Chicken or steak – traditionally, these are your only two options at weddings. But those limitations have broken within the last few years thanks to the popularization of plant-based food.
There are so many plant-based options out there for weddings, and numerous resources that will help your day be special and good for the environment at the same time.
What does plant-based mean?
Harvard Health defines plant based as a diet that focuses on primarily eating foods that come from plants. It lists fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans as being the main sources of food in a plant-based diet.
However, plant-based does not necessarily just mean food.
Laura Ross, the owner of Cleveland Vegan, said that some people eat a vegan diet, but they do not live a plant-based lifestyle which includes not wearing clothes or using products that come from or are tested on animals.
Similarly, some people choose to just have plant-based food at the wedding while others choose to have an entire plant-based wedding.
What does a plant-based wedding look like?
Plant-based weddings can look different for everyone.
Alzbeta Slaker, a graphic designer at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and her husband have both been vegan since 2017. They decided to have a plant-based wedding because they wanted to represent their values on their special day.
“We decided to have plant-based wedding just because of our backgrounds,” Slaker said. While her husband had previously been vegetarian since 2009, Slaker adopted the vegan lifestyle due to the development of a dairy-allergy.
Thankfully, there are several resources out there for people like Slaker looking to have a plant-based wedding.
Daniela Degrassi is the creator of The Kind Bride, a blog community that aims to support brides who wish to have a plant-based wedding. Though the website includes vendors from all over the world, Degrassi has teamed up with numerous companies throughout Ohio to assist brides in finding plant-based wedding planners, wedding venues, caterers, bakers, beauticians, and photographers.
“I wanted to have a platform that could serve as a community. I wanted to offer inspiration,” Degrassi said.
While Degrassi inspires people to have a plant-based wedding, Ross and her husband feed them.
“When we started, we were just a catering company, and you know at that point, there was no vegan catering pretty much in the area,” Ross said, “and so, we knew there was a need for vegan catering. We just didn’t know what the demand would look like until we got going.”
The demand was significant, as Cleveland Vegan caters, has a bakery, and runs a café. Slaker is one of the café’s frequent customers, and they also catered her wedding.
“We go to Cleveland Vegan all the time, so it feels like family,” Slaker said.
Should you still have a plant-based wedding even if your guests eat meat?
Since its “explosive” beginning, Cleveland Vegan has continued to grow for nearly nine years catering numerous vegan weddings. However, while the couple may be vegan, many of its guests may not be.
“All of the weddings that we cater – most of the people at the wedding are not vegan,” Ross said. “And I think it’s especially significant that it’s at a wedding because food is such a big centerpiece. Usually, it’s like some big piece of meat, or like fish, as the centerpiece. And so, to not have that is really a great opportunity to showcase how great eating this way is.”
This is what happened at Slaker’s wedding. While some of their family had already been introduced to plant-based food, not all their guests were vegan.
“We just thought well this is what we want to do. This is what we kind of support, and people can eat a plant-based meal for one meal out of the whole year,” Slaker said.
Degrassi echoes this sentiment. On her blog, she interviews brides who often comment on having family members who are reticent about eating plant-based food. But once they eat the food, they love it.
Tips on How to have the Perfect Plant-Based Wedding
Ross suggests that if the couple is worried about what their guests might think of plant-based wedding food, they should not tell the guests. Once they taste the food, they will love its familiar flavor to the foods they already enjoy.
Alternatively, Degrassi suggests taking the reluctant guests to a tasting, so they can see prior to the wedding how delicious plant-based food is.
For Slaker, it was important for Cleveland Vegan to serve the food to the guests. That way, if the guests have any questions about the food, the caterers can give them details about what is in the food.
Zola also provided a list of wedding menu tips. First, they say it is important to get a vegan caterer, so they know exactly how to prepare vegan food. This is the best way to ensure your guests enjoy the food.
They also suggest bringing a non-vegan guest to the food tasting, so that way you can get another perspective on the food. In addition, serve your guests vegan wedding cake because there are so many vegan substitutes now, it is nearly guaranteed to be delicious.
If you want to be more creative, Zola recommends adding a vegan food station. This allows guests to try a little bit of everything while having fun with this clever twist.
Finally, everyone knows that alcohol is essential to weddings, so why not try vegan alcohol? Some alcohol uses non-plant-based ingredients or has a non-plant-based filtration process, so allow guests to try some vegan alternatives.
According to Degrassi, your wedding should reflect your own personal beliefs. Therefore, if you live a plant-based lifestyle, then you should be free to have a plant-based wedding.
What kind of food can be served at a plant-based wedding?
If you are looking for some ideas on what a plant-based wedding might look like, here are some options that Cleveland Vegan recommends.
- Stuffed Mushrooms – cremini mushrooms stuffed with a rosemary and walnut cashew cream
- Bruschetta – tomato and basil on top of toasted crostini
- Peach Bruschetta – a summer exclusive that includes peaches, red bell peppers, and garlic
- Buffalo Cauliflower Dip – similar to the texture of hummus but with a kick
- Curried Chickpea Cakes – topped with mango chutney
- Avocado Potato Skins – baked potatoes stuffed with guacamole
- Chickpea Parmesan Cutlets – veganized version of chicken parmesan
- Pierogis – fried on location, these homemade pierogis can have a variety of fillings such as potato leek or butternut squash
- Cauliflower Lasagna – vegan twist on traditional lasagna
- Barbecue Tofu – southern-style, served with beans and greens
- Roasted Potatoes with Ranch Dressing
- Twice-Baked Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Lemon-Roasted Asparagus with Slivered Almonds
- Seasonal Veggies
- Thai-Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Will plant-based weddings continue to grow in popularity?
According to the Wedding Spot Blog, “vegan and vegetarian food options, as well as an abundance of local fruits and vegetables, are some of the top 2021 wedding trends.”
It’s undeniable that plant-based food is becoming more and more popular as the stigma against it breaks. Celebrities act as great testimonials, so the number of famous people adopting a plant-based diet is promising for the future.
“People go plant-based for a number of reasons, and especially when celebrities do it… people start to notice,” Degrassi said.
Therefore, Degrassi believes that people will follow celebrities’ lead and more and more people will turn to a plant-based lifestyle. And then there will be lots of plant-based weddings with delicious food!
Author: Cailey Greenwald