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It’s not selfish to want a vegan wedding

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I’ve reached the age that society deems prime for marriage. I’m also in a long term relationship, something I’m told weddings sometimes require first. As such, conversations on conflict free diamonds, not-white wedding dresses, and what I’m planning to serve my guests are all too frequent. I naively believed that finding a suitable life partner was the greatest struggle, and through the weddings of others can see it’s actually the lavish show we put on, instead. So when people aren’t placing bets on whether or not I’ll go the route of a destination wedding, they’re telling me what I should and shouldn’t have on the festivities menu. That’s why, despite not even having an engagement ring on my finger as I type this, I want to tell you that it’s not selfish to want a vegan wedding.

As someone raised to practice Judaism, I’ve gone against my religion in choosing to love someone of another faith. As such, I have already been thoroughly prepared to break tradition. I won’t wed in front of my congregation, a light bulb will not be crushed (even though that’s best part), and most importantly, kosher meat will not be served. But just as many more devoted Jewish people ahead of me chose to follow their beliefs and served kosher options to any non-Jewish guests at their weddings, I too believe that in practicing veganism, I have the same entitlement. Judaism sees keeping kosher as observance of its belief system, but my choice to avoid violence serves as an observance for a vegan belief system. If no one would object to me being wed in a synagogue, no one should protest my choice to serve only vegan food. Could I expect for the bubbies and zaidies in the room to be excited to see tempeh on the menu? Unlikely. But can I expect them to respect it? Absolutely. If you’re interested in a non- traditional wedding, have you considered travelling for your hen and stag dos, for example a Krakow stag do could help create some lasting memories right from the start.

Wanting a vegan wedding has nothing to do with force feeding my friends and relatives seitan, though. I don’t expect anyone to have epiphanies in a banquet hall, and denounce their attachment to animal products forever following. What I hope my guests will understand, is like all aspects of a wedding, it’s not about them. My issue lives in the purchasing and serving of meat. I will never willingly participate in the exploitation of animals because that’s what the people I know prefer to do. In staying true to my veganism, instead, I will nourish and spoil those I love with a violence free feast. That means no beef, chicken, or seafood options during dinner, and definitely no buttercream on the wedding cake for dessert. Being disappointed to hear something will be vegan inappropriately implies that anything with the label will be rabbit food, or unenjoyable. Instead, guests should look forward to being treated to my way of life.

But veganism will not stop at the menu, despite that being the strongest focus. I will not be adorned in silk, nor will the tables. Favours and decor will follow suit. Animals also will not be used for entertainment or grand entrances. We may even look for a treehouse wedding uk to get people right into the vegan spirit. People would not lose their shit to know my make up contains no animal products, much like the menu. This, however, is something I recognize cannot be imposed on guests. I cannot force people to purchase new outfits or shoes to attend in vegan attire, of course not. So before people get too upset that they’re being forced into veganism, I will gently remind them that it’s only animal products in their food that they’ll have to part with for the evening. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, I would sincerely hope that no one would bring non-vegan gifts. Outside of setting up a registry, and suggesting cash, it’s another aspect that cannot likely be controlled.

When it comes to that control, it’s clear to me that as someone with a vegan partner, it would be exceedingly more difficult to demand the same things when sharing your big day with a non-vegan. Rather than having someone on your side, you’d have your future spouse sympathizing with guests and looking for equality. Thing is, this isn’t wanting a DJ when your partner wants a band. It’s not falling out over which kids wedding entertainment company you want to choose. It’s completely different. I will harken back to the kosher point – if your partner was Jewish, you wouldn’t tell them it was selfish to want to serve kosher food. It’s not just asking someone to expand their options to include others, it’s asking them to compromise their belief system to please others. I think at the end of the day, the event has to fit the couple whose honour it is in first, and not the cravings of the people who are attending. And hey, if you’re marrying a non-vegan, it’s hopefully not the first time the debate has been presented. With any luck, it’s just another step towards starting your entirely vegan family.

Speaking of family, I was delighted when upon mentioning this article idea to my meat eating sister, that she was in disbelief that people struggle with opposition to this idea. Perhaps a sign of the times, and the growing popularity of vegan and green weddings? We agreed that the true heart of a wedding is in celebrating the people who are making the bond, including how they live. Just as you wouldn’t expect seafood at a Jewish wedding, meat eaters can’t expect to have their preferences catered to when it’s at the sacrifice of their hosts. Go ahead, have a vegan cheese fondue fountain if that’s what you’re after. There’s going to be unhappy people with whatever comes across their plate – judging the details of weddings is what we do. Just be happy they’re not whispering about who you’ve chosen to marry.

And maybe, just maybe, announce your plans in a blog so far beforehand, that guests who have a problem with veganism decide not to show when the big day comes. Then, start debating whether or not making it a dry wedding is a possibility, too.

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  • Kelsey Kienitz

    This was exactly the reasoning I experienced when planning my vegan wedding. My spouse is vegan and he asked if we should include non-vegan options for the meal and I told him that you would not go to a Jewish wedding and expect them to accommodate you because of your differing beliefs – you respect the beliefs of the couple whose wedding you are attending.

  • Dylan Wentworth

    What kind of luck are you having finding a caterer?

    • Lalasunflower

      Depending on the city you live in, it’s easy. DC is chock full of them!

  • Megan

    We also had an inter-faith, inter-cultural, vegan, alcohol-free wedding. At the end of the day, the people who chose to come came to support us and our love for one another, and a great ( and ethical) time was had by all. Stay strong!

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