Getting married is a process. It all begins with the deciding to marry part (no pressure, but this is one of your life’s most major decisions). Then comes phase two, and surprise! it doesn’t start with the actual wedding planning.
There are things like engagement parties to consider (and even texting family and friends to share the news takes time and coordination) before moving on to the real heart of the matter: deciding when, where, and how you’ll tie the knot.
Forewarning: this is just the first of many, many decisions—big, REALLY BIG, and small—that you’ll be making in the months leading up to your big day. And for vegan couples, there are extra considerations to tackle, including the big question about whether you’ll be making any non-vegan concessions (more on that later).
To help you navigate this unfamiliar and exciting terrain, we surveyed a slew of vegan couples who’ve planned and successfully pulled off their own weddings to get their top pieces of advice. We whittled the list down to the 10 points we think will really help as you embark on this journey. But perhaps the best piece of advice anyone can offer is this: enjoy the process! There is fun to be found along the way if you make the planning part of the celebration. Are you ready? Let’s do this!
10 tips to help you avoid wedding-day regrets
1. Invest in professional help
Maybe you’ve looked into hiring a wedding planner but don't have room in your budget for a full-service pro. There are still options, including hiring a planner by the hour to help with everything from color schemes and floral concepts to wedding attire suggestions. Vegan bride Kerry suggests freelance hub Fiverr, where for as little as $35 an hour, a highly-rated pro can help you out with your specific wedding-related needs. “I wish I’d made this small investment to help with the planning process,” says Kerry. “It would have saved me so much time and frustration, but I didn’t even know it was an option.”
2. Lean into YouTube
Social media is flush with resources for couples looking for vegan wedding #inspo, and while Pinterest and Instagram are great for creating vision boards and generating ideas, longform YouTube videos (and more specifically, the people behind them) can help you really understand the intricacies of wedding planning by breaking down concepts, illustrating how to do things, and giving that much needed pep talk. Vegan bride Sam says she got a lot from the videos that Sweet Potato Soul’s Jenné Claiborne posted on her channel. You might, too! (More on Jenne’s wedding here.)
3. Vendors not vegan? It’s OK.
If you plan to hire a hair and make up artist and/or a hair stylist (or florist/wedding planner/DJ) and can’t find vegan vendors for each role, don’t let it get you down. Find the best person for the job and have a friendly discussion about your lifestyle, your needs, and your ethics, and how they all fit into your wedding plan. “My makeup artist wasn’t vegan, but she was already using cruelty-free products and was open to learning more,” says vegan bride Hannah. “She even bought vegan brushes specifically to do my makeup!” Bonus: your vendors, once unfamiliar with veganism, are now equipped to help other couples like you!
4. Do the dance lessons
If you’ve checked out #weddingtiktok, you’ve seen grooms and brides (and brides and brides and grooms and grooms) perform pretty fabulous wedding dance routines at their receptions. What isn’t necessarily obvious is that these dazzling dance displays are often the result of hours and hours of not just practice, but lessons with professionals. Groom Luca regrets not taking dance lessons beforehand, saying it would have helped boost both his and his future wife’s confidence. “She was worried I would mess up our dance,” he says. “Thankfully, I didn’t, but I could have invested more time and energy into it so I’d have been more relaxed.”
5. Make meaningful vows
Standing in front of friends and family and expressing your love and commitment for one another can be an intimidating prospect, but if we’re being 100 percent honest, that’s what weddings are all about! Some couples, like Jess and Anna, felt “embarrassed” (their word!) when it comes to standing at the altar and putting their true feelings out for everyone to hear. Looking back, they have their regrets. Instead of writing their own vows, they let their officiant do the talking. “It lacked some of the warmth and emotion we felt inside,” says Anna. “We’re thinking of renewing our vows on our 10-year anniversary just so we can have a do-over!” If you’re prone to stagefright, practice, practice, practice. And more importantly, write from the heart. You’ll never regret that!
6. Show the love (to your guests)
As guests arrive at your wedding venue, you’ll probably have a designated person to greet guests and distribute programs, but have you considered having welcome libations and snacks to make your guests feel extra special and help get the party started? Vegan groom Aidan wishes he had. “If I had it to do all over again, I would have welcomed guests with hors d’oeuvres and drinks,” says Aaron. “The ceremony started a little later than we expected, and this would have tied everyone over until the reception.” It can be as simple as guiding guests to a table with glasses of bubbly and orange juice, or as elaborate as passed canapes and cocktails. Either way, your guests will feel pampered and sated.
7. Keep the communication flowing
Like so much in life, communication is key, especially when it comes to all the moving parts plugged into your wedding. Your venue will be the axis around which so many of your wedding components spin, from the catering to the lighting to the set up and clean up, so having a point person you can communicate with for all the questions that will inevitably arise is crucial. Bride Blanca wishes she had communicated with her venue about the lighting, which she assumed would be dimmed just before she and her new husband hit the dancefloor for their first spin as husband and wife. “It turns out it was the DJ who should have organized the lighting,” says Blanca. “And if we’d thought to ask in advance, we could have had a much more romantic ambiance for our first dance.”
8. Quality over quantity
Vegan bride Tabitha felt a little sad at the end of her wedding night when she noticed how many of their wedding favors—mixtapes of their favorite love songs and tiny gumball machines filled with candy—were left behind. “The wastefulness of it was what was really disappointing,” says Tabitha. “Looking back, I think we could have gotten away with just one set of favors per couple, and I probably would have stuck with edible gifts that were of a higher quality,” she says. Pro tip: check out our ideas for quality wedding favors here.
9. Budget realistically
If you’ve set your wedding budget at (hypothetically) $20,000, don’t stop there. If you want to avoid surprises and fiscal anxiety later down the line, add 10 percent to your budget, because there will be, without question, extra expenses you weren’t anticipating. “We ended up having to rent outdoor heating towers because there was a cold snap the weekend of our outdoor wedding,” says vegan bride Monica. “We didn’t see that coming at all, but were grateful that we had the foresight to create a budget for wedding-related incidentals,” she says.
10. Don't compromise your values
It's inevitable: when word gets out that you're having a vegan wedding, there will be that one relative who insists you've got to have chicken to keep your omnivore guests happy. Take it from vegan bride Michelle: don't succumb to the pressure! "I didn't want to disappoint my mom so we reluctantly served fish at our otherwise-vegan wedding," says Michelle. "Looking back I can't believe we gave into the pressure. The guilt I felt for compromising my values stuck with me for a long time." Remember: it's your day. Do it your way!
** BONUS**: Don’t sweat it
Couple after couple we surveyed had different ways of offering the same advice: know you’re going to spend a lot of money, but try to be zen about it. Because in theory, this is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration and one of the most profound events of your life, and if that isn’t worth splurging on, what is? This isn’t to suggest you should go into debt to pay for an extravagant fête, but investing lots of energy into saving a few hundred dollars here or there at the expense of your personal style or values isn’t worth it in the long run. Be thoughtful and plan creatively, and you'll make it a day you'll remember forever.
Want more vegan weddings?
You’re going to love our Great Big Vegan Wedding Idea Book!