The founders of Vegan Food UK recently got married, and with them both being vegan they weren’t going to do things by half. Hear the story, take some tips and start planning your own cruelty-free wedding.
Liam and I got engaged on New Year’s Eve in 2016/17 in Goa, India. He took me to a secluded beach, with lots of cows lying around and got on one knee – of course, I said yes! We decided immediately that we couldn’t wait and wanted to get hitched in the summer of 2017 on the beach in North Devon, it was a 6 month turn around.
I was lucky enough to have a partner who was vegan too, so there was no question or negotiation that the wedding will be 100% vegan. For this I am very grateful as I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have to negotiate on something so important to me. I hope that those who go through this, have partners who understand how hard it would be for a vegan to supply food to their guests that they are highly against.
So, with the venue booked and the location of the ceremony in mind, we started to plan the food. With it being midsummer, we decided on having an afternoon tea with sandwiches, cakes and fresh strawberries & cream for dessert.
We had 85 guests to cater for in total so the question of making all those sandwiches and cakes ourselves (with all the other things we had to organise) was a big no no. The good news is that there is a lot of vegan caterers in the UK, the bad news is that you really need to book months in advance. We got really lucky as Fairfoods, based in Devon, agreed to make just the sandwiches, quiches and other fancy bits for us but not the cakes as they were double booked on our wedding day. Fairfoods really were fantastic, they delivered promptly on the day and the food was incredible with a range of sandwiches from Tofurky and Violife cheese to soft cheese and dill. They even did a range of quiches and stuffed tomatoes.
The cakes were a different story, we had tried a couple of caterers but they were fully booked. Then Liam thought of a member of Vegan Food UK who had recently done pop-up bakeries and was getting popular. Paula’s Vegan Bakery in Portsmouth was our lifesaver. She made a range of absolutely delicious mini (high tea style) cakes. We cannot recommend Paula’s bakery enough and her cakes were of the highest standard, ranging from mini bakewell tarts to victoria sponge. The cakes looked so pretty on the table and tasted delicious too.
The day of actually setting up our venue and marquee we had a team of about 15 – 20 friends chipping in and helping us set up. We supplied vegan sandwiches from a local cafe called Grassroots in Ilfracombe. My mother in law made some delicious vegan cakes and my mum bought along vegan-friendly crisps. This event alone was so much fun and the feast was delicious. The excitement for the wedding was then becoming real.
Once the beautiful ceremony on the beach had finished and the pictures were taken, all of our guests returned to the hall for some rum punch. We served Malibu and tropical juice, with a chunk of pineapple and a Del Boy cocktail umbrella – classic but I couldn’t resist. Everyone loved it as the sun was shining.
After much deliberation, we decided that we would stick to a bit of table bubbly instead of the classic red & white wine. We used Vegan Booze UK to research what we wanted and finally decided on a vegan-friendly Waitrose ‘San Leo Prosecco’ by the case. We made sure it was fully vegan and by absolute luck it was on offer when we bought it.
Liam booked Inspired Party Mobile Bar for our guests. The owner was vegetarian herself but was new to the requirements of vegans. Once Liam spoke to her she took the information and filled us with confidence that she could cater for vegans. She even told Liam that she would only be selling 100% vegan drinks at any of her events from now on and was shocked that they added animal products to drinks. The bar was fantastic and made from recycled wood and pallets and the staff could not have been more fun or helpful.
The Evening Fish & Chip Van
Yes you heard it. Our little surprise was having vegan fish & chips in the evening for everyone to enjoy. We used Battered based in Colchester. Out of their rustic van, they served us battered vegan sausage, to-fish and chips and battered pie all accompanied by mushy peas, tartare and curry sauce. After our first dance the DJ announced the chip van was open. So stuffed after tea I didn’t expect it to be busy for another hour or so, however when I went outside it was packed with people. Uncles, Aunties, Grannies, Grandads, parents and the younger guests were all queuing to eat vegan fish and chips. Even our photographer couldn’t resist the treat of this rather new vegan cuisine. It was fantastic to see the whole family scoffing down cruelty-free food and thoroughly enjoying it.
“The fish & chips tasted great and that’s coming from a non-vegan. It’s was lovely to try something different” Nicola Dunn
“The Tofish was better than normal fish and even omnivores said so.” Caroline Jane McCormick
The Wedding Cake
So previously my mum and I had been to some sugarcraft classes together so we thought it would be a nice touch if my mum made the flowers for the cake. Fantastic, all I needed was a blank vegan cake, simple right? I think not! I realised that most cake makers want to make the entire cake. Perhaps so they can charge the full price or for insurance reasons, I don’t know but most people refused to make it. I found it very difficult to get a cake just covered in fondant with no decoration.
After more research, I opted for the delivery service of The Heavenly Cake Co. They offer vegan cakes in many different flavours and sizes with no decoration, and they will deliver to your home. Their prices are not too bad either so I ordered a four tier cake. I opted for the flavours of vanilla, banana, carrot and lemon & coconut. The cakes were delivered promptly, well packaged and with extra fondant for damage
which we didn’t need to use. We used the ribbon that they supplied with the cake and added our own too, we may have needed the extra fondant if we took this off however we kept it on. All four of the cakes were moist and delicious. The fondant was like icing that is poured on rather than rolled out, it was really tasty too. I was very happy with all flavours and how well they held together. Read our full review of The Heavenly Cake Co. here.
The Dress & The Waistcoat
I needed a dress that didn’t contain silk and actually this part was pretty easy as most of the non-vegan dresses were really expensive and way beyond my budget. I found a beautiful second hand dress that I was totally fell in love with.
All liam needed was a wastecoat that didn’t contain silk too. He had his tailor made by Gresham & Blake who offered a variety of vegan materials to choose from.
I went barefoot for the ceromony so I only really needed shoes for after the ceremony. Since it was a beach wedding I thought sandals would be appropriate.
I saw some beautiful sparkly sandals that would have looked lovely, however when I checked they were made of leather, ewwwww! I saw some other ones, very similar, that were vegan, however they didn’t have the strap around the back to keep them on, which would have been a problem if I were to dance. That’s ok, we can work with that! I asked my mum to sew some elastic around the back. No one would see the back of my shoes anyway, but once she sewed it on, it looked really good. Sorted!
So my hair stylist had never made up a vegan before. I asked her what products she used and she informed me that it would just be hairspray. I instantly thought of Superdrug’s own range and bought my own can for 70p. Superdrug’s own range have the leaping bunny logo on their products which means they have not tested on animals. Its always good to check the ingredients incase they use honey or similar.
A vegan makeup artist was proving to be quite expensive due to our remote location and how far they would have to travel, so I opted to do my own. I found a company called Bare Minerals who have such beautiful products. I booked in for a free bridal makeup lesson and invited my bridesmaids and Mum for a girls day out (followed by my dress fitting and a vegan cream tea at Terre Au Terre in Brighton).
The lesson went well and I loved the makeup. All I needed to do was practice.
We booked into Surf View Guesthouse. The owners were fantastic and did anything they could to help me on the day. They were not aware that I was vegan, however once I told them they offered me a vegan cooked breakfast. If they knew beforehand they said they would have got me some non-dairy milk. I really do think that most accommodation now should supply a vegan breakfast, we normally ask in advance, but I was way too nervous in the morning to drink anything but water and a glass of Prosecco (with some help from my bridesmaids).
There you have it, we had a total vegan wedding and it was the wedding of my dreams. Everything is always made better when it’s made cruelty-free, and the result was that we had a little fairytale wedding by the sea that didn’t cost the earth. The best bit is that since our wedding we have been inundated by friends and family who have gone vegan or transitioning to a vegan way of life.
Fairfoods – The High Tea
Paulas Vegan Bakery – The Stunning cakes
Battered – The evening Fish & Chips Van
Inspired Party – The Vegan Bar
The Heavenly Cake Company – The Vegan Wedding Cake
Surf View Guesthouse – The Accommodation