Yes, we did it! After exactly 3.5 years of being a happy couple, we got married. And we thought this occasion would be perfect to release our first more intimate and personal article here! We want to tell you all about our vegan wedding, what we wore, how we celebrated and what our vegan wedding cake was made of!
But brace yourself, this is going to be a longer one. We’re going to give you a glimpse into our personalities, wishes, and plans… while also showing you how to plan your own perfect wedding. So, hopefully this will be a nice and informative read for everyone!
Funny enough, actually being married doesn’t feel so much different to us. We never gave it too much meaning anyway and we’ve already been feeling like a married couple for a while, living together, having a business together and going through very tough times together. But we wanted it to be an official thing, to say “yes” to the other one for good or bad times.
It was also a step towards our families merging together, having more siblings and an additional set of parents in a way. The timing was perfect because we had just started our own business a year ago and were planning on traveling the world very soon. But having the personalities we do, this day should be exactly how the two of us wanted it to be – no matter the expectations or guidelines around traditional weddings.
There are so many ways to go about getting married, from simple ceremonies wearing your everyday clothes and having no guests to buying a 2000 dollars dress and having your whole family, friends, and neighbors around. All the different rituals and traditions weren’t really important to us, though.
We personally don’t live our lives according to what people or society expect and we prefer to create our own little moments with meaning instead of following some guidelines. So, we decided to go for as much authenticity as possible!
And it wasn’t even a question whether or not we were going to throw a vegan wedding. Having to live in a non-vegan world, we are confronted on a daily basis by others consuming our animal friends and having to remain silent about it for the most part. So, this was our chance to show others how you can have fun without causing any harm! And I think we did a great job at that. Now, let’s get into the details.
To be honest with you, we started out just wanting a small, trivial ceremony and maybe a dinner with the parents afterwards. Not only had we just started our entrepreneurship and living off of our savings, we also didn’t feel the need for anything more elaborate than that.
Our main issue was that we wanted to be seen as a couple before the law and share a last name. But after looking for a cute wedding outfit and coming across beautiful photoshoots of other weddings, we fortunately found our romantic side and did some more planning!
Still, we wanted to shoot for only 2000 Euros, everything included. We had to pay for the ceremony and certificate at the registry office, for new IDs, the hairdresser, location, food, the taxi, and our outfits. And we stayed within our budget!
Since we wanted it to be authentic and intimate, giving everything our personal touch and being humble people, this was perfect. Of course, the parents couldn’t keep themselves from picking up a few of the bills as a gift which was so nice, too! This means it cost us only a couple of hundred bucks, overall.
We ended up saving money on so many things that didn’t even mean anything to us like:
- Makeup, manicure, pedicure and stylists
- Elaborate wedding dress or suit
- Decoration (was more DIY)
- Bridal or engagement parties (skipped all of those)
- Printed invites, announcements, and programs (used a website instead)
- Solo entertainer, DJ or band
- Personal ceremony, especially at a church
- Photographer and videographer (family did that)
- Welcome signs, seating signs, tables, chairs
- Guestbook, disposable cameras
- Hotel, transportation
More details on many of these points are down below.
We knew that we wanted to have someone else make the food for us and were happy with investing most of our budget in a vegan company serving us an epic menu! It was important to us to support other ethical vegans with their small business – but more on that later.
Even though we thought our future wedding would be very modest and downright non-romantic, Alena somehow wanted her engagement ring to be very special and make her feel a little extravagant – for someone who basically never wears any jewelry, this was a big thing.
At first, she looked for a basic one without a stone because she thought it would be pretty hindering and inconvenient in everyday life. Plus, she didn’t want it to cost a lot since she feels uncomfortable having something expensive on her especially during adventures outside or cleaning up. She browsed etsy.com for handmade, unique designs and fell in love with a silver “moonstone”.
She told Lars about it, not knowing if he would soon propose (and he didn’t). But the seed was planted. He somehow managed to order and receive the ring without her knowing, hiding it until the proposal (which happened in the beginning of 2017 during a vacation). The ring didn’t cost more than 50 dollars, including shipping, and is hammered silver.
Since it’s really thin (like a stacking ring), we thought it would be lovely to get a matching wedding ring to wear on top of it on the same finger. We browsed Etsy again and found a matching one for 20 bucks. Good enough!
Lars preferred a different style and texture to his ring. So, a wider ring with a brushed finish in silver was perfect for him! It was 50 bucks as well. All of our rings came from etsy.com and were hand-made for us! They had lovely packaging and made us even more excited for the wedding.
When choosing your jewelry, rings or other accessories, avoid authentic pearls. Many diamonds are also not really ethical, though you can find some places that sell conflict-free ones.
The part many of you have probably been waiting for – what did we wear? How do you choose a vegan wedding outfit?
As already mentioned, we started out wanting to have a cute, little, casual wedding. One where the bride could just wear an inexpensive white summer dress and the groom would arrive in jeans and a loose button-down shirt. We’re not the people for feeling comfortable in fancy, expensive, elaborate clothes and wanted this day to be really authentic.
But the more we researched for cute wedding ideas and pretty clothes, the more we wanted to look a little neater and extravagant than we’d have expected. None of the cities in our area had the clothes we were on the hunt for in store – so we ordered everything online.
Funny enough, it was much easier to find a dress for Alena than it was to come up with a great outfit for Lars. It took us around 8 online orders from different vendors and a pretty chaotic living room for 3 weeks until we found something matching for the groom.
The hardest part was to find different shades of grey that would actually match each other. Also, most shoes and belts we found were either made from leather, not the look we wanted, or of poor quality. But it was all worth it and we managed to put together authentic, stylish, and cruelty-free vegan outfits for both the groom and the bride.
We also chose a few accessories like a hair vine, earrings, and a bracelet for Alena as well as a bracelet and belt for Lars. The bridal bouquet and boutonniere were made for us just across the street by a lovely florist whom we showed a few pictures of wildflowers for inspiration. Didn’t cost us more than 20 bucks or so to have them done.
Lars got a fresh haircut a week before the big day and had a barber style his hair a few hours before the ceremony. Alena went to her hairdresser across the street (yes, many advantages to living downtown!) to try different styles of putting all that hair up – which, at first, resulted in her getting a chop and letting go of around 20 cm (roughly 8 inches) of her mane.
Feeling like a new woman already, putting the shorter hair up was way easier and required fewer pins. Still, it took almost 2 hours in the morning of our wedding! Total cost for our hair was just around 120 Euros for 5 appointments. Alena then did her natural, subtle makeup herself using cruelty-free brands she had at home.
Admittedly, we weren’t on the hunt for the most established and Fairtrade clothing brands but we did manage to keep everything vegan, of course. Alena's dress cost us 150 Euros, the rest (shoes and accessories) was another 50. Lars’ outfit came to around 120 Euros total. The great thing about our chosen clothes is that we can wear most of them again in the future (not sure what to do with the dress, though), which is pretty sustainable and smart.
When choosing your outfit, you don’t have to keep things traditional! Boho weddings and casual ones are very trendy these days and you could totally pull off a cute summer dress, doesn’t even have to be white! We found a lot of pictures showing the groom in jeans and a vest which looked so stylish.
See what works for you and try out various styles! Look out for silk in bridal clothes and ties, leather shoes, and wool suits if you want to keep things vegan. Special tip: you can also rent dresses and suits!
Being environmentally conscious and not wanting to have a huge hassle, we decided to digitally invite everyone – how very contemporary. What else would people have expected from digital nomads? We got the idea from the minimalist vegans, whose vegan wedding we adored!
Within three days, we got together a few lovely couple and food pictures, chose a WordPress theme that was minimalist and modern with a few cool elements, and came up with some copy. It was a nice surprise for everyone who got to see it and definitely something that stood out compared to any other wedding they’d been to. We simply asked for an email reply and no gifts, please (the latter of which nobody was sticking to, of course).
The website just took us a few days to put together, no additional cost than just a theme. It was convenient for us and our guests because they couldn’t really lose the address or any other important information – because it was always online and available. Luckily, everyone who was invited was technically savvy enough to handle this!
The Guest List
The number of close friends we have is very small. Having moved a lot and living an unconventional lifestyle, most of our acquaintances are from all over the world and only talk with us online. This made it pretty easy to have a short guest list! Considering that we started out just wanting our parents there, and having almost tripled the total number of people being invited, gives you a different perspective on our guest list. We ended up being a clan of 14, mostly consisting of Lars’ immediate family.
And that’s exactly how we liked it! Things would have been awkward if we tried to revive some old friendships by inviting them to the wedding without having seen them for years on end. We didn’t want to force anything but, instead, just have those people who are closest to us around. That way, we were able to spend some time with each of our guests and talk to them, recognizing that they were there.
Unlike many other couples, getting clear on who we would invite was one of the easiest and quickest parts of the preparation. We were on the same page regarding the number we were aiming for and people we deemed important enough to have there.
For some, our number might have been way too low, but that’s a very personal decision and comes down to how large your family and circle of friends are. So far, nobody was hurt because we didn’t invite them! We received a bunch of postcards from more distant relatives and friends, all of which got a thank you note and a few pictures from the wedding.
When thinking of who to invite, you could think of questions like:
Have we recently met and are still in contact? Would I want to be at their wedding? Am I just inviting them because it is expected of me? Would I like to see their face after saying “I do” and give them a hug?
Don’t feel pressed to invite anyone to your special day just because it would be rude not to, you should be free to choose exactly who should be there or not. You really don’t want to look back having an unpleasant knot in your stomach.
That’s one of the main focuses of every wedding, not just a vegan one. Since we were busy enough planning the day, we couldn’t provide our guests with our own homemade food and decided to outsource this part. Best decision! We were looking for vegan restaurants in our area that would offer catering and were happy to find a fairly new, small but exquisite place in a nearby town.
Great opportunity to discover some of the beautiful surrounding areas where we’d been living for the past 2 years! We contacted them, newlyweds from the Frankfurt area who made their dream come true by opening their own organic vegan café. They were happy to work with us and ended up providing us with much more than just a nice dinner!
We loved their food once we visited them and tried out their menu. So we asked if they could come up with an idea for the wedding cake and a small menu at night. We would also need some finger food in the afternoon to get us over the hump.
They were happy to prepare any meals that would come to our mind and we had many delicious options to choose from. Since two of our guests couldn’t have any gluten, we worked with that to come up with the following menu:
- The entrée was a vegetable quiche using brown rice flour and seasonal veg for the filling. It came alongside a small green salad with a Caesar dressing.
- The main course was an Asian dish! Soba noodle (made from buckwheat, therefore gluten-free) bowl with edamame and mixed veggies. It came with a very delicious peanut-lime satay sauce!
- The dessert was a freshly baked sweet potato brownie with some homemade ‘stracciatella’ ice cream (coconut milk base with some pieces of dark chocolate).
Needless to say, our guests were blown away by this elaborate and versatile vegan dinner menu! But that wasn’t the first thing they’ve tried from this café at that day.
Earlier, around 4 pm, we gathered at a beautiful courtyard which belonged to a local winery to cut our wedding cake and have some finger food. Since we don’t know the recipes of all the things provided by the café, we can only guess the different compounds now…
The cake was no-bake and oil-free. It had a nut and date crust with a creamy coconut and blueberry filling. Just sweet enough, ready to melt on our tongues and pretty rich and dense – what a way to celebrate! We loved it, so did our guests.
The finger food consisted of Asian summer rolls made with rice paper and mixed veg inside which came with both a peanut sauce and soy sauce to dip in. We loved the ongoing Asian theme that popped up here and there during the day since our honeymoon would be one whole year of traveling through Thailand, Bali, and other countries in that area!
As for the beverages, we insisted on having everything 100% plant-based… so there was soy milk and almond milk for the afternoon coffee as well as organic lemonades. In the evening, when we ate our menu at the café, the guests could order their beverages of choice – there was everything from plain water, juices, lemonades, vegan wine, beer, smoothies, and more.
All of the food was very delicious and our guests left satisfied with full bellies!
If you don’t happen to have a vegan restaurant or caterer anywhere close to you, provide a chef of the place you’d like to go with vegan recipes so they can put together a custom menu for you. Let them know that you don’t just want vegetables but need something satisfying like starches and nut butters in order to have a proper meal and satisfy your non-vegan guests – sometimes, people aren’t aware that vegan dishes consist of more than just vegetables.
There’s also the option of just offering some vegan meals alongside non-vegan ones. In this case, make sure to label the ones that are vegan. If you’d like to have a specific dish you love, ask for popular ingredients such as Gardein meat or Daiya cheese to replicate the animal-based ingredients.
Initially, we thought that late summer would offer the perfect conditions for spending the day outside in nature somewhere, enjoying the sunshine and good company. But being exposed to whatever the weather conditions might be made us feel like we needed to rent a nice place like a café or room somewhere to get together in the afternoon.
After weeks of fruitless looking for something we thought was nice and affordable, the owner of the small café that would provide us with the food contacted us. He told us that friends of his could offer their nearby courtyard (literally just around the corner from the café) for the afternoon and help us out.
We were thrilled to receive this offer and visited the young family a couple of days later to take a look. It was so cute, a little rustic, authentic, and just lovely! The couple wasn’t much older than us and offered to help with the chairs, tables, plates, decoration, and more for a pretty small fee. They were a small family business, having their own vineyards and making their own vine.
The small town that would host our wedding celebration was around 20 kilometers (or 12 miles) from the city we got married, so we just gathered everything together and drove down along the river to the vineyards so we could sit down and eat some cake!
We had also planned on including a little couple photoshoot with Lars' sister in law. She’s part-time photographer who has taken awesome shots all around the world and volunteered to work with us that day. This shooting took place in an old park close to the vegan café… but more on that below.
All in all, we were really happy with how this turned out! The weather was supposed to be rather chilly and a bit rainy but it seemed like the Universe was on our side and provided us mostly with sunshine, some clouds and a few drops in the evening. It was very authentic, nothing too exotic like renting a room in a fancy castle or hotel (which isn’t that uncommon here in Europe) that wouldn’t have allowed us to just be our dorky, charming selves.
Our family is still talking about the lovely places where we spent the day together. It apparently was a win for everyone!
Another option would have been to rent a small space outside at a farm somewhere. But the fact that there would be a lot of animals (rather “livestock”) around that were used for horse riding or food made us pretty uncomfortable. As a vegan, you start seeing things more clearly and understand why even small farms aren’t ethical, so this would just basically break our hearts. We also didn’t want to invest our money where animals are being bought, used, and sold. This is something for you to think about, too, if you’re looking for a cruelty-free vegan wedding.
What we had in mind was a cute, boho, humble look. In terms of location, outfits, and decoration. In order to achieve the latter, we ordered 2 items from Amazon. We were careful not to choose anything with real feathers or silk (both are rather common in boho items) and ended up getting wooden “Mr & Mrs” signs as well as some bunting made from thick linen with white hearts painted on it.
The tables were covered with plain white tablecloths and we had empty bottles which would serve as vases…. Meaning we had to drink quite a few lemonades at home in order to get the vases, haha. As for the flowers, we asked Lars’ parents to bring some wildflowers from around their house and small village which they were happy to contribute!
Some guests brought rose petals to throw when we left the registry office which were reused for decoration in the afternoon.
Overall, we loved everything we had there and used it for décor in our apartment afterwards! It really fits in with our minimalistic and personal style. Anything more elaborate would have been over the top and just used once in our life, probably. So this was the most economical and sustainable option.
When looking up decoration ideas for your wedding, you have a ton of different options and there’s something for every taste! No matter if it’s colorful, a seasonal theme, elaborate or down to earth – choose what feels authentic to you. An idea would be to use a few items you already have at home so you have to buy less or ask for your guests to bring something along you know they have easy access to. We love the idea of reusing the wedding decoration at home so you’re often reminded of your special day!
Some decoration items you’ll want to double-check for their vegan qualities are candles and tablecloths. Just using natural decoration like wood, weeds, reusable straws, and more can be a fantastic idea!
Every special day should have at least a small set of little reminders. Wedding photographers can cost quite a bit of money and usually, many guests bring their own cameras or smartphones to take some pictures for their personal collection. There’s the popular idea of getting disposable cameras for everyone but it seemed too wasteful. Luckily, Lars’ big sister is a very good hobby/part-time photographer who agreed to bring her DSLR.
She took lovely pictures over the course of the day - everything from the ceremony to the food, games, guests talking, and detail shots were captured. We also carved out almost an hour in the afternoon to cram in a beautiful couple shooting at a nearby park!
All in all, we came down to a good 700 pictures taken by her plus a couple of hundreds from our guests. We were very happy with the results and broke the whole collection down to around 120 favorites, some of which you can see here in this post! It was her wedding gift to us, including a wonderful physical photo album to remember the day - the old-school way.
That was almost our least favorite part of the whole day! The good news, it only took around 30 minutes and we were good. There’s nothing much to tell you about this part, to be honest… we just gathered at our local registry office, a nice woman held a short speech, we said “yes” and kissed. Played a short song, signed the papers and left for food!
We cannot really give you any advice on your ceremony since we just wanted it to be short, nothing too personal. Both Lars and I are not religious, so going to a church that day wasn’t on our minds at all.
The Gifts & Favors
Being the humble minimalists we are, we asked for no gifts apart from a little money for the upcoming honeymoon…. But of course, we still got a few presents! They were mostly hand-made, personal and very lovely. They came as a total surprise because we honestly thought people would just not bring anything!
As for the favors for our guests, we sent them some packages a few weeks after the wedding with a collection of the prettiest and funniest pictures, a personalized music CD, a self-made video of the best moments, a thank you card, a few vegan snacks, and small bits of the wedding decoration as a reminder of the day.
A wonderful idea for gifts are compassionate ones like donations to a local animal sanctuary or a group that’s helping to save the environment! You could set up a few buckets with different tags so people can choose where they want their donation to go.
Nothing too extravagant was planned, though it ended up being quite a bit of games, singing, and fun. Here’s where our best man came in! He’s a musician and has entertained small and medium-sized crowds for years already so he came up with a few fun things to do that day. It was his wedding gift to us and we saved some money here, again!
Lars’ father had prepared a nice speech, we played the shoe game (a funny and cute compatibility test thing), and the best man performed his wedding song he wrote for us with his wife… which was basically the story of how we met, what our lives look like, and what the future might bring – very funny, touching, and witty.
We didn’t have a traditional honeymoon, to be honest. But we did spend a few days after the wedding at a quiet Airbnb in a nearby town. All the preparation and celebration made us a little dizzy and tired, it would have felt strange to just get on with everyday life. This was just a little break for us, though, nothing fancy at all.
Here’s our true vacation plan: two months after the wedding, we will leave our apartment and stuff behind (having sold or donated 90% of it), take a few things with us and go travel the world! More specifically, South East Asia. Starting in Thailand, we’re going to stay at some lovely places for around a year, checking out nearby countries, different cities, and landscapes. That really is a dream come true and a very extended honeymoon for us!
Initially, we planned on booking us into a fully vegan hotel somewhere here in Germany and enjoy nature, being cooked for, and a few spa treatments. This would have been perfect if we hadn’t plans to travel the world a bit later on. I’d highly suggest you look for something that both you and your spouse would love, doesn’t have to be an expensive hotel! For us, a peaceful little hut in the woods would have been just as wonderful.
Our takeaways for you
- This is your day and you can show your guests that they don’t have to consume meat and dairy for every meal in order to be nourished. No need to compromise your ethics and health here, this one day of your life at least should be the way you really want it.
- No need to spend a ton of money and start your marriage in debt! It's more about the experience and people than the material things. Small gatherings and simple decoration can go a long way. Your guests will be delighted to help you out using their talent and resources. Oftentimes, cheaper clothes are not made from animal products, which is a bonus! Preowned clothes are also an option here.
- Make sure that everything feels authentic to you and that you don’t settle for things you think will make your guests happy but seem wrong to you. You don’t want to look back at the day remembering how strange you felt and how you should have gone with your heart. Don’t invite anyone you don’t really want to be there, even if it seems rude! Time to get real here.
- If you cannot find a vegan restaurant or caterer in your area, put together a few of your favorite recipes or meals you’ve always wanted to try and hand them over to the person you’ll hire for the food. Will be a new experience for everyone, but you can surely make it happen!
- Things probably won’t all go as planned – and that’s okay, don’t force it. Let the day unfold and stress less, enjoy more. Leave some room for things to take longer than expected and make sure you have somewhere to go should it start raining.
- Let your guests gift you some useful items, money to pay for the wedding, or charity donations. Let them, as well as yourself, spend the money wisely and choose to support ethical businesses when it comes to your venue, jewelry, and more.
And now… congrats to the bride and groom (to be)!
It was wonderful to share a very personal part of our lives like this with you. Are you planning your own vegan wedding right now? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.
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