible. This one is pretty obvious. The ideal would always be to choose a vegan catering company when having a veg wedding – they know what they’re doing, there are more options to choose from, and they are inevitably much more eco-friendly than any other caterers. But vegan and vegetarian caterers are still few and far between in many regions. If your venue allows outside caterers, I’d suggest making a deep dive into potential vegan caterers by following the same plan laid out in my post about Finding the Perfect Vegan Wedding Cake.
  • Don’t just look at catering companies– see if any of your local vegan restaurants cater weddings and events.
  • Feel them out For non-veg caterers, be sure to ask them if they have done vegan weddings before to get a feel for how veg-friendly they are. Ask if they are comfortable cooking faux items like vegan cheese & meat. Get a sample vegan menu from them and discuss with your partner. Also, be sure to check their past reviews (on Yelp, Wedding Wire, and The Knot) to see if anyone mentioned they crafted any vegan dishes for past weddings – how’s the feedback on these dishes? Horrible or fantastic? Whether they are experienced or not, they should be more than willing to work with you on the vegan wedding menu of your dreams. If they seem apprehensive about making a fully vegan wedding menu, move on.
  • Be prepared – catering is one of the most expensive aspects of any wedding. If you want to reduce costs in this category, consider renting a vegan food truck or ordering catering from an affordable vegan restaurant with catering options like Veggie Grill or Native Foods (if your venue allows).
  • Don’t expect perfection. This advice is for any bride. Looking back, I didn’t get exactly what I wanted – from the food to other aspects of the wedding. Maybe it’s my type A personality, maybe it’s the event planner in me, but I was quick to notice when things went wrong. In retrospect, I realized that none of the little things mattered. Our food, on the whole, was fabulous, as was our entire wedding! We had an amazing time and made memories with our family and friends – the great food was just the cherry on top of our vegan wedding sundae.

Bonus for my SoCal brides!

Here’s a list I made up of potential caterers before we decided on our venue (my fatal mistake). Hopefully this can help someone…just not me haha.

  • Orange County:
    • 24 Carrots – the company we used. Large-scale catering company with custom vegan options
    • Seabirds Kitchen – vegan restaurant with catering options
    • Ahimsa Vegan Cafe – vegan restaurant with catering options

Next up- vegan appetizer & entree ideas. Any questions about catering in the meantime? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo

Rachel

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Finding the Perfect Vegan Wedding Cake

Photo Credit: Anna Delores Photography

As a self-pronounced sweets addict, I knew I had to make sure my wedding cake was amazing. Not just good for vegan standards, but objectively delicious. Some people may not realize that vegan cake can taste just as good (or better) than the traditional dairy and egg-laden cake, so it was my mission to prove just that.

This type of attitude definitely comes from my mom. Lucky for me, my mom is very supportive of my vegan lifestyle and she also happens to be the best cook I know. She loves veganizing recipes, resulting in homemade nut cheese ricotta, seitan sausage puffs, crispy peanut tofu…the list goes on and on. I’m pretty sure she’s the reason why I gained weight after going vegan 😛 But she also made me realize that vegan cake can be really, REALLY good. One of my all-time favorite desserts is her vegan bundt cake with caramel drizzle. Mmm.

So, on to the vegan wedding cake search and my ridiculously high standards (thanks, mom!). SoCal has lots of vegetarian, vegan, and vegan-friendly restaurants all over the place, but surprisingly, it was pretty difficult finding a bakery that would make a completely dairy and egg free cake for our wedding. The places I did find were a bit lackluster with a limited selection of vegan options – typically chocolate and red velvet flavors only – and the texture and/or taste was off. I was also surprised to find that the bakeries that offered vegan cake often times did not offer a plain vanilla cake. I asked one bakery why that is and they said that it’s one of the hardest flavors to get right without dairy in it. This sounded like a challenge to me.

Thankfully, we ended up finding Two Birds Bakery – a fully vegan bakery located in Orange County. Two Birds Bakery offers a wide selection of fun cupcake and cake flavors that exceeded not only my expectations but my mom’s as well! They totally would have made us vegan vanilla cake if we wanted it, but we ended up opting for their more interesting flavors. Our three-tier cake consisted of two separate flavors – Churro Donut and Cookies & Cream. The design was on the simpler side with a white horizontal frosting that gave the cake a more rustic feel, and our florist decorated it with beautiful peonies and roses. The cake ended up being delicious. A lot of our guests thought the Churro Donut flavor was carrot cake but it tasted and looked good so I didn’t care. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

We also had a selection of mini cupcakes, including Funfetti Oreo, Strawberry Birthday Cake, Boozy Apple Pie, and Ding Dongs (!!). David and I didn’t get a chance to try any of them the night of the wedding, but we heard rave reviews about them. It’s on my list to pick up some of these flavors the next time we’re close by to Two Birds’ shop.

Overall, I’m really happy with how our cake turned out and I owe that all to the research we did & the fact that we didn’t settle for less, despite having seemingly limited options.

Tips for finding the perfect vegan wedding cake:
  1. Do your homework. Yelp and Google are great for starters, but also look at previous VegNews Magazine wedding issues for leads as well as online vegan publications.
  2. Ask your caterer. If they don’t do wedding cakes, they might have a recommendation.
  3. Try Whole Foods. They have surprisingly good vegan cake. I’m not sure if it’s only available in certain regions, but every Whole Foods I’ve been to in Southern California has had vegan cake options. Their cookies & cream cake is bomb.
  4. See if a local vegan restaurant can make the cake. Even if it isn’t on the menu, they may take special orders.
  5. Search for vegan personal chefs in your area. Again, this might not be their area of expertise but they might know how to make a great wedding cake.
  6. If you’re on the fence about a bakery, it’s okay to say no and keep searching. You CAN find the vegan wedding cake of your dreams!

Do you have any suggestions or tips for finding a vegan wedding cake? Feel free to comment below!