“How To” wedding planning advice from Dietitian Addie!
July 23, 2016 … the best day of my life, the day I married my best friend and made lifelong memories with our closest friends and family. I had a few “must haves” that went in to our wedding planning, one in particular that pertained to the food. As a plant based dietitian, with Italian roots and who LOVES food, I wanted people to have a delicious culinary experience and to truly enjoy their meal. Since food is a huge part of my career, my passion and my family – this was a Non-Negotiable.
So, how does one have a vegan wedding? And how do they do this in the state of West Virginia with 98% of the guests NOT vegan? Well, as someone who did this on a budget, with university catering, a smaller than small town bakery, a nutrition degree and who has guests raving about the dancing AND the food to this day… let me tell you!
Let’s start with dessert FIRST:
Mt. Morris, PA is a tiny town 1 mile across the PA-WV state line, and is where my family roots began long ago. When I was in college at WVU, I moved back to this tiny town and worked during the summer at a small bakery in Mt. Morris, coincidentally named after my Great Grandma Addie’s famous Salt Risen Bread and the creek my Pappy grew up on – The Rising Creek Bakery. This was not a vegan bakery, not even in the slightest. But as I worked there they would make special sandwiches and baked good substitutions for me. I cherished my summer memories there and could think of no better people to ask to make the most special baked good of my life. While they had never made a vegan cake before, they encouraged my input and vegan baking experience to help them create, what I would say was, the best wedding cake I have ever had.
Wedding Cake Details:
- Vegan Vanilla Butter Cream Icing
- 2 Tier, 6 total layer wedding cake (chocolate on the bottom tier, lemon on the top tier)
- Dozens of mini and full size cupcakes with the assortment of lemon, chocolate and vanilla flavors all with the same icing.
- All cakes were made with NO animal products. Using flaxseed, applesauce + baking soda to sub the eggs and to cut down the oil.
Reception Treats & Dinner Delights:
When I have anyone to our home who isn’t vegan, I like to make meals that are recognizable to most omnivores but that are free of any animal products. I keep the flavors very familiar and the food items pretty common place. I typically don’t stress the fact that we are “vegan” or that the meal will be “vegan” to not skew perception or create any preconceived bias on what I will be serving. I like the food to do the talking so that people can see how easy it can be to eat this way and how great it can taste! I wanted to have this same experience present at our wedding. A vegan, plant based diet has brought SO many health benefits to my family. I try to share this possibility with other families as often as I can, and what better time to do so than at your wedding right? So, this Italian girl and her mama put together a menu idea for the catering company that was vegan, plant based, full of nutrient dense colors and flavors – pretty much a plant based pasta party (with Gluten Free options for some of my friends with gluten intolerance) that was delicious!! Who doesn’t like pasta and marinara sauce right? Along with a few other colorful and delicious hors d’oeuvres listed below, we served an under the radar plant based meal that everyone enjoyed. For my family, and for many others, food is love. And I LOVED being able to serve a delicious and beautiful meal to those who mean the most to Nathan & I on our special day.
- Fruit Skewers
- Stuffed Mushroom Caps
- Vegetable Display
Dinner – Build Your Own Pasta & Salad Bar:
- Option of a Pasta or Rice (GF) base
- Marinara Sauce
- Toppings: Mushrooms, artichokes, grilled zucchini, grilled Brussel sprouts, grilled eggplant, grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes
- Mixed greens salad with toppings: peppers, tomato, olive, cucumber, peas, corn all cold with a few dairy-free dressings
- Tabbouleh salad
Our wedding was incredible, all the way down to the last bite!
Advice I would give to anyone looking to have a plant based wedding or large event:
- Find a caterer who is willing to work with you – they do not even have to be plant based/vegan (although that would be a plus), as long as they are open to suggestions and ideas.
- If most of your guests are not accustomed to eating without animal products, keep the meal simple and recognizable.
- Create great flavor with herbs, spices and fresh produce.
- Have enough of a variety so that guests can pick and choose what they would like to try and enough quantity so everyone feels full and satisfied. We really enjoyed the customizable menu option because this gave everyone a chance to create a personalized meal.
Thank you for allowing me to share the ins and outs of our vegan wedding. I encourage anyone looking to do the same to stay true to who you are and truly enjoy sharing that first meal with all of the people who mean the most to you!
Happy Anniversary to my plant strong Coach Majnaric! You make me better every day!