The debate is raging: Is a wedding the couple's day or should they prioritize what would most please their guests?
For my own wedding, my wife and I wanted to be considerate of our guests while staying true to ourselves. Certain elements of this balance were easy. As a lesbian couple, just having a wedding already meant that we were putting the comfort of certain guests aside, but that obviously wasn't something we would or could change. Along those lines, we also took our families' and guests' opinions into account on questions such as whether or not our fathers should walk us both down the aisle, but we knew we had to go with what we wanted for ourselves when it came to the ceremony. We got married on a Sunday in part so that my Orthodox Jewish relatives could attend and still observe Shabbat the day before. We took several factors into account and sometimes the expectations of our guests won and sometimes doing what we wanted for our special day won. But nothing was more controversial than the food.
We had a vegan wedding. I am still shocked every day at my job at Rose Pedals Vegan Weddings with how much people hate vegan weddings. Every week I get a Google Alert telling me about some forum where a bride is asking "Would it be OK to have a vegan wedding?" and often the community's answer is "No." "Think of your guests!" "Your personal preferences are fine for your life, but serve real food on your wedding day." "I wouldn't be happy as a guest if I had to go hungry eating just salad."
Let me tell you, veganism is rarely just a personal preference. This isn't applying the low-carb diet you're trying to the most important menu of your life. This is following your morals. If someone doesn't believe in the suffering and killing of animals for food, then how could they be expected to support the suffering and killing of animals for food on their wedding day? Following your morals doesn't get a day off. This is not an extreme survival situation where you can either eat an animal or die of starvation -- It's the day when you express who you are and treat all of your guests to an amazing meal to celebrate.
That's where the main misconception comes in -- vegan food is not horrible. Well, it can be, but so can non-vegan food. Vegan food is sweet potato ravioli and Peruvian stuffed potatoes and spinach artichoke soufflé and corn chowder and all of the most decadent desserts you can imagine. There is spice, there is texture, there is gourmet cuisine you would find at any catered wedding reception. There is most likely more protein to fill you up than any beef, chicken, or fish dinner. Would you really be so sad to have the risotto and red velvet cake from Kate and Aaron's wedding? Or the Portobello sliders and local beer at Ashli and Jake's?
If you have to be that person who goes home to fry up some bacon after you are served "only" vegan food, you can! You're not vegan, so you only have to eat vegan at this one meal if you want. But please, for the sake of that lovely couple who is in love and wanted you to be a part of their big day, don't complain about that menu they worked so hard to create for you. Not to their faces and not behind their backs. If you were invited to a Kosher wedding, would you tell the couple that you were going to eat bacon at home afterwards because you were disappointed it wasn't on their menu? Could you even imagine living Kosher every day of your life but being pressured to serve a meal against your beliefs for your own wedding?
I absolutely believe in providing the best for your wedding guests whenever you can. I still have the scar on my hand from being too eager to take cookies out of the oven that I was making as welcome gifts for my out-of-town guests. I would be shocked if any of those people I made the cookies for were annoyed that they contained no eggs or milk. Having a vegan wedding and pleasing your guests are not mutually exclusive.
If you are invited to a vegan wedding and feel upset, keep an open mind. If you are wondering whether it's OK to have a vegan wedding, the answer is yes. There are lots of "buts" that will be hard to overcome like "but my parents are paying and they want to serve steak," but you can overcome them. If you don't want to serve steak, say how important it is to you, give specific examples of delicious alternatives and ask your folks to at least taste a sample, and see what you can give up on the flowers front instead. Then come on by to www.rosepedalsveganweddings.com for cruelty-free ideas that will please even the bacon fans.
Follow Sarah Prager on Twitter: www.twitter.com/VeganWeddings