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.
- Across SoCal:
- Orange County:
- San Diego:
- Hearth & Olive Catering – vegan catering
- Naturally Niko – vegan catering
- Veganics – vegan catering
- Crossroads Kitchen – upscale vegan restaurant, very expensive catering
- Sage Bistro – vegan restaurant with catering options
- Suncafe – vegan, raw restaurant with catering options
- Kitchen Mouse – vegan restaurant with catering options
- Melrose Catering – offers a special vegan catering menu
- Heirloom LA – catering with vegan options
- Jennie Cooks & Plant Based Parties Catering Co – catering with vegan options
- Brown Paper LA – catering with vegan options
Next up- vegan appetizer & entree ideas. Any questions about catering in the meantime? Let me know in the comments!