NAVS Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA. “We have both been vegan for decades and were vegan when we met at Summerfest a few years back. For us, part of being ethical vegans is not supporting industries or businesses that engage in animal cruelty. And, we try, as much as possible, not to use up natural resources. There were not any disposables at the wedding and everything was created with re-used materials. Everything from Rae's dress to the canopy material was from a thrift store. We decided to have the wedding at Summerfest because most of our closest friends would already be there and not have to travel. It is also where we first met, so it feels like the Summerfest attendees are our extended family. We chose Howard Lyman to officiate the wedding because we both love him and he has known us both individually for a long time. He was in top form; came wearing shorts, a tee shirt and his Summerfest name tag. He stood his book, Mad Cowboy, up on the podium as the "holy book" and had everyone write messages to us in the book. He made the fire in the fireplace for the ceremony. I decorated the canopy with photos of us as children and various species in our big family and wrote: "It all began here; what brought them together, keeps them together." We made prayer flags with photos of our friends, human and non-human, who could not be at the ceremony. ~~ Fran Costigan, the vegan chocolate queen, made amazing cakes that were served after the ceremony with wine (donated from Frey Wine Company; vegan) and organic juices for the non-alcohol drinkers. ~~ Since we were marrying outdoors, we almost cancelled and were trying to find an indoor place for everything when a thunder storm came through the day of the ceremony. My father advised that I just trust and keep it outdoors as planned. The storm ended just before the ceremony and a giant rainbow appeared in the sky. It was a celebration of LOVE on every level. We focused on the love in our compassionate community and that the love that embraces all humans, all species, and the earth herself - is far more important than romantic love between two humans. ~~ We did not expect 300 people to come, but many attendees at Summerfest wanted to be at the first Summerfest wedding. Brenda Davis, Jo Stepanic, Michael Greger, Richard Schwartz, Colleen Holland, Kerrie Saunders, Joe Connelly, Victoria Moran and many other leaders in the movement were in attendance. ~~ The beautiful music was performed by Harold Brown, Jerry Cook and Rebecca Barnett. We began our part of the ceremony by asking everyone to please speak up in their own communities for the rights of all people to legally marry. Later on, most people came to the Summerfest DJ dance and we all danced like crazy.” ~~ Rae shares: “I feel we have grown even closer since that day we chose to publicly celebrate LOVE. I can easily say that I have found my family, my home and a deep enduring love in my relationship with JC. We encourage each other every day to be the best spokespeople for all life. I am grateful that we found each other. And, I think much of the strength of our love and our relationship comes from our joint desire to bring more compassion to the world and from the amazing and supportive compassionate chosen family we have. Our global vegan community brings us joy and hope and keeps us fueled to work every day on co-creating the world we want to live in.”This feel-good feature shines a light on the diversity among vegans. Their wedding; their style - some conventional, some unconventional. The thread that binds them is the vegan ethic (no small thing) and the Love feeling that was conveyed through each uplifting Vegan Wedding story. It ALMOST made me want to get married, again!
VeganMania was also present. ~~ The actual wedding was in Maryland, with family and lifelong friends. No one officiated. We read oaths to each other and then invited guests to participate in a handbinding ceremony. This is a non-theistic ritual where the officiator binds the couple’s hands together with special ribbon. We expanded the idea to symbolize the role of our community in keeping our relationship vital. We encouraged guests to bring some sort of cord or ribbon that had some personal meaning. Our guests responded with more creative and loving gestures than we could have imagined. Eric’s mother and grandmother brought sashes worn to his mother’s wedding. His grandfather brought the bowtie that he wore to his first date with Eric’s grandmother. Two of my friends brought the leash and collar of their recently departed dogs, who had been important to me as well. At our request, no one brought anything that represented violence toward non-human animals. ~~ Among our guests were activists in various social justice movements, protesting war, genital mutilation, international human rights violations, gang-related violence. ~~ After the ceremony, Eric’s grandparents treated everyone to lunch at a nearby vegan restaurant. ~~ I had asked that there be no cut flowers anywhere, since I hate to see an entire industry based on the exploitation of plants. Flowers are a necessary part of a biotic community that includes animals; why would I take them for my own short-lived pleasure? There was no crepe paper or white fabric draped anywhere. A dear friend of ours made our wedding cakes. We used Evite to organize it, so no paper was used for invitations or RSVPs. Although we wore nicer clothes than for the certificate signing, we still used clothes we already had.~~ Eric’s mother also hosted a reception in New Hampshire for their family and friends. The caterers prepared vegan food, which was quite good. As we had for the other gatherings, we wore clothes that we already had. The place settings depicted residents of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, and there was a sign at the buffet table that gave information for anybody who was inspired to send a donation. ~~ We specified that if anyone wanted to give us a wedding gift, we welcomed financial assistance for Eric’s student loan. This way, we ensured that new items were not purchased for us. ~~ Basically, we managed to get married and celebrate with quite a large number of people, without the usual exploitation of animals, plants, and natural resources. We minimized the manufacturing of new items such as clothes, decorations, and household gifts. Veganism is one important aspect that binds us together; in fact, it was the initial source of mutual attraction. The majority of the people involved were not vegan themselves. We were able to demonstrate a way of living and loving that deliberately minimizes any type of oppression, especially the exploitation of non-human animals.”
read more here) Queenie wanted an animal sanctuary to host the wedding as these rescue organizations hold a spot in our hearts due to our collective history. They also provide the opportunity for an outreach opportunity to our would-be guests. After visiting many of the sanctuaries along the West coast (Sean and Queenie live in Phoenix, AZ.) we finally found “the one” when we went to Leilani Farm Sanctuary. The setting is gorgeous and the people there are dedicated and “like-minded”; it was the perfect place to host a vegan “outreach” wedding ceremony! After we spoke with the founder and operator Laurelee, she recommended one of their board members as a potential caterer for our event; this is when we met Brook Le’amohala of Body Temple Gourmet who gave us a quick food sampling and explained her dedication to promoting veganism. We loved her and what she stood for so she became our caterer and point-person in Maui to help coordinate things for us. ~~ Brook recommended that we check out Frederick Honig of the Spirit of Aloha Botanical Gardens. After we met him and he took us on a tour of his beautiful garden paradise and bird sanctuary, he discussed with us what an honor it would be for them to host our 100% vegan event. He also mentioned his mission at the garden to bring the vegan diet back to the native people of Hawaii. Again we found a vegan whose mission and focus in life aligned with ours and so we made the decision to have our reception there. ~~ There was a dinner the night before to get everyone together which was 100% vegan. ~~ The simple ceremony, with no groomsmen or bridesmaids, included tours of the sanctuary with Laurelee telling stories about the animals and tons of awesome photo opportunities. Our vows were exchanged under an alter made of two white Hibiscus trees; which we donated and planted at the sanctuary. The sermon was crafted by our friend and neighbor Russel who spoke beautiful words and highlighted "compassion" as our theme! The sermon avoided any religious references or "man", "woman" references to keep marriage as sacred (and inclusive) as the love with which we enter it. ~~ We had 20 chairs plus 5 large blankets spread across the grass to host our 50 guests. There was a shaved ice table and 100% vegan menu executed with a ton of class. The feedback we received about the food was phenomenal. The reception was held at The Gardens where we offered 100% alcohol-free beverages, vegan appetizers, entrees, desserts, etc. The vegan wedding cake was decorated by my father and his partner; who found the “vegan fondant” we provided them to be better than any other they had ever seen. Every aspect we could conceive was vegan in its essence; our party favors were heart shaped cookie cutters tied to a vegan cookie recipe and vegan soaps from Bubbleshack (local Hawaiian company, handmade on Oahu, all-vegan, available at Target.com nationally). Our table settings were designed with potted plants from Native Nursery (the nursery is responsible for providing the native plants to Hawaii’s statewide re-planting projects to maintain the native flora) which were afterwards donated to be planted. The bouquet used by Queenie was made of “up-cycled” books made by an artist, the dress was recycled (purchased at Goodwill in AZ for $20). ~~ There was a fire dancer performance where the lawn was surrounded by tiki torches, and traditional Hula performance, followed by a Lei ceremony performed by Laurelee’s husband; a vegan doctor. ~~ One of the inspiring aspects about our wedding was the abundant diversity which was brought together, even in just a 50 person sample; there was a diversity of cultures. We did our reception toast in both Cantonese and English for the benefit of some directly from Hong Kong. Guests came in a diversity of religions (Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Atheist, Mormon, Agnostic), as well as a diversity of politics, even diversity of what a “marriage” is defined as (2 friends of ours that came to the wedding are a same-sex couple, another is a transgender female. I’ve had long discussions with some of my family members where they insist marriage is ONLY between a “man and a woman” and no other arrangement is acceptable. But, when everyone is just being present and living with good intentions (seems to happen more when on vacation, which was one of the motivations for our destination wedding), the blinders go away, everyone just enjoys one another’s company and that kind of positive energy spreads. It was one of our goals for this wedding: to have a spiritually uplifting experience for everyone there. I think this was one of our greatest victories. We successfully created this experience and created the moment we sought. I never thought I’d see the day where my mom and dad were in the same location and didn't argue with each other (divorced for 7 years now). They not only respected each other but were even capable of getting along long enough to pose for pictures together as my parents! We felt an overwhelming sense of compassion, love, and just overall positive energy that day!”
Gentle World chefs. The salads, fruits and veggies were grown in our amazing veganic gardens and orchards. The two tiered Chocolate cake was the best! It was made and beautifully decorated by our dear friend (and vegan blogger) Angel Flinn. ~~ Sun Waldbaum; author and co-founder of Gentle World, opened the ceremony with a dedication to our LOVE together which had grown together with our love for the truth. She then sang "Love the World Away" harmonizing with our friend on the guitar. The sun was shining and blessing the day with bright rays of joy!
a link to some pictures of them (German and English). ~ Moreover, my husband and I didn't want to use cultured or even exotic flowers as decorations for the wedding tables, but decided to go for the more environmental-friendly way: wild flowers picked from a nearby meadow. The cute thing was that my dad and brother gathered a lot of beautiful flowers the day before our wedding. Furthermore, when it came to the decision which dress I should take, my first declaration in the wedding gown boutique was: "I don't want any silk, fur, wool, leather or other animal products included in my dress and shoes." I am so happy that I succeeded in finding my perfect and fully animal-friendly wedding gown. ~ We had a very beautiful wedding and I would recommend anybody to go for a vegan and green wedding. If you are interested in other aspects of our wedding, feel free to visit my blog michaelavoit.com
|Photo credit: 'I heart weddings'|
Open Your Eyes.
blog. I am the author of The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible and my blog. We are currently organizers of the meetup.com group Denver Vegans.
Randita’s Organic Vegan Café did an excellent job catering, without the convenience of a kitchen at the venue no less. The dinner included: Kale and Bean Soup, Roasted Root Vegetable Salad, Eggplant Moussaka, and Lentil Loaf with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans. Some of our guests ate a gluten-free diet, so we decided to have the food be so as well. All night I had people who had probably never consciously eaten a vegan meal before compliment me on the food, saying it was the best wedding food they had ever had. This was a huge victory for us, since we were a bit worried about how our non-veg guests would react to the food. Our cake was done by My Goodies Bakery, which specializes in vegan and gluten-free baked goods. We had a Chai cake with Almond icing and an assortment of cupcakes; some of which were gluten-free to accommodate our guests. Later on in the evening we had popcorn from Pittsburgh Popcorn, as well as vegan beer and wine all night. William and I made sure that our ensembles were fully vegan: I wore vegan flower-printed Toms shoes, and an organic cotton hand-woven jacket, while he wore Vegetarian shoes, a polyester tie, and a black cotton suit jacket from Target and black pants he already owned. You would never know to look at him how cheap his outfit was, and his groomsmen were more than a little jealous. We did not ask our guests to dress in vegan attire, but it was important for us to do so, and we made a point of telling people about our choices. I am an active participant in the Pittsburgh Vegan Meetup, which has over 1,000 members, and I am also a committee member for Vegan Pittsburgh, a project of Voices for Animals. Vegan Pittsburgh seeks to connect business owners and the vegan community by increasing the visibility and accessibility of vegan dining, goods, and services. I have met some of our guests through these two avenues and it was wonderful to have vegans there to fully appreciate the vegan wedding experience. One vegan guest said “Everyone’s vegan tonight!” My Maid of Honor is also vegan, and we started our vegan journey more or less at the same time. My parents are traditional in some ways, and paid for the wedding. We were so grateful that they never put up an ounce of resistance. The night proved to be magical in every aspect, and I ate and danced the night away (William danced with me when I asked!). We were thrilled that we not only had a beautiful and joyful wedding, but that our special night put the vegan lifestyle in a completely positive light, and impacted every person who attended. I feel so fortunate to have found a man so willing to learn about the vegan lifestyle, and to embrace it as his own.”
Ethical Bounty. Everyone was amazed cashews could be made into a delicious cheese. Natasha and Nicole of Inika Foods made a vegan wedding soup, stuffed mushrooms, grape leaves, spanakopita, hummus, grilled veggies, baklava, vegan cream and fruit tarts and two gorgeous wedding cakes. The first wedding cake was white with edible red roses, leaves and vines and had Beauty and the Beast on top. It was an amazing vanilla cake with red plum filling. The second wedding cake was white with edible snowflakes, vegan pearls, and white poinsettias. It had Cinderella and Prince Charming on top. It was an awesome vanilla almond cake. We have the edible top of each wedding cake in our freezer, which we will eat on our 6 month anniversary and the other on our 1 year anniversary. ~~ We had 17 people in our wedding party. Mike made my wedding bouquet, all our bridesmaid bouquets, and boutonnières for all of our groomsmen. Our florist friend was unable to get a flight so Mike was up nearly all night assembling flowers the night before the wedding. They were beautiful red and white long stem roses. We also had a beautiful Rose Exchange Ceremony; a loving technique to put a rose in a vase in our home when one of us needs to talk about something important, to work out a solution, and to remember to resolve everything with love. ~~ Everybody said they loved the food, were touched by the non-denominational ceremony and had a great time. Chef Brook put out signs that the food is vegan and free of cruelty. ~~ Our wedding was at Center for Spiritual Living. They honor all religions and people from every walk of life. We have met many unaffiliated vegans there and many potential vegans. In fact our friends Keith and Elena have started a vegan support group at our Center for Spiritual living.”
|Photo credit: gpix photography Australia|
here ~~ Soleil Handmade Soaps - vegan soaps made by me. Soleil Handmade Soaps - facebook page
|Just before the wedding|
series or paintings in oil of rescue dogs, drawing attention and awareness to the plight, pain and recovery of unwanted dogs. My love of dogs is part of why I became vegan, as they made me understand how all animals should be loved and treated well. ~~ Our wedding was a Humanist wedding, celebrating the beauty of union, our family and friends and love.. we had poems read, cello played and kept it short, sweet and happy but respectful. ~~ I am so happy that we made the effort to have our wedding vegan. It was beautiful, memorable and unique. It was also wonderful to be able to draw attention to veganism in this way.
"A very vegan wedding". All vegan food and wedding cake. Guest gifts were vegan soaps in the shape of pigs. All guests loved the food and especially the cake; it was all eaten. All the attendees were nonvegan. Instead of eating animals - shepherd them, we are born without speciesism so why teach it? Live kind, live vegan."
Dog Chapel’s existence, we knew we'd found the right place. Our dogs are important members of our family, and we had wanted to schedule a winter trip up north for our one snow-loving dog before he got too old. The chapel honors the relationship between humans and dogs, and our three dogs participated in the ceremony. ~ Despite our having a “destination” wedding, we wanted to rely as much as possible on the talents of our friends and family to make it a very personalized experience. My mother hand-made our invitations. My aunt performed the ceremony. My sister and my oldest friend escorted the dogs during the ceremony. My uncle took photographs. My second mom made my dress based on my design. My sister baked and decorated the cake. I carried the bouquet from my other sister’s wedding. My sister and my oldest friend organized a games night the eve of our wedding for all the guests (vegan, with delicious Thai food from a local restaurant). Various friends and family did readings during the ceremony, held the broom for us to jump, and helped in countless ways that made the celebration a very special gift. ~ We don't believe in starting a marriage in debt because of an extravagant wedding; our investment is in our marriage. Aside from the rings and our honeymoon cottage rental, the entire event probably cost under $1000. We held the reception in the cottage where we honeymooned. We did our own hair and makeup. Guest favors were reusable heart-shaped hand-warmers, perfect for the unheated chapel in the Vermont winter. We wrote the ceremony ourselves, including our vows, and designed and printed the programs ourselves. We didn't see a need for flowers or other decorations. Our ceremony honored our Earth-focused spirituality and we had a traditional handfasting cord, woven of items personally significant to each of us. Our vows included the phrase “with my whole heart’s intent that this be a lifelong bond” in place of the usual “until death do us part,” because we recognize not all marriages remain good for both parties indefinitely, as we would never want to be bad for one another. We walked down the aisle together instead of being “given away.” ~ We were vegetarian when we met and had gone vegan together. There was no question that our wedding would be vegan. We had a sumptuous vegan meal prepared by a local caterer. My sister baked the vegan cake from a beloved family recipe. Our clothing was vegan and mostly cotton. None of our guests were vegan, yet the food was highly praised, with many return trips to the buffet. We registered with the Center for a New American Dream’s alternative gift registry.
More Facebook photos of our traditional Indian wedding.
medweddings.com did a great job organising a vegan meal for us by the marina. ~~ Later that day, after the photo-shoot and the wedding meal, and after the tourist tour around Gibraltar, we came across the Cafe Madeleine, where we had our evening meal, which was superb. It wasn't just that the meal was great, but the dessert was rather simple and special - fresh, organic oranges from neighbouring Spain, picked that same afternoon. You can't beat fresh fruit for vegan wholesomeness! ~~ We were not too interested in a wedding dress, hence the jeans and shirts (and shoes from vegetarian-shoes.co.uk)! On the overall, HappyCow.net was an invaluable guide. On the way to Gibraltar we stayed in Marbella, Spain for a few days before and after. We chose our hotel to be within walking distance from the all-vegan Loving Hut restaurant where we must have tried nearly all the options on the menu.
BeeZee EcoKid (on Facebook) (vegan, fair trade, natural, ethical, locally made in Slovenia - my low profit social and sustainability awarded EU project helping women that lost jobs because of cheap poisonous Asian clothes. I illustrate for my brand and it is all animals. There's also a vegan messages line "Viva La Vegan Revolution". ~~ I wore old shoes (fake leather) because I could not get any appropriate vegan shoes in the small town in Slovenia. Since I am vegan for 21 years and Charlie 4 years, everybody knew it would be a vegan wedding. The food in Slovenia, NYC and Boston was amazing so nobody was complaining. ~~ I am mentor for Slovene Vegan Society where I help young people switch to vegan diet.
veganaisle.ca - We own a vegan online store in Toronto, Canada that sells vegan, ethically-made [wherever possible] products.
If you want to be added to this compilation of vegan weddings, please send me a write-up and a photo of the couple - veganpoet @ hotmail.com (fix space)