Every Monday for the past few weeks, Facebook has seen a barrage of wedding photos from the weekend. It’s been very adorable to see so many dear friends celebrating their Wedding Days in unique and personal ways. (And, I admit through gritted teeth, it makes me want to start to plan my own huge celebration party!)
This brings me to Kate. Kate is a Save the Kales! reader and recently married her super cute now-husband, Aaron (who have both started a non-profit called the Animal Awareness Project – read on to learn more!) The photos of this beautiful couple prompted me to ask Kate more about their wedding, only to learn so much useful and inspiring information about not just wedding planning, but incorporating your values into all you do.
Read on to see the interview with Kate about the occasional stresses but mostly joys of throwing an all-vegan wedding.
Did you ever consider having a wedding that wasn’t vegan? A lot of people may feel that they are putting their guests out by doing this. How did you overcome that feeling, or did you ever have it?
We knew from the moment we got engaged that we would have a vegan wedding no matter what. We did not for one second want to compromise our ethics or beliefs and we saw it as a great way to show our family and friends how amazing vegan food is, and how easy it is to do. My dad was worried at first that some people would not like the food and he constantly tried to convince us to have one meat dish. But we did not compromise, and all the guests were really impressed with the food.
Did you face obstacles planning your vegan wedding? Was it difficult to find businesses that supported your ethics? Can you offer readers any tips?
We really lucked out with planning. We held our event at a Green Wedding facility called the Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, Maryland. They encouraged us to do a vegan wedding because that would make for the “greenest” wedding they had ever had there. Basically I would recommend that people search the internet like we did, and go meet with and sample the possible food options. We were really impressed by everyone who played a part.
Tell me more about the reception and the Irvine Nature Center.
It was easy to have the ceremony and reception in one place and it was so beautiful there. We wanted a place that was outdoors and brought us and our guests in close contact with the natural world. We were able to have a ceremony in the woods over-looking a beautiful valley, hear birds, have a bonfire, and be surrounded by flowers and trees. It was a beautiful place and when we first visited we felt it was magical.
Okay, the food. Let’s talk about the food. Where did it come from, and what did you serve? Who made the wedding cake?
The food, oh the food. It was amazing. We went with a catering company who offers many vegan and even raw vegan options. Zia’s Cafe/Catering of Towson Maryland. They were amazing! Some of the yummy items were: Raw Spring rolls with peanut ginger sauce, raw vegan pizza, raw vegan pineapple and cucumber shooters, vegan Portobello and polenta Napoleons made with Daiya vegan cheese, asian ginger string beans, vegan butternut squash lasagna with vegan bechamel sauce, drunken strawberries, spinach risotto, herbed dinner rolls, tempeh chick’un skewars with peanut sauce and balsamic lentil and beet salad.
We had so many non vegans saying how much they loved the food and how impressed they were. It was so yummy. We did some food items at our cocktail hour, and the rest was done buffet style.
The wedding cake was made by an All Vegan bakery based in Baltimore city called Brunie’s Bakery. Tamara, the owner and baker made us an amazing cake called “Spring Time Divine”. It was layers of yellow cake with lemon and raspberry curd. She also made us a separate sheet cake that was a vegan red velvet cake.
There was no cake left at the end of the night. It was so good, that the non vegans kept asking how she did it. 🙂
What other vegan or eco-friendly components went into the wedding? (Did you have invitations on recycled paper, did you ask guests to contribute to a nonprofit, etc..)
As a favor for our guests we gave little thank you jars with vegan mints inside. We also sent out a limited amount of paper invites which we made ourselves on recycled paper. The rest of the announcements we did through the internet to save paper.
In Lieu of presents we asked our guests to make a donation to our non profit; The Animal Awareness Project, Inc. Any disposable cups and forks that were used by Zia’s were all compostable.
You’re amazing. Tell us about the Animal Awareness Project.
The Animal Awareness Project, Inc is an Animal Rights organization we started last summer 2009 and we are based in Ellicott City, Maryland. We are striving to become the first Vegan/ Animal Rights AD company in Baltimore City and around Maryland.
Other cities use advertising as way to spread the compassionate message and Baltimore has yet to embrace that method. We are now working with AD companies to start doing Bus ADs, Billboard ADs, Radio AD’s and more. We also do humane education in the school systems. We go into schools in Baltimore and around Maryland to inform students about the reality of where their food comes from and how animals are treated.
We do tons of vegan outreach as well. We go to colleges, concerts and local events to leaflet vegan material to the masses! We hold vegan feed ins on college campuses and at festivals and events. This summer we are joining other AR groups to leaflet the Warp Tour, and we will be tabling at the TAFA conference. We are starting to do lots of fundraising and benefits to grow vegan ADs in Baltimore and beyond.
How did some of your non-vegan guests react to a vegan wedding? Did you get feedback?
Everyone was impressed who was a non vegan. We were really happy that people liked the food and the cake so much. It was a great way to show people how amazing and creative vegan food is. All of the feedback was positive!
Can you talk about your personal feelings on the notion of combining personal morals and ethics with “the happiest day of your life”? Could you have imagined it any other way?
We knew that this day was about us and our love and our new journey together and we wanted every minute of it to stay true to who we are and our beliefs. Even though we were somewhat pressured at first by family to not go with an all vegan wedding, we did and we are so glad we followed our hearts and stayed true to ourselves. We would have not done it any other way!
What final advice can you give to folks looking to plan their own wedding?
Always stay true to yourselves and make sure you are both equally involved in the planning and that you keep it fun. Do not stress about things and on your actual day stay as present and in the moment as possible because it all happens so fast.
(Kate on her honeymoon in Hawaii… surely dreaming about that beautiful cake.)
To learn more about Kate and Aaron’s non-profit, the Animal Awareness Project, please click here.
While it’s so beautiful to learn about a celebration like this and discovering there are ways to make it your own, remember: you don’t need a huge event to make choices every day that can do good and make you feel good. Every moment is a chance to live our lives with passion and purpose.