Once considered a fringe movement, veganism is now mainstream and options are more available than ever before. Beyond food, couples can now opt for non-animal product versions of nearly anything you’d find at a wedding.

There are currently hundreds of boards and pins on Pinterest dedicated to “vegan weddings”, and “vegan” weddings were searched 11% more than “vegetarian” weddings in 2016.

Vegan bride and blogger Karin Orsini of Simply Vegan and her then-vegetarian fiancé (who is now her vegan husband) Ryan Flint had an almost completely vegan wedding. 

Orsini recognizes now is better than ever to be planning a vegan wedding, because of how popular the movement has become.

“I am sure if I was planning a vegan wedding even just 5 years ago it would have been considerably more difficult to find vegan options,” she notes.

Before planning a vegan wedding, it’s important to go in knowing the areas that will be the most important for you to spend your time, energy and money into. Like with any other kind of wedding, there will have to be tradeoffs; if providing vegan catering is the most important, don’t stress because your venue uses silk tablecloths.

Consider what areas will have the most impact. For instance, providing great food for your guests could be a way to show how delicious living vegan can be.

Most importantly, remember there is no award for having “the most” vegan wedding. No one is grading your commitment to the cause, so decide what is best for you. It’s just one day and after that you’ll be onto your next project€” your vegan marriage.

We used the Orsini and Flint wedding as inspiration on how to throw a vegan wedding, and even we were surprised with how easy it is to find vegan vendors and suppliers for an animal-friendly wedding day. Read on for some guidelines to get you through your planning.

1. Communicate clearly, but be ready to repeat your message

The couple received a lot of criticism from their family in friends when they decided to have a vegan wedding; “After all the slack we got about our wedding, all I want to say is, weddings are not about the season or the food, they are simply to celebrate the love between two people. The end!” says Orsini. 

Many felt they were “forcing their diet” upon their guests but Orsini sent out an email to anyone who had objections to their plan. “…Veganism is not a diet, it is a way of life. I explained that vegans do their best not to take part in animal exploitation. That is not something I was willing to compromise to please other people,” she said.

Once people got the message and became more open to the idea, the couple moved forward with planning their wedding, sans criticism. We can’t promise you your guests will be as receptive or understand after the first time as Orsini and Flint’s did. Most weddings will receive criticism for one choice or another, but it is after all, your day, and your choices.

Basically, don’t listen to the haters.

2. Location and venue

The couple lives in Toronto, Canada, and Orsini says there are more options in larger cities. Location is key when planning a truly vegan wedding.

Obviously, you can start by searching online for “vegan venues in my area”, but Orsini and Flint were able to convince their non-vegan venue to cater its first vegan wedding.

It may take some creativity, especially if your choices are limited. Because many wedding venues limit their clients to a set number of caterer options, it will probably take compromising. And if your venue has a restricted list of caterers you can choose from, check with them before paying your deposit.

At first,  The Old Mill turned the couple down about the idea. But, with convincing, they agreed if the couple had a buffet style reception, they would serve vegan food. Orsini said they couldn’t care less about that small detail, and went ahead with their plan to be married at their dream destination, vegan menu included.

If you have your heart set on a traditional venue, the hope is that they can be convinced. Be open to compromises as Orsini and Flint were, and the conversation will be much easier.

3. Food and Drink

As with any wedding service, do your research, go for tastings, and ask to speak with past clients to be sure your day will go smoothly and deliciously.

Offer to provide the recipes for your caterer or venue especially if they’ve never done a vegan wedding before and explain this is an opportunity for the to expand their repertoire.

“…People wanted recipes and some of the biggest meat eaters were raving about how great the food was. We had some people question us, asking if it really was vegan food because they couldn’t believe how great it was,” Orsini writes on her blog.

You can access the full menu at their wedding on Orsini’s blog, but this orzo received rave reviews:

Their cake was made by Sweets from the Earth in Toronto, a vegan bakery:

4. Fashion

There are plenty of designers dedicated to creating ethically sourced and non-animal product wedding gowns and tuxedo’s.

That being said, the wedding outfit may be the area that has the most difficult trade-off. You may find the perfect dress, but it may be made with an animal product. Or, you could find a dress made of vegan materials, but the cost and environmental impact of finding something new rather than using something existing outweighs it.

While Orsini and Flint’s outfits weren’t “certified vegan”, they were able to stay away from anything made of silk or other animal products. Silk is one of the most common products found in wedding attire to avoid when shopping, but there are lots of alternatives. You can find dresses that don’t use animal products without being “certified vegan” by getting a cotton, polyester or chiffon dress.

However, some satin, chiffon, and tulle can contain a kind of silk, so check the labels.

Some of designers we found online who specialize in vegan dresses include Minna  and Tammam, who are both based out of the UK. 

If ensuring your outfits are animal-free is a high priority, consider spending the extra cash to get something custom made. Nicole Lenzen who custom makes wedding dress, also specializes in “upcycling” old dresses to make them new. Upcycling is a highly sustainable practice that encourages the reduction of waste by taking something old and remaking it to be used again. Keep an eye out at your local thrift store for a dress you would want to upcycle.

Or, make the wedding dress or the bridal parties’ dresses your “something old” and wear secondhand. For some, it may be okay to wear a pre-owned silk dress because no new animal products or resources were used to create them. Use a website like PreOwned Wedding Dresses to find pre-loved gowns. This will not only cut down the wedding budget but is a pretty cool way to recycle.

Proper Suit has vegan options and custom fittings, and Brave Gentlemen is an entirely vegan clothing line. The same rule applies; stay away from silk, furs or wool and most clothing can be considered vegan. Not only are non-silk ties cheaper, but you stay away from animal products by wearing a polyester or cotton tie. 

5. The rings

Traditional diamonds are not without their conflict, and while it may not be an “animal product”, finding an alternative to a diamond compliments the social justice concerns many vegans have.

Orsini and Flint used a peridot ring rather than a diamond; the birthstone for the month that they met.

Jewelers are paying attention and going more ethical; we love the designs from Mia Donna. The diamonds are manmade and can be completely custom designed from start to finish.

6. Makeup and hair

Orsini was scheduled to have her makeup done by a local artist who specialized in vegan makeup, but cancelled on Orsini last minute. However, her cousin was able to use cruelty-free makeup to give her a beautiful wedding day look.

Most makeup companies are trying to steer away from using animal products or eliminate their animal testing with big brands like Urban Decay, Tarte, Kat Von D, LUSH, Milani and Pacifica offering vegan options.

You can find a variety of vegan hair products, but everyone knows for wedding hair, a good hairspray is crucial. Paul Mitchell, a tried and true professional brand, has a variety of vegan hair products. We recommend their Finishing Spray for your special day.

7. Favors

Orsini and Flint opted to donate on their guest’s behalf to PETA  and included a Giddy Yo Yovegan chocolate bar for each guest. PETA sends notecards to present to guests when you make a donation for a wedding.

Donating to charity in addition to a sweet favor is something many couples like to do, and with the abundance of vegan confectionaries the two ideas go great together. And remember, favors are always optional.

Etsy is your vegan friend for wedding favors. We picked three beautiful vegan ideas, but here are some other ideas for wedding favors that can be made vegan, and your guests will most likely use again.

Vegan bath bombs from Dirty Vegans on Etsy

Vegan candles from KayaSoaps on Etsy

Seed paper in the shape of hearts, RecycledIdeasFavors on Etsy

8. Floral arrangements

This is another area where a tradeoff is inevitable. Fake flowers are usually made with silk, but if you’re concerned about the environmental impact of flowers go ethical and use fair-trade plants only. In general, whatever is blooming the season you’re getting married in can more likely be locally sourced €” plus in-season flowers are usually cheaper.

Look for florists that use plants from the Fair Flowers Fair Plants initiative, which ensures whatever bouquet or boutonnière you pick came from a fair-trade environment. One World Flowers specializes in wholesale fair-trade flowers.

9. Textiles and decorations

Ask yourself whether it’s better to buy something new to be used once or something that already exists and are reused? Is it more or less useful to pay for a dozen cotton tablecloths to be shipped to you for one day or use the silk-woven ones your venue uses regularly? This is up to you.

Thank you notes and invitations can be done on seed paper and after your guests have used them can be planted to grow things like basil or tomatoes. 

10. Gifts

In lieu of wedding gifts, you may want to opt for your guests to donate to animal-related charities like PETA or local animal shelters.